Saturday, March 24, 2012

More Comments...

After recently listening to NPR's Trayvon Martin coverage , here's another dumb comment made by someone who seems to want to be considered "reasonable":

Commentor 1: What has happened to Trayvon is a true tragedy. I wish during the interview that NPR did this morning you would have asked that mother if she's ever considered that "the talk" she's had with her boys might be perhaps be part of the problem. Most of what is in "the talk" should be told to every young person, but what if we stopped adding the element of race, and just made it about respect for all people. Wouldn't that start to eliminate the feeling of prejudice? I just think it's a whole lot more about respect for your fellow man. The young man did not have to die, both he and the security guard should have respected each other. 
I've been white all my life and I would never EVER think of speaking to an officer in anything but a respectful manner. This isn't due to fear that I would be mistreated if I was rude (as may be the case with non white people) but because it is the PROPER way to interact with people, especially authority figures. 
Commenter 2: Who are the parents of those white friends and why didn't they have 'the talk' with their sons about how to treat people? I hope it is a very small minority of people of any race who think it is acceptable to be rude to a police officer. 
The "talk" is because young black men are ROUTINELY stopped for no reason.  That kind of persecution makes one angry after a while and sometimes that boy will want to react with anger.  That reaction can have dire consequences for black men that are not there for white men in the same age group.  Getting stopped once or twice is a nuisance.  Getting stopped, eyed, purses being clutched, regularly will tend to produce an anger response after a while.  Hence, the "talk".

And here is a bit of Steve Inskeep speaking to two a black teen, Darrell Britt-Gibson:

INSKEEP: Darrell, did you get the same kind of discussion from your mom? 
BRITT-GIBSON: The thing that I do remember the most with my mother, was when she told me about Uncle Darrell, who I'm named after, who was killed by the police. That just resonated so much to me. It's like that being said to me, sort of, just flipped the light switch on, that, OK, how I deal with cops is going to be different than how my friend who's white, Asian or whoever is going to deal with it.
INSKEEP: You know, I'm thinking of something of people of any race may hear in driver's education class as teenagers. They're told if you're pulled over by the police, keep your hands in plain sight. Don't cause the officer to think you might be reaching for something. People of all races are told that. Are there specific rules that you remember? 
BRITT-GIBSON: You know, I've been in the car with a friend of mine who's white and I've seen the way that he speaks to a cop is something I could never imagine talking to a cop like that. He raised his voice at him and he was very, like, he was very aggressive and terse, you know, very, like, short. 
BRITT-GIBSON: 'Cause I've been in a situation like that too in Beverly Hills, where a friend of mine was pulled over and I was in the car with him. And it's just sort of like you're sitting there going, don't, don't push it. 
BRITT-GIBSON: Yeah, but it's almost like they don't know the reality that we live. You know, we can't do that. You know, and I'm sitting there in the passenger's seat and I'm thinking to myself, all right, man. Well, remember, your black friend's sitting right here so might want to calm down just a little bit. 'Cause, you know, it's a different life, it's a different reality. 
BRITT-GIBSON: Because you're taught to be respectful, you want to be respectful, but when you know you're being pulled over for reasons that have nothing to do with any sort of violation other than their perceived, you know, sort of stereotypes, it's like, well, that's why we get angry.

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