Monday, December 15, 2008

The End

Today is perhaps the last blog of the year, and it will be tying into everything I have said so far.
Wait, who am I kidding? I think that it is time for a good old fashioned rant about the American political justice system. But first, even before that, let’s take a look at what has been written thus far upon this blog space.
I first began with an introduction, where I used the word blog a bunch. I then talked about the Jena 6, and how the justice system continues to fail in the American south. I expanded to talk about the unfair incarceration rates that blacks and Latinos are faced with every day. Poor folks, thrown into jail so often and so early that they never really get much of a chance to succeed in life. Then I talked about black people tend to get terribly long and harsh sentences that whites get rehabilitation or something equally fluffy for. I talked about immigration and how deporting Hispanics costs or justice system millions of dollars every year, monies that could be spent of social welfare programs and such. I looked at someone else’s blog and made a comment, and then bam! moved on again. I talked about a poor man who had been shot a bunch and then sentenced to death for kidnapping somebody. That’s a bad rap. At some point I posted a link to Chocolate Rain. I talked about Mumia Abu Jamal, and how racialized justice first got its start in America during the Cold War in an attempt to make the South not such a horrible place to live if you are non-white. I also talked about Disco Judges (enough said on that one).
So all in all it has been a good run. I learned that blacks and Latinos get blamed for a lot in this country, and I think that is why we imprison them a bunch. It is a terrible reality to face, an America that is so heavily biased against our darker skinned brothers.
Well, goodnight America, and sweet dreams. Maybe we’ll see each other around sometime.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Disco Judges

Hello everyone, and welcome back. Sorry, I have been kind of lazy when it comes to writing for this blog as off late. The week before Thanksgiving was rather stressful, and the week of Thanksgiving had me at home and alternatively bored or playing Fallout 3 in the middle of the night. Good stuff children, good stuff.
So, today I posit a simple question:
How many black judges are there in America?
This question is very much like the question “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop?” in that nobody really knows the answer. Ok, some people know how many black judges are in America. But those people own or help write the book Black Judges in America.
So let’s talk about this Time article about black judges in America. Basically, black judges sometimes feel like blacks being accused of crime need black juries to get a fair. Black judges are also worried about how poor people are being treated. They just want to ensure that everyone gets a fair trial. So there are people in the justice department who want to make things better.
No here comes the saddest part. That article up there, if you haven’t noticed, was written in 1971, 37 years ago! Not much has been done since then. Few people have really done anything to ensure this sort of thing comes to pass. In fact, I believe that there are even few black judges (when it comes to percentages) then there was before.
Sad day indeed.
You know what, perhaps the court system in America needs the same affirmative action policies that most of the companies and even universities of this great country are put under. I guess the problem with that is that judges are professionals turned servants of the law, and that means we would need more black lawyers to have more black judges. To do that, we need to increase black people’s opportunities. There’s a lot of ways to do that. Maybe we will get into that a little later.
Coming up, another blog to make for the last 2 weeks. Hurray!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Today I will talk a bit about Mumia Abu-Jamal. Mumia was once a journalist in Philadelphia before he was unjustly imprisoned by the American justice system. I blatantly say “unjustly” because that is the truth. Here is a little story about Mumia, and how he came to be on death row.
On December 9th, 1981, Mumia was driving his taxi along the streets of Philadelphia. He parked his car after picking up a fair, and then saw his brother, William Cook, stagger out of an alleyway. Mumia left his car to go and help his brother. Officer Faulkner shot Mumia. The details are sketchy after that. More police arrived, only to both Mumia and Officer Faulkner shot.
Here’s where the justice system falls to pieces. The gun that killed Faulkner was a different gun then the legally purchased firearm that Mumia was said to carry with him. A witness at the scene told a different story at two different trials (the trial of Mumia and Cook, respectively). An attorney was forcibly appointed for Mumia, despite him hiring his own and requesting to represent himself. It was said that Mumia confessed to the killing at the hospital he was taken to, but nurses at his bedside said they never heard him speak once. Later, another man would confess to the killing. The judge who sentenced Mumia to death was later quoted, in regards to Mumia, as wishing to “fry that nigger.” What a charming man.
Likewise, the police never did a proper investigation of the area, never tested Mumia or his gun to see if it had been fired, severely beat him after picking him up (right after he had been shot). They also took more then half of an hour to drive him to a hospital only a few blocks away. If it had been anyone else, this case would have been dismissed or overturned or something. Apparently, the justice system really does not like Mumia very much. People have speculated this is because of his involvement with the black panthers. Anyway, Mumia is still writing, and still hoping to avoid dying for a crime he did not commit. So please write to him to show your support. I am sure that he would appreciate it.
Mumia Abu-Jamal AM 8335 SCI-Greene 175 Progress Drive Waynesburg, PA 15370

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sad World

Here. An article for you enjoyment. You need not read it to much because of this:

In case you are perhaps a bit too lazy to read the article itself, I will give you a very brief summary:
Rejon Taylor, a black man, abducted Guy Luck, a white man, from his home in Chattanooga, Tennessee (strange name, huh?). Taylor drove Lucks van with him in it, while one of Taylor’s friends held him at gunpoint and another of Taylors friends followed in his own car. I’m going to assume he did this to assure that they weren’t being followed. Taylor was being charged with burglaries and identity thefts in the area; prosecutors say that Taylor thought Luck was one of the witnesses in one of his trials and he “wanted to get rid of him.” Luck struggled against his captors, and was consequently shot four times. A jury of 5 men and 7 women, all white, convicted Taylor and sentenced him to death.
Now, this situation is interesting, because perhaps if Taylor had been white he would not have gotten the death sentence. He didn’t even pull the trigger himself, the friend who was holding up Luck did. And I can personally think of perhaps a dozen or so crimes that whites have committed that deserve the death penalty. This may seem a bit out there, but what about those guys at Enron? Their greed cost thousands of people their livelihood. They stole millions from people. Who knows how many people died because they stole money right out of the pockets of some poor family whose little Suzie was going to die if she didn’t get medical treatment or something like that? Anyway, point is that white collar crime carries harsher punishment then blue collar crime, especially if the criminal is not white. Terrible world we live in indeed.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Technical Difficulties

Today, I planned on embedding this video into my blog, but due to some unforeseen technical difficulties in blogging software and youtubes’ huge memory requirement, I will not be doing that today. Instead, have a link
Part 1
Take a very close look at part 1. Allow me to summarize it for you. Before World War 2, most black Americans lived in the rural areas. Prejudice and racism was limited mostly to the south, and America was alright with that. Around World War 2, blacks started moving into cities, northern cities. Suddenly, discrimination spread across America. Places were blacks lived in numbers became ghettos, schools and businesses segregated, and in general it was a bad time to be black. The American House and Senate were deadlocked between destroying racism and ignoring it. America was involved in the Cold War, so it was bad publicity to not practice true democracy at home. So the Supreme Court stepped in to remedy the situation, and bring the south back in line.
The later parts of this lecture go on to discuss how the American justice system eventually turned on black America, and went from liberating minorities from unfair practice to jailing them in order to control the more “dangerous” elements of society. Perhaps it takes something as harsh as segregation to spur the justice system to do its job; if it goes too long without doing something important, it gets lazy, complacent, and occasionally malicious.

Sounds like a riveting story, no? That’s because it is. Now, I know that this blog may seem a bit off topic, but it is really completely on topic. Here we see the justice system actually doing its job and standing up to bigotry. Those people who are against “legislating from the bench” better not be black, because without bench legislators America would be a much meaner place, full of restrooms for all of the separate “races”.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Today I will be looking at a fellow classmate’s blogging website. Her website is about race in the media, although there is the occasional post about the way in which women are portrayed in various media forms. Her blog is essentially the different ways that the media tries to portray people of various ethnic backgrounds. Her first blog is just an introduction to her subject, much like mine. Her second post is about how minorities are typically related to gang violence by the media. I actually just recently read in Racializing Justice, a book that is rather pertinent to this blog, that the release of movies like Boyz in da Hood and other forms of media depicting black men as fierce gangsters only led to more needless arrests of black Americans; media has typecast these poor souls as being violent, and our justice system responds in kind. Her third post in about women in the media. In this short bit, she makes many good points about how women are sexualized by the media (turned into sex objects). I particularly like her formula
“Man + Sexy Ad = Profits, Profits, PROFITS!”. In fact, I remember reading a chapter in my old Women’s Psychology book that detailed pretty much everything that she mentions in this blog. Frankie is right on target. Her fourth blog is about racism during this presidential election. Personally, I don’t think that racism during this election is nearly as bad as it could be; that being said, in order for this country to be truly free it shouldn’t be there at all. Her fifth blog is about typecasting minorities in film. Anyone who has ever seen any movie can see this if they look close enough, and it’s a shame. Her newest blog, dated today, is a blog exactly like this one, detailing another blog.
So how is this relevant to racism and justice? Because the American justice system is powered by people. Judges, juries, and even criminals are influenced by the media. A jury may convict a black man of drug possession merely because he is black, and everyone “knows” that blacks are prone to drug addiction. In reality, they are no more susceptible then you or I. But the media shapes beliefs, and beliefs can get folk thrown into jail needlessly.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mexican Rain

Hello, and welcome again to the Sunday night special. Tonight, I’ll be talking about a couple of things. First among them is this article I found on good ole’ NPR. Not the newest article, but since it pertains to both racism and justice, I think that it should find a nice new home here. If you don’t feel like reading it, here’s is a very short summary:
There are a lot of Mexican immigrants that enter this country every day. Its hard to get an accurate count of how many are in this country right now. When law enforcement captures them, they either drop them off at the Mexican border or fly them to Mexico City. If they are non-Mexican, they are flown to their country of origin. All of this puts a strain upon the justice system; presumably flights to outside of this country are expensive.
So what is the solution for this sort of problem, if one even believes it to be a problem? Well, perhaps we could open the borders to all. That way, we wouldn’t have to guard them or deport people unless they commit a crime. Alternatively, we could use the money to build a very large and guarded concrete fence to keep immigrants out so we don’t have to deport them. We could also not deport them at.
All in all, immigration is a very complex issue that isn’t likely to be solved anytime soon by anyone, unless some sort of drastic measure that we all can get behind is found. Personally, I don’t really view Mexican immigration as a large problem. America has a history of blaming its problems on whatever group is considered sinful or outcast at the time. In the 1800s it was the Irish, then the Eastern Europeans, then the Chinese. IN the early 1900s it was still the all of those groups, no including Mexicans. It hasn’t changed much since.
This whole talk has me kind of down, so I think that I will post a bit of music here. Listen closely, and I think you may hear some lyrics that relate to racism in America, both past and present.