What are children being told?

TUESDAY, JULY 23, 2013

About the Zimmerman verdict: What are children being told about the killing of Trayvon Martin? About the Zimmerman verdict?

On the morning after the verdict, Benjamin Jealous raised this question. He spoke with Candy Crowley as part of an error-riddled State of the Union program.

All the hacks stated their favorite fake facts. Jealous was deeply concerned:
JEALOUS (7/14/13): We should listen for our young people and search with them when they ask how is it that young Trayvon Martin could be killed by George Zimmerman and George Zimmerman gets no time when Michael Vick got two and a half years for killing dogs? When a domestic violence victim in Northern Florida shot warning shots in the air over the head of her attacker and got 20 years.


JEALOUS: And it's important that we take the feelings of our young people very seriously, and we help them sort through this.
We’ll be honest. We feel sorry for children who are getting their help from Jealous. We feel sorry for children whose loving parents are getting misled by such folk.

For an idea of what we mean, consider this heartfelt op-ed column from Sunday’s Baltimore Sun. The piece was written by the frightened, loving parents of a 12-year-old Baltimore boy.

We’re sure these parents are extremely good people. We’re sure they meant every word they wrote. But children are constantly forced to deal with the outlooks, psychodramas and misconceptions of their parents. We’re not sure we don’t feel sorry for kids who are told things like this:
After Trayvon, having 'the talk' with our son

An open letter to our 12-year-old son:

When you were a little boy, whenever you started crying, we would put you in your car seat and take you for a drive through downtown Baltimore. We would play Sweet Honey in the Rock and sing out loud until you started moving your head, clapping your hands, and singing along. You grew up on folk music and freedom songs, and though you did not understand them, we had always hoped that the meaning of the words would someday make sense. We vowed, as all parents do, to protect you and to do all that we could to make the world a better and safer place, where you could grow up and be free.

We have done all that we can for you and your brother, and yet, in so many of the ways that are important, we have failed you. The world is not a better place. It is not safer, and people are not equal. We are still being judged (and judging others) by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character. We have not gotten to the Promised Land and are really starting to question whether that land actually exists.

We are the parents of two African-American boys, and every day that we leave the house, we know that we could become Trayvon Martin's parents.
It’s true, of course, that these parents could be visited by all sorts of tragedies “every day that we leave the house.” That said, isn’t it time that we stop telling children that they are likely to be gunned down, shot through the heart by a vigilante, just for buying some candy?

Children much younger than 12 are being scared shitless as they hear the embellished stories pimped each night by demagogues on TV. (Most of the demagogues are white.) Loving parents hear those stories and they don’t understand how many of the “facts” they’re hearing are untrue, bogus, false—fake.

We hate to provide the buzzkill here, but the tragic killing of Trayvon Martin was an unusual event. In large part, that explains why we’ve spent so much time discussing it.

Vigilantes are not gunning down children every time they go out for Skittles. Are we sure we want to terrify this many good children this way?

In every generation, parents impose their fears and their worldviews on their children. Twelve years later, should these loving parents really feel they have “failed” their son because people “are still not equal?” We’re sorry, but statements like that seem aimed at parents’ emotional needs more than at those of their children.

Inevitably, we end up here. To our ear, this sounds unfortunate:
For 12 years, you have been protected. You have no idea of what it means to struggle. You have never been made to feel invisible and have never felt profiled or threatened. We have protected you when we probably should have prepared you. Now that the jury has spoken and the dust has settled, we will turn our attention to speaking to you and your brother every day about what you need to know and what you need to do to navigate your way through this city and through this country. We still believe that the world will be a better place, but, son, you will have to create it—and where we failed, you will succeed. We look forward to being there on that day and to celebrating with you.
Really? Those kids are going to hear “the talk” every day? Because of what the Zimmerman jury said?

These devoted parents make it clear that they know about the full range of dangers confronting kids who live in our cities. “Your mother cried when the George Zimmerman verdict was announced,” they write, “but those tears are nothing compared to the ones that she sheds over the senseless violence that happens every day across this city.”

Good for this mother, who actually cares! One sensational Baltimore teenager lost her life just last week at the hands of another teen who had lost his way.

On balance, this open letter discusses the potential danger from youths who have lost their way more than the danger from vigilantes. Statistically, that is surely the larger danger. So why is this open letter tied to the Zimmerman verdict?

These parents discuss the need for “the talk.” Sadly, that need exists. But at present, are children perhaps being terrified to serve the needs of their parents? More specifically, to serve the needs of the people who are on TV each night, conning and scaring the rest of the nation by endlessly stating their favorite fake facts?

By disappearing large piles of facts which may help explain what happened that night? By creating brain-dead comparisons between Zimmerman and Michael Vick? (For the record, we like Michael Vick.)

Increasingly, those people on TV strike us as very bad people. Because of the various needs of those very bad people, a whole lot of children, from 12 on down, are being aggressively frightened, often by bogus facts.

(A bridge collapsed in Minneapolis a few years back. We didn’t stage a national breakdown in which children were told that they’re doing to drown the next time they drive with their mother.)

We don’t think much of the various Jealous types these days. More than anything else, we are increasingly blown away by how dishonest they are. As tfromse people serve their own needs, the really good people, the really good parents, are getting more and more scared.

Why not tell those parents the truth? What makes these horrible people keep reciting their treasured fake facts? What makes them willing to disappear all the rest of those facts?

Very good people wrote that column. Very bad people have conned us each night on the TV machine.

Tomorrow: Another pile of fake facts on The One True Channel

Postscript: Your lizard brain will tell you that you need to be outraged by what we have said. Why don't you do the right thing just for once? Get a tight hold on your lizard!


  1. But at present, are children perhaps being terrified to serve the needs of their parents? More specifically, to serve the needs of the people who are on TV each night, conning and scaring the rest of the nation by endlessly stating their favorite fake facts?

    Oh no. TDH has not only challenged the rubes' right to feel deep outrage over Lawrence O'Donnell's lies, but has implicated the Lawrence's ilk and their willfully gullible fans in child abuse.

    Fabulous article.

  2. For the love of facts...

    If an armed George Zimmerman had not followed an unarmed Trayvon Martin a few minutes after 7PM, there would have been no reason for Trayvon Martin to confront George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin would be alive today.

    The above is all that one can say one knows
    about that fateful evening. George Zimmerman should have been convicted of manslaughter. Trayvon Martin's family and our humanity did not receive justice.

    Tell that to the children.

    Tell a child that it should run from the stranger, who is following it, if it is able. Tell a child not to confront the stranger who is following it, because the stranger might kill the child and some stupid jurors will conclude that the stranger is not guilty, because the stranger with the gun is not responsible for provoking the child.

    The reason the armed adult is not responsible for provoking the unarmed child is because the child is an African-American child. Tell that to the children, for the love of facts.

    1. The above is all that one can say one knows
      about that fateful evening. George Zimmerman should have been convicted of manslaughter.

      But "the above" did not describe manslaughter. In fact,"the above" sounds like actions that are perfectly legal.

    2. gcwall - your argument is about as relevant as saying that if not for George Zimmerman being born then he wouldn't have killed Martin.

    3. "The above is all that one can say one knows
      about that fateful evening."

      FALSE. Flat out lying, gcwall.

      We know other facts.

      We know that Zimmerman was injured before the gunshot that killed Martin. His nose and the back of his head were both injured.

      We know that Martin was injured before the gunshot that killed him. His hands were injured.

      We know that an eyewitness claimed under penalty of perjury that they saw Martin pummeling Zimmerman.



    5. It would be safe to bet you've never referred to a 17 year old as a "child" in your life before this case.

    6. gcwall,

      You have no evidence to show that George Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin for more than a few seconds during which the HS football player had an initial 14-second head start, if you go by the original call to police dispatch. What the final minute-and-a-half of the call to PD does show is Zimmerman arranging a meeting with police during which he is not gasping, nor panting nor in anyway giving any indication that he is pursuing anyone.

      You can show no legitimate reason for TM attacking GZ, especially given the fact that Jeantel said on the stand that TM specifically told her that he had reached the place where he was staying.

      BTW, where's that deadrat? I want to have a word with him. I feel a need to grovel in deserved humiliation after which I intend pointing out the still immensely conspicuous holes in his argument.

    7. Say, Hi Braintree,

      Speaking of those final moments Zimmerman is on the phone with the police dispatcher.

      Don't they indicate to you that, after Zimmerman is told the police don't need him to continue to follow Martin, that he evades stating he will meet them at his truck or down by the mailboxes. Instead doesn't he indicate he wants the police to call him on his cell phone when the arrive. This could indicate he didn't know where his truck was, or it could indicate he did not intend to be in it when they got there because eh was not going to let the "asshole" get away?

    8. Well, I guess old Hi Braintree is out looking
      for deadrat.

      Guess that is easier than once again raising the issue of why Trayvon didn't use the four minutes to get into his Daddy's fiance's flat, a favorite among the "Trayvon's a vicious thug" tribe. Of course, they ignore the fact that the same timeframe indicates St. George had the exact same amount of time to return to his car and probably drive over to meet the police by the mailboxes.

    9. I feel a need to grovel in deserved humiliation after which I intend pointing out the still immensely conspicuous holes in his argument.

      Thanks for that laugh

    10. "This could indicate he didn't know where his truck was, or it could indicate he did not intend to be in it when they got there because eh was not going to let the "asshole" get away?"

      He must be a slow mover since the dropped items show he was only at the T when he was attacked.

    11. "Of course, they ignore the fact that the same timeframe indicates St. George had the exact same amount of time to return to his car and probably drive over to meet the police by the mailboxes."

      He was on the phone with police for most of that time walking across to the other street and avoiding giving out his number for fear TM, who he suspected "ran" might hear.

    12. So Anon. @ 4:16., is what you are saying is that, instead of going straight back to his car, Zimmerman was kind of a dark skinned guy wandering around on the grass and through back yards talking on his cell phone looking suspicious?

    13. Sure he was. Martin should have called 311 instead of attacking him.

    14. Anonymous at 2:57,

      It indicates to me that he was either standing around or not walking very fast for all but 21 seconds of the four minutes Trayvon was supposedly running for his life. By any rights this should blow the George-Zimmerman-is-an-evil-stalker-of-black-children narrative right out of the water. I mean, I'm pushing 60 and I could have gotten away from George Zimmerman in that time frame. I keep looking for evidence of a serious life-threatening pursuit of Martin and it's just not there. The Zimmerman haters are filling in the blacks with a combination of conjecture and false information while conspicuously ignoring the plain words of the prosecution's star witness.

      This is quite simply a Duke lacrosse that went to trial. It's the same damn business over again. No wonder people don't like or trust liberals. Our bigotry could not possibly be more naked or obvious. If I thought that libertarianism actually worked I would be the most passionate libertarian you ever saw. But there's very little evidence that it does, so I'm stuck with liberalism.

    15. So Hi, Zimmerman wasn't exactly trying to get back to his vehicle during those four minutes from saying OK until he was allegedly viciously attacked?

    16. Oh, Anonymous at 4:11.

      Oops, I missed you.

      Well, OK then. You tell me where Trayvon was during those four minutes, especially since Rachel Jeantel put him at his father's girlfriend's place while on the stand. You tell me how he got all the way back to meet GZ over two largish condo buildings away.

      Please. Let me see your explanation. OK?

    17. Nope, not from when he said OK. From the time he said "he's running" before he left his car (to which the dispatcher asked for more information as to which way he was running)

    18. Anonynmous at 6:26 PM

      You owe me a beer.

    19. Anonymous @ 1:50P,

      At the risk of turning into TDH, we have a witness who saw Martin on top of Zimmerman (as identified by the color of their clothing) but who didn't see any blows. I think we can take it as a given that Martin struck Zimmerman.

    20. HB,

      Speak of the devil and he appears before you in commentary.

      Nothing satisfies me more than the groveling of ignoramuses, so thank you in advance for that.

      I'll pretend that after the groveling, nothing satisfies me more than being corrected by ignoramuses, so I'll claim to look forward to your pointing out the conspicuous holes in my argument.

      But let's save some time and effort: My argument requires neither the villainy of Zimmerman nor the illegality of anything he did. My argument requires neither the sainthood of Martin nor the legality of anything he did. You claim to be looking for me, but your previous comments lead me to believe that you've mistaken me for others. Perhaps I just look suspicious, lurking around TDH in the rain in my hoodie, peering into other people's comments.

      Let the groveling begin.

    21. Fine, here goes.

      No I did not read you properly. I flew off the handle after reading only some of what you wrote and I unfairly assumed that you were one of the Zimmerman attackers. I fucked up and I hereby sincerely apologize for being an asshole. Jesus, what a schmuck!

      Now that that's over with (and I do hope you accept my sincere taking responsibility for my bullshit), I still don't see any logical reason for dismissing Jeantel's description of the events as hearsay. You have established that it's admissible in court, no? And she is the only real witness with any sort of close-to-reliable clue about Trayvon's whereabouts, correct?

      So, on what rational basis do you dismiss her good-enough-for court testimony? Why would she lie or make up something like that? Remember, she says that she told TM to run to which, according to her, Trayvon told her that he was near where he was staying. Is this not far and away the most solid evidence we have for where Trayvon went while Zimmerman was on the phone with Sanford PD? Simply calling it "hearsay" does not seem to prove much at all. If it's good enough to stand up in court don't you need something more persuasive than mere labeling in order to dismiss this?

      The thing about the Piers Morgan show is that it is not court testimony but, again, why would she say something like that if it wasn't true? Doesn't this smack of someone who is damning their friend but is too stupid to know it? Since she seems to have established TM's whereabouts and thereby established that he had to have double-backed on Zimmerman instead of escaping to safety after her suggestion that Zimmerman wanted to rape him is this not in fact the best explanation for what happened that night?

      You can call it hearsay and make snide remarks about Piers Morgan but I see no reason not to listen to her. When people shade the truth it's generally to make themselves and their friends look better. When people let slip things that make them look bad or guilty, that's usually a lot closer to the truth.

      Also, let's not forget that the physical evidence strongly indicates that Martin was overwhelmingly the aggression and that Zimmerman seems far and away to have gotten the worst of it up until the gun shot.

      Although the case against him never made much sense to me from day one, I was for a time, quite willing to believe that Zimmerman was the bad guy provided some sort of convincing evidence was shown. Near as I can tell it never was.

    22. HB,

      You give excellent grovel, and I thank you for noting that I'm not part of the Zimmerman attack squad. You're only the second person on these comments to acknowledge a mistake.

      Let's move on to hearsay. For purposes of discussion, let's restrict ourselves to witness testimony. Hearsay is any evidence a witness gives to substantiate a fact not known through the direct knowledge of the witness but rather through the statements of other parties. Thus, hearsay is something a witness reports as true because she heard someone say it was true (thus the name) rather than something a witness reports as true because she experienced it. The latter is known as direct testimony.

      There are two parts to determine whether a statement is hearsay: 1) whether it is a report of another person's observation and 2) whether the statement is offered as evidence of the truth of the other person's observation.

      If a witness testifies that another person said something for the purposes of proving what the person said, that's not hearsay. If a witness testifies that another person said something for the purposes of proving that what the person said is true, that is hearsay.

      Direct testimony:

      Q: Did you ever hear Mr. Jones denigrate Mr. Smith?
      A: Yes, Jones told me Smith was a thief.


      Q: How do you know Smith is a thief?
      A: Jones told me Smith was a thief.

      Same answer both times, but in the first case the witness testifies to a derogatory statement that he, himself heard, so it's direct testimony. In the second case the witness offers what he heard as proof of the truth of what he heard, so it's hearsay.

      Generally speaking, hearsay is considered unreliable and thus inadmissible. But there are two wrinkles. The first is that there are a number of exceptions to the general rule. Three well-known examples are excited utterance, admission against interest, and dying declaration. The law considers that people tell the truth when they are surprised into making spontaneous statements, when they say things unflattering about themselves, and when they know they're dying.

      Inadmissible hearsay:

      Q: How do you know Smith is a thief?
      A: Jones told me Smith was a thief.

      Admissible hearsay:

      Q: How do you know Smith is a thief?
      A: Smith told me that he stole the money.

      The second consideration is that hearsay is ruled admissible or not by the judge, but only upon objection from one of the attorneys.

      Every answer that Jeantel gave about Martin's whereabouts is hearsay to the truth of where Martin actually stood. She doesn't have any direct knowledge that Martin was leaving the "mail area." The only reason she knows that fact is that Martin told her.

      Her testimony that Martin yelled "Get off! Get off!" was hearsay but admissible under the excited utterance exception.

      Her testimony that Martin said he was being followed by a "creepy-assed cracker" was direct testimony to show that he used a racial slur but inadmissible hearsay to show that someone was actually following him. Unless Jeantel was there that night to actually see someone following Martin, she can't give direct testimony that he was followed. But she actually heard the words "creepy-assed cracker," so her testimony is direct that he said it.

      I hope I've been clear.

      (continued on deadrat's next comment)

    23. (continued from deadrat's previous comment)

      Now, there are a couple of interesting questions here. One that's not yours and one that is.

      Not yours: Why didn't the defense object to hearsay testimony? I can only guess, and if that's of interest to you, history says I can comment at length.

      Yours: Why would she lie? She's probably not; she's probably reporting her conversation accurately. She's just not in a position to vouch for the truth of what she's been told; she can only say what she's been told.

      I think your underlying question is why would Martin lie to her? Why can't you trust what he tells her on the phone? I'm just not very trusting of interested parties when it comes to determining criminal liability. I don't trust Zimmerman's accounts entirely and he's giving a first-hand account if not testimony, and most of what he said agrees with Jeantel's account of what she reports Martin said.

  3. If George Zimmerman had been found guilty of manslaughter the decision would have made no difference on the real lives of black children throughout this country.

    The threat they face, the dangers they have to escape would have not changed one bit if he had been sent to jail.

    This was a terrible, awful tragedy - a perfect storm of misunderstanding and misinterpretations - that very rarely occur. More black children will die in backyard swimming pool accidents than killed by neighbor watch members.

    That does not excuse Zimmerman's behavior not does it mean there is no racism or injustice that those children have to face. Racism is real, racial profiling is real, black children face terrible obstacles put in their way by an unfair country.

    But this tragedy is not an example of it. It's just not.

  4. The misreporting of this case can only increase racial mistrust. Yet, Trayvon's racial mistrust may have been part of the cause.

    George Zimmerman was in the process of doing a favor for Trayvon Martin. Z was helping to protect the security of the home where Martin was staying. In theory, Martin ought to have appreciated Zimmerman's efforts, but obviously Martin didn't see Zimmerman as his benefactor. As they say, No good deed goes unpunished.

    1. "Yet Trayvon's racial mistrust may have been part of the cause."

      Time after time you have done just the opposite of what you accuse "race hustler's" and "liberal' of doing. You have painted Trayvon as a bad character whose flaws are responsible for the outcome of this encounter.

      You have painted Zimmerman as a blameless. selfless soul only out for social justice and good. You have invented facts to suit your story.

      Zimmerman was not doing a favor for Trayvon Martin. His idea of "protecting the security" of the neighborhood meant singling out a teenager he did not recognize for police and his own surveillance. Once he recognized the person he was tailing in his car was black, he took it on himself to continue that surveillance on foot, while armed, labelling the boy he was tailing a"fucking punk," and an "asshole" who always gets away.

      If Zimmerman wanted to protect Martin's host home and do him a favor, why did he never identify himself?


    2. He didn't have time before Martin broke his nose?

    3. Sorry Anon @ 4:11.

      He could have rolled down the window of his car when Trayvon came up to "scope him out"
      and "glare at him" when he was still in his car talking to the dispatcher.

      Surely he could have said something in the four minutes after he said "OK" to the dispatcher's suggestion he not follow the "fucking punk" and the time neighbors started calling 911 reporting a fight and screaming. You know those four minutes, don't you Anon? They were the four minutes immediately after he was at the point he said OK, a point he reached two and a half minutes after he first called the police from his car. I guess he was having trouble finding his way back in the neighborhood he lived and patrolled in the dark.

    4. Just so I'm totally clear on the timeline, when exactly was it that that racist called him a "cracker."

      Do we know the timing for that racist comment?

  5. Bob, please correct this typo:

    "As tfromse people"

    Usually with typos I can tell what was meant, but in this case, I don't know what that was supposed to say.


    1. "As tfromse people"

      I think Bob's point here is ...[fill in the blank].

    2. As these people

  6. "Why not tell these people the truth?" Apparently Bob, it is your lizard brain at work, not the other way around.

    Both parents involved in this "letter" are educators. One teaches at a religious school. The other has a PhD and teaches at the college level after a stint as a middle school teacher in Baltimore. The latter point should sound familiar. What isn't so familiar is the experience of growing up black in this country, a fact you somtimes feel free to disaggregate from your discussion of events. That fact does, however, shape perceptions of events as surely as bearing witness to false statements made about one's college roomate while he was running for President can shape or even dominate one's perspective.

    1. The book "Nurture Shock," about parenting, points out that white parents rarely talk with their kids explicitly about race whereas African American parents do. White kids can and should be taught not to stereotype or discriminate based on race. It would be nice if African American parents were able to tell their kids that not all white people are going to behave badly toward them and that not all unfortunate occurrences in their lives will be determined by race. Psychologically, explaining things by making causal attributions about racism is protective of one's ego but it reduces motivation toward striving for goals because it can make people feel like their chances of success are lessened and that it is useless to try. Parents who teach their children negative lessons about the impact of race on their prospects (whether for career success or simple survival) may be handicapping them while giving them a comforting belief. Now that opportunities have improved for minority children, shouldn't parents be giving more hopeful explanations to their children instead of comforting them for a life of disappointment?

      Note -- this question is aimed at race issues in general, not about Zimmerman. But, if I were to apply it to Martin, I might wonder why he was so focused on fighting instead of school achievement and making a place for himself in some field. Some commenters have suggested that he wanted to become a pilot. Shouldn't someone have pointed out to him that school success and staying out of trouble (a clean record) and avoiding drugs would be the best way to accomplish that? I don't think our kids need to be scared -- they need guidance about how to identify goals and achieve them. There are African American pilots -- how did they get into there jobs and how could Trayvon have followed in their footsteps? Making that explicit to kids like Trayvon is a way to avoid tragedies like this one, in my opinion and I think that is partially what Bob may be referring to when he talks about kids who have lost their way.

    2. From the contents of his cell phone.

    3. lol dude. The's 7 pgs of txt msgs. More redacted than abt. ftn.

      U wanna judge 17 yr old on cell texts?

      U must not hve tn boy lk I do.


    4. Your boys text about where they've hidden their weed, about going in together to buy a gun, about being kicked out of school for fighting? Too bad.

      What is under the redacted parts?

    5. Anon @ 2:34

      Never said mine talked about anything like that. I would say anyobody who thinks selected text messages from a 17 year old should, must less would ever reveal a focus on school acheivement or a discussion of career goals, as you suggested, is a laughable idiot who has never parented in the cell phone era.

    6. I don't think kids who are on track to become pilots spend their spare time talking about weed, guns, fighting, and the trouble they are in with their parents. Look at the content -- it isn't that Trayvon is not mentioning school, but he is skipping school. You don't do that if you plan any kind of career after high school, since you will need to be accepted into a college. Trayvon is 17, so he should be thinking about that and the impact of truancy of his grades. Instead he is laughing about being suspended again and having to go to a different school. He has no focus whatsoever on his future. THAT is not typical of kids on track to make something of themselves. He doesn't have to be sharing pictures of his favorite airplanes. He needs to NOT be talking about guns, fighting, weed, truancy, and so on, with friends who are giving him some solid advice but not themselves on track to make something of themselves either. And college-bound kids do text about school occasionally because they do worry about their performance, grades, getting into college and so on. That pressure is part of their lives. If there is a disconnect for African American kids between having goals and doing what is necessary to accomplish them, that is a real problem.

    7. Anon @ 4:49

      Thanks for reafffirming my point that you have not spent any time dealing with texts involving teenagers of any race.

    8. Because THEY ALL talk constantly about weed, fighting, school suspensions, skipping school, right 5:25?

      What they text about tells you nothing, nothing at all. Kids are all alike.

      Wtvr dad.

    9. No, most do not have names like NO_LIMIT_NIGGA and discuss illegal firearms transactions, fighting, drugs, ditching school, being kicked out of their homes by their mothers.

    10. Anonymous @ 6:21P,

      "No Limit NIggas" is a rap song. Parents about their kids' generation's music and white people about race -- setting the zero on the clueless scale for decades.

    11. And the guns, fighting, drugs, suspensions, and eviction by his mother?

  7. The condescension at this site aimed toward black parents is so thick you could cut it with a lecture.
    I would guess that no other (i.e. non-black) youngsters get into trouble or are taught by their parents to be wary of the "other". Amazing.

    p.s.: Bob,
    Preemptively insult anyone who might disagree with you.

    1. So is the obvious message, "hey, if you're 17, don't punch an adult in the nose"?

      20 women from Baltimore murdered this year, I believe most of them black, must of them much much less likely to do something violent than a teen male.

      But we'll keep on debating Trayvon & George.

    2. There is "the talk" that women get from their parents about not going out after dark, never going somewhere alone, not getting too drunk at a party, watching out for obvious creeps, never speaking to a man on the street, what to do when one starts following you around or stalking you, leaving the door open when called into your bosses or teacher's office, crossing the street in front of construction sites, avoiding those guys standing on the corner in front of the 7-11, not getting into a car with someone who offers you a ride (and of course not hitch-hiking), staying away from older men, never letting a boyfriend hit or abuse you, etc.

      And in spite of this women still get murdered. Go figure. A lot of us think "the talk" should be focused on violence and civility, not race.

    3. Good comment Anon. @ 4:07. Unfortunately, around these parts, even cutting the thickest condescension with the sharpest of lectures only results in its regeneration.
      Kinda like cutting off the tail of a preemptive lizard.

    4. Yes, there is no basis for suggesting improvement in African American parenting skills, given the highly successful way their kids are turning out. Trayvon's parents clearly did everything right and so do most, if not all African American parents, despite statistics on outcomes for their children. The problem is just racism. /end sarcasm

      It must be very difficult for Martin's parents to accept any responsibility for what happened to their son, so their aggressive pursuit of Zimmerman based on a belief that their son was targeted by a racist vigilante is understandable. Others supporting them do not have the same excuse and seem to have a variety of other, very self-serving motives.

    5. Anon: 4:57P. Re-read my comment @ 4:07P and cite my claim that any parent does everything right. Cognition is apparently not your strong suit. I could (but I won't) list crimes committed by non-black criminals. But keep lying to yourself.
      Feel better Bunkie?
      You and your cohorts have successfully slimed Martin; Now it's time to change focus and slime his parents.

    6. The condescension at this site toward black parents sure isn't coming from Somerby, or else you could point it out, Anonymous 4:07, right?

      He's been talking about asshole "leaders" like Ben Jealous.

      I agree.

      I feel sorry for anyone who's getting parental advice based on the nonsense Jealous has been spewing regarding the Martin/Zimmerman case. Happily, I don't *know* for a fact that anyone has been listening to Jealous.

      But I do know Jealous has been awful.

    7. Anon. 5:40P. I wrote @ 4:07P "The condescension at this site...". No mention of Somerby (except for his preemptive insult). I hate to be rude but, again, to repeat, cognition is not your strong suit.

    8. No, you don't hate to be rude, otherwise you wouldn't resort to it so quickly.

      Your post strongly hinted that it was about what Somerby wrote: It wasn't a response to anything anyone specifically wrote, since you quoted no one and didn't reply to any post. "Bob" is the only person you mentioned.

      Clearly, using The Internets isn't your strong suit, so you're forgiven, but at least I won't pretend I hate being rude to you, you stupid prick.

  8. Years ago it was about 15 degrees F. Outside a 7-11 a couple of black kids asked if I would give them a ride home. They were on their bikes, it was late and too damn cold to pedal home. Under the circumstances I believed them and we loaded up the bikes and took off.

    I asked them their address and they just wanted me to drop them off at a nearby corner. I said don't be ridiculous. I'll get you home. They seemed reluctant but I got them home.

    It didn't occur to me at the time, but I wonder if their parents were upset when they learned the boys had accepted a ride from a stranger, white or not.

    Now I'm hearing Trayvon's snack run was really a drug deal. Combining Arizona watermelon fruit punch with Skittles and Robitussin is supposed create some sort of cheap high called "that purple drank."

    I'm also seeing at right wing websites that Trayvon was some sort of big time drug dealer. If he was a drug dealer, why did he have to rely on cough syrup to get a teenager's buzz?

    Even if he was a dealer or enjoyed altering his state of mind with fruit juices, how does that materially affect the events of the night of his death?

    Whatever the left may be doing, some on the right are dealing in the character assassination of a scared kid who got killed because some amateur got out his car with a gun.

    1. Nothing Trayvon was up to whether it was buying and selling guns or making purple drank has much to do with the facts of the case. But a "scared kid" does something different with their 4 minutes than what he did. A dissed or bored kid that is on the violent and thug end of the spectrum does exactly what he did.

    2. I don't much care what your "right wing sites" have been doing, Jeeves.

      I do know what the mainstream, much more listened-to, newspapers and TV programs have been doing. I think it's reasonable to suppose they've been more influential. Somerby hasn't been wrong about them.

      Does the malfeasance of the mainstream bother you? Or should we join you in worrying more about smaller gutter sites?

  9. A couple of days ago, Joe Scarborough went on an error-filled tirade about the Zimmerman verdict that should serve as a touchstone for self-serving pandering ginned-up 'moral outrage' that declares the entire universe irrelevant next to some half-baked narrative.

    Must these people earn their social merit badges on the backs of the public?

  10. "Must these people earn their social badges on the backs of the public?"


  11. The unnecessary death of a teenager does not require "ginning up" to solicit empathy.

    1. It doesn't? Thousands of black teenagers are murdered every year in this country. I don't see much empathy from you or most other liberals. You don't even know their names. Apparently you haven't been ginned up enough to empathize with these victims.

  12. Yeah, I love children too. Named for the beautiful depths of the ocean, I think you will like orca agate freeform.