Stuff White People Say

February 22, 2009

“At least you are trying”

Filed under: Stuff White People Do — jwbe @ 9:54 pm

There is this phrase, “at least you are trying”, where I just don’t get the thinking behind it.

Somebody wrote this comment on Macon’s blog:

We have to allow people the freedom to find their way. Especially if what they’re asking/saying isn’t racist, just perceived to be so by people who, if I may, are seemingly determined to show Macon in a bad light.

Yes, I can agree that people must have the freedom to find their way.
I even can respect that getting rid of the stereotypes and racism whites have learned seems to be quite a struggle for some or many whites. Because I think, racism is not just about learned behavior/thoughts but a much deeper psychological disease and a general way to look at life and to relate to people.
Just a few days ago I got to understand once again that whites can make the choice to ignore the reality of other people but to make a drama out of their own issues as if the world broke apart. Their own world. The world they watch with a certain naivity sometimes.
But what I don’t agree with is that whites give themselves labels like “anti-racists” and then all mistakes should be overlooked.

I don’t want to comment on the rest of the above comment I linked to, but it raised a question for me, and this question I sent as a comment to Stuffwhitepeopledo. The first time was some days ago, he didn’t publish it, ok, I gave him the benefit of the doubt and sent it a second time, again he didn’t publish it.
The comment is:

“There is a question I want to ask to everybody who feels addressed or wants to answer: Would you accept somebody as a teacher who doesn’t truly understand the concept of what s/he is teaching?
Is the “trying” to understand enough to be willing to learn from somebody?
There is something I can watch as a typical white tendency, the “code word” “at least s/he is trying” lets accept many wrongs. Why? This “at least they are trying not to be racist” nonetheless kills people on a daily basis, the victims of white supremacy. And how long do white people believe that “just trying” is good enough? Why the low standard for the white self-declared teachers about racism?
We write the year 2009. We whites consider ourself as ‘progressive’ and ‘civilized’ and praise each other, when we think that one of us somehow “gets it”, at least a little bit.
But somebody is either racist or anti-racist, there is no in between, even if whites do have the privilege to invent the in between, the “trying” and “unmaking” “

I don’t truly understand his reason, besides my thought that I probably struck a nerve, why he was so scared about the post that he refused to publish it, like he also refused sometimes to publish comments by Restructure and Nquest. If somebody white is honest with his anti-racism there is no reason to be afraid of criticism.
Macon D probably considers it as a success, because he discourages some members to post any longer on his blog or like Restructure wrote, he influences the way, she comments. But he is probably unable to see his own white supremacy in action doing this.


“Die Polizei, Dein Freund und Helfer”

Filed under: Uncategorized — jwbe @ 3:18 pm

I don’t know if Americans are also supposed to learn that police is “your friend”, meaning that police works in your interest and you don’t have to fear them.
Police targetting members out of less powerful groups is probably a global problem, as well as institutional racism, where one supports the other and police who abuse their power rarely have to face the consequences.

In Vienna/Austria Mike Brennan, African American, became a victim of police brutality.

There is a blog:
Justice for Mike Brennan

From the blog:

In case you want to take action here are a few suggestions on what you can do.

1. Write a blog and post to our group

2. Comment on German and English language newspapers

3. Email Bundespolizei Wien

4. Email the American Embassy

5. Email your Congressman or Representative

6. Talk to someone you know or love about the dangers of racism

7. Comment on Youtube videos

8. Post links to the story and or group on social bookmarking sites like: Twitter, Delicious, Digg, etc.

as well as a Facebook-Group
Facebook Mike Brennan

February 18, 2009

“When are WE going to get over it?”

Filed under: Uncategorized — jwbe @ 5:05 pm

by Dr. Andrew Manis

For much of the last forty years, ever since America “fixed” its race problem in the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, we white people have been impatient with African Americans who continued to blame race for their difficulties. Often we have heard whites ask, “When are African Americans finally going to get over it?

Now I want to ask:  “When are we White Americans going to get over our ridiculous obsession with skin color?

Recent reports that “Election Spurs Hundreds’ of Race Threats, Crimes” should frighten and infuriate every one of us. Having grown up in “Bombingham,” Alabama in the 1960s, I remember overhearing an avalanche of comments about what many white classmates and their parents wanted to do to John and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Eventually, as you may recall, in all three cases, someone decided to do more than “talk the talk.” 
Since our recent presidential election, to our eternal shame we are once again hearing the same reprehensible talk I remember from my boyhood.

We white people have controlled political life in the disunited colonies and United States for some 400 years on this continent. Conservative whites have been in power 28 of the last 40 years. Even during the eight Clinton years, conservatives in Congress blocked most of his agenda and pulled him to the right. Yet never in that period did I read any headlines suggesting that anyone was calling for the assassinations of presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, or either of the Bushes.   Criticize them, yes.  Call for their impeachment, perhaps.

But there were no bounties on their heads. And even when someone did try to kill Ronald Reagan, the perpetrator was non-political mental case who wanted merely to impress Jody Foster.

But elect a liberal who happens to be Black and we’re back in the sixties again. At this point in our history, we should be proud that we’ve proven what conservatives are always saying -that in America anything is possible, EVEN electing a black man as president. But instead we now hear that schoolchildren from Maine to California are talking about wanting to “assassinate Obama.”

Fighting the urge to throw up, I can only ask, “How long?”    How long before we white people realize we can’t make our nation, much less the whole world, look like us? How long until we white people can -once and for all- get over this hell-conceived preoccupation with skin color?  How long until we white people get over the demonic conviction that white skin makes us superior?  How long before we white people get over our bitter resentments about being demoted to the status of equality with non-whites?

How long before we get over our expectations that we should be at the head of the line merely because of our white skin? How long until we white people end our silence and call out our peers when they share the latest racist jokes in the privacy of our white-only conversations?

I believe in free speech, but how long until we white people start making racist loud mouths as socially uncomfortable as we do flag burners? How long until we white people will stop insisting that blacks exercise personal responsibility, build strong families, educate themselves enough to edit the Harvard Law Review, and work hard enough to become President of the United States, only to threaten to assassinate them when they do?

How long before we starting “living out the true meaning” of our creeds, both civil and religious, that all men and women are created equal and that “red and yellow, black and white” all are precious in God’s sight?

Until this past November 4, I didn’t believe this country would ever elect an African American to the presidency.   I still don’t believe I’ll live long enough to see us white people get over our racism problem. But here’s my three-point plan:

First, everyday that Barack Obama lives in the White House that Black Slaves Built I’m going to pray that God (and the Secret Service) will protect him and his family from us white people.

Second, I’m going to report to the FBI any white person I overhear saying, in seriousness or in jest, anything of a threatening nature about President Obama.

Third, I’m going to pray to live long enough to see America surprise the world once again, when white people can “in spirit and in truth” sing of our damnable color prejudice, “We HAVE overcome.”

It takes a Village to protect our President!!!


February 12, 2009

What is wrong with America?

Filed under: Uncategorized — jwbe @ 8:59 pm

America was created on fundamental wrongs, on the basis of war, genocide and slavery. America was created on lies and continues these lies and illusions up to today.
Talking about “ideals”, what America wants to be but won’t be as long as white Americans believe the illusion of being a great nation, a meritocracy with equality for all and people being jealous of America’s freedom and way of life.
America’s belief in violence and aggression is demonstrated not only by illegally invading other souvereign nations like Iraq but also with an insane high prison population, the belief in death penalty and punishing children with life without parole.

“In 1989, someone raped a 72-year-old woman in Pensacola, Fla. Joe Sullivan was 13 at the time, and he admitted that he and two older friends had burglarized the woman’s home earlier that day. But he denied that he had returned to commit the rape.

The victim testified that her assailant was “a colored boy” who “had kinky hair and he was quite black and he was small.” She said she “did not see him full in the face” and so would not recognize him by sight. But she recalled her attacker saying something like, “If you can’t identify me, I may not have to kill you.”

At his trial, Mr. Sullivan was made to say those words several times.

“It’s been six months,” the woman said on the witness stand. “It’s hard, but it does sound similar.” ”

It “sounds similar” seems to be evidence enough to send a child to life without parole.

Below is a video about another juvenile in prison, life without parole

February 9, 2009

no title

Filed under: Uncategorized — jwbe @ 9:27 pm

In 1988, nine years after Gary Dotson was convicted of raping a woman in a Chicago suburb, his lawyer tried to clear his name with what was then a novel approach: DNA testing, which was conducted on the woman’s underwear.

The DNA did not match Dotson’s, and a year later, the rape charge was overturned, making him one of the first people in the country exonerated as a result of DNA evidence.

Two decades later, DNA evidence has been used to exonerate more than 230 people wrongfully convicted nationwide, including 24 in New York State. The resulting stories of innocent men being freed after decades in prison have captured the public’s imagination and provided fodder for a number of Hollywood dramas.

But the proliferation of such exonerations, as well as the wider availability of DNA evidence, has also made it harder for prisoners seeking to prove their innocence in the much larger number of cases that do not involve DNA evidence. Many lawyers have grown more reluctant to take on these kinds of cases because they are much harder and more expensive to pursue.

Now efforts are emerging to change that.

Glenn Garber, a defense lawyer in Manhattan, in January began the Exoneration Initiative, a clinic devoted to investigating wrongful-conviction cases without DNA evidence.

A similar clinic began operating the same month at the University of Michigan, and a new clinic at the University of Virginia is also planning to handle mostly non-DNA cases.

So-called innocence projects at Northwestern, the University of Wisconsin and the University of Cincinnati have reported that their non-DNA caseloads have risen. And for almost a year the district attorney in Dallas has been focusing on wrongful-conviction claims that lack DNA evidence.

“All these hundreds of DNA exonerations across the country have demonstrated to anyone who’s paying attention that there are far more innocent people in prison than anybody could imagine,” said James McCloskey, the founder of Centurion Ministries, an innocence project based in New Jersey.

Cases that lack what many call the “magic bullet” of DNA often require cumbersome investigations, including finding and re-interviewing witnesses or poring over thick files to find anything vital that a trial lawyer might have missed. Even when crucial evidence is uncovered — witness recantations or exculpatory statements that were ignored by prosecutors — judges, juries and prosecutors often treat it with skepticism.

One of the most recent successes for Centurion Ministries illustrates the promise and challenges of trying to exonerate a prisoner without DNA evidence.

A state judge in Missouri last August overturned the conviction of a man who had served 23 years for a murder in St. Louis. The judge cited the credibility of the prosecution’s main witness, who had recanted his testimony that the convicted man was the killer.

But the judge’s decision came six years after a panel of federal judges, having considered much of the same evidence, ruled that though it had “a nagging suspicion that the wrong man may have been convicted of capital murder,” it could not overturn the conviction of the man, Darryl Burton, because of numerous procedural impediments. The panel suggested that the state court take another look at the case.

Despite the challenges, a study by Samuel R. Gross, a law professor at the University of Michigan, said that 195 prisoners were exonerated without the help of DNA from 1989 to 2003, with the number spiking from 2000 to 2003.

The New York State Bar Association, in a report issued last month, found that a majority of wrongful convictions it examined in New York were reconciled not because of new DNA evidence but because of mistakes by law enforcement officials, as well as the misidentification of the accused by victims or witnesses.

And the National Academy of Sciences, in a draft report, has found that forensic evidence, like fingerprinting and firearms identification, was often based on poor science practices. That finding from an influential scientific research group is likely to drive even more exoneration efforts.

Criminal justice experts say exonerations have shed light on two circumstances once thought to be extremely rare or even inconceivable: Witnesses are sometimes wrong, and people sometimes confess to crimes they did not commit.

As a result, about a dozen states are considering legislation that would require the taping of police interrogations and mandate new guidelines for the use of lineups to identify suspects.

But those involved in prosecuting crimes say that while the legal system is far from perfect, exonerations represent only a tiny fraction of those convicted of crimes. “Innocence projects try to paint the problem as epidemic,” said Joshua Marquis, a member of the board of directors of the National District Attorneys Association. “I believe the problem is episodic.”

At least one prosecutor in Texas, however, has moved aggressively to uncover wrongful convictions in cases that do not involve DNA.

Craig Watkins, the Dallas County district attorney, said he began taking aim at such cases after DNA tests performed by his office led to 13 exonerations. Now his office has established a conviction integrity unit to re-examine the validity of hundreds of convictions.

“This is about the duty of the district attorney to seek justice,” Watkins said. “Justice means we right the wrongs of the past.”

Garber, the lawyer in Manhattan, said he was inspired to start an innocence project after helping to free a relative of his secretary. The relative, Hector Gonzalez, who was convicted of murder, was freed in 2002 after DNA testing proved that blood found on his clothes did not belong to the victim. But Gonzalez might never have gotten that far if not for some unscientific help: Several witnesses stepped forward to say that he had no role in the killing.

“There’s a huge void in New York — there’s no program handling non-DNA cases,” Garber said. “These are the more difficult cases. They’re heavier lifting and we need a program that’s going to do that.”

At the University of Michigan, David Moran, a director of the new innocence project there, said it was “scary” that compelling evidence of innocence was sometimes not enough to persuade judges or prosecutors.

In its first case, the clinic is working to clear two men, Deshawn Reed and his uncle Marvin Reed, who were convicted in 2001 of shooting another man in a suburb of Detroit, leaving the victim paralyzed.

Though the victim originally identified the Reeds as the suspects, he has since recanted, saying he was coaxed into accusing the two men by family members, according to court papers. Beyond that, ballistics testing conducted by defense experts linked a gun recovered from another man to the one used in the shooting, Moran said.

Still, two Michigan appeals courts have denied motions for a new trial, and the Reeds continue serving prison sentences of at least 20 years. According to court papers, prosecutors remain skeptical for two reasons: The victim has been inconsistent in describing what happened, and in his latest account, he simply said he did not know who shot him.

“One thing we’ve learned by studying these cases and litigating these cases is it could really happen to anybody,” said Daniel Medwed, a professor at the University of Utah who studies wrongful convictions. “Nobody is immune.”


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