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Stand Your Ground and Beyond: The Whole Criminal Justice System is Arrayed Against Blacks

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by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The battle against Stand Your Ground laws must be “one front in the war against the legitimacy of a criminal justice system that is fundamentally hostile to the Black presence in the United States.” The task requires a mass Movement – one that avoids the clutches of the Black Misleadership Class, which seeks to “divert Black rage down avenues that do not threaten their own relationships with Power.”

 

Stand Your Ground and Beyond: The Whole Criminal Justice System is Arrayed Against Blacks

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

A decaying capitalist system offers nothing to ameliorate the Black condition.”

In 1926, Langston Hughes asked the question, “What happens to a dream deferred?” The poem, originally titled “Harlem,” presciently warned of an explosion among the Black masses, an event that followed nine years later, in Harlem, the first of the modern urban Black rebellions. Hughes was describing a crisis of legitimacy, in which African Americans despaired of a system that promised far more than it delivered.

Another such crisis reared in 1963, says Dr. Anthony Monteiro, professor of African American studies at Temple University, when the “Birmingham movement represented a great alienation of the majority of Black people from the system, itself, and therefore something had to give.” The 1963 March on Washington demanded, and eventually got, a Voting Rights Act and a host of democratic reforms that made some aspects of “the dream” accessible to large segments of Black America.

Fifty years later, in the wake of the Zimmerman verdict, according to Monteiro, “the relationship of the Black Nation to the American establishment is a tenuous one, in which a majority of Black people have deep questions about our relationship to the system, itself” – a crisis of legitimacy. But, this time, a decaying capitalist system offers nothing to ameliorate the Black condition. It has already shot its wad by delivering what was, for many Blacks, the greatest prize that the Wall Street plutocracy can offer: a Black presidency. Yet, the “technically Black” man in the White House, as historian Paul Street describes Barack Obama, will do nothing but affirm that he feels the pain of his African American constituents, since “a jury has spoken.”

The verdict reflects the unreconstructed worldview of white America.”

The broad masses of Black people see clearly – with horror – that the system, itself, has spoken, and that the verdict reflects the unreconstructed worldview of white America, two-thirds of whom view Trayvon Martin’s killing as justifiable – which means, quite simply, that any Black life can justifiably be taken. How can we live with these people? This existential question has confronted every generation since there has been such a thing as African Americans, and once again assumes its place of primacy in the Black consciousness.

The Zimmerman jury rendered a verdict on America, one that confirms Malcolm X’s 1964 assessment: I don't see any American dream. I see an American nightmare!” The spread of Stand Your Ground laws – murder-with-impunity legislation – to nearly half the states of the Union signals that a new Confederacy has risen in which “coon hunting” is always in season. Mass Black incarceration, the collective white response to the Black Freedom Movement of the Sixties, has proven insufficient to satisfy mass white passions to expunge Black people from the national landscape – to somehow, even at this late stage in America’s demographic development, reestablish the United States as a White Man’s Country.

Before the Zimmerman verdict, and the favorable mass white response, it was possible for the accommodationists of the Black Misleadership Class to practice the useless politics of “ceaselessly commemorating the victories of the Sixties,” as BAR’s Bruce Dixon describes them. Now they must hustle to weather the system’s crisis of legitimacy by diverting Black rage down avenues that do not threaten their own relationships with Power.

Police state oppression has intensified, especially for poorer Blacks.”

Stand Your Ground laws are the easy target. The current crop of so-called “Shoot First” legislation first took root in Florida, a project of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), in 2005 – two years before Barack Obama announced his candidacy for president. This is noteworthy, since pundits of both races attempt to link the laws to white fear of a Black man in the White House. Such an analysis removes Stand Your Ground from the two generations-long national criminal justice offensive against Black people. Things have not been “getting better” for African Americans under the U.S. criminal justice system, as Barack Obama claims. Rather, police state oppression has intensified, especially for poorer Blacks.

It should never be forgotten that nearly half the Congressional Black Caucus supported the 1986 drug law that established a 100:1 sentencing ratio for crack versus powdered cocaine. The Black Misleadership Class of accommodationists and deal makers have failed to honor even the vestiges of the old, intra-Black social compact, by which they were allowed to speak for The Race while indulging in their individual strivings as long as they looked out for the interests of the rest of us. They can be expected to perform no better, in the current crisis. This month’s 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, overseen by Al Sharpton and the NAACP, will mix celebration of past victories with apologies for Obama, who has presided over economic catastrophe for African Americans and completed the erasure of any semblance of due process and the rule of law for everyone.

The young people of Dream Defenders, presently occupying Florida’s governor’s office, understand that Stand Your Ground laws are part of the larger problem. “The media is not telling the full story,” said Steven Pargett, a Dream Defender spokesperson, in Tallahassee. He says the teach-in is working on “a full legislative package to challenge the criminalization of our generation,” including the school to prison pipeline.

The presumption of innocence is no match for pervasive assumptions of collective Black guilt.”

That’s a start. The central problem with the American criminal justice system is that white supremacist assumptions are deeply embedded in its operations and deliberations. The presumption of innocence is no match for pervasive assumptions of collective Black guilt, which are manifest at every stage of the system, beginning with police hyper-surveillance of Black communities – the intake valve that leads inexorably to mass Black incarceration and the extrajudicial murder of Blacks on the streets, mainly by cops but occasionally by George Zimmermans.

The Age of Mass Black Incarceration, now entering its third generation, has spawned successive layers of repressive laws, police practices, and prosecutorial and judicial behavior that have effectively eviscerated Black people’s Constitutional rights. Our communities are Constitution-free zones, and the stigma of guilt attaches to each of our persons. White electorates reward those who put Black people – as a group – on perpetual lockdown.

It must be stressed that this reign of criminal justice terror has taken place in the absence of any Black mass movement worthy of the name. I believe it has occurred precisely because there is no such movement – that the forces of white supremacy have been emboldened by Black passivity.

It is, of course, necessary to challenge Stand Your Ground Laws, but this must be just one front in the war against the legitimacy of a criminal justice system that is fundamentally hostile to the Black presence in the United States. What is required is a mass movement that does not accept the verdict of white people; that speaks loudly in the language of the street: Get up off of us!

If white fear of Blacks is justification for an oppressive criminal justice system, then let’s give them something to really be afraid of. The response could not possibly be worse than the whipping we have taken so passively, for the last 40 years.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

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delusions of grandeur

 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The silence is worse than the noise.

 

If any intelligent,critical thinking person  thought that the noise coming out of the mouths of the Obama cool Aid drinkers was frustrating,I am here to say that the zombie like silence is a hundred times worse.Back in 2008 when Obama was running for President for the first time, I was truly afraid that the majority of White people were going to lose their minds due to the presence of the first Black family occupying the White house.I must say that,to my surprise,most Caucasians have behaved fairly well and,it is the Negro race that has gone completely mad with stupidity and delusions of grandeur.....
I live in Florida and I am in constant contact with the public these days trying to get enough signatures to put the medical marihuana petition on the ballot for the 2014 elections.This job requires that I address as many people as possible without any prejudice from my part.To my surprise , it is black folks who are refusing to sign the petition more than the caucasians and the hispanics.....These black men give off the impression that they are all walking around feeling as if they are the president of the united states and it is beneath them to even speak to another black man wearing a shirt with the marihuana leaf in front of it.They act worse when in the presence of the mentally and emotionally unstable black woman...I was at a free Jazz &Blues concert last night in Hollywood,Fl. I was working the crowd asking for signatures and,white americans and hispanics were happily calling me over to volunteer their signatures.Blacks on the other hand,would not even answer me when I asked them if they were Florida registered voters.They all gave me this stupid blank stare which kept reminding me of zombies from those stupid hollywood movies.I have come to the conclusion that most blacks,both males and females, have associated themselves so closely with barrack and michelle that they see themselves as president and first lady....Thus, they are now feeling too high and mighty inside their little puny brains to even put their signatures on a political petition dealing with a banned natural medicine.Whites and Latinos,on the other hand, who understand the seriousness of the issue of medical marihuana are more than eager to sign..Even if the petition was in favor of legalizing recreational marihuana,blacks should be the first ones to want to sign since it is their children and grand children who are more likely to wind up in jail because of marihuana usage.The jails of America are full of young black marihuana smokers while white youths are getting sent away by cops who just take their marihuana away from them...Yet,their imbecile zombie like parents are busy walking around acting and thinking they are the president of the United States and proud supporters of laws and policies that were put in place to imprison and punish blacks and other poor and powerless people.I agree with all the republicans who want to take black people's right to vote away from them..Putting the vote into the hands of black people is like putting a loaded gun in the hands of a little child; A very dangerous thing to do.
 Needless to say,I have been doing a lot of generalizing and that's never a good thing to do but,everything I have written about, I have experienced first hand and not from hearsay.I have not spoken to every black person in America but,from what I have seen so far,I can fairly say that the obama and michelle Kool aid has turned out to be a very dangerous mind altering drug for Black people.....Much more than dangerous than the little green leaf that they are turning against in public while probably using in the privacy of their homes.....I even had this black man tell me that he would not sign the petition , even though he had cancer, I asked him if he had brain cancer and he was too stupid to even understand the sarcasm behind my question.....Anyway,enough of stupid people ...; If there are any intelligent ones of you left out there who agree with anything I have said , please let me know. Also,if you disagree,let me know why you do.

"It must be stressed that

"It must be stressed that this reign of criminal justice terror has taken place in the absence of any Black mass movement worthy of the name."

Yes

I believe it has occurred precisely because there is no such movement – that the forces of white supremacy have been emboldened by Black passivity."

Yes.

 



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