The Trayvon Martin Case: A Lesson Still to be Learned

 

 

by WALTER BRASCH

 

For years, my father, a federal employee with a top secret clearance, carried a copy of his birth certificate when he went into Baja California from our home in San Diego. Many times, when he tried to reenter the U.S., he was stopped by the Border Patrol.

My father had thick black hair and naturally dark skin, and the Patrol thought he was a Mexican brazenly trying to sneak back into the country by claiming to be married to the black-haired, blue- eyed, light-skinned woman he claimed was his wife. Once back home, he faced discrimination because neighbors thought he was Mexican; the ones who knew better discriminated because he was a Jew.

When I was 11 years old, we moved about 120 miles north to a suburb of Los Angeles. My parents bought a house in a new tract of about 150 houses, all owned by Whites and a few Hispanics. Three or four years later, a Realtor came by, plastering flyers on all the houses, announcing he had a special real good, one-time only deal. A few wouldn’t sell their houses at any price if it was a Black who was planning to move into the area. Someone in the tract finally took up the offer, and a Black family—he was a mechanical engineer—moved in. It didn’t take long before other White families began putting their houses up for sale. Only this time, they weren’t getting as much as the first family that sold out. Soon, the prices began tumbling as other Blacks and Hispanics moved in.

Eventually, the first Black family moved out. But my parents refused to sell their house. They had no intention of becoming involved with what was now known as “block busting.” A few of our Hispanic and Black neighbors wondered why we stayed; some even said we were crazy. But, until my father died in 1983, he owned that house in a neighborhood that went from almost 100 percent White to almost 100 percent Black, Hispanic, and lower-class White, refusing to be sucked in by racism.

  1. At a synagogue in Sunbury, Pa., someone painted a swastika. In New York City, unidentified individuals threw several Molotov cocktails against a rabbi’s residence. These weren’t isolated incidents. The Anti-Defamation League says there were 1,239 reported incidents in 2010. (The 2011 number is still being tallied.)

Several American communities and the states of Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, and Utah have enacted oppressive anti-immigration laws. On the surface, it appears they want to rid their areas of illegal immigrants, acting only to protect law-and-order. But, the deeper structure is that they fear Hispanics, more of them legal immigrants or citizens of the U.S. than undocumented workers, will get political, educational, and financial power and would reduce the influence of the ultra-conservative White population.

At the University of California at San Diego, a fraternity of Whites sent out invitations to a “ghetto-themed” party, which it called the “Compton Cookout.” The invitation noted that “ghetto chicks usually have gold teeth, start fights and drama, and wear cheap clothes.” At that same school last year, a Klan hood was placed on a statue of Dr. Seuss.

In Kentucky, two men shouting anti-gay slurs kidnapped and beat a gay man. In Tulsa, Okla., an 18-year-old was beaten unconscious by men shouting slurs.

Several firebombs were thrown at an Islamic cultural center and a Hindu house of worship in New York City. Throughout the country, local government and citizens, in defiance of the First Amendment, are trying to prohibit the building of mosques and cultural centers.

At innumerable local schools, where the teachers had “cultural diversity” classes in college and on-the-job “diversity training,” it’s not unusual to hear a few teachers telling racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic jokes, not just among themselves in a faculty lounge but also with students. 

White supremacists shout for “White Pride!” and Black militants call for “Black Power!” Each claims they aren’t planning to destroy any other race--although myriad Klan and Skinhead actions prove otherwise--but merely to strengthen their own. Add into the mix, a few who will shout “racism” when no racism occurs and, thus, make it difficult for those with true compassion for justice to separate the truth from the fiction. Peel the rhetoric, and the core is still fear.

And that may be why the death of Trayvon Martin is so important. George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch leader in Sanford, Fla., killed Martin, Feb. 26. Zimmerman acknowledges he killed Martin, but claims it was in self-defense. Under Florida’s reactionary “stand your ground” law, borne from fear rather than logic, people who feel threatened can take whatever action they think necessary, even shooting Black teenagers who are armed only with a pack of Skittles.

There are numerous versions of what happened, all of them advanced by myriad people with social and political agendas rather than a search for justice, no matter what they claim. But, fear is at the core of the rhetoric.  Mistrust and distrust, often fueled by the mass media with their own agendas, may lead some to irrationally believe that entire demographics of people—White, Black, Hispanic, gay, Jew, Muslim—may pose threats to their own safety, leading them to react as if the threats were real rather than imagined.

The reasons no longer matter to Trayvon Martin. The lesson however, should matter to the rest of us.

[Walter Brasch is the recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. distinguished service award. His latest book is Before the First Snow; a major theme of the book looks at issues of racism and bigotry. The book is available from Greeley & Stone Publishers or amazon, in both hardcover and ebook formats.]

 

 

 

The Trayvon Martin Case: A Lesson Still to be Learned

 

 

by WALTER BRASCH

 

For years, my father, a federal employee with a top secret clearance, carried a copy of his birth certificate when he went into Baja California from our home in San Diego. Many times, when he tried to reenter the U.S., he was stopped by the Border Patrol.

My father had thick black hair and naturally dark skin, and the Patrol thought he was a Mexican brazenly trying to sneak back into the country by claiming to be married to the black-haired, blue- eyed, light-skinned woman he claimed was his wife. Once back home, he faced discrimination because neighbors thought he was Mexican; the ones who knew better discriminated because he was a Jew.

When I was 11 years old, we moved about 120 miles north to a suburb of Los Angeles. My parents bought a house in a new tract of about 150 houses, all owned by Whites and a few Hispanics. Three or four years later, a Realtor came by, plastering flyers on all the houses, announcing he had a special real good, one-time only deal. A few wouldn’t sell their houses at any price if it was a Black who was planning to move into the area. Someone in the tract finally took up the offer, and a Black family—he was a mechanical engineer—moved in. It didn’t take long before other White families began putting their houses up for sale. Only this time, they weren’t getting as much as the first family that sold out. Soon, the prices began tumbling as other Blacks and Hispanics moved in.

Eventually, the first Black family moved out. But my parents refused to sell their house. They had no intention of becoming involved with what was now known as “block busting.” A few of our Hispanic and Black neighbors wondered why we stayed; some even said we were crazy. But, until my father died in 1983, he owned that house in a neighborhood that went from almost 100 percent White to almost 100 percent Black, Hispanic, and lower-class White, refusing to be sucked in by racism.

  1. At a synagogue in Sunbury, Pa., someone painted a swastika. In New York City, unidentified individuals threw several Molotov cocktails against a rabbi’s residence. These weren’t isolated incidents. The Anti-Defamation League says there were 1,239 reported incidents in 2010. (The 2011 number is still being tallied.)

Several American communities and the states of Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, and Utah have enacted oppressive anti-immigration laws. On the surface, it appears they want to rid their areas of illegal immigrants, acting only to protect law-and-order. But, the deeper structure is that they fear Hispanics, more of them legal immigrants or citizens of the U.S. than undocumented workers, will get political, educational, and financial power and would reduce the influence of the ultra-conservative White population.

At the University of California at San Diego, a fraternity of Whites sent out invitations to a “ghetto-themed” party, which it called the “Compton Cookout.” The invitation noted that “ghetto chicks usually have gold teeth, start fights and drama, and wear cheap clothes.” At that same school last year, a Klan hood was placed on a statue of Dr. Seuss.

In Kentucky, two men shouting anti-gay slurs kidnapped and beat a gay man. In Tulsa, Okla., an 18-year-old was beaten unconscious by men shouting slurs.

Several firebombs were thrown at an Islamic cultural center and a Hindu house of worship in New York City. Throughout the country, local government and citizens, in defiance of the First Amendment, are trying to prohibit the building of mosques and cultural centers.

At innumerable local schools, where the teachers had “cultural diversity” classes in college and on-the-job “diversity training,” it’s not unusual to hear a few teachers telling racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic jokes, not just among themselves in a faculty lounge but also with students. 

White supremacists shout for “White Pride!” and Black militants call for “Black Power!” Each claims they aren’t planning to destroy any other race--although myriad Klan and Skinhead actions prove otherwise--but merely to strengthen their own. Add into the mix, a few who will shout “racism” when no racism occurs and, thus, make it difficult for those with true compassion for justice to separate the truth from the fiction. Peel the rhetoric, and the core is still fear.

And that may be why the death of Trayvon Martin is so important. George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch leader in Sanford, Fla., killed Martin, Feb. 26. Zimmerman acknowledges he killed Martin, but claims it was in self-defense. Under Florida’s reactionary “stand your ground” law, borne from fear rather than logic, people who feel threatened can take whatever action they think necessary, even shooting Black teenagers who are armed only with a pack of Skittles.

There are numerous versions of what happened, all of them advanced by myriad people with social and political agendas rather than a search for justice, no matter what they claim. But, fear is at the core of the rhetoric.  Mistrust and distrust, often fueled by the mass media with their own agendas, may lead some to irrationally believe that entire demographics of people—White, Black, Hispanic, gay, Jew, Muslim—may pose threats to their own safety, leading them to react as if the threats were real rather than imagined.

The reasons no longer matter to Trayvon Martin. The lesson however, should matter to the rest of us.

[Walter Brasch is the recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. distinguished service award. His latest book is Before the First Snow; a major theme of the book looks at issues of racism and bigotry. The book is available from Greeley & Stone Publishers or amazon, in both hardcover and ebook formats.]

 

 

 

Glenn Beck's Horrific Lie

As much as I disagree with the hosts on Fox News, I have never called for any of them to be fired. I defended Don Imus when he got in trouble with his incendiary comments. That's because I believe a talk show host should have wide berth, even to offend. They are the conversation starters and at the heart of our political discourse.

Of course, as a talk show host I'm very biased on this issue, but I think it helps the national conversation to hear everyone out. That's even if what they're saying is outrageous or not even remotely true. Let there be a battlefield of ideas and I think the truth will win out in the long run (though it loses many battles in the short run).

Now that you know how strongly I feel about that -- I think Glenn Beck should be fired. He has told a lie so grotesque that it goes beyond the pale of even dirty politics. Just when I thought he couldn't shock my conscience anymore, he has done it. Let me explain.

George Soros survived the Holocaust. He is Jewish and when the Nazis caught up with his family his father saved his life by bribing an agricultural official to pretend Soros was his Christian godson. At one point, that man took the fourteen year old Soros to survey and appraise the property that had been confiscated from another Jewish family. Obviously Soros did not have a choice in the matter. Soros eventually survived the Holocaust.

To most this would be an amazing and harrowing story of survival during the Holocaust. To Beck it was an opportunity to paint Soros as an anti-Semite and smear him with one of the worst lies I have ever heard.

First Beck started by horribly warping this story on his Fox News show. He said of Soros:

[When he was] 14 years old, he had to help the government confiscate the land of his fellow Jewish friends and neighbors.

That's not what happened at all as you can see from above. He didn't help confiscate people's land. He didn't actively participate in betraying his Jewish neighbors or friends. The implications are horrible. But what Beck did next is much worse. He twisted the story further until he came out with this inexcusable lie on his radio show:

[H]ere's a Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps.

That lie takes my breath away. That is a lie that cannot be told.

The ADL has now condemned Beck's statements as "horrific."

Michelle Goldberg has aterrific article in The Daily Beast explaining how Beck's two part series on Fox News Channel about George Soros was classic anti-Semitism. He even named the series "Puppet Master." Nazi propaganda used to call Jews the "wire pullers."

The Nazis would say in their propaganda pieces that Jews secretly controlled everything and brought down whatever governments they didn't like. Beck's two part series on Soros talked about how he was the secret force behind the progressive agenda and surreptitiously brought down governments he didn't like (Communist governments by the way, but apparently he doesn't get credit for that). And Beck concludes by saying that we might be next. Soros might destroy our country. This is anti-Semitism 101.

One man has already tried to assassinate people who worked for the Tides Foundation because Beck accused them of being tied to George Soros. That man was caught in a shoot-out with cops before he could kill the people who worked there. Beck undeterred by what he is spurring people to do, has put his foot on the gas pedeal to try to stoke the fires more.

Fox News has told and spread many lies, ranging from the absurd (President Obama is going to spend $200 million a day in his trip to India) to the politically devastating (they invited John Kerry's accusers on-air to smear his Vietnam service repeatedly during the 2004 election). I know that's what they do. But even I didn't know it went this far. If Beck doesn't get fired over this, what else can he say? I literally cannot think of anything more outrageous.

They call themselves a "News Channel." Is this the kind of "news" people want to participate in?

This is the kind of thing people should resign in protest over. This is the kind of thing that guests shouldn't go on the channel over. This is the kind of thing that people shouldn't want their names associated with.

If Fox doesn't fire Beck over this, well then you know exactly where they stand. It certainly isn't as a news channel.

 

 

Glenn Beck's Horrific Lie

As much as I disagree with the hosts on Fox News, I have never called for any of them to be fired. I defended Don Imus when he got in trouble with his incendiary comments. That's because I believe a talk show host should have wide berth, even to offend. They are the conversation starters and at the heart of our political discourse.

Of course, as a talk show host I'm very biased on this issue, but I think it helps the national conversation to hear everyone out. That's even if what they're saying is outrageous or not even remotely true. Let there be a battlefield of ideas and I think the truth will win out in the long run (though it loses many battles in the short run).

Now that you know how strongly I feel about that -- I think Glenn Beck should be fired. He has told a lie so grotesque that it goes beyond the pale of even dirty politics. Just when I thought he couldn't shock my conscience anymore, he has done it. Let me explain.

George Soros survived the Holocaust. He is Jewish and when the Nazis caught up with his family his father saved his life by bribing an agricultural official to pretend Soros was his Christian godson. At one point, that man took the fourteen year old Soros to survey and appraise the property that had been confiscated from another Jewish family. Obviously Soros did not have a choice in the matter. Soros eventually survived the Holocaust.

To most this would be an amazing and harrowing story of survival during the Holocaust. To Beck it was an opportunity to paint Soros as an anti-Semite and smear him with one of the worst lies I have ever heard.

First Beck started by horribly warping this story on his Fox News show. He said of Soros:

[When he was] 14 years old, he had to help the government confiscate the land of his fellow Jewish friends and neighbors.

That's not what happened at all as you can see from above. He didn't help confiscate people's land. He didn't actively participate in betraying his Jewish neighbors or friends. The implications are horrible. But what Beck did next is much worse. He twisted the story further until he came out with this inexcusable lie on his radio show:

[H]ere's a Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps.

That lie takes my breath away. That is a lie that cannot be told.

The ADL has now condemned Beck's statements as "horrific."

Michelle Goldberg has aterrific article in The Daily Beast explaining how Beck's two part series on Fox News Channel about George Soros was classic anti-Semitism. He even named the series "Puppet Master." Nazi propaganda used to call Jews the "wire pullers."

The Nazis would say in their propaganda pieces that Jews secretly controlled everything and brought down whatever governments they didn't like. Beck's two part series on Soros talked about how he was the secret force behind the progressive agenda and surreptitiously brought down governments he didn't like (Communist governments by the way, but apparently he doesn't get credit for that). And Beck concludes by saying that we might be next. Soros might destroy our country. This is anti-Semitism 101.

One man has already tried to assassinate people who worked for the Tides Foundation because Beck accused them of being tied to George Soros. That man was caught in a shoot-out with cops before he could kill the people who worked there. Beck undeterred by what he is spurring people to do, has put his foot on the gas pedeal to try to stoke the fires more.

Fox News has told and spread many lies, ranging from the absurd (President Obama is going to spend $200 million a day in his trip to India) to the politically devastating (they invited John Kerry's accusers on-air to smear his Vietnam service repeatedly during the 2004 election). I know that's what they do. But even I didn't know it went this far. If Beck doesn't get fired over this, what else can he say? I literally cannot think of anything more outrageous.

They call themselves a "News Channel." Is this the kind of "news" people want to participate in?

This is the kind of thing people should resign in protest over. This is the kind of thing that guests shouldn't go on the channel over. This is the kind of thing that people shouldn't want their names associated with.

If Fox doesn't fire Beck over this, well then you know exactly where they stand. It certainly isn't as a news channel.

 

 

Helen Thomas: Her Anti-Jewish Bigotry

This diarty is NOT about Ms. Thomas' views on Israel/Palestine.  She has every right to her views.  This concerns the clear bigotry against Jews entwined throughly in her stereotype-laden comments.

For accuracy, she is captured on video telling israeli Jews to "get the hell out of Palestine..." and to "go home to...Poland and Germany..."  (Links:  (1) youtube and (2) rabbiLIVE.com, see details below.)

These comments include three core anti-Jewish themes:

  • Jews as alien intruders
  • Jews not having the rights of others (i.e., choice of where to live)
  • Trivializing the Holocaust (why else mention Poland and Germany?)
For consideration, I share this statement by Lanny Davis (former advisor to Pres. Clinton):

Helen Thomas, who I used to consider a close friend and who I used to respect, has showed herself to be an anti-Semitic bigot. This not about her disagreement about her criticisms of Israel. She has a right to criticize Israel and that is not the same as being an anti-Semite.

However, her statement that  Jews in Israel should leave Israel and go back to Poland or Germany is an ancient and well-known anti-Semitic  stereotype of the Alien Jew not belonging in the "land of Israel" — one that began  2,600 years with the first tragic and violent diaspora of the Jews at the hands of the Romans.

If she had asked all Blacks to go back to Africa, what would White House Correspondents Association position be as to whether she deserved White House press room credentials — much less a privileged honorary seat?

Of course Helen has the right as a private citizen under the First Amendment to speak her mind, even as an anti-Jewish bigot — but not as a member, much less privileged member with a reserved seat, in the WH press corps.

(Video links:  (1) http://www.youtube.com/... (2) http://rabbilive.com/...

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