Tuesday, June 22, 2010

White Students Hang Bananas in Stairwell Called 'The Jungle" and Frequented by Black Students

Two white teens thought it would be funny to hang bananas in the stairwell most often used by black students in their high school. They refer to the stairwell as ‘the jungle.” When asked why, the teen couldn’t explain without resorting to “the blacks call it that too…” In the accompanying video, a white mother chastises the boys saying “it’s not okay to treat people like that.” One boys reaction was, “Well we wouldn’t have said it to people who…” as the mother chastised him some more. I truly wish that the mother would not have interrupted so that we could have heard what type of people would’ve been exempt from this sort of prank.
I get the feeling that the kids really had no idea that it would have caused such a commotion… Therein lies the problem. To them, this is just a prank, a few harmless laughs at the expense of the dignity of their black classmates. Where is the harm in that? The entire incident is actually quite telling; the fact that the area is called ”the jungle,” the fact that no one seemed to see the kids hanging the bananas and thought it needed to be addressed, that a black student was removed from the ensuing confrontation—rather than a white student—and subsequently arrested for assault, the fact that in the video footage, the parking lot has several cars with words like “Let Andrew and Kyle Walk” written on the windows in support of the pranksters who were scheduled to graduate the day following the incident, but feared that disciplinary action might prevent them from taking part in the ceremony.
The school principal decided to suspend the boys for a few days, which would mean that they won’t walk with their classmates at graduation, although they will still receive diplomas. The other boy involved offered as an excuse, “Well, we’re teenagers.” Yes, they are. In a society and media cycle where we are being told time and again that things are changing with this new generation and that race relations are improving because of the current young people, they are teenagers; the hope and promise of a better tomorrow.
Another news report quoted Carel as saying that he still hopes to join his friends at the graduation ceremony, "Walking to my graduation is like once in a lifetime thing, and it just hurts not to be able to walk." Well, Andrew, being the butt of cruel racist jokes should be a never in a lifetime thing and it just hurts not to be able to walk with our heads held high and be considered valuable, viable, worthy and equal.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Impact of Imagery on Racial Preferences and Biases

      This video speaks volumes about the impact of imagery we see daily on our subconscious minds regarding race and bias. It reminds me so much of a story my mother has more than once recounted to me, of my oldest brother in the early 70s when the other two of us were mere infants. It was time to go to church or some other function that called for dress slacks and a button down shirt with a tie. My brother, who as a toddler had learned to dress himself, had properly dressed himself with the exception of the white tube socks with a bold blue stripe that he had donned with his dress shoes.
   Mother praised him for the bulk of his ensemble, then explained that he needed a pair of dark socks, either black or brown, and sent him back to his dresser to retrieve and put on the correct socks. My brother returned with different socks as instructed, but this time they were white with a red stripe. Mother was busy putting the finishing touches on her own outfit, so again, explained his error and sent him back to his room for the correct socks.
   When my brother returned for the third time with white socks, Mother was perplexed. She began to think that perhaps my brother was color-blind or had some other disorder that prevented him from getting the correct socks. She picked up various items —a comb, a lipstick, a scarf, etc.—and asked him to name each item and its color, which he did without problem or error. Mother then asked my brother to point out something brown and something black in the room, and again, he was able to do both.
   Finally, Mother asked him, "If you know what brown looks like and what black looks like, why won't you put on a pair of dark socks?" Without hesitation my brother replied, "I don't like black or brown! They are ugly!" My brother went on to explain that he didn't like black people and he, himself was not black, but white. He had arrived at his disdain for all things black by watching his favorite television show, Starsky & Hutch and noting that all of the "good guys" were white and all of the pimps, thugs, pushers and other sundry "bad guys" were black or brown.
   What makes this incident even more profound is that this was during the whole "black is beautiful" movement and that our parents were both well-educated professionals who sent us to private schools and took us to Fire Island or The Hamptons for the summer. Regardless of what my brother saw and experienced in his world, the imagery from the television permeated his mind and changed his perception regarding race and racial stereotypes.
   I think about that story and then look at what images persist in the media today and sincerely shudder to think about the effect that imagery has on children today of all races. Studies have proven that "the doll test" still garners the same results more than 60 years later of children (both black and white) showing a preference for white dolls. Recent studies show that law enforcement officers are more likely to shoot a black suspect than a white suspect, and recent "conservative" and "real American" commentary shows an alarming and disturbing resurgence of racist speech and imagery in our country. Couple that with the ridiculous songs and music videos by too many African American artists that glorify violence, materialism and ignorance, and it s no wonder that so many people (both black and white) have a generally negative opinion of black people and culture. If they are never exposed to anything else, can you honestly blame them?
   This is where you and I come into play... We know that all things black are not bad nor are all things white wonderful. We know that each person is an individual and that judging someone's abilities, experiences or values based upon their ethnicity is just plain wrong. We all know or have encountered at least one white person in life who was an absolute pain and an annoyance to tolerate. We also each know at least one intelligent, friendly, hard-working, family-oriented, educated, well-spoken black person. When next you are confronted with stereotypical imagery or have the racist views of an ignoramus inflicted upon you, please, please remember that one great person. Or hopefully, remember the several great and non-stereotypical people you know and make sure that your children, friends and relatives know at least one too. Combat the ignorance with whatever you can, but preferrably with love.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Re: The Police Officer Who Punched the Black, Female Teen

The video has gone viral over the past few days across the country. It is difficult for me to watch on more than one level. I am appalled by the disrespectful behavior of the two girls in question and disheartened and saddened by the sight of a grown man in a police uniform punching a teenage girl in the face. I am not condoning her actions, nor do I support his; but I do understand that the officer had to to do something to gain control of the situation.

   More than watching the actual video, I was terribly frightened, saddened, disillusioned and angered by the comments that popped up on various news and blog sites in reaction to the story. Rather than adding my words for you to read, I give you just a few of the words posted in comments. For those who say race relations have improved in this country, you might want to think again. I constantly get so frustrated when people say, "black people always pull the race card." We've talked about stereotypes and biases, and a recent study has shown that police officers are more likely to use force or even shoot an unarmed black person than they are an armed white person. Read a few of the comments and please notice that the mention of race comes from an anti-black perspective rather than an anti-white perspective. It reminds me of the movie, A Time to Kill, when in his summation, the white lawyer asks jurors to imagine a little girl being beaten, raped and dragged and then instructs them: "Now imagine she  is white," and the jurors are moved to tears, as well as an acquittal. Ask yourself honestly, would this have happened if these girls were white? Would it have happened in the same manner? Food for thought, folks.

Random comments from Yahoo News:

FIGURES, 2 black females assault a cop and when he calms one down the only way he could now hes the bad guy. what about charging these women with assault? if they would have acted normally which most black women dont you see in this video how they act and go to Atlanta, Ga you will see the same but if they acted normally and took the ticket none of this would have happened. im SO TIRED of people acting like animals and when the law does something about it everyone wants the cop to lose his job, why not lock up these animals. sorry if this is offensive but i have to call it like i see it.

Cant say the cop was in the wrong because I dont know the situation. Although it was a white cop in what looked to be a black area. And we all know how black people are, when you fight one you fight them all. So i would guess it was a tense situation.

That was one of the best videos Ive seen in a long time. 2 black upity young dummys got what was coming. If it was me, I would have zapped both of them. Then you have old man black boo saying it was excessive force?? He should habe been apologizing for his race acting like a couple of dumb%$#%.

You NIGS and scumbags are defending a piece of thrash that didn't listen to the police officer. She grabbed his arm first and it says so. She should've been arrested for obstruction and assaulting a police officer. Of course it was a BLACK lady. They're worse than black men when it comes to respecting the law or respecting anything for that matter. Of course, the Dems., LIbs and Blacks and all the other IGNORANT groups that have ruined this country are up in arms. I'm glad he punched her in the face. Hopefully, she'll try it again and next time they'll shoot her black @ss. Shoot all blacks now! they're all criminals anyways!

most white people would not have resisted but rather try to talk out of a ticket but black scum always try to start@#$% using the race card. If they cant act like respectable ladies treat them like the scum they are. They want to act like tuff @#$%es they need to be treated that way. They broke the law and resisted arrest in a violent way so tuff @#$% they deserve what they got

the blacks love this stuff. the girl probably did it on purpose to bait the white cop. somebody was sure ready with the camera. You seldom see whites acting like this.

That's what you get when you don't obey the law! and stop acting like you people still live in the jungle.!. and please be more civillized.. so we can all live peaceful in this country..! and it was not a racist thing.

Good for the cop. That @#$% desrerved it. Waaahhh! Another white cop beating a black person. Boo hoo. Those stupid girls deserved it. Why can't they just be quiet and cooperate? Because young black @#$%es are dumb.
Those two young black girls are crying racism huh, and police brutality. Those two young black girls are future democrat voters. Those two black girls are future wards of the state. Those two black girls are contributing to the down fall of our great country. There lives are @#$% and there lives will always be @#$%. It's a mentality most minorities have. It's self destructive.

Planet of the apes part 10 - Ape cop killers