“Standing Our Ground”

The recent killing of Trayvon Martin at the hands of George Zimmerman has been cited as defensible based on the Florida law, colloquially known as the “Stand Your Ground” law. The law expressly overturned previous laws that required a person to make an attempt to escape before using lethal force. This law has been presented as the basis for not arresting or charging Mr. Zimmerman with manslaughter or murder. Based on what I have read and heard about this case [television, print and internet news], this homicide has the shape, odor and color of a racially motivated killing that had been marginalized by virtue of “stand your ground.”

As black people we need to stand our ground also. That is, we must stand our ground against two forces, both of which are formidable and equally as baleful. Those two forces are racism, which has and will probably continue to be part of the DNA of the United States of White America, and the self-destructive values and beliefs we as black people have long embraced since the inception of slavery in this country. These two forces have essentially competed, in concert with each other, against our interests.

It is alleged that George Zimmerman’s used of the term, “fucking coon” while following Trayvon Martin [after being discouraged from following him]. If so, then this was merely an example of the pervasive and deep-seated scorn other races have toward us black people. The police investigation, cursory at best, was also an indication of how the life of a black person is valued [i.e., devalued]. And wearing a “hoodie” while carrying a bag of Skittles and a can of Ice Tea only made Trayvon Martin even more sinister.  But the primary point is as far as Zimmerman and the local police were concerned, Trayvon Martin should not have been black. To a racist, being black is the crime and being white allows them to be judge, jury and most of all, the executioner.

As further proof of how much we black people are viewed with disdain and disrespect please note the following: In the book, “The Hunger Games” written by Suzanne Collins, the character “Rue” is described as having “dark brown skin and eyes.” Nonetheless, after seeing the movie, several people tweeted or wrote on Facebook –

  • “why does rue have to be black gonna lie kinda ruined the movie.””Kk call me racist but when I found out rue was black her death wasn’t as sad. #ihatemyself.””Awkward moment when Rue is some black girl and not the little blonde innocent girl you picture.””Everything from the innocuous ‘She’s not how I pictured her’ to ‘I was all sad and like ‘she’s black!'”By Vera H-C Chan | Movie Talk – Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:27 PM EDT [Race Controversy Over The Hunger Games]Racism is more American than “mom, apple pie and baseball.” This racism is both overt and insidious and as such, we as black people must “stand our ground” against it by calling it out and loudly urging our leaders to enforce the laws that are supposed to provide “life, liberty and freedom for all.” This is not pollyannish advice; it is reality. Racism is often an ugly face behind a pretty mask. 

    The other aspect that requires that we “stand our ground” is for us to aggressively oppose many of the notions that sometimes reinforce the racism that pushes us to the bottom of the totem pole. We need to esteem education, and reject the idea that embracing respect for self and others are luxuries we cannot afford. Yes, indeed, we must work harder than, be better than, be smarter than, in so many ways in order to receive a modicum of respect. Such a reality is patently unfair but racism by its very nature imposes that burden on the oppressed and until it is eradicated or at least until it becomes marginal, that is life in these United States of White America. In other words, we must not give racists a stick to beat us with; they will find one without our help.  True, racists will loathe us no matter what, but at least we do not have to be complicit in that regard. 

    This does not mean I am exonerating racists for their actions or minimizing their culpability. This does not mean that Trayvon Martin bore any responsibility for his death. I am simply invoking the spirit of Harriet Tubman. Harriet Tubman saw racism/slavery for what it was and resisted it – called it out. She also believed in black people helping themselves while fighting against racism. It is this second idea that was integral to who she was. Helping her people to help themselves. She was so emphatic about black people helping themselves that she threaten to shoot any of those in her charge who became faint of heart.

    Thus, with regard to racism, we too must stand our ground against the forces that oppose our advancement [even our existence] as a race. But unlike George Zimmerman and those of his ilk, we must stand our ground, not with violence, but by shining the light on racism – by not letting it go unchallenged and finally,  by changing the perception we have of ourselves as a race. 

Published in: on March 29, 2012 at 3:20 AM  Leave a Comment  
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The Nature of Power [an excerpt from the book, “Why They Think I’m Crazy”]

Abraham Lincoln once stated, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” The philosopher, Jean Satre believed that more than self-preservation, humans want to project or exercise power [as in, “the Will to Power] and when that power is frustrated, then the words of R.G.H. Siu are most revealing: “Cruelty is only a tantrum of frustrated power.”

Power can intoxicate, blind, seduce and mislead; it is the stuff of horrors and tragedies. Of all the good power can do, it can do even more harm and is most dangerous in the hands of those who are tubby of spirit and mind — those whose perceptions of themselves exceed the reality of themselves.

Note the clerk behind the counter. Even though he may be a low-wage earner, he has the power to obstruct or facilitate the needs of those who seek his services. He can serve or he can rule. He can delay, lose, destroy or expedite. He can do so without technically violating company policy or if he does, he can do so with near impunity. And his boss, the CEO can do the same — and more.

Power is best exercised by those who would sip it from the glass and who drink it as part of the meal. Power is exercised at worst by those would gulp it from the goblet as the entire meal itself. For some, power strokes the ego. For others it masturbates the ego but for a few who are truly worthy, it subdues the ego. In short, the fool who exercises power grabs the sword by the blade. The not-so-foolish who exercises power grabs the sword by the handle, but the truly wise who exercise power first grabs the sheath for she knows power, like the sword, need not always be drawn.

Published in: on March 18, 2012 at 8:13 PM  Leave a Comment  
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The Infection Called, “Stupiditis” [an excerpt from the book, “Why They Think I’m Crazy”]

Albert Einstein is credited with asserting, “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former” and Elbert Hubbard, an American writer and philosopher observed, at an earlier time, “Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.”

I am bemused at why human beings have not managed to render themselves extinct, especially given that stupidity is one of the most infectious conditions known to humanity. The antidote is usually in short supply and profoundly difficult to procure.

These are my observations about this infection:

1] Stupidity accounts for as much tragedy as does malice.
2] Passion can make a stupid idea seem intelligent.
3] Passion can mute intellect more effectively than intellect can guide passion.
4] Opinions are often the most effective antidote for intelligence.
5] Parents [or their surrogates] are a common contagion of stupidity.
6] The difference between a stupid man and a stupid woman is the difference between death by cyanide or death by arsenic.
7] Stupidity is more contagious than intelligence.
8] For many humans, the official cause of death and the actual cause of death differ because stupidity is not considered an official medical term.
9] Stupidity alone can be dangerous; stupidity mixed with power is insanely lethal. It is one of life’s most virulent combinations.

Published in: on March 17, 2012 at 4:08 AM  Leave a Comment  
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About This Blogger

First, to matters of tertiary importance. I was awarded a full three-year academic scholarship to Cranbrook High School in Bloomfield Hills, MI. Sometime afterward, I earned an academic scholarship to Wayne State University where I procured a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration [Finance and Business Economics] with “High Distinction.” Later I earned an MBA from Wayne State University.

Now to matters of primary importance. I am indeed my mother’s son. My name is Carlespie Mary Alice McKinney and I am Mary Alice’s first of seven children born into the African-American experience. I was as much my mother’s confidante as I was her oldest child. For 12 years we suffered her husband’s raw brutality — she far more than I — where finally, he made sure I would be an audience to her murder.

Through a series of life-altering events I underwent a critical metamorphosis facilitated by incessant contemplation and introspection. By the time I reached my mid-forties, all the major components of who I am today had been put in place. I emerged as a synergistic human. Nonetheless, my growth as a person trapped inside the mind of a human visiting Prison Earth continues. That being stated, there are two prime directives which I firmly and fervently adhere — the first of which is as follows:

There is no idea or belief I so dearly cherish so as to shield it from rigorous scrutiny or thoughtful challenge. There is no idea or belief i esteem so highly that I will not alter it or abandon it — sacrifice it in favor of standing even closer to the truth.

Part of my self-imposed mission as a human is to honor what is true even if it means rejecting an idea or notion I once cherished. My second directive is to honor the self I am above all others so I am best able to honor others. Stating this second directive another way:

… naturally then, I am my own hero for who could be a better champion for me than I?

Nevertheless, having observed and experienced the conditions of the human drama, I suffer from a type of quiet and simmering state of relentless pain. The unkindnesses and the cruelties humans inflict on each other choke my heart. I want to know the “whys,” especially why humans are allowed to continue to perpetuate their interminable inhumanities. The holy books, prophets, teachers and other religious leaders and philosophers provide answers that are at best specious and vacuous and at worst, utterly parlous.

As a consequence of these realities [and others] I stumbled into becoming a deist. But my heart weeps because I sense my time trapped inside the mind of this person visiting Prison Earth is all too close to its end. So I can only wish that my sons and my “baby girl” along with my grandchildren and all the few others I love can escape the agony that arises from not knowing the “whys,” either because they believe they already know or they do not deem it important that they do not know.

My blog is dedicated to presenting the realities of the human drama in all its glory and non-glory.

Published in: on March 17, 2012 at 12:49 AM  Leave a Comment  
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