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I am not naïve, or at least I never thought I was.  I am a progressive, and I have long been aware of the struggles of the black community, and the injustices over the centuries.  (I have a particular fetish for all injustice.  It pisses me off, even when I see it in a movie).

I just never had my eyes opened to this degree.  Have things gotten worse lately, or has it always been this bad, and I am now waking up to something I thought I already knew?

In just this past week, I am reading about the killing with impunity of a black child; the handcuffing a man who was already shot and down; the negligent homicide by police of a man with a stroke who was tossed into a cell and ignored for 36 hours; the 10 year prison sentence for a woman who shot a ceiling in self-defense in the same jurisdiction and tried by the same DA who “tried” George Zimmerman (keep trying, asshole; maybe one day you’ll get it right); and the cruel physical abuse of Stephen Biko as he was transported mortally wounded in an ambulance (oh wait, that last one didn't happen here.  Sorry.).

I live in NYC and I read the stop-and-frisk stats.  I also have seen the stop-and-frisks in action, and have never been stopped.  I am white.  I have seen brown kids get dragged into a stop-and-frisk just because they stopped-and-watched, just like I did.  I was never lied to by a cop and asked if I was carrying anything and that I should just take it out and show him so it “will be easier for me”.

And yet, still, I have never felt the way I did this week.

Let me say for the record that I am no bleeding heart liberal who doesn’t know what the fuck is going on.  So my lunch money and pencils were stolen by white kids in high school. I was mugged by a black guy once.  An Asian guy wanted to kill me in a road rage incident where I live.  I am an equal opportunity cynic, who does deep down feel that the human race can be ok with a lot less Randianism.

I don’t have white guilt.  In fact, my wife and I were watching an episode of Seinfeld once, where, after unknowingly mistreating one black guy, all the white characters bend over backwards for the next black guy they see.  I asked my wife WTF was that?  To me it wasn’t funny and seemed awkward and weird.  She told me, ‘oh that’s white guilt.’  (Larry David is a genius, to make us laugh at the cringeworthy).

In my late 30s, I had honestly never even heard of white guilt; let alone felt it.  But I do have empathy. I feel.  A lot.

(For the record, my wife is African American, and both she and her mom thought it was the height of stupidity for people to cheer O.J., though they certainly understood where it was coming from.)

But if I grew up living this, feeling this all the time, shit; I might’ve cheered O.J. too back in the 90’s.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    Ayn is the bane! Take the Antidote To Ayn Rand and call your doctor in the morning: You have health insurance now! @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 08:03:09 AM PDT

  •  OJ may have got his "not guilty" verdict (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    white blitz

    but, sometimes you get what you wish for - for the rest of his free time - he was subject to Civil suits (which he lost) - and from the not guilty day on - he was watched like a hawk - lost all of his endorsements, movie opportunities etc....he lived life in a bubble - now he's in jail for something that most people would get a slap on the wrist for.

    I thought he was guilty but I must say - his current conviction seems a bit harsh and the system played payback on him.

    Time will tell what will become of GZ but I don't think his future will be all that bright.  He will face potential civil, civil rights cases and where is he going to find work and be at peace?  He'll end up like OJ.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 08:14:15 AM PDT

    •  A Slap On the Wrist? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, wilderness voice

      He was convicted of armed robbery, kidnapping, assualt with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to do all those things also.

      I guess I can't guarantee that his infamy played zero role... but the one time I was on a jury in my life it was someone on nearly identical charges to the ones OJ Simpson was convicted of (minus the kidnapping) and that individual was sentenced to 10-27 years + 2 for using a gun.

      Too Folk For You. - Schmidting in the Punch Bowl - verb - Committing an unexpected and underhanded political act intended to "spoil the party."

      by TooFolkGR on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 08:49:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The charges were hyped up (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mikejay611, AsianAfricanAmerican

        I'm not saying he's innocent or didn't do anything wrong but - they broke into a hotel room to take back memorabilia he claims was his.

        I can agree with some of the charges - but kidnapping?  

        OJ got 33 years.

        The guy who had the gun got probation.

        Again, I'm not trying to defend the indefensible but the a lot of the sentence given to OJ was payback for him getting off for murder.

        Most of the other defendants got reduced sentences to testify against OJ....and conveniently, and the guy who set the whole thing up - recorded it and sold the tapes got total immunity.

        The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

        by ctexrep on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 09:45:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think his future would have been that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TooFolkGR

      bright anyway. He hd poor judgement and was going eventually going to screw up something major.

  •  You make a good point regarding what (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice

    used to be called "Black rage".  It is no doubt justified, and you likely would have cheered O.J.'s aquittal, had you lived your life as an African American in this country.

    This in no way makes O.J.'s aquittal justifiable.  This was as reprehensible a verdict as the Trayvon Martin verdict; another example of a case well defended and poorly prosecuted.

    I'm not sure what the connection to Ayn Rand is in this diary, except that her name is mentioned.  I don't agree with her political philosophy, but I don't see the connection here.

    •  Just pure selfishness. Looking out for one's self (0+ / 0-)

      and nothing else.  My blog name is The Antidote To Ayn Rand, so I tend to see things through that lens, much as a surgeon tends to operate to cure, and a cop tends to arrest to help!

      Ayn is the bane! Take the Antidote To Ayn Rand and call your doctor in the morning: You have health insurance now! @floydbluealdus1

      by Floyd Blue on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 08:21:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I DID cheer the OJ verdict, literally out loud. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    white blitz, mikejay611

    I was the only white guy in our office who joined the AAs in applauding.

    So many black men have been railroaded or framed for crimes they didn't commit, that if one time the dynamic was flipped on its head, that felt like karmic justice to me.

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 08:38:37 AM PDT

  •  I admit to being a bit conflicted about OJ. (3+ / 0-)

    While I believe there was sufficient evidence of his guilt; the ineptitude and dishonesty of the prosecution and its witnesses actually had me on OJ's side by the end.  Yeah, he did it; but I don't want anybody going to jail due to cops manipulating evidence and testimony.  The trial was a tragedy on a human level, but a victory for process and the rights of the accused.

    You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

    by rb608 on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 08:41:41 AM PDT

  •  At the time I thought he did it, but I wasn't (0+ / 0-)

    the least bit upset with the jury for letting him walk. I was upset with the worthless lying cop. Our little old (white) lady of a secretary was convinced that O.J. absolutely did not do it. I was pretty sure that he had. I was glad that the victim's families were going to get their own day in court.

  •  yeah (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilJD

    It took me decades to understand the cheering; I was a high-schooler, and I remember the black girls (all-girls school) running squealing down the hallway as the rest of us looked on in vague confusion.  Or, well, the non-bigots among the rest of us looked on in vague confusion; I'm sure there were some more well-informed but much less well-intentioned girls (and teachers) sneering at them.  

    Now I want to extend a retroactive high five to them as they pounded down the halls.  

  •  What you see depends on where you stand (3+ / 0-)

    I understand every word you wrote, and every view you've expressed. But on the day of the OJ verdict I was standing in the common area of a domestic violence shelter. Regardless of race; among the residents, staff and volunteers there that day there was no cheering. There was a long, low, groan of disappointment and despair.

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 09:24:46 AM PDT

    •  Good god, I can completely understand that! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, never forget

      I did not mean to trivialize in any way the crimes he DID commit, nor to champion him in any way at all.  JUST the reactions to the verdict, concerning the racial aspect alone I now understand as never before.

      Ayn is the bane! Take the Antidote To Ayn Rand and call your doctor in the morning: You have health insurance now! @floydbluealdus1

      by Floyd Blue on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 09:51:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Cheering OJ is the height of disrespect to women (0+ / 0-)

    and domestic violence issues.

    Tryavon, OJ's wife....they were the victims.

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