“We need a national conversation on racism!”

Okay, this is what I think…

“Shut up, racist!!!”


  1. Charlotte says:

    Why is it that when a “white Hispanic” kills a black person it makes international headlines, and yet every year in a city like Philadelphia close on 300 young black people are killed by other black people without it making the headlines here in South Africa. Does it become newsworthy only when the killer is lighter skinned than the person killed?

  2. kristin says:

    This is the reason that we cannot have a productive discussion on race because individuals like to throw out inconsequential statements like ‘they kill each other all the time so what’s the big deal?’ The big deal is that our justice system is the last great bastian of racism in our country and when you have laws that disproportionally affect minorities and poor people you will continue to have a wide disparity of indivduals who are affected by our justice system.

    Case in point, let’s look at your example in the George Zimmerman case. The individuals that murder other individuals (black on black crime) are highly likely to be convicted of murder whether or not the murder is justifiable. That is an undisputable fact. Another such fact is that when you have a perpetrator of a lighter complexion they are highly likely to be found not guilty ala Zimmerman, the Rodney King cops, or even the cop that was given 11 months for murderinig Austin Grant who was handcuffed at the time he was murdered. This is the problem that ignites the anger. You have an African American Florida who was just given 20 years for firing a warning shot at an abusive husband. If you want to have a reasonable discussion on race you have to discuss the inequities that exist in the legal system, when you have minorities who are convicted of petty crimes and are given harsh sentences wheras white people will get a slap on the wrist or probation for the same crimes.

    There is a lot of research out there that shows that people are not sympathetic towards black people or they feel that they can endure more pain. Therefore this is an active factor in jury selection. People are fallible the only way to change this situation is acknowledge that you feel this way and only then can we change the problem. This lack lack of empathy is bidirectional. Study Re: Race and Empathy

    I am fully aware that I am affected by bias. It begins with acknowledging that. We must get away from insinuating that this group is this way and that therefore it is justified or ok for them to continually be victimized by violence and then additionally victimized by people who say things like 300 murders have happened over here, why should this one murder matter more than any of the others. This goes back to a biased judicial system that is plagued by biased jurors who do not acknowledge that they lack empathy for minorities. This lack of empathy jeapordizes the fundamental fairness in our justice system and in dealing with people on a day to day basis. (posted by Mexi for Kristin because she can only access the blog via her cellphone for some reason)

  3. Kristin, check further into that woman who got 20 years for firing a warning shot. It’s not as simple as that, it’s a nice little headline, but the law doesn’t apply to her. http://ace.mu.nu/archives/341684.php The MEDIA is responsible for taking this case and the Zimmerman case and making the two look the same. It’s not the same.

    We aren’t ever going to have a real conversation on race. The media won’t allow it. And, as long as they keep giving the microphone to Al Sharpton – who is himself responsible for more deaths than George Zimmerman, we won’t have this conversation because he continues to incite the same kind of crazy that resulted in the fire that killed people at Freddie’s Fashion Mart.

    I am of mixed race, I grew up and lived as an adult in a mostly black area of the nation. I have interacted with blacks my whole life in every way, as teachers, friends, co workers, bosses. Very few of the blacks I have personally interacted with really think politically for themselves. I wish that was not true. I’ve had long and frequent conversations about political issues with some very intelligent and accomplished black women. It takes hours to walk these otherwise insightful women through issues to get to the other side where they stop parroting what they heard on what-ever-the-hell-news they listen to so we can forthrightly discuss the issue with the facts. That has been my experience over and over and over again. These are women I deeply respect, except politically because they just don’t think for themselves when it comes to politics.

    Take for instance the knowledge that Chicago politics is notoriously corrupt, it has been for a century. The history is there. Once Obama was elected, though, I was no longer allowed to discuss the corruption in Chicago – it was suddenly a clean and upstanding bastion of good government. It’s baffling. The only answer for that response is that if Obama comes from a corrupt city then all black people come from corrupt cities. And when probing this with a friend, it was indeed the reason for her response. If Obama came from a corrupt political machine then all blacks are tarred with that brush. Which is stupid, I don’t think that way, whites don’t think that way – but when the response we get attempting to have these conversations is denial and accusations of racism, we do start to think that way.

    Want to make a person like me racist? Keep accusing me of racism at every turn and refuse to have honest discussions of facts. It is a struggle to root out racism during times like this. It is even harder during Obama’s administration.

    Since Obama was elected I’ve been called a racist more times than I can count simply because I disagreed with his politics. I don’t hate with his skin color, it’s his policies I hate. I was allowed to disagree with white Presidents but not a black president.

    To have a real conversation on race I have to be able to say what I think of a policy or an issue with out immediately being accused of racism. If I’m just going to be accused I’ll say fuck it all, I’m done.

  4. Phelps says:

    If we want to discuss why Zimmerman got reasonable doubt and black men don’t, then that’s its own discussion. Rioting and threatening to murder Zimmerman is one of the primary reasons that happens. Not excusing it, just explaining it.

  5. Charlotte says:

    Kristin, whom exactly are you quoting when you write ‘they kill each other all the time so what’s the big deal?’ I hope you’re at least aware that you’ve paraphrased disingenuously.
    I’m not going to respond line by line to your worldview or try to defend my intentions, my question was asked as a foreigner sitting in Africa watching the near blanket coverage of the Zimmerman case – before any verdict was announced – and then reading about the crime in Philly and noticing the dearth of reportage.
    Regarding your statement, “The individuals that murder other individuals (black on black crime) are highly likely to be convicted of murder whether or not the murder is justifiable.” Well, I’d say murder is never justifiable, and I applaud when murders are convicted, don’t you? I can tell you; here in Africa the vast majority of murders go unsolved.
    As to your sweeping statement on the lack of empathy of “people” towards black people or the inherently unfair jury system, which is “plagued by biased jurors”, I do not know enough of your country’s legal system or what is in the hearts and minds of Americans to pass comment.
    Perhaps you could afford me the same courtesy before you accuse me of “victimizing” an entire race of people. Might I suggest a less belligerent approach on your quest for “a productive discussion on race.”

  6. kristin says:

    I will take each response seperately and try to make a cohesive argument so settle in folks.
    Mrs. Phelps I am familiar with the case and I see many parallels to the ZImmerman case. SYG does not apply I am fully aware becasue she left the scene it is my opinion and belief that one should not be allowed to stalk another individual get your ass handed to you and then claim self defense. I understand TRayvon simply because my fight reflex is stronger than my flight reflex. Case in point I travel for work i was in NYC leaving an account well after dark unfamiliar with the city I feel someone behind me. I increase my pace so does the person behind me i turn swiftly keys in hand and yell wtf person stops I see what is either confusion or surprise at this point I dont care because I am fearful. Needless to say I arrived safetly to my hotel though shaken. I dont believe wearing a hoodie is an invitation to harrassement as I dont believe a woman working out in a sports bra at night is an invitation to rape.

    As far as your discussions with black women stating therefore all black people come from corrupt cities, stupifies my mind and I hope you and the appropriate lookk of incredulousness on your face which I did after reading that statement. I do agree with you that far to often black people are still looking for that unifying leader from the days of MLK Instead of affecting the change we seek for ourseleves.

    I also agree with you that rooting out real racist is a struggle because the definition no longer soley encompasses hooded sheets and confederate flag bears. If ypu want an honset opinion here is mine: We are all prejudice predisposed to believe a certain way about a certain group of people. I acknowledged this myself a few years ago after my race based discussions with PHelps. However this predisposed prejudice can be mitigated if everyone would take the time to acknowledge this and then move on. I do this when i meet people e.g. i assume a person may be a yuppy because of the manner in which the are dressed we happen to engage in converstation and i walk away thinking hey this person is pretty cool a lot more down to earth than i thought. I have done this countlesss of times and
    sometimes the stereotype proves true most often not.

  7. kristin says:

    @Phelps that discussion is inextricably tied to the angst felt at this verdict. I think it is difficult to have one without the other in this case

  8. Phelps says:

    FWIW, the studies show that simply bringing race up in a trial makes people hypersensitive to their own racial predispositions. They tend to be hyper-vigilant. Most jury consultants will advise to bring it up directly to a jury in order to inoculate them against bias, and then leaving it alone (to not look like you are pandering.)

    So essentially the studies show that just cautioning against it removes the statistical bias. The Zimmerman case had nothing to do with bias, and everything to do with Zimmerman having all the appearances of having his head slammed over and over into the concrete before he fired at an uninjured attacker.

    That’s the long and the short of it. When one guy has suffered an extended beating, and the other guy’s only injuries are busting his knuckles on the other guy’s face, it isn’t hard for a jury to call what the injured guy does “self defense.”

  9. kristin says:

    Charlotte my statement was not sweeping but however based upin a study see the link above. Therefore going on the assumption that the study is accurate you will have bias which is human nature, I just wish people would admit it then keep it moving. As far as a belligerent approach your interpretation may have been wrong as it is hard to convey tonality at times. I re read my dictated post and conclude that my words are strong but from pass post left on Phelps blog I can assure you this comes no were near belligerent.
    As for my paraphrasing it was just that however, what I did paraphrase is a widely used arugemtn in the blogosphere when it comes to black people havimg indignation to cases suchnas this. Also important to note it is not just white people that espouse that viewpoint but other black people as well I.e Lupe fiasco ( or however you spell his stage name).
    Last point if the murder is justifiable then its just that justifiable and indont abhor murder in those cases.

    Phelps I sure wish I knew why I cant acces your site from my computer becasue typing on this tablet is for the birds.