Dec 3, 2014

Martin and Brown: Cases Highlighting Vastly Different Perceptions and an Effort to Understand Them

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Differing Perceptions On Display


One only needs to scroll through social media feeds, watch clips from various talking heads on cable news networks, or tune into radio news talk shows to see that there is a striking difference between most white perceptions of the Brown incident and most black perceptions of the incident.  The problem is that the perceptions on both sides neglect fundamental facts and concerns.  Rather, both sides take an "all or nothing" approach, jumping into their usual defensive postures.   Either the comment is made with the implication that Brown was not doing anything wrong and that the officer is a murderer who should have been immediately arrested; or the comment implies that racism and discrimination do not exist, and that to say so is simply "race baiting". The "race baiting" charge is then followed by a comment that is racist itself and proves the underlying biases of the comment maker.

Those in support of Michael Brown equate his circumstance with that of Trayvon Martin's, intentionally or not portrays Brown as a law-abiding and non threatening teenager.  Those against the Ferguson protests also equate Brown with Martin, but with the implication that both were criminal.  Both narratives exist despite the fact that Brown had just assaulted a convenience store owner, feeling empowered even without a gun; and, despite the fact that Martin had done nothing criminal to warrant the following and harassment by George Zimmerman, who is now assumed by some as a member of law enforcement.  In one narrative they are both innocent victims and in the other equally incorrect narrative they are both criminals.  There are fundamentally different facts between these two cases that a frighteningly large percentage of Americans seem to overlook or be unaware of.   I want to simultaneously cry in sadness and pull my hair out in madness. 

Comparisons attempting to depict Wilson and Zimmerman as victims; Brown and Martin as "thugs".
Image equating the circumstance of Michael Brown with that of Trayvon Martin
My favorite, and I say this sarcastically, are the comments of those that claim to not understand why Trayvon Martin's shooting received so much media attention, while a random white guy or white girl's murder by a black man did not warrant the same attention.  Often times, I find the poster to the right is shared to prove this claim that there is a possible reverse racism or effort to "race bait".  The question in the poster: "What is the difference"?  The maker of the poster and those that share the poster fail to recognize the difference.  The difference is that in once case there was no question as to whether or not the shooter should be captured, put on trial and punished. In Martin's shooting, it appears to have taken public pressure by the black community to arrest and put on trial the shooter of Trayvon Martin.  Whether you believe the narrative or not, this is why the black community and others were outraged.  To water down the these cases to a similarity of death v. death at the hands of someone of the opposite race missed the point. This oversimplification seems to occur within both perceptions. 

Survey Data as Evidence

The differing perceptions of whites and blacks regarding race, discrimination, and treatment in the criminal justice system have been present before these two incidents.   Survey after survey supports what I anecdotally witness on the internet and television, and even among my students.  The Pew Research Center survey (right) and the first two Gallup surveys (below) illustrate that whites are more likely than blacks to believe that racial equality has been achieved and that claims of racism or bias are usually exaggerated or unjustified.  The Gallup survey results below dig into differing perceptions among blacks and whites regarding police.  


 
 

Contemplating the Origin of These Perceptions

Seeing this, it isn't hard to believe why the black community is skeptical about the account of the shooting given by Officer Wilson and the Ferguson police department.  If you look at the treatment historically of unarmed, innocent and peaceful black citizens, especially leading up to and during the civil rights movement, the distrust of law enforcement is even more understandable.  This is a history that includes the use of dogs and painful fire hoses on peaceful protesters, racial profiling in car stops, and the coordination of top law enforcement officials with lynch mobs and the KKK.  However, perceptions of whites may often neglect experiences of whites in the same way that perceptions of whites by blacks may be neglecting the experiences of blacks.

The high rates of crime in minority communities, the fact that blacks make up a disproportionate share of those in prison, and the frequent coverage of the media of crimes committed by black suspects fuel white fear and intimidation.  Whether the coverage is objective and proportionate or not is a separate matter.  The point is the views of some whites should not be lost on those that claim whites hate blacks for simply being black, claiming a racism that continues from decades of unequal treatment.  Does pure racism motivate the opinions of some?  Most likely, but this should not be the characterization of the whole group, in this case a characterization of all whites.  At the same time, it should not be assumed that all blacks hate whites as a result of historical treatment of blacks by whites.  However, the feelings of whites should not be lost on whites that claim there is no assumption made by them of wrong-doing by blacks, but then point to the high crime rate among blacks as support for the feeling they just denied as impacting their views.  While we attempt to explain our own biases, we should also confront those biases and recognize when they may be leading to an unfair and somewhat false perception of a situation, person, or group.

Confronting Perception and Bias


As a society, we cannot run from these perceptions, and we cannot deny they differ nor deny that the differing perceptions may be justified. As individuals we do ourselves an injustice, myself included, if we consistently take on a defensive and antagonistic stance.  Since we are all guilty of this, the solution is easier stated than done.  However it is not impossible for a society to confront its demons and have uncomfortable conversations.  All types of biases exist that inform our perceptions, whether they are racially motivated biases or motivated by someone's economic condition, beliefs, or weight.  We cannot deny our own biases but then argue for the bias of another.  What must equally be avoided is the act of dismissing racial biases because they are uncomfortable to talk about with a willingness to discuss less controversial biases.  Thankfully, we have seen confronting uncomfortable histories and biases successfully done in other countries without an unraveling of social order.  Both perceptions exist for a reason.  These are perceptions that have been fueled partly by reality and partly by biases that have been passed down from one generation to the next.

In a coming article I will explore in greater detail the problems with these perceptions and make specific suggestions regarding the Ferguson, Missouri protest. 

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29 comments:

  1. There seems to be a persistent hate and distrust of the unknown. The ignorance that is both perpetuated and accepted by many, regardless of race, is the gasoline of perils such as racism. Racism jumps the broom of both sides. I, a black woman, have been in the presence black people who scoff at my white sister-in-law simply because she is white; ignorance. Yet, I love her as though she were birthed by my own mother. Still, it saddens me that the do's and don'ts at my dinner table are the words of a loving mother to forewarn my sons of things a white mother likely never share with her own children. Racism is alive, kicking, and not prejudice; it affects all. There are some things that are simply factual and not racist; people are comfortable with the known. Within the black community, some try to water down the responsibility fairness. Charles Barkley asserts that many ppl w/in the black community are "crooks" and too be feared. In fairness, common sense and precaution tells anyone to analyze, rationalize and assess any dangerous situation based on knowledge. We have seen what the media does to influence what we know; not necessary what is truth. 2 Tim. 3:1-5 tells us how "people" would act. Movies, music, and experience, among other things, influence culture. Sometimes behaviors, such as rioting, gives credence to the hatred of others. Yet, when you push a man into a corner, what do you expect of him? If you seek justice lawfully and the laws protect criminals (of all colors) should you be law abiding? I see things, ironically, black and white, evil has no skin color. The battle could jump from gender to religion to age. I don't ignore the issues but I don't become controlled by them either. Biblically, a person who kills another, even by mistake, would have to flee to a city of refuge for protection lest the family seeks retribution. Only there he/ she would be safe. The horror in both Brown's and Martin's cases are the options. George had an option to wait for authorities. Wilson had a baton, tazer, and pepper spray. Even if these two men were guilty, and pled so in the court of law, their penalty would not have been death. The same way a man could not get the death penalty for raping a girl because the punishment did not fit the crime is the same way due dilligence should have been implemented for these young men. In the heat of the moment, unarmed men could have been shot in the arm or leg and but for heaven sakes not chased. Human issues water down universal sovereignty issues (which within itself is controversial). The Jan. 2015 awake on jw.org praises a corrupt free government. It is possible but patience is required. I wish peace to all, no matter your race, religion, beliefs, or views. I pray for those who make themselves the enemies of me and mine; for the have created and filled that position on their own. Even if I agree to disagree, I wish no harm to anyone. For all who know who acknowledge who Malchus is likely know of his appreciation for peace. JAG

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  2. I agree with most everything that you stated and proved in this blog. However, I would like to say/add that I believe that in the case of Brown and Martin, that many blacks are protesting because of ignorance and emotion over the decision not to indict officer Martin, but some are protesting for a noble cause, the "Hands Up" protest, to identify a problem in our legal and justice system. This problem that the "Hands Up" protest is trying to convey, is that if it is proven that someone has their hands up and attempts to make an effort to not create violence or surrender, then the police officer should not use deadly force. This is why Obama's,and Mike Brown's parents, proposal to equip police with body cameras would be useful, in the case where there is no video evidence to prove whether or not the victim was trying to surrender, such as in the Brown and Martin Case. I would also like to add that racism is an issue and a bias for all races, but on a broad scale, in my own personal analysis, racism is diminishing. Adding on to my own personal analysis, I believe that activists, such as Al Sharpton, open the wound, when regarding racism and make matters worse, and that Al Sharpton with help of the media are the sole factors to why there is so much violence in Ferguson.
    - Jacob

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    1. I agree with you. Many in Atlanta are protesting because it's only a question of who is next. The errors in the policies do not prevent future injustice; it encourages it. JAG

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  3. Many people gave their life and freedom in order for us to have a better future. Honestly, we do not attribute the effort, the sweats, the crisis, the discrimination, people had to go through in order for us to gain equality and freedom. Michael Brown and the Trayvon Martin case was a major conflict for the American people. I do not support neither nor any of the both cases. People went crazy and out of control with these cases. They think its "racism, discrimination, injustice." I'm not against either cases however, day by day our own blood kills one another, and we fail to realize that. If the african american people all of a sudden became so united why do they still kill their own people? Why people didn't protest in the Marley Lion case? Because he was white? People just support what they want to support, understand what they want to understand. People are very blind to realize the truth. WE should not go based on their color of the skin of a person. The media is just crap for me because it tells us what they want to say. Racism occurs in all shapes and sizes. Short story, an officer pulled me over couple weeks ago and just asked "do you have a license" it kind of threw me off, and i asked "why did I get pulled over?" and he instantly repeated the question do you have a license? and i said why? is it because im mexican and you assumed that I don't have a license? Yes, Yes I do have a license, and I'm a natural born citizen of USA now can you please tell me why did i get pulled over. ALL he said was okay ma'am have a nice day and left. The point of the story is MANY people assume stuff based on our appearance. We shouldn't judge one another, and support a case that really matters. Like i said before its in our hands to change the world and future. We CHOOSE our environment and lifestyle how we want it to be. This is a great Blog article because it states facts, and not just an opinion.

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  4. I do believe that racism has played a big role in these two cases. Two sides, white and black, have been disputing claims from one another. Basically, nothing is being accomplished other than racism and arguing. The Martin and Brown cases did gain a lot of media attention, compared to white victims of similar cases, due to the fact of the cries of the public, not just because of race. A lot of white people see this as the media being racist or bias, but in reality the media covers what the public is demanding, not just because Martin and Brown were black victims.

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    1. Excellent point Josh! You added something I had not thought to consider, except only by implication. Yes, public outcry is the difference overall that explains the coverage of one case verses the other.

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    2. The media uses propaganda to escape real issues. Racism is a real issue, yet injustice is the true target. Get people involved with the leaves and they don't worry about cutting down the tree at its roots. As a matter of fact, if you refocus them, they will perpetrate and do the dirty work for you. e.g. burn down a city and leave the destitute without help. JAG

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    3. I'm sorry Josh, but honey you are wrong.
      The news covers controversial cases because it is entertainment.
      WHY WASNT MARLEY LION'S CASE ON THE NEWS?
      Because there was NO controversy; his African American killer was prosecuted and sentenced to life in prison. So, apparently Lion gets JUSTICE!!
      Did Martin get justice? Did Brown get justice? Of course not! Their killers were NOT prosecuted.
      THIS is what the issue is. Blacks kill whites just like whites kill blacks, but whats the difference????? The difference is: BLACKS get death row and life sentences, where as the white murderers get fired from their position. HUGE injustice. Individuals who are bias don't see this........
      Think about it.

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    4. I completely agree with you Sharnese. In one case, one got justice and the other didn't so of course the news aren't going to broadcast it. A white would kill a black and either get away with it or a lesser sentence than a black and it's outrageous! Commit the same crime but SOMEHOW the white practically gets away with his or her crime. KAR

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  5. My perspective is that of a 55 year old black female, born and raised in the Jim Crow South. Both my parents and grandparents lives mirrored scenes from movies such as "The Help" or "Twelve Years a Slave". We were taught in a covert manner how to navigate through life without getting caught up in a system that will not fair in one's favor. Unfortunately, our justice system is broken. Our children should not be marching today for the same things that were marched for in the civil rights movement. The uprising of the community is a culmination of injustices and not a comparison of the two cases (T. Martin and M. Brown). I feel that the common thread is that the life of black men as a whole has no value. The responsibility of the grand jury is to examine evidence and determine if there's enough evidence to prosecute a case. Absent the fact that the perpetrators of the murders were either a police officer or vigilante, the evidence in both cases supported the fact two murders took place and justice was blind.

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    1. I do not believe every case is so black and white. Sometimes the loop holes of the laws allow people to escape justice. Many feel that those same loop holes are not available to all. Even in cases where race and bias is pushed aside and one can relate to the thoughts of a jury, the injustice is still present. The same way it took time for the legal system to recognize that segregation was inhumane, is the same way that certain laws protect the ill will of others in our day. Being legal does not make it fair or right. God's law surpasses man's laws. We respect the laws that help all and we cringe at laws that help only a few.

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  6. Since teenagers, like myself get so distracted, I read the article immediately grabbed my phone to "take a break", and the first post that popped up had a quote that read "I kept asking who did it? Isreal? Palestine? Russians? Ukraine? Then my mom answered, humans. Humans killing humans.' We should no longer focus on the color of the human being killed or the color of the human being that has done the killing. This should no long be an issue, as we have come so far since those days. Unfortunately it is an issue, whites AND blacks want to feel power, without feeling inferior to another race. I may sound cliche when I say this, but I feel as if we should all be there for each other, for we are all fighting the same battle. Whites should grieve with blacks, and blacks should grieve with whites for we have both lost one of our own. I believe in hard evidence, I don't feel sorry for the black community, I feel sorry for both victims, their family and loved ones. The only reason that I have to feel sorry for the black community is that they have are making the death of a young man about themselves, which this is not what it is about. I believe that if Darren Wilson was found not guilty, he is not guilty. I trust the law enforcement that worked the case, and believe we should let Darren Wilson get back to his life, for it was not an easy situation for himself either. As we go on our everyday life, we have the ability to change the future in many forms other than riots, being kind to everyone where blue, orange, black or white, thats where you really start the change. Your attitude has everything to do with your circumstance and future.

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  7. As a young black man, I always have to "Be Careful". What I mean by this is, because of history and the society that we live in, I understand that I will always be looked at because of the color of my skin. My parents are both educated, and have always told my brother and myself that as black men, we have to always be careful where we go and to treat people with respect and dignity regardless of what they look like. I realize that being black and a male is like having two strikes against me. I know that I have to work twice as hard to prove to society that I will not become a statistic. As a child I was always taught that the police would protect me. Well, now I'm asking myself who will protect me from the police. Why is it that the end result of a confrontation between the police and a black man is death of the black man? Why is it always, justified with the police officer stating that he feared for his life, if no weapon is involved? Yes, people died for me and others to have a better life, but what has happened to the equality that they fought so hard for? Are we regressing? Instead of lynchings, black men are gunned down or choked to death? Is this an excuse for young black men to be murdered without cause or reason? No, I don't know the facts, but I do know that their lives, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Jordan Davis, twelve year old Tamir Rice and Eric Garner, mattered. Why do they have to shoot to kill if there is no imminent danger? A police officer was fired in Tennessee for joking a white student. He was not put on administrative leave, but fired after viewing a video. Where is the justice? President Obama and Michael Brown's parents want to pass a law that police wear a body camera for evidence. Well, clearly in the death of Eric Garner, he can be heard saying he can't breathe several times, but the police officer was not indicted. Let me be clear that I disagree with the rioting and the looting. I believe in peaceful demonstrations to support your belief. There are racists in all races and racism is a learned behavior that is taught from one generation to the next, just like we are taught what religion and political party to associate with. I don't have a solution, but I'm hopeful that one day we all will be able to live in perfect harmony with each other, regardless of skin color, economic status, what someone is wearing or where they live.

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    1. Great job pointing out that the new policy of requiring body cameras on police says nothing about the Eric Garner case which had a video bringing up important questions about responsibility of the officers but no indictment as a result.

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  8. Through out the article there were some great questions that I did stop and truthfully answered, I don't believe that as a country we should be where we need to be in terms of race equality. I understand that society is upset and outraged by the decisions the courts have made on both of the cases of Martin and Brown, but I have a question will destroying businesses and in tern a whole city really help correct the system? Media has played such a major role in both court cases showing the dead victims as thugs and a nuisance to society and portraying the assailants as perfect and fit for going through with the action when media is really blurring out other important aspects of the victims. Don't get me wrong what Michael Brown did was against the law, but is death the punishment for his wrong doing? I feel that our legal system sill has much work to do in the coming years but the protesting and riots aren't going to help the cause. Looking at the gallop polls don't surprise me at all. Race equality is still a big part of society wether you like it or not. As a country we have gotten far from where we were in the 1960s but that doesn't mean we need to slow the role, as a country we still aren't where we need to be on equality. Society as a whole needs to be more educated on issues such as these before they go out and join a protest because any of the protesters out marching are doing so out of rage and emotion and not on actual knowledge. So I ask you do you think as a society and country that we are as far in race equality as we thought we would be after the passing of the civil rights legislation?
    - C. Patel

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  9. Personally, I have different approaches to each incident. I feel that in the Trayvon martin case that is a matter steriotyping. I have seen it, and I even do it myself sometimes. In the case of Mike brown, I am looking at police brutality and so much anger coming from cops. Even based on my own experience, when a cop actually put his hands in my hair because he thought I was hiding something. They tend to treat people like animals ( especially blacks) . I find the Mike Brown incident extremely serious because it is not the first and definitely won't be the last.

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  10. First off, I will like to elaborate on the poster that reference the murders on the both male teens Trayvon Martin a black male and Marley Lion a white male. What’s the difference? They were both seventeen, but the color of their made them two different human beings. I am not justifying that the actions of the man who killed Marley Lion is right, but where is his Marley killer compared to Trayvon Martins? Exactly in prison where he ought to be. Trayvon Martin murderer as well as Michael Brown killer is walking Scott-free enjoying their lives and living each day. Yes, nobody knows exactly what happen between Trayvon M. and his dispute with George Z. but according to the evidence all Trayvon had was a bag of skittles and Arizona drink can, so what did he do to deserve to die? The reason why the Trayvon Martin case made national headline news is, because many white males are killing our black men and not being accountable or even trialed for the murders of the killings. Marley Lion killer is in prison, what is there to riot about? Since the beginning of the enslavement of Africans and to their journey here to the Americas black males and female have been wrongfully accused and killed for no reason. That’s why black people are so outraged, we personally feel like our lives don’t matter and we just want our voices be heard. When people try to factor in the crime rates in black communities the term “black on black crime”, 99.9% of the time black males and females are marching straight to prison to serve their time, while police officers and “neighborhood watch” are free for murdering innocent people. People can agree to disagree that Trayvon and Michael killers were fighting for self-defense, but let’s be honest its pure murder. Black male and females are stereotype more than any other race here in America, we do not have any justice at all. A black female in Florida was sent to prison for firing a “warning” shot for self-defense from her abusive husband and she ended right in prison, while Trayvon, Oscar Grant, and Michael Brown KILLERS are free, just let that sit in.

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    1. I feel as everyone should read this because this could not be even more true. K. Rolle

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  11. This is a very has been a very hot topic for about a year if not longer now. I really feel as if ignorance lingers all around our society today. I agree with you that both sides really take an "all or nothing" approach, for this reason i feel as if that is why it is hard for white and black americans to fully unite. For many reasons the perceptions of blacks and whites differ as you mentioned, but will we ever be able to break this cycle? Its saddens me to the core to think that black Americans have to "Be careful", especially around the ones they are supposed to rely on to protect them, Getting past what is happening reguarding the cases you showed above will be hard for the black community. Especially because of the history of police brutality on blacks, but if WE as Americans (not as blacks and whites) can come together and focus on how we can prevent these incidents WE can change the world.

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  12. Shelby Gurrera GPC-NewtonApril 21, 2015 at 2:22 PM

    There are clear distinctions between the Martin and Brown cases. It has been made clear that Martin had done nothing criminal to warrant the following and harassment by George Zimmerman. Most could stipulate that he was shot just because he was black. There seems to be this idea that “black people are all suspicious.” However, Brown was shot because he had just assaulted a convenience store owner, feeling empowered even without a gun. Does this mean that the officer had the right to use such deadly force against Brown? According to the law, he did. This does not mean that the officer could not have shot him just because he was a different skin color but we will never know for sure, only the officer can know that. There is definitely a problem with racism in America. There is proof in this article. The fact that people cannot see the difference between the two young men on the poster goes to show that racism is alive and well. Lion’s killer was put in jail but Martin’s was not. That is why the Martin story got so much more media coverage. The Lion case did not even have time to gain media coverage because the killer was put in jail immediately. There is something very wrong with that picture.
    Regarding the survey information, whites are more likely to believe that racial equality has been achieved because they are naive. They do not experience what some black people have to experience everyday. I bet some whites do not even care that racial equality exists because they never had to experience it. It is so saddening to think that some people in this country are so naive to the point that they do not think racism is a problem. Wake up Americans, it is a HUGE problem as you can see with even more police racial bias coming to light in the media.

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  13. I agree with the fact that most Americans see the Brown case and Martin case in the same light without looking at the facts the cases. All people see is black versus white and that is where most stop. I have done the same thing. I have just seen the racial side of it without looking at the details. Now I can understand why so much media coverage was shown for the Martin case. It was because racism and slavery. It is easier to push under the table a crime committed by a black person to a white person because black people did not oppress white people for hundreds of years. When a white person commits a crime against a black person it strikes a bigger issue of racism reoccurring against the black man and being lesser than another individual. This is not always the case, but when a crime like this happens people’s minds revert back to thinking in this way causing a lot of media coverage. I can understand the charts a lot. Being a black man I feel the same as many other black Americans. It is easier for white people to not understand just because they do not have to experience things we go through on a daily bases. Its like getting a tooth pulled, you know its bad because you’ve heard it was bad, but you never know how much it actually hurts until it gets pulled. I say that to say everyone knows how discrimination is bad, but they do not understand until they go through it themselves

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  14. In my response to Josh, I mention that Martin and Marley's case contrasted due to the differing punishments that the officers receive in each case. The details of each case were similar, yet ironic that Martin's murderer did not receive punishment, yet Marley's murderer did.
    I recall in a lecture of Professor Robertson's, in which she mentioned that majority individuals with Post-Graduate degrees lean more so left or liberal. This doesn't mean that liberals are more intelligent, it just means that they are more open-minded and accepting, in my opinion. Conservatives are less open-minded. They aren't as accepting of diversity or change. This relates to this blog because, those whom don't see WHY the cases are different are OBVIOUSLY closed minded and conservative. They lack empathy and can't see the story from the perspective of race. I don't expect for other races to understand how African Americans are mistreated, just as I wouldn't know any of the turmoil that Mexicans or Jews experience.
    Martin's trial received EXTENSIVE media coverage because many were outraged. Just imagine if your brother or son is murdered and the culprit walks free? Wouldn't you make uproar over the issue? Wouldn't you try to make noise behind the matter? Wouldn't you strive for justice?
    On the flip side, your brother is murdered and the murderer is sentenced to life in prison. Is there any reason to make noise? Is there any reason to cause uproar and advocate for extensive media coverage??? Of course not! Justice is served and the case is closed!
    To not understand this is pure ignorance. To not see the explicit bias, you are as biased and prejudiced as those whom did not prosecute.

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  15. I have to different opinions. First, on the Trayvon Martin case, I believe he was targeted because of the stigma placed upon younger black males from the society. I also believe that his killer might not be a racist but a looney. He is so obsessed at being a cop but doesn't have the mental capacity that is why he didn't make the police force. I do believe that George zipperman used extreme force when he should have listen to the 911 operator and wait for the real Authority to come and access the situation and for that reason he should have been convicted of first degree manslaughter. Now, on the Michael brown case I strongly believe that race played a big part not only from the cop individual belief but also the police department as a whole. It has been proven from that the ferguson police dept was corrupt and still nothing was done. I wasn't in ferguson directly to say rather or not Mike Brown was indirect threat of the officer but I do know that the force the officer used was excessive. He could have aimed for the legs if that was the case that would have immobilized the suspect to where he could have detained him until other officers arrived. Now the topic in genera, I do believe that racism is not over in America but some states, and/or cities know how to disguise it well. A lot of the continue racism has to do with the older generation and the passing on and teaching their children that one color or ethnicity is better then the other when in reality we all bleed the same from the inside out: RED. Most of the younger generation in my opinion is not racist but as they say "YOU ARE A PRODUCT OF YOUR ENVIRONMENT" you can tell by their actions and they way they speak to non-White American if their households is racist or not. Until you can get all Americans on the same page to understanding that your race is just a color and that is all, then racism will never cease.

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  16. Jesse Saldana AriasMay 3, 2015 at 11:11 AM

    When it comes to both cases, I believe that in both situations the African American community over reacted. I remember watching the reactions of the black community when the Brown verdict came out. They were disrespecting their own community and looting their own stores. Whats the point in that? All i saw was a bunch of people who couldn't express themselves like civilize American citizens. The samething can be said about the Freddie Gray case, why would you go out and burn your own community down? Most hardworking african american built those building only to have them destroyed by idiots.
    Moreover, The media covers white on black crimes 24/7 but they don't cover black on black crime that occurs everyday. In my opinion blacks don't trust whites simply because of their past and how the media portrays white on black crime on TV.
    In both cases I don't see racism, I see it like any other crime. Just because a white guy killed a black guy, it desert mean it was a race issue. I believe that racism still exists in the US and its something that needs to be worked on. When it comes to the gap between blacks and whites in jail, my opinion is that race plays a role. Most blacks are likely to be discriminated against because of their skin color and because of stereotypes.

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  17. This article on the Martin and Brown cases was interesting to read. As I could predict, the charts and graphs show that depending on your race, your perception of wrong doing and fairness on this subject is slanted. I was not surprised to see that when asked the question regarding if you feel discrimination against blacks is the likely reason there are more black males in prison than white males, the results between racial groups was the most drastic. I agree with the statement in the article that says “As individuals we do ourselves an injustice, myself included, if we consistently take on a defensive and antagonistic stance”. I also agree when the author states that the “solution is easier stated than done”.
    Contrary to the statement “both sides take an “all of nothing” approach, jumping into their usual defensive postures”, I personally try not to do this. It is hard when family and friends immediately seem to give their opinion and yes, it usually is based along racial lines. I have friends of both races and sometimes it is difficult to discuss these events. When I hear about cases like this in the news, I try not to take sides and review each case individually and on its own merit. I hope that is what grand juries and/or attorney offices do as well.

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  18. I understand where all the hurt is coming from in these cases, but they aren't the only ones hurting. Just because justice IS served doesn't make it any less bearable for someone to lose a person close to them. The media never fully discloses all the information of these two cases either. They only put up what everyone wants to see which is hate crimes or racism. Missing things from the case are background checks on both of the people so as to eliminate any question of who the two people were. Some places create Zimmerman to be an awful person and Martin to be a good kid and then nice versa. The media should focus on the fact that a life was lost not try to make money off of rocking the boat in the public. We shouldn't stir hate, but come together and think of ways to prevent something like these two cases from happening again so we don't have to lose more lives. These cases are troubling in their happenings, but i don't think race is the ultimate issue here more over as it is a struggle of people to understand each other.

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  19. Ben Gagnon
    American news stations report what they want. It is extremely difficult for the general public to figure out what the true story is. News stations want to report on controversial issues because that is what will gain views. I’m not saying that there is no reason to report on these cases, but they will often hide, or under-emphasize, a part of the story that people need to be aware of.
    Humans tend to be stubborn when it comes to presenting evidence that may be contradictory to what they already believe. In many controversial cases, political and social leaders will speak out on a topic, a “call-to-action” if you will. This call-of-action will convince many people in the country of what they should believe or not believe. Many times, these leaders speak out before all of the evidence, or any evidence, is presented to anyone. Again, I’m not saying that either one of these cases do or do not have foul play involved. I am saying that it is possible for people to take one thing and run with it while ignoring many other pieces of evidence that justify the other side.

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  20. While I do believe that it's important for our society as a whole to change our negative perceptions of those that are different from us, I don't agree that this will occur with only the implementation of open dialogue and discussions. So much of how we view the world is shaped by the authority figures in our country, including our government, police force, and the media. If these authoritty figures consistently paint an incorrect picture of an entire race of people, those watching will form negative opinons as well.The change will start when televion networks stop criminalizing African Americans, when our government chooses to punish those that persecute minorities, when we stop seeing kids lying dead in the streets after a run in with a cop. We have seen time and time again what these images do to mold our opinons of each other, and ourselves. Until we began to create a new image of blacks, and other minorities, the senseless murder of unarmed people will continue.

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  21. The black community is often considered to be more tightly knit, because of the 'white fear and intimidation' that is prevalent in the urban settings. Both in the cases of Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin, the fur over the shootings results from the understanding of the community. In both cases, the families of the respective teenagers were quick to give a loving portrayal for their children – something that any parent in these circumstances would do, whether they are black or white. However, how that sparks an endless racial tirade is something that needs to be explored. It is important to note here, that countless Americans, both white and black, were sympathetic to Trayvon Martin. There were also those, who believed that Trayvon had it coming, for the kind of clothes he was wearing, and the way he carried himself. This kind of race stereotyping has led our society to a point that the moment we see a black person, we immediately see crime. On the other hand, there is the white fear and intimidation that keeps the blacks feeling oppressed. I feel there are two ranks in our society today. Those who are basis, and those who are not basis. It is the clash against these groups that makes initiatives like 'My Brother’s Keeper' from ever really shaping up.
    -NB

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