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Who Is What?

James Baldwin is one of my favorite all time authors. His works embodied what it was like to be a struggling black person in America and every now and again his works embodied the soul and struggle of homosexual men. He often portrayed the harder side of life and people learned and gained perspective from his plays, poems, essays, and novels. There’s a side of Mr. Baldwin that people over look from time to time. They over look the fact that Mr. Baldwin was a great orator and said some amazingly brilliant things. In my opinion James Baldwin is one the greatest American authors to have graced this soil.

One of the greatest things Baldwin said was in the introduction to his KQED documentary, Take This Hammer. The documentary itself focuses on James Baldwin as he travels around San Francisco in 1963 discussing with a few members of the black community in San Francisco the struggle of a black person in that era. In the introduction though he discusses how people project their opinion of themselves on others. He states in more or less words that the nasty names we call people are the names in which we feel we are.

This was only a theory at the time James Baldwin made this assessment. However, since 1963 studies have shown that people actually do do this. Studies claim that people who are the most homophobic or racist have an attraction to the same sex, for homophobic, or other races, for racist. People don’t really understand why we project our negative feelings about ourselves on each other but they have determined it is a coping mechanism we use to make us feel good about ourselves.

There’s another funny thing about this realization, we see it everyday and we don’t even realize it. If you watch, listen, or follow politics any other way you would know that a lot of politicians and pundits  are constantly calling each other names. With these studies in mind you have to think to yourself if these people are really giving an opinion of somebody or the opinion of themselves. We hear often Rush Limbaugh calling somebody an awful or criticizing some one harshly. So when we hear him speak is he speaking of himself or the actually person he’s criticizing.

On a serious side of this study many American kids are being bullied. Whether they are being bullied for their faith, sexual orientation, or just because of their appearance. Now this may not be directly related but another study showed that people often project negative emotions on others who have traits they wish they had. So when a kid in school is bullied and called a nerd his bullies probably wish they had the intelligence and wits of the person being bullied. However, when bullying goes on in schools it can either go to far or a bullied kid may not know how to handle the situation well and it may lead to very negative incidents that can be avoided.

As adults and well educated ones at that we need to come together and put the pettiness behind us. We need to stop building walls between us and start tearing walls down. If we put things past us the children may be able to get out of this economic turmoil we’re in now.


The Court of Public Opinion

People continue to call George Zimmerman a racist evil person. Whether or not Zimmerman is racist is not  at question nor is the question of whether or not he is an evil person. And those things shouldn’t be at question but for some reason people are alluding to this concept and forgetting the more important thing in this case, which is the death of and finding justice for Trayvon Martin.We as a nation aren’t allowing justice to take it’s course. We have already decided that either Trayvon Martin was innocent or George Zimmerman was defending himself. We even have people posting fake photos of Martin and claiming things that are irrelevant to the case. However people who believe Zimmerman was absolutely wrong have called for his death and are releasing things that shouldn’t be released to the public. So, both sides of this case are doing things to sway public opinion.

People are making statements saying that George Zimmerman hasn’t been arrested yet and it’s a travesty of justice. What those people don’t know is that the Sanford Police department couldn’t and still can’t arrest Zimmerman because of the Stand Your Ground Law, which is Zimmerman’s main defense. This kind of case is unique because has received national attention and is polarizing but, at the same time it’s not unique because many people have claimed self defense in Florida and hadn’t been arrested. So the public outcry is necessary and it has gotten some things done but, the public outcry for the Sanford Police Department to arrest Zimmerman would force the police to break the law. And don’t get me wrong I want to see Zimmerman arrested and have a law enforcement agency run the tests that the Sanford Police Department ran on Trayvon Martin. Not because I have jumped to the conclusion that Zimmerman is guilty but because that’s what the public wants, that’s what should have happened some time ago, and to see if by any Zimmerman was abusing any drugs on that February night.

The other problem Americans are having with this case is that they are trying to sway public opinion to favor a side for example Michelle Malkin posted a fake photo and people some how got Zimmerman’s whole history. People are talking about why Martin was at his fathers which was because he was suspended from school for having a bag that might have had marijuana in it and that information has nothing to do with this case but, it paints Martin ;to some, as a bad person. If you know anything about teenagers then you’d know that kids make mistakes and this doesn’t portray Martin as a bad kid. Information that was released about Zimmerman has been used against to prove that he had a nose for violence and while lawyers may be able to use the information the public should not have any information about either person in this case. Media should only portray the people in this case as it pertains to this case. So nothing should be leaked about previous infractions of either male and there should be no one defending either person. We as the public are not a judge nor a jury nor an executioner so we should not receive any information that would sway our judgement to any one’s favor.

There’s another thing that many people are discussing and it has actually caused quite a raucous. That thing I am talking about is profiling more specifically racial profiling. It is evident that race had some influence in the case of Martin and Zimmerman. Geraldo Rivera said the hoodie Martin was wearing is just as guilty for his as Zimmerman. Geraldo said that Black and Latino youths should stay away from hooded sweatshirts because they may be perceived as a threat. That is the definition of profiling and it really has to stop. And if it doesn’t more children may be killed for belonging to a minority community.

Stand Your Ground

With the unjustifiable death, or murder really, of Trayvon Martin countless Americans have been introduced to the Castle Doctrine which in some states is known as the Stand Your Ground Law or Make My Day Law. To say these laws are vague and don’t really define anything would be an extreme understatement. See the law dates all the way back to 1628 when an English jurist Sir Edward Coke. Since its inception the Castle Law has been renamed and has many restrictions added and taken away from it until the law has become the laws we have now in the United States.

The law originally granted people to protect themselves and their homes from intrusion even if it meant the possibility “justifiable” homicide. That was the original Castle Doctrine, the later drafter Make My Day law extended out to ones car or means of transportation. The name of the law is a reference to the line uttered by the character Harry Callahan, played by Clint Eastwood, in the movie Sudden Impact. The later drafted Stand Your Ground Law or No Duty To Retreat Law not only extends to outside your home or car but also any where you have a right to be. So, let’s say I am in Delaware just walking down the street and I see an assailant walking towards me. If I feel endangered I have not only the right to defend myself but also if need be the right to commit “justifiable” homicide.

Some groups like the NRA and other gun-rights groups will argue the Stand Your Ground Law only defends people defending their homes. Other groups like the Brady Campaign and additional gun control groups claim that the law will eventually lead to innocent people being hurt and killed. There are a few examples of the Stand Your Ground Law being taken to the extreme. One example is in 2007 a cops son ruthlessly attacked one man while the victims back was to the assailant then the assailant stormed off and attacked a homeless who was just standing there, the homeless man was literally just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The cops son claimed the Stand Your Ground as his reason to attack the two men. The most recent and probably more atrocious case was the death of seventeen year old Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman  shot and killed the young teenager without really any reason. George Zimmerman was told by the 911 operators not to follow Martin but did anyways. When the police arrived on the scene  they found that Trayvon Martin was visiting his father and only had skittles, an Arizona Iced Tea, and cell phone on his person.

In both cases there were three victims one white male and two black males. Also, in both cases there was no arrest made at the scene of the crime. So, why did these two assailants get to go home while one victim was severely injured, another victim hospitalized, and the final victims life taken. Well it’s because in both cases the assailants claimed the Stand Your Ground Law as their defense and the police took it as there was no need to arrest the two attackers. It’s mind boggling that they were able to claim this law as their defense though, because in both cases there was some kind of evidence that proved both assailants were unprovoked. In the case of Jonathan Collison, the cops son, there was video tape of him viciously attacking both victims unprovoked. In the case of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman was recorded saying he saw Trayvon Martin and began following him. Provided with that information how does a police officer not make an arrest. There’s another interesting fact, in both cases the managing police officer at the crime scene was the same man.

A lot of people have been claiming an air racism in the cases. I am definitely the last person to jump to that conclusion however, in this case it is unavoidable. Whether it’s police ignoring to arrest the assailants or the assailants attacking black men for no reason, especially in the case of Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman had no reason to believe Trayvon Martin was a criminal and he had no reason to be carrying a gun when patrolling for neighborhood watch. I mean it’s the neighborhood watch, your job is described in the title you watch the neighborhood nothing more nothing less. Zimmerman’s acts of vigilantism were caked in racism. Going after a young man simply because he’s black there was no other reason Zimmerman had to follow Martin. The racism was actually heard in a 911 call.

I am one year older than Trayvon Martin, I have dealt with racism on numerous accounts. I have been called a nigger during lacrosse games. I have had women and men clench their belongings when I have entered an elevator. I have been stopped by police walking home after football practice. And I have grown accustom to all those things but, after hearing the story of Trayvon Martin the racial profiling really needs to stop. I mean Trayvon Martin was seventeen and rather small, one-hundred-forty pounds, and he was perceived as a threat to a man a decade older than him and at least one hundred pounds heavier. So there are definite racist sentiments. I know racism will always exist but we need to try harder to stop it but we need to stop being so politically correct about things to.

The GOP’s Not Racist

In recent days the American people have been bombarded by racist comments from GOP presidential candidates. From Rick Santorum’s comments about blacks on welfare to Newt Gingrich’s comments to blacks directly. Some things have changed and we have seen the old GOP go out the window and be replaced by far right wing renegades.

I’m not that old and I don’t remember much about politics before Bush. I do remember Bush though. He was a respectable person and president. He didn’t alienate citizens to gather attention and votes from people who wouldn’t have voted for him otherwise. He spoke to people whose votes he knew he could get. He didn’t say outlandish racist things and pretend they were true, unlike Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum.

Newt Gingrich stands by his comments whereas Rick Santorum says he “might have” said his. Nevertheless it is being perpetuated across the nation that blacks are the sole collectors of welfare. I’ll admit that blacks have the highest percentage of people on welfare but they are also among smallest groups of people in America and a considerable amount of blacks live in conditions below poverty. However, whites have the largest group of people on welfare. Blacks account for 39.8% of the people on welfare and they make up 12.2% of the U.S. population whereas whites account for 38.8 % of the people on welfare and make up over 60% of the U.S. population. There are 312,807,039 people in the U.S. so that means there are 37,685,848 blacks in America and that means 14,998,967.5 blacks are on welfare. Now let’s do the math to find out how many whites are on welfare. There are 196,817,552 in America 38.8 % of them are on welfare so there’s roughly 76,365,210.18 white Americans on welfare. My numbers may be off and if they are feel free to correct, but if they’re not white Americans collect an exponentially greater amount of welfare money than blacks.

This being case why are blacks the only people being blamed for collecting welfare. People like Santorum and Gingrich need to come off their high horses and take a look at all the numbers. They need to realize nobody is perfect and to blame our economic problems on a group of people is similar to what Nazi Germany did with Jewish people. I’d like to clarify I am not comparing any one to Hitler and I am not comparing America to Nazi Germany. I am however, stating similarities. So until we get rid of those similarities we will continue to be on a path of destruction.

I will provide some links to show debunked myths and where I got my numbers from.


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Block the Vote

All across the nation we are seeing republicans trying to “block the vote”. They are enforcing laws that would require voters to carry photo identification with them to the polls, in some places there are more radical changes. Now this wouldn’t be a problem but, at the beginning of 2011  the only states that had these laws previously were Georgia and Indiana. As of now, there are  eight states that have strict photo I.d. laws and fifteen states require photo I.d.s to vote. Strangely enough though, most of the states that require photo I.d. to vote are red states.

These laws would have a negative affect on many of the minorities as well as young people. To say these policies aren’t to make it harder for minorities to vote would be stupid and to say these policies aren’t a little racist that’d be equally stupid. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe the individuals that drafted these bills are racist but, I will say they definitely saw the benefit of constructing a law that would restrict the voting rights of people that were more likely to vote democrat.

Republicans say they set up these laws to help voter fraud. That’s a blatantly outlandish lie they used to cover up the fact they are doing everything they can to ensure Obama is a one term president. I’ve looked up the numbers and you are more likely to see a person struck by lightning than see a person commit voter fraud. In the last election there were only 9 possible occurrences of voter fraud and in that same year there were 352 deaths caused by lightning.

To put everything out there, these laws are beyond stupid. In most states that require photo I.d.s  to vote, a student I.d. wouldn’t work but, if you live in Texas you can use your gun license to vote. Sweet, I can use my gun license to vote but if I’m an out-of-state student and my university I.d. card is the only form of identification I have then I’m shit out of luck. That alone is ridiculous enough to make me want to slap every person in the Texas legislature. But on top of the ridiculous voter I.d. requirements republicans also want to cut out early voting, same day registration, and the way some people register. Two teachers in Florida were actually jailed and can face up to thousands in fines for helping their students register to vote. That’s beyond ridiculous, the republicans are getting to the point where the only people they care about are themselves and big government.

But the best way to beat this voter suppression is to get all the proper documents because if you don’t your voice won’t be heard. Don’t let them BLOCK THE VOTE

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I recently got hired by Grassroots Campaigns and we’re working on behalf of the Southern Poverty Law Center to end bullying in schools. What I do is I go out in the streets of Westwood and just ask people to join up in the fight against bullying. I live in Long Beach and I catch one train and two buses to get to and from work. I spend a total of five hours on the bus and train and often don’t get home until 1 in the morning, so I’m not just working here for a paycheck. I actually feel strongly about what I’m doing and I enjoy doing it, but it becomes disheartening when I hear what some people actually say.

I’ve only been working at Grassroots Campaigns and already I’ve heard the worst remarks possible. I had one woman tell me ” Sorry I’m a bully, so why would I help end bullying.” Or one man asked ” Are you fighting against gay bullying? If you are I can’t help you.” When I heard these people say these things I thought to myself  ” What’s happened to Americans.” When did the American people stop caring. Then on top of the rude people there’s people who I’ll tell what I’m fighting to end and they’ll say “Ooh that’s a good cause.” and they’ll walk away. I’m not saying they should care as much as I do but care a little bit enough to allow me to teach them about what’s going on.

Newt Gingrich Doesn’t Like Poor Kids

Newt Gingrich refuses to give up on his idea to have impoverished children clean their schools and why should he, his constituents love this idea. Now when you hear him speak about this idea  you can not deny the undertone of racism in his voice. I have listened to him speak on this subject and I wish that I could ignore the under lying racism but, I can’t. It’s so blatantly obvious that his plan would only take affect on children who are in the inner-city. Who lives in the inner-city? Minorities yes there’s a few families who aren’t minorities but not enough to where Newt Gingrich would be talking about those kids. I don’t want to say Newt Gingrich is a racist but these statements have left me no other choice.

Pardon Me?

ProPublica and The Washington Post came out with a story showing that during the Bush Administration a white inmate was 400 times more likely to be pardoned than an inmate who was a minority. Why is there such a disparity? Why is a white inmate more likely to be pardoned than say an Asian or Latino inmate? And why should this not be considered as racism?

In my opinion George Bush isn’t by any means a racist or a bigot, I believe this to be so true I’ll even say it’s a fact. When Bush looked over the applications he did not know the race of the applicants. Now there’s the names that are an obvious give away like Ho, which is obviously an Asian,or Gutierrez, which is obviously a Latino. As you look at the cases that ProPublica presented you have to wonder, Why? In the 1,918 pardon cases he went over he pardoned 189 prisoners. Of those 189 prisoners pardoned 13 weren’t white.

ProPublica studied cases where white and black inmates had similar offenses that had different outcomes. This is what they came up with “An African American woman from Little Rock, fined $3,000 for underreporting her income in 1989, was denied a pardon; a white woman from the same city who faked multiple tax returns to collect more than $25,000 in refunds got one. A black, first-time drug offender — a Vietnam veteran who got probation in South Carolina for possessing 1.1 grams of crack – was turned down. A white, fourth-time drug offender who did prison time for selling 1,050 grams of methamphetamine was pardoned.” It’s obvious which crimes are worse and it’s obvious which inmates should have been pardoned but why weren’t the proper inmates pardoned.

Racism in America

I am not old enough to have experienced forced segregation. I am not old enough to know what it’s like to have to sit in the back of the bus. I am not old enough to remember what it was like in a time before it was acceptable for a couple like my parents to be together. My dad is black and my mom is white and my grandma reminds me often how lucky I am to have been born in an era of racial equality and tolerance. But even today is there true racial tolerance?

That question constantly pops into my head and for good reason. I’ll be on yahoo reading articles about football players fighting or something involving a black person. After I’m done reading an article I’ll scroll through the comments and leave replies but what surprises me every time  is when I see a comment saying “These thugs are ruining America”. Or they”ll type “These niggers are ruining football and they should all by hanged.” It actually happens more often than you think, for about every twenty comments there will about six or seven comments like the ones I’ve mentioned.

It’s funny because a few weeks ago an African-American defensive player for the Philadelphia Eagles made a tackle for a loss and in his celebration he pretended to be firing a machine gun and he got a lot of flack for it from those yahooers . But during the last NHL season there was an article about how  the Washington Capitals , left winger, Alexander Ovechkin would get on one knee after scoring a goal and with his stick he would pretend to shoot a gun but people would defend him saying he was excited about scoring. So, what’s the difference between getting excited about making a big play  to end a teams drive and scoring goal. Nothing, except the ethnicity of the individuals and the sports they play.

Two black guys fight during a football game and they’re thugs. Two white guys fight during a hockey game and they’re praised, they are given a title, and they are excused for their actions. Why, is it because that’s what you do in hockey? Is it because in hockey tempers flare and certain players need to be protected? I call bull shit. The difference is race and that’s the only difference.

But racism isn’t just displayed by whites towards other races. Racism is displayed in the streets by blacks towards whites and other races or any race towards any other race. Racism has a presence so strong in this nation, I smell when i walk out of the house. I hear racism when I’m in my home. And it’s sad because my grandma, who I love dearly, thought that when Obama was elected president that all racism ended, but when I told her what I read on yahoo I saw her face sink. She became saddened and upset. I wish my grandmas dreams of racism to end came true but as long as some people in this country are stuck on stupid her dreams won’t come true.