To date, I have not made one post on this topic. Before deciding to comment on this topic, I wanted to enough time to pass for my emotions not to cloud my judgement of what actually took place with the ordeal that ended a young black man's life, and forever scared the life of the man that took Travon's life. Some of you will agree with what I have to say, others won't.
Our majority white population has tried to back away from the fact that racism is at the center of much of our social structure and the chaos in is in today.
Let me also state clearly you cannot possibly know the pain racism inflicts on the human soul, unless you have experienced it, no matter what color you happen to be. Whites have just as much pain as blacks when they are victims of racism. The difference is the white experience of black racism is a fraction of the black experience of white racism. Blacks must deal with both overt and covert racism every day of their lives in one fashion or another. Whites don't. In part because often those victimizing blacks are unaware of their racists influences, that are commonly accepted in a majority ruled society.
Racism is institutionalized in this country. Even those that adamantly oppose it, are unable to completely defend against it, without respect to their color. Over the past 50 years or so, the African American community has systematically been left defenseless against the racism that is destroying it.
200 years after African Americans were freed, the Civil Rights Act was passed to help African Americans defend against racism that kept their majority in the lowest economic class, giving them equal opportunity for education, employment, and voting rights afforded to all American citizens.
After the Civil War, 4 miilion slaves were set free. What happened to them? The first thing that happened was the U.S. saw it's first prison boom. The war left the South in shambles, losing it's economic labor base. History shows how immediately after the Civil War, the existing political powers of the day began using the media to persecute African Americans.
The gentle, kind Uncle Remus figure of the African American male went to a menacing criminal, no good, white women raping black man. If you research the printed media of the day, you will find this to be so with every major 'news' outlet. One of the most brutal renderings of the African American male, emerged in Thomas Dixon's popular novel 'The Clansmen'. A novel that was made into a block buster silent film 'The Birth of A Nation', a film the President Woodrow Wilson had a private White House screening, and who said the film was 'History written with lightening'. A film largely responsible for reviving the KKK.
African Americans fled the south by the millions during and after the Reconstruction Period. They did not leave their homes for better opportunity. They were refugees, escaping from charges of loitering and vagancy that gave them long prison sentences. Escaping becoming free labor of the leased prison system that was busy rebuilding the South's infrastructure. Freed slaves were escaping torture and murder at the hands of the KKK that acted without impunity, protected from the legal institutions it had heavily infiltrated. Those that escaped to other parts of the country, found themselves competing with fresh immigrant labor, that had quickly organized themselves in to various nationalistic mobs.
Those that didn't escape the South became second class citizens of it. Prisoners of the Jim Crow Laws that enforced segregation, making it illegal for African Americans to mix with whites at any level. African Americans were denied a proper education, the right to dine in public restaurants or use the same drinking water and bathroom facilities of white. Most importantly they were denied a voice to do anything about it. They were denied the right to vote, in what white America was calling a 'free democratic society'. Once the Civil Rights Act came about, the southern African Americans begin to experience a measure of freedom they had not known before.
For the past 50 years, after the Civil Rights movement, our political powers have invented new ways to enslave African Americans. President Nixon coined the 'War on Drugs' rhetoric. Ronald Reagan mobilized it. This 'war' that was predicated on Law and Order, was part of the Republican Party's strategy to win the Southern vote. The 'war on drugs' invoked much harsher penalty's for poor communities crack cocaine violations, than it's suburbia counterpart, powder cocaine. As Lee Atwater, Reagans brilliant campaign strategist pointed out, beside the law and order policy targeting bigger cities, the southern political strategy was to codify racism. Creating terms like 'forced-busing' and 'StatesRights' to appeal to the southern racist, and win their vote. The prison population more than doubled during the Reagan years. The larger majority being African Americans and people of color.
Race again was on the 'back burner' as H. Bush advanced the political racial divide defeating Michael Dukakis with a single 'Willie Horton' ad. Willie Horton was an inmate that had raped and murdered his girlfriend while on weekend release. Michael Dukasis had voted to protect the weekend prisoner pass law. What the ad did not show was Willie Horton's girlfriend was black, with the relationship troubled with long history of abuse. Again under H. Bush the prisoner rate more than doubled.
Bill Clinton, realizing no Democrat could ever win the White House again without adopting a 'tough on crime' posture, ran on the platform. Perhaps he did more to complete the devastation of the African American community than any other single President. The 'Three Strikes and your out' and the 'Mandatory Sentencing' of his 1994 Crime Bill was written by ALEC, The American Legislative Executive Committee, an organization of which one out of four State legislators are members, partnering with America's large corporate executives members. Up until recently, CCA, The Correction Corporation of America, that builds and manages our private prison complex, a multi billion dollar company, was a member of ALEC. They dropped out after NPR exposed their legislative ties, and the abuses they do in their prison system to keep their profit margins growing.
So you are wondering by now, what does all of this have to do with Travon Martin?
To begin with, Travon Martin did not die in vain. It was his death that ignited the BLM movement, calling attention to the institutionalized racism within our Justice System, that assures one out of three African American makes will be imprisoned in this country, when the statistics are 1 out of 17 white American Males, a much much larger percentage of our population, will be imprisoned during their lifetime. 40% of America's prison inmate population are African America males, while the African American males are only 6% of our total population. Our inmate population has grown from 301,000 to more than 2.3 million during this fifty year period. Both political Party's are now on board to reform the justice system.
As we know from history reform often, almost always, means more oppression for African Americans and the poor of all colors, including whites. Hillary Cinton has promised judicial reform from top to bottom of the system. Whatever happens, those of us that are tired of broken promises will be be closely watching. We will unite to do whatever necessary to fix these gross injustices,
Time & Tide Changes Everything