Time to Expose Myths

  I attended a rally last Saturday in downtown Youngstown concerning the death of Trayvon Martin. He was a seventeen year-old African-American male who was racially profile and killed by George Zimmerman in Florida. Zimmerman a block watch person, stalked Martin after being told by a 9/11 operator to stay in his car. When a fight occurred and Zimmerman was losing the fight he used the gun he was carrying to shoot Martin. Zimmerman was not even going to be prosecuted until outcry about the incident could not be ignored. Zimmerman ended up being found not guilty at a trial. The concern by people at the rally in Youngstown (and 100 other cities around the U.S. having similar rallies) was that with Zimmerman being freed there was no justice for Martin. Parents spoke at the rally that they worry about their children being racially profiled and threatened simply for walking down the street. The Youngstown Vindicator counted about 300 people at the rally and I’d say they were pretty accurate. More than one commentator on Vindy.com (who did not attend the rally but caught a camera angle of it on the news) said there were less than 50 people there. I note these same folks who have no math skills also added racist comments. I was going to print some of the most racist of those 112 comments but oddly enough those comments will not come up at all (unlike comments on all the other articles). Click on the 112 comments section and see if it is frozen up for you.

 I was discussing the Trayvon Martin shooting with some family members who tend to have some racist views. One said, “Black kids with hoodies over their heads are trying to be menacing and if I cross the street to avoid them I shouldn’t be considered a racist.” He added, “An elderly woman in downtown Sharon on State Street decided not to be considered a racist when she saw two black kids wearing hoodies coming her way on the sidewalk. She didn’t flee and cross the street and ended up paying a high price. It happened on an afternoon recently and she was beaten badly and had her all money stolen as the two young black men in hoodies fled.” I was thinking that was a horrible event but that I’d look further into the incident. Checking the Sharon Herald this is what I found, “Police are looking for two men who held up a couple as they were walking at about 1:30 a.m. Monday in the 200 block of Florence Street. The victims told police two young black men with T-shirts over their faces threatened them with guns that appeared to have laser sights and demanded money which they didn’t have. The robbers took keys and a cell phone from the victims, shoved them both to the street and ran east on Florence. One robber was wearing blue denim shorts and a gray tank top.”

  My relative was a little off with much of the info. Florence Street is not exactly downtown Sharon. The elderly woman was actually a couple. The afternoon robbery really happened at 1:30 a.m. The victims were not beaten but pushed to the street.  No money was taken in the robbery. The robbers were not wearing hoodies but had a t-shirt and tank top pulled over their face. I am certainly not diminishing the crime as no one should ever be threatened with a gun but I am pointing out the exaggerations. When the couple becomes an elderly woman, when 1:30 a.m. becomes the afternoon, when being pushed becomes a beating, and a t-shirt over the head of black men becomes a hoodie these lies about the robbery are added to elevate racism. I didn’t need an exaggerated story to show me people’s fear of young black men doing criminal acts. I still remember Bill Basilone Jr. being killed outside of his Farrell, PA bar Dec. 11, 2011. He was shot five times and robbed of a small amount of cash by a pair of black teenagers who were 17 and 18 years-old. They both lived nearby in Farrell and were arrested within hours. Bill Basilone was a much beloved area businessman who did much for his community.  On the other hand here is the case of a racist young white man killing a pregnant black woman. Racism is such an ugly and deadly two way street that has to end for everyone’s sake.

  I feel terrible for the Basilone family but I also feel terrible for Trayvon Martin’s family. No one white or black should have to deal with the devastation of having someone in your family murdered. I want a world where there is no color on any kind of color crime. I have been hoping that something like the Occupy Movement could bring all races together to realize we shouldn’t be divided by race but united in a class struggle.

  The media owned by the top 1% don’t want to see the 99% united. That is why conservative magazines like the National Review keep writing articles warning white people about black people. Then we have the likes of racists; Geraldo Rivera, Pat Buchanan, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Ted Nugent and Rush Limbaugh telling the black community what is wrong with them and how to change it. They spout off about how teen pregnancy is an epidemic among young Black girls. The real truth is that, according to the Center for Disease Control, Black Teenage Pregnancy rates have been reduced by 56.42% from 1991-2009. White conservative commentators say there is a 50% high school dropout rate for black males. According to the US Census, 83.43% of Black men over the age of 18 have a high school diploma, but when stats are negatively manipulated, we see that Black men who switch schools before graduating (from another school), or who miss a semester but finishes, or who test out before their class are not included because the focus of the negative statement is on Black men who graduate from 12th grade with their 9th grade class. The dropout rate for Black males is 9.5%.

  Black author and filmmaker Janks Morton has been exposing these lies and myths in his books and his film, “Hoodwinked.” He is tired of seeing Blacks lacking self-esteem because of myths they have come to believe. Here are some of the statistics that Morton presents as an alternative to prevailing perceptions:

There are more Black Males in College# than in Jails, Prisons, Private Corrections, Military Jails and Institutions for the Criminally Insane combined#

The facts show (1,236,443 in College/841,000 Incarcerates – regardless of age)

Some more facts: 4 to 1: The ratio of 18-24 year old Black Males in College# vs. Jails, Prisons, Private Corrections, Military Jails and Institutions for the Criminally Insane#.

(674,000 in College/164,400 Incarcerates)

32.3% (1 in 3) Black Males ages 18-24 are enrolled in College#

(674,000 in College/2,082,000 Total)

1.37 to 1: The ratio of 18-24 year old Black Females enrolled in College to Black Males#.

(930,000 Black Females Enrolled/674,000 Black Males Enrolled)

25.1% of Black Males (age 25 or over) have either an Associates, Bachelors, Masters, Professional, or Doctoral Degree#.

(2,519,000 with Degrees/10,018,000 Total)

82.1% of Black Males (age 18 or over) have at least a High School Diploma or GED#.

(9,897,000 with HS Diploma or GED/12,044,000 Total)

12.1%: The Black Male Dropout Rate# (ages 16-24) for 2008.

(301,000 Dropouts/2,583,000 Total)#

88.8%: Percent of Black Males earning income# ages 25-64 (employment)

(7,899,000 Employed/8,893,000 Total)

$23,738: Average Income for Black Males# 15 and older

$19,470 Average Income Black Females

1,812,000 The number of Black Men making $50,000/year or more#

71.6% of Black Men pay their agreed to or Court Awarded Child Support#

(855,000 Payers/1,194,000 Recipients)

$253 Billion: Total Income earned by Black Males# (15 and over)

($262 Billion earned by Black Females)

  I do believe that if more young African-Americans see “Hoodwinked” and read Jank Martin’s books they will learn facts about their own race that will make them feel more optimistic about their future. Jank’s facts are something that is much-needed when black kids look around their own neighborhoods and see violence and poverty. At the rally last Saturday many people expressed that the outcry over Trayvon’s death was not a moment but a movement. I hope that is true and I think that teaching Jank Martin’s findings could go a long way to giving hope to young black children. It surely is time for blacks and whites to stand together and realize we are all in the same struggle as we are brothers and sisters. You’ve got to remember the media wasn’t interested in Trayvon Martin being killed. It was the people who were outraged and demanded justice. Justice didn’t come but that should only strengthen our resolve to keep fighting for it.

  An interview with Janks Martin about the film, “Hoodwinked” which exposes lies about African Americans.

Joe & Eddie: “Children Go”

“There’s a Meetin’ Here Tonight”

“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public” ― Cornel West

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