Al Vivian (CNN) — Since George Zimmerman was acquitted in the death of Trayvon Martin, everyone has had an opinion about the verdict. I am not about to second-guess the jury’s decision or pass judgment on them. Our judicial system is operating as it was designed. The jurors reached their conclusion based on the evidence placed before them and their interpretation of the law as it was explained. As human beings, we see the world through the lens of our own experiences. Both science and history prove that we all have unconscious biases that impact the decisions we make.
I’ve been talking with my friends about what they are telling their children about what happened to Trayvon Martin. What Black men and women are saying to their sons. What Black men and women are saying to their daughters. What everyone else, from all other backgrounds, are saying to their children, their loved ones, their friends. Their stories are ripping me into shreds.
What comes to mind when you visualize the typical Stop & Frisk recipient? A young Black male standing on the corner? A Hispanic youth? Someone who resides in New York City Housing Authority housing? Perhaps they’re wearing Timbaland boots and baggy jeans? What about if they are transgender? You read the last part correctly. All too often, we believe officers stop and frisk based solely on racial background. But what about those Black and Hispanic youths who are also LBGTQ members? What happens when sexuality enters the equation? In recent years, the NYPD has systematically crafted a harassment culture surrounding the LBGTQ community. Their steps included the 2011 “Quality Of Life” initiative, targeting and harassing minority LBGTQ youth in the West Village and Chelsea. Officers often use condoms found on these citizens as evidence of loitering for prostitution. And despite an updated patrol guide mandating they respect transgender and non-conforming youth, NYPD officers often …
In this Sept. 20, 1955 file photo, jurors sit in a courtroom in Summer, Miss. for the trial of Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam who are charged with the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Louis Till. Acquitted by the all-White jury, the two confessed to the killing of the Black teenager in a 1956 Look magazine article. From left in the front row are Gus Ramsey, James Toole, E.L. Price, J.A. Shaw Jr., Ray Tribble and Ed Devaney. In the second row are Travis Thomas, George Holland, Jim Pennington, Davis Newton, Howard Armstrong and Bishop Matthews. (AP Photo/File) (AP) —Focus on the details, and the cases seem very different. One was killed by virulent White racists, the other by a part- Hispanic neighborhood watchman who insists he faced a vicious attack. One was weighted down and dumped in a river; in the other case, police were called by the shooter himself. Six decades and myriad details separate the deaths of Emmett Till and Trayvon Martin, two Black teenagers felled by violence. Yet in the way America reacted to Martin’s death – and the issues that echoed afterward – his case has created a national racial conversation in the much same manner as the saga of Till, infamously murdered in 1955 for flirting with a White woman.
Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, the parents of slain teen Trayvon Martin, arrive in Seminole circuit court on the 2nd day of his trial, in Sanford, Fla., June 11. (Photo Joe Burbank/Pool) by Mark NeJame (CNN) — On February 26, 2012, George Zimmerman, a Hispanic Neighborhood Watch volunteer at the Retreat at Twin Lakes housing complex in Sanford, Florida, shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African-American 17-year-old. Initially, Zimmerman was not arrested, and no charges were brought against him. Rallies, protests and a media firestorm followed, even eliciting a comment from President Obama that “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” The Rev. Al Sharpton came to Sanford and admonished residents that they were “risking going down as the Birmingham and Selma of the 21st century” if nothing was done. Benjamin Crump, one of the attorneys representing Martin’s parents and an instrumental advocate for bringing charges against Zimmerman after they were initially declined, maintains that the case is about civil rights. Whether the killing turns out to have been racially motivated, responded to in self-defense, the act of a resident concerned about the safety of his neighborhood or the act of a trigger-happy cop wannabe, race is an inescapable issue.
Zoe Saldana arrives at the LA premiere of “Star Trek Into Darkness” at The Dolby Theater on May 14, in LA. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)(CNN) — Zoe Saldana is one of Hollywood’s leading actresses, and she’s making headlines as Uhura in “Star Trek Into Darkness.” She crossed barriers as the lead in “Avatar,” the highest grossing movie of all time. But how does being a woman of color impact her career choices and options?
The revelations last week by former Essence Magazine editor Constance White both intrigued and concerned me.
JOE RICKEY HUNDLEY MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A man charged with slapping a toddler on a Minneapolis-to-Atlanta flight is out of a job, his former…
by Moni Basu (CNN) — What is Black? Race. Culture. Consciousness. History. Heritage. A shade darker than brown? The opposite of White? Who is Black? In America, being Black has meant having African ancestry. But not everyone fits neatly into a prototypical model of “Blackness.” YABA BLAY