Who Hijacked Our Country

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Racism: Still Alive and Well

A white teenager got in a violent argument with a bunch of black teenagers at a party. He fled the party and ran home. He went inside and bolted the door and told his father about what had just happened. He said he was afraid some of those black guys — in a drunken rage — would come to the house to finish the argument. And they knew where he lived.

To make things even worse, this white family lived in a mostly black neighborhood. There were a lot of racial tensions, and the most trivial argument could easily explode into an ugly tragic incident.

And now the family’s worst fears have just materialized. Those black thugs from the party have arrived. They're at the foot of the driveway. They're in a drunken out-of-control fury and they're shouting out threats to this white family. They aren't gonna go away.

The panic-stricken father probably made the wrong choice — 20/20 hindsight and all. He took his gun and walked down to the foot of the driveway to confront the angry mob. One of the black thugs lunged toward the father and tried to grab his gun. The gun went off and the would-be attacker was killed.

And now the father — who was trying to protect his son from an out-of-control mob — has been convicted of second degree manslaughter. He faces up to fifteen years in prison. Do you think this is right?

Let’s see, I’m just gonna pore over this news article one last time to make sure I — OOPS!! Uhh…well, I got most of the story right; I just had one minor detail wrong. I had their races switched around. Doh! OK, so it was a black family living in a mostly white neighborhood, and it was a gang of out-of-control white teenagers who came to the house in a drunken fury, determined to settle a score.

So anyway, that doesn’t change the story or anything. Right???

cross-posted at Bring It On!


Blogger Candace said...

Hmm. Well, when I was first reading it, thinking the man in the story was white, I was thinking, now why the hell didn't he call the police instead of going out there with a loaded gun? Then, when I realized the man was black, I knew why he didn't call the police - because probably in his experience as a black person, the police wouldn't have been all that much help (whether true or not, we'll never know, but that's not the point.)

Second degree manslaughter? Not right in either case, IMHO, if someone was advancing on him and trying to disarm him. That's called self-defense, or should be.

December 26, 2007 at 3:24 PM  
Blogger Fetiche said...

No, it's not right...but it wouldn't have been right in the original rendition, either. So what's your point?

December 26, 2007 at 5:32 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Candace: You're right, he should have stayed inside and called the police. If they didn't respond, or were too slow in responding and things got out of hand while he was waiting, then he could start shooting. But like you said, he might have had bad experiences with the police before. And the New York area has had several racially motivated murders recently, so this guy had every reason to panic.

Fetiche: My point was that a lot of people would react differently, depending on people's races. If you're colorblind towards race, then that's great; but not everybody is.

December 26, 2007 at 6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I was surprised at the first scenario as I either waiting for charges dropped due to self defense, or second degree manslaughter charges dropped because a huge column of people including right wingers and the NRA protested downtown.

ColorBlind does not mean clueless, part of the path of getting to be colorblind is realizing that people are treated differently by color, dress, gender, and social and economic status.

Great Post Tom,


December 26, 2007 at 9:03 PM  
Blogger LET'S TALK said...

"My point was that a lot of people would react differently, depending on people's races. If you're colorblind towards race, then that's great; but not everybody is."

Outstanding point made Tom Harper and I love how you wrote this story because to be honest I felt one way at the start and settle down at the conclusion.

December 26, 2007 at 9:26 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: Yeah, I'm surprised the NRA and other "make my day" types haven't taken up the cause for this guy. Good point about being colorblind and what it takes to get to that point.

Let's Talk: Yup, this story definitely has lots of racial undertones. There are also later developments in this case that I didn't mention in the post (they're almost worth a separate post). After the jury convicted this guy, at least one juror went to the press to say he was railroaded by the judge and several other jurors. He wanted to acquit, but everybody else wanted to hurry up and reach a verdict so they could go home on Christmas Eve, so they persuaded him to convict. If he's telling the truth, it should be a mistrial.

December 26, 2007 at 11:21 PM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Oh come on, once Ron Paul becomes president, everything will be just fine!

We'll never eliminate racism, but what's disturbing is that I don't think it's gone down all that much. Sure, in official institutions it has, but people still harbor this garbage, and along with every other extreme view becoming accepted into the mainstream, you have shit like this.

I'd like to think we'll get better, but I just have very little faith in the American people.

December 27, 2007 at 5:42 AM  
Anonymous anders said...

You made your point well, and have gotten me thinking.

December 27, 2007 at 8:03 AM  
Anonymous rockync said...

I guess I'm one of the color blind people. As I read the story, the first thing that I thought was, "I understand why the father went out, but he should have called the cops. He didn't seem to be worried that this was an armed gang, he just wanted to scare them off, and that is where he erred. As the adult, he should have kept his cool and thought this through." As I continued to read, my opinion did not change. If this mob were attacking his home or trying to break down the door, I'd call that justifiable, but meeting them at the end of the driveway? I think there is probably more to this story, but I liked your thought provoking format. I'll bet a lot of people are stopping to ponder the implications.

December 27, 2007 at 8:17 AM  
Blogger Candace said...

That should be a mistrial for sure. I wonder, what was the racial makeup of the jury, do you know?

December 27, 2007 at 8:36 AM  
Blogger PoliShifter said...

Well that certainly changes things, doesn't it...

December 27, 2007 at 9:49 AM  
Blogger anna said...

That's why I don't like guns.

Crazy angry teenage mobs. Holy baby Jebus. Didn't they know it was Christmas time?

And if they angry mob person was threatning the dude, isn't is self defense? Boy, why the hell did he go outside? Not that I like pigs, err, cops, but I suppose an angry mob is reason enough to dial 911.

December 27, 2007 at 10:49 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Randal: I'm afraid you're right. On the surface (institutions, politically correct phrases, etc.) racism is decreasing. But to paraphrase that phrase from the Vietnam war, Americans' hearts and minds haven't changed.

Anders: Thanks. That news item definitely has lots of undercurrents worth thinking about.

Rockync: True, the father was wrong to go out and confront the mob. Since this happened in the northeast where gun laws are strict, I'm guessing that this guy thought having a gun would be a total advantage, since fewer people carry guns. I don't remember if anyone else in the crowd had a gun or not. Outside of the northeast, if you pulled a gun on a crowd of people, they'd all whip out their own guns and you'd be toast.

Candace: Yes, I think it should be a mistrial. The latest thing I read is that two jurors wanted to acquit but were pressured into convicting. I don't know what the racial makeup of the jury was.

PoliShifter: Yup, unfortunately the races do change things in too many people's minds.

Anna: Yeah, he should have called 911. Maybe with racial attitudes being what they are (Archie Bunker is alive and well in the New York area) he was afraid the cops wouldn't respond, or they'd side up with the white mob. Who knows. He was probably just scared shitless and did the wrong thing.

December 27, 2007 at 12:26 PM  
Anonymous rockync said...

I live in North Carolina and I agree with you; if you pull out a gun here, be prepared to be called out on it. And, I'm sorry to say, that although a lot has changed in the South, there are still municipalities here where the black father would have been charged while a white father might not have been.
We've made great strides as a nation but we still have a long way to go.

December 27, 2007 at 5:23 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Rockync: Yeah, I think outside of California and the northeast, guns are so common that it isn't much of an advantage to be packing one. And unfortunately there are places -- and not just in the south -- where there are different standards for blacks and whites.

December 27, 2007 at 6:34 PM  
Blogger Jolly Roger said...

I may have mentioned this once or twice :)

Klanservatism was all about whipping up white fear and loathing. Gay marriage wasn't ever the real issue; good old fashioned bigotry was. Persecuting gays gave the Klanservatives a way to make open racism respectable again, and just look at how membership in those old-fashioned "Christian" organizations has gone up since 2004. By "old fashioned," I do of course mean the "Christians" who prefer a flaming cross as a symbol.

December 27, 2007 at 7:12 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jolly Roger: Klanservatism -- good description. It's incredible how much ground politicians can cover just by whipping up hatred and bigotry and fanning the flames.

December 27, 2007 at 7:31 PM  
Blogger Mile High Pixie said...

Wow! Nicely done! Despite believing that I'm a good little yuppie liberal, here I am feeling differently at the end of the post. Very "A Time to Kill" of you, and pointed. I too found myself thinking what Candace was thinking, about why didn't he call the cops, then agreeing with her assessment. Indeed, racism being alive and well has less to do with the story itself as it does our reading of it. Wow....Man, I'm still impressed with your tack on this!

December 27, 2007 at 7:41 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Mile High Pixie: Thanks. Excellent reference to "A Time To Kill." I haven't seen that movie in a long time; I never even thought of it while I was writing the post, in spite of the obvious similarity. That movie was so white-knuckle intense, I was swilling Wild Turkey straight out of the bottle all through the movie (I usually drink it on the rocks).

December 27, 2007 at 11:32 PM  
Blogger ParisL0ve2 said...

Yes Tom, you did read correctly. Two jurors voted to acquit. As a result of their votes, the JUDGE and other jury members pressured them until they changed their votes.

If I'm not mistaken, the judge told them that if they didn't change their votes there would be a mistrial and that would burden the "victim's" family and the next jury to hear the case.

What I want to know is, what other tactics did this judge and the other jury members use to get them to change their votes.

December 28, 2007 at 3:55 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

ParisLOve2: Yup, 2 jurors being badgered by the judge and the other jurors -- doesn't sound like that "fair trial" that we're all supposed to be entitled to.

The good news is (hopefully) that a lot of white residents of that area are on his side. Home invasions are on the rise and everyone is afraid and thinking "I could be next." So he's getting lots of support. The Nation of Islam is also rallying around him.

December 28, 2007 at 11:38 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home