Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Responses to: Michael Vick and others

Well where do I begin?

Ahh yes Nat X and your analysis of of my Michael Vick post. First you make mention of the fact that you believe that Mumia is "guilty" and that he should "fry" like chicken. Well I believe that Mumia is innocent and I don't believe that anyone should "fry". But I promise to write an upcoming post detailing my opinions on Mumia's case.

In the meantime you were also very critical of my position on Michael Vick. You wrote: "I think your argument that he got "judged" more harshly because he has black skin is completely wrong." I think it is important to clarify that I never stated whether or not Vick was judged wrong in the courts. I was merely discussing the judgement of him in the public and media. You go on to say that: "The problem I have with this is that had it been a local "thug from the hood" committing those same acts, his prison sentence would have been much greater." That's actually debatable. I certainly agree that typically, people with money, black or white, get lighter sentences than people without. But in the case of Michael Vick, because of his name, the Federal Government stepped in, invested heavily in the investigation and convicted him. It is extraordinarily unlikely that the feds would do this for a "thug from the hood". Also Vick's sentence of two years in Prison is pretty high for animal cruelty. And two years in Federal Prison for animal cruelty is almost unheard of. I didn't mention that Vick got off light, because he didn't. I didn't discuss Vick's actual case in my post because I am horrified by what Michael Vick did. It's just that they are plenty of people around the country writing about how disgusted they are by Vick's actions. I'm merely saying that when a Black Person commits a reprehensible act, society has a little more venom in it's condemnation, a little more acid on the tongue. You may disagree but I certainly have a leg to stand on in this argument.

As far as your point about criminals, give me a second and I'll get to it.

Colin as far as "Am I a hippie for washing my dog with Nag Champa Soap?", you nailed it.

Slaves in the White house:

Trees you wrote:
"I don't want to rename the monuments and wipe history clean. Our nation's history is an incredibly violent one. I want to be reminded of this. I want to walk down the street and see the evidence of our ancestor's mistakes in vivid, tangible detail. I want to see and feel the connections to the past and the truth."

I hear you but here is where I have problem. Washington is still a hero. The man was a slave owner and still is a hero. The country is filled with schools that black children attend that are named after slave owners. We have one in Albany named after Phillip Schuyler, a local slave owner. You won't see Hitler's image plastered across Germany. We are taught to believe that the slave owners that founded our country were good men, who just happened to think of black people as animals destined to serve them. I do not buy this. Personally I believe that the treatment of Women, Africans, and Native Americans by the founding fathers, invalidates them as pillars of freedom. I think we'd be best off if we took the papers they wrote and threw them into a museum and got a crew of brilliant thinkers of all races, genders, and sexual identities to write a real set of principles that we could truly believe in.

And Nat X:

My problem is that the constitution was written by slave owners. And than amended after the civil war by the inheritors of their legacy. In those amendments they wrote: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime where of the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

In other words slavery is abolished unless you are convicted of a crime. Any crime. The government has the legal authority to enslave you if you are convicted of any crime. Is it a coincidence that the ancestors of America's original slaves make up a disproportionate amount of the prison population, aka legal slaves? No it isn't. Now you did mention that they have committed these crimes and that's the problem. That is a problem and I'm in favor of working with young people to prevent crimes before they happen. But in the USA a crime one place is not necessarily a crime another place.

When you go to city court you will find lots of Black teenagers arrested for nickel bags of weed. This is possibly the number one first offense for Black youth. What happens is these young men are convicted, without sufficient legal representation, sent to youth correctional facilities and trained to become lifelong criminals. Meanwhile in the suburbs and college campuses, their counterparts are trafficking large amounts of Marijuana and other drugs and rarely caught and prosecuted. In the few circumstances where a middle class white youth is arrested for this type of offense, they are provided proper legal representation, resulting in reduced penalties and avoidance of any form of incarceration that would result in further criminalization. And this cycle continues over and over again.

It's my opinion that the U.S. power structure feels comfortable with this because it has never fully separated itself from it's racist past. By clinging to symbols of Slave owners we continue their legacy, sometimes unconsciously. Our attempts to change racism need to be intentional and require a deep examination of historical wrongs. This is the necessary first step in my opinion, without it, I don't think we will ever end racism and the prison system will continue to be the descendant of the slave system.

Also Nat, as far as me moving to Somalia, I'll take it under consideration. As far as me wasting my talents, I disagree.

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