Revolutionizing Awareness

helping humanity, make choices, more so through awareness, than ignorance

Posts Tagged ‘Racism’

No Crime, but an Arrest and Two Strip-Searches

Posted by Admin on April 16, 2012

Published: March 7, 2011

Albert W. Florence was held for eight days in two counties on a civil contempt charge, even though he had paid the relevant fine.

Albert W. Florence believes that black men who drive nice cars in New Jersey run a risk of being questioned by the police. For that reason, he kept handy a 2003 document showing he had paid a court-imposed fine stemming from a traffic offense, just in case.

It did not seem to help.

In March 2005, Mr. Florence was in the passenger seat of his BMW when a state trooper pulled it over for speeding. His wife, April, was driving. His 4-year-old son, Shamar, was in the back.

The trooper ran a records search, and he found an outstanding warrant based on the supposedly unpaid fine. Mr. Florence showed the trooper the document, but he was arrested anyway.

A failure to pay a fine is not a crime. It is, rather, what New Jersey law calls a nonindictable offense. Mr. Florence was nonetheless held for eight days in two counties on a charge of civil contempt before matters were sorted out.

In the process, he was strip-searched twice.

“Turn around,” he remembered being told while he stood naked before several guards and prisoners. “Squat and cough. Spread your cheeks.”

The treatment stung. “I consider myself a man’s man,” said Mr. Florence, a finance executive for a car dealership. “Six-three. Big guy. It was humiliating. It made me feel less than a man. It made me feel not better than an animal.”

The Supreme Court is likely to decide this month whether to hear Mr. Florence’s caseagainst officials in New Jersey over the searches, and there is reason to think it will.

The federal courts of appeal are divided over whether blanket policies requiring jailhouse strip-searches of people arrested for minor offenses violate the Fourth Amendment. Eight courts have ruled that such searches are proper only if there is a reasonable suspicion that the arrested person has weapons or contraband.

The more recent trend, from appeals courts in AtlantaSan Francisco and Philadelphia, is to allow searches no matter how minor the charge. Some potential examples cited by dissenting judges in those cases: violating a leash law, driving without a license, failing to pay child support.

Although the judges in the majority in Mr. Florence’s case, the one heard in Philadelphia, said they had been presented with no evidence that the searches were needed, they nonetheless ruled that they would not second-guess corrections officials who said they feared that people like Mr. Florence would smuggle contraband into their jails.

The most pertinent Supreme Court decision, Bell v. Wolfish, was decided by a 5-to-4 vote in 1979. It allowed strip-searches of people held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York after “contact visits” with outsiders.

On the one hand, such visits are planned and may provide opportunities for smuggling contraband in a way that unanticipated arrests do not. On the other, as Judge Marvin E. Frankel of Federal District Court in Manhattan wrote in the case in 1977, contact visits take place in front of guards. “The secreting of objects in rectal or genital areas becomes in this situation an imposing challenge to nerves and agility,” Judge Frankel wrote.

The recent decisions allowing strip-searches of all arrestees have said they were authorized by the Supreme Court’s Bell decision. In the Atlanta case, Judge Ed Carnes said that new inmates enter facilities there after “one big and prolonged contact visit with the outside world.”

In Mr. Florence’s case, the majority used interesting reasoning to justify routine strip-searches.

“It is plausible,” Judge Thomas M. Hardiman wrote, “that incarcerated persons will induce or recruit others to subject themselves to arrest on nonindictable offenses to smuggle weapons or other contraband into the facility.”

Mr. Florence’s lawyer, Susan Chana Lask, said that would make sense if her client were “Houdini in reverse” — a master of becoming incarcerated though blameless, in the hope of passing along contraband to confederates waiting for him inside.

In his dissent in Mr. Florence’s case, Judge Louis H. Pollak, a former dean of Yale Law School, was also skeptical of the majority’s theory. “One might doubt,” he wrote, “that individuals would deliberately commit minor offenses such as civil contempt — the offense for which Florence was arrested — and then secrete contraband on their persons, all in the hope that they will, at some future moment, be arrested and taken to jail to make their illicit deliveries.”

In urging the Supreme Court not to hear Mr. Florence’s case, officials from Burlington County, N.J., allowed that “perhaps petitioner’s frustration is understandable.”

But jails are dangerous places, the brief said. “It might even be argued that those arrested on nonindictable or other ‘minor’ offenses would be particularly anxious,” the brief reasoned, to make sure that everyone around them was thoroughly searched.

Mr. Florence’s son has drawn a lesson from what he saw from the back seat in 2005. “If he sees a cop and we’re together,” Mr. Florence testified in 2006, “he still asks, ‘Daddy, are you going to jail?’ ”

wrote recently about a criminal libel action in Paris over a book review. On Thursday, a French court ruled against the unhappy author, Karin Calvo-Goller, saying she had abused the judicial process by complaining about a review that did not go beyond “the limits of free criticism to which all authors of intellectual works expose themselves.”

A version of this article appeared in print on March 8, 2011, on page A17 of the New York edition.


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Rampant Racism Rolling

Posted by Admin on January 21, 2012

by tonysutrisno in Society, January 14, 2012

Rampant Racism Rolling.

A news broke yesteryear,that shook the roots of complacency,that each Indian was so substantially embedded in.It encompassed a fellow Indian,being ruthlessly ravaged,deep down under(Australia).The word was nimble in its course and the whole of India was apprised,in a blink of eye.The country borne witness to boisterous and belligerent protests in the aftermath of the victimized and eventually hospitalized student of Indian origin. For once,we were all united.Before I put forth,the sole intent behind this article,i would like to define ‘Racism’ articulatory.

The lexicon defines ‘Racism’ as-Discriminatory or abusive behavior towards members of another race.As for this article,I will take this very definition to enunciate my hypothesis.Some of the citizenry on hearing sporadic occurrences of racism,get pushed in to delirium,and plunge in to selfish pride about how pious and ‘un’-racist they are.But are they really?Yes, sure we are not racists,we are Indians.We have inherited the regime of ‘All are equal’,which our selfless ancestors so diligently and incessantly worked for.For instance,if we ‘accidentally’ refer an inhabitant of eastern India as ‘Chinky’,it doesn’t make us racists,or ‘hypothetically’ if we advert someone who dwells in southern India as ‘Malli’ or ‘Yangad-Bangad’,it won’t make us racists as we have a constitution that says otherwise.

Even the profane language which we use to cite the scheduled castes nor the address of a ‘Bengali’ as ‘Macchi’,pronounce us as racists,as we are bound to joke,we are not brooding guilty,we are making humour.Our constant utterance to Muslims’ as ‘Katu*s’,is really humourous,isn’t it?I am erupting with laughter,aren’t you?Well I am sure the jokes about those belonging to the ‘Sikh’ community will make you laugh.What a secular country,what an amusing population.We bode our full respect to all religions.We are not racists,we are clowns,we elicit humour.I urge you in strongest words to refute and reprimand anyone and everyone who says we,the Indians are racists,and patronage those who appreciate our humour.

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Why “Shit White Girls Say To Black Girls” strikes a nerve

Posted by Admin on January 21, 2012

Posted on January 16, 2012 by

Franchesca Ramsey released part two of “Sh*t White Girls Say To Black Girls” recently and I can say it’s just as funny as part one. I loved the part about she, imitating a white girl, said she dated a black guy in college and went on about how large he was. It reminded me of my coworker who said she slept with a black guy in college and couldn’t understand how us black girls could “do it” as all black man are well-endowed. No joke. Apparently our vaginas are made to be extra long and wide to accommodate the BBP. Anyway…

I also want to speak about the backlash Ramsey’s video has gotten, particularly in comment sections of websites such as The Huffington Post and Jezebel. I just posted one comment I saw on The Huffington Post page, which pretty much sums the complaints:

I’m white and I used to live in an all black part of town. When I walked down the street people would roll down their windows and yell all kinds of stuff at me. Some of it I can’t post because the message would get deleted. It happened all the time—ever couple of blocks. And when I drive through that same neighborho­od today, people who are walking yell at me as I’m driving.

What the girl in the video seems to be calling racism is just naivete and ignorance. If her white friends didn’t like her they wouldn’t hang out with her.
Having been the only white among mostly blacks, they treated me like crap. Some African-Am­ericans are the most racist people of all. And they are often more racist toward their own race than they are to white people, because they taunt other blacks for being white or for not being black enough.The girl who made the video seems to be blissfully unaware of all this. I think she’s more racist than she thinks.

Most of the comments I’ve read have that same spin on them: white people face racism and discrimination, too! Most of the grumblings, as Tami Winfrey Harris wrote at Clutch Magazine, range from people crying reverse racism to people who downright don’t believe people actually speak like this.

The comment I posted above is the prototypical response people of color get when whiteness gets uncomfortable or offended with being labeled as racist. Since whiteness and white privilege teaches white people that they are inherently good and only racism is committed by a handful of folks, the charge of racism being an institutional ideology–one that white people benefit from–goes against what white people have been brainwashed to believe.

It’s no coincidence that backlash has been brewing against Ramsey’s video. Whenever whiteness is criticized or when people of color point out  racism, whiteness retreats into defense mode and often lay the racism claim at the feet of people of color, as the commenter stated in her response on The Huffington Post.

You can talk to any black person and they will tell you they’ve had white people, both men and women, boys and girls, make these same comments to them. You can talk to any white person, woman or man, girl or boy, and they have probably made comments similar to the examples in the video to a black person at one point in their lives.

The reason why this video strikes a nerve among black women is it puts a clever spin on the many microaggressive forms of racism we face on a daily basis. This video puts a face on the racism we have to negotiate each day. All people of color each day wrestle with whether or not to challenge and confront both conspicuous or microagressive forms of racism. It also brings to light of how harmful these microagressions are when they are committed by people who claim to not see color or don’t believe race is a big deal.

The reason why this video strikes a nerve among white people is it puts a mirror up onto the racial slights many of them have committed. This video forces white people to think about how much whiteness, forms of oppression and othering of people of color has been embedded into their brains. The video and the examples of the microaggressions shatters the flawed notion that racism can only be classified as the obvious acts–the cross burnings, the hate crimes, the painting of racial slurs on property–and not the small, everyday occurrence that can often break a person of color’s spirit.

The commenter also claimed that the comments in the video reflect naivete or ignorance, but not racism. I beg to differ as misconceptions, biases and contempt about people of color are often what breed ignorant, racist comments and opinions about The Others.

The problem with the commenter’s logic is whiteness doesn’t allow for people of color to operate on the same sociological level as whites. Since racism equals power and privilege, there is no equal form of treatment people of color can inflict upon white people that would perpetuate our racial superiority. There is no term that can be hurled at white people that reminds them of their racial inferiority.There is no ideology that gives people of color the power and privilege to decide what white people can or can’t view as racist. There is no institution similar to whiteness that allows black people to make our thoughts, feelings and opinions the center of discussion when it comes to the plight of white people. There are no political, economic, social or academic institutions in place that reminds white people of their inferiority by way of voting rights restrictions, stumbling blocks to receive aid, the decline of investing in public schools and the fight to block universal access to quality health care.

There is no historical context that belittled white women for having big butts or white men for having a sexual appetite bordering on rape and violence. There is no historical context in which gave black people the authority to enslave and brutalize an entire race of people. There is no historical context in which protecting black womanhood was used to justify terrorizing, maiming, killing, torturing and subjugating white men.

Franchesca Ramsey’s videos could be the starting point on a discussion on racism, both in its obvious and microaggressive forms. However, just like all events that could spur an honest, candid discussion on racism, this opportunity will pass without a budge because whiteness continues to turn the other cheek on a system that promotes its advancement.

One has to wonder how Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would feel about this lack of emotional and mental progress to the topic of race and racism.

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Victoria tribunal says will not treat Indian origin woman’s sacking as a racism issue

Posted by Admin on January 21, 2012

By ANI | ANI – Thu, Jan 19, 2012

Melbourne, Jan.18 (ANI): A tribunal here has said that claims by a woman that she was sacked because of her Indian heritage, will not be treated as a racism issue.

Renu Misra claimed that she was offended when a colleague told her that she had “Michael Jackson” hair.

According to the Herald Sun, Misra, an English citizen of Indian descent, told the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal she was humiliated by the remark about her curly black hair, and claimed she was subject to other racist remarks at work.

But her colleague Jean-Noel Jarnet, from data technology company ESRI Australia, said he meant the hair comment as a compliment because he was a big fan of Jackson, documents show.

VCAT found that the comments did not constitute race discrimination “in this context”. Whether it was a compliment “may be a matter of opinion”.

The tribunal heard of other allegations of racial discrimination but dismissed her complaint late last year.

Misra’s business development manager role with ESRI was terminated on December 9, 2009, after eight months.he claimed Jarnet had influenced the decision.

VCAT found no evidence that she was fired based on racial discrimination or that Jarnet had a role in her sacking. (ANI)


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