April 2007 Archives

Broken Record

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I sometimes confront white hostility to "all that black crap" when discussing race with friends or acquaintances. Their exasperation with what they view as black obsession over victimization or beating the dead horse of slaver is clear. The want to stop the broken record of black complaint.

It's easy to sympathize with them. I have felt much the same exasperation but with white ignorance, sometimes willful ignorance. When I hear things like, "MLK would never want affirmative action to exist today," or that Emmett Till was a sexual harasser for whistling at a white woman, I have to hold my tongue and cool my impatience/annoyance. (Affirmative action is a pale ghost [no pun intended] of what MLK advocated for in society and Emmett Till was brutally murdered for simply whistling at a white woman.) It's a teachable moment and I have to bear the burden of playing the broken record if only in an attempt to dispel ignorance with knowledge.

It doesn't have to be this way. If black and white would listen to one another with respect and concern, then perhaps we can finally throw away each other's broken records!

Protecting the Guilty

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ABC News: DNA Clears 200th Wrongfully Convicted:

"What's also troubling is how common these exonerations have become since the first reversal in 1989. It took 13 years to reach the first 100 DNA exonerations, but just five to double that number [emphasis mine]. For prosecutors and judges, as well as defense attorneys, the exonerations raise a larger question: How many others, innocent of their crimes, are behind bars?"

(Via ABC News.)

Black people know the answer: a whole lot!

In a world where people still assume your guilt based on your skin color, where class determines punishment or leniency, this number shouldn't be all that shocking. Black folk have known all too many of their number are in prison wrongfully. Science is forcing white society to confront evidence of its personal and institutional racism, its sometimes overt and sometimes subtle racism among other social pathologies (e.g. lust for vengeance instead of a thirst for justice, etc.). I wonder how much will it take before people start to reconsider their positions? This country is not accustomed to looking in the mirror.