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NCFM Advisor Richard Davis, Words Revealing and Rare… Another reason for a White House Council on Men and Boys

August 6, 2013
By

george zimmerman

George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin , and the White House Council on Men and Boys…not.

Words Revealing and Rare

July 30, 2013 11:18 AM EDT (Updated: July 31, 2013 01:40 PM EDT)

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Albert Einstein

On the front page of the July 20, 2013 issue of the Boston Globe President Obama notes that the Trayvon Martin homicide reveals that lingering racial tensions in American persist.” In fact, protests across the nation document that the President is right. Racial tensions do linger in the minds of many Americans and as the President noted in 2009, we need to talk about it.

However, the Trayvon Martin homicide must not become another 21st century “teachable moment” about race, similar to the all but forgotten July 16, 2009 arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr by Cambridge, Massachusetts Police Sergeant James Crowley. Both the President and United States Attorney General Holder declared that this 2009 incident needed to become a “teachable moment” and Americans needed to talk about race relations and racial profiling.

The primary lesson we learned in the 2009 incident is that the lingering racial tensions in America are far more multifaceted and complex than “racial profiling.” That was not the lesson a great many social activists had expected. Following what was supposed to be a “teachable moment,” other than a White House, beer summit” the lessons learned were ignored by the President, the Attorney General and the majority of social activists.

We are, once again, in danger of ignoring or glossing over another “teachable moment.” The Trayvon Martin homicide should, at the very least, demonstrate that America’s dialogue about race and racial profiling must move beyond the 20th century simplistic black and white discussions. We cannot and should not continue the same old 20th century talking points while ignoring the obvious fact that George Zimmerman is neither black nor white.

How can the most multiracial nation in the world that is led by a multiracial President have an open and honest discussion about biases and prejudices by continuing to think only in black and white? It should be obvious that the problem of race, stereotyping and profiling are in fact the same or at least similar This discussion about race, stereotyping and profiling must include the fact that biases and prejudices are held by everyone regardless of race, color, creed, sex or national origin.

This does not mean that we should forget, as the President notes, there is an American history of racial intolerance of whites against blacks. Many, if not most, of these black and white lingering racial tensions have their roots in slavery and segregation. While slavery may be a “19th century fact of the past,” the memory of segregation remains a painful reality for millions of black and white Americans, including myself.

However, for us to make proper progress about the tension of race in America in this 21stcentury the discussion must include all Americans. There are millions of minorities in America and too many of them remain at the lower end of the socio-economic educational strata of American society.

All Americans regardless of their race or ethnicity cannot continue to “pretend” that the causal factors of all the racial tensions in America are only or primarily caused by the lingering racial prejudices between whites and blacks.

The president also noted that he and Michelle talk about what they could do to bolster and reinforce the hopes of young African-American men. He said that that African-American boys need to sense that their country cares about them. I agree. However, first African-American boys need to sense that their family and their community care about them.

In my conclusion I suggest to the president that there is something he can and should do. This suggestion could be a very important step toward providing hope for everyone at the lower end of the socio-economic educational strata of our society.

George ZimmermanIn the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

Many racial activists continue to ignore that we are not now, nor have we been for many decades a nation of blacks and whites.  They are not alone. In the Trayvon Martin homicide the Associated Press (AP) was unable or unwilling to “racially identify” George Zimmerman. The AP always reported that Zimmerman “identifies himself as Hispanic.” How or why is it possible that the AP seems unable or unwilling to identify the race of Zimmerman? Talk about irony lost!

Now seems to be the time to ask a very simple question I have wondered about for decades; why is it that the government and the media believes that it is acceptable to label people as black or white, while at the same time clearly understanding the ignorance of labeling people yellow?

Was it only pigmentation of skin?

The President noted that as a young man, similar to many other young black men in America, he was followed while shopping, he heard locks click on car doors when he came near them and women in elevators would become nervous and clutch their purse.

The President has written about some racial tensions he felt in Hawaii as a young man. How could those racial tensions be only or primarily a problem for blacks created by whites? Whites constitute less than 25 percent of the population in Hawaii. The President also ignores the fact that many African-America females would and do engage in this same fearful behavior.

Is it not possible that if the African-American who was walking through the neighborhood where Zimmerman claimed there had been a recent sharp rise in burglaries, was female Zimmerman might not have followed her?

Is it not possible that if the person walking through the neighborhood was a young African-America man in a business suit that Zimmerman might not have followed him? Is it not possible if the person walking through the neighborhood was an elderly African-American male Zimmerman might not have followed him?

George ZimmermanIs it not possible if the neighborhood watch captain was Asian, he might have criminally profiled Trayvon Martin and followed him? Is it possible that if the neighborhood watch captain was an African-American, he also might have criminally profiled Trayvon Marin and followed him?

Is it not possible that Zimmerman, who is a member of the largest minority cohort in America and has no history of racial animosity, might have initiated the incident when he labeled, stereotyped or profiled a young black male, because of age [the President noted that young black men are disproportionately victims and perpetrators of violence], clothing [google the lyrics of “In The Hood”, behavior [he was walking in back of and  between houses] and criminal justice data [google the Bureau of Justice statistics] and not only or primarily because of the pigmentation of his skin.

I also suggest that if you are unwilling or unable to accept at least one of the above as a possibility, you may need to examine your own bias, prejudices and your ability or willingness to think independently or critically.

Stereotypes, red flags and risk factors

A Northeastern University study suggests that young African-American men between the ages of 14 and 24 commit homicides at the catastrophic rate of ten times greater than young white and Hispanic males, of the same age, combined. That is or should be scary data. It is not arrest data, it is homicide data. The reason for that horrific data needs to be understood and not ignored by everyone in general and the African-American community in particular.

It needs to be talked about and particularly understood by the African-American community because the vast numbers of the victims are African-Americans. The data clearly documents that it is, first and foremost, the community and not law enforcement that makes a community safe.

This data may be somewhat responsible for the perception held by many Americans, regardless of race, color, creed, sex or national origin that some young black men may be dangerous and should be avoided.

Zimmerman may very well have been aware that data and the data that documents that young African-American males use knives or other dangerous instruments in aggravated assaults three times more often than young white males.

Zimmerman may have been aware that young African-Americans, as the president noted in his speech, are far more involved in criminal behavior [this includes burglaries] than are young white males.

Zimmerman may have stereotyped Martin, similar to many Americans – and this includes many African-Americans – about young black males – who walk around with their hoods up and their pants down.

This style of dressing is often and perhaps unfairly thought of, by people of all races, as thuggish behavior or as a “gangsta” culture. This “gangsta” culture frightens many Americans regardless of race. I believe that Zimmerman did stereotype Martin, however, it does not appear to have been stereotyping based only or primarily on pigmentation of skin but rather for many of the reasons listed above.

I also believe that in most states without “stand tour ground” laws, Zimmerman would have and should have been found guilty of manslaughter.

Conclusion

My suggestion is that perhaps it would be helpful if the President and the First Lady could or would begin expressing the same concerns for young men as they do young women.

On March 11, 2009, President Obama signed an Executive Order creating the White House Council on Women and Girls. A laudable and central purpose of his order is “to make sure that in America, all things are still possible for all people.”

The White House notes that the purpose of the Council is,

“to make sure that the agencies in which they’re charged takes into account the needs of women and girls in the policies they draft, the programs they create, the legislation they support”

The President, nor it seems anyone in Congress or the media seems to understand the irony of this biased and prejudicial order that presupposes that all things are not as equally possible for our daughters while presupposing that they are for our sons. If the President wants to engage in ensuring all things are still possible for all people, should he not include both our daughters and our sons?

Given his remarks in the above Boston Globe front page story, the President now seems to understand that all things are not equal for all our sons. If the President and the First Lady want to help young black boys in America I suggest that the President create a White House Council on Men and Boys

Why is it so difficult to understand that to end racism or sexism we must end governmental racial prioritizing? The primary focus of that council for men and boys should focus on all men and boys, regardless of race, who are living at the lower end of the socio-economic and educational strata of our society.

The idea that in America all people have an equal opportunity to pull themselves up by their own boot straps is fiction. Many people have no boots, no straps and no one in their home to act as a role model for them.

While government cannot just provide people with wealth or success, the government should assist in providing an equal opportunity to afford an education. The President should review an Australian model that Oregon is attempting to put in place whereby students are allowed to attend college tuition and loan free when they agree to pay back 3 percent of their pay for the first twenty years they are working.

This is important to the well being of all of us because while criminal justice data does document that African-American boys and men engage in crime far more often than other races, it also,very clearly documents that when the socio-economic and educational disparities are controlled, the difference between the races become almost inconsequential.

All things are possible for all people in America. However, some things are far harder for the children of families trapped in poverty and violence both inside and outside their home, than it is for the children of families of wealth, education and power. We should not engage in labeling, stereotyping, or profiling whether it is by race or gender.

Republished here with permission of the author.

First published at http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474981915328

mens rights

George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin , and the White House Council on Men and Boys…not.

Maybe if there had been a White House Council on Men and Boys George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin might not have had a problem. Think about it…

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One Response to NCFM Advisor Richard Davis, Words Revealing and Rare… Another reason for a White House Council on Men and Boys

  1. Silver Price on August 16, 2013 at 5:57 AM

    In the wake of the jury’s decision — and given the controversy over the facts that surrounded the shooting — many US people have been forced to deal again with the nation’s complex history of racial tensions. Although the election of Barack Obama as the first African American president had important symbolic implications, living conditions of African Americans in the US remain well below the national average. The median income among whites in the US is US$54,000, but among blacks it is only US$32,000. Only 52 per cent of African American male teenagers graduate from high school in four years (78 percent of white young males do). African Americans are more likely to be poor. Thirty-eight per cent of African American children live in poverty, compared to 12.4 percent of whites. In relative terms, inequality between whites and African Americans has actually worsened over the past 30 decades.

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