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Tuesday How To: Not Get Shot In Florida

November 27, 2012

It seems to help if you’re white.

Remember all of these different posts that I have made?

Remember when I was asked why it’s always about race?

Why do I mention all of these things? Because they are all really conversations about the same subject; the value of specific groups of people in society.

Why am I talking about this today? Because this happened. It’s always about race and if I ever forget that I could die.

Notice the headline? “Loud Music Shooting Case.” Guess what? It wasn’t about the fucking music. In Florida, just this year we also have this and this. There are a couple of things you should notice. The Christian Science Monitor article makes a point to follow the facts; George Zimmerman killed an unarmed teenager with mitigating factors right at the front. Stating that Zimmerman “wanted to be a police officer and mentored an African-American boy,” because apparently failing to be a cop and knowing a PoC overcomes the force of a bullet. The local article makes sure to put hate crime in single quotes. Because, you know when someone shouts racial slurs, shoots a black man in the face, leaves him on the ground, calls 911, sits down to finish his fucking dinner and then tells the cops  he “only shot a nigger,” it’s totally not a hate crime.

The lives of PoC in America do not hold as much societal value as those of White Americans and we never have. The story of America is the story of racial tension, from before our birth of a nation (see what I did there?) until right this very second.  Walking in certain place while black was illegal and punishable by death under statute in living memory.

Here’s how this works. A white person kills a black person and they excuse it by saying they felt threatened. No matter what the black person has done, the white person feels threatened. So George Zimmerman stalked and murdered a child because he felt threatened. Michael Dunn, shot at a car full of black people and now claims they had a gun, although no gun was found at the scene. Then he drove away like nothing happened. He drove away, because he did not value the people he just tried to kill. He drove away because he thought he would get away with it.

The Racism Playbook is pretty standard by now. You can see it at work with the Trayvon Martin case. It is the entire reason the defense team continues to attempt to find something that will make this child’s death his fault by demanding records of pretty much everything he ever did, said or wrote.

He said he felt threatened! It makes sense! Just look at the crime statistics! OK, let’s look at the goddam statistics. As an aside, “just look at the statistics is #2 on the List of Things You Should Avoid Saying To Or Around Isobel Because She Will Answer You And You Will Be Sorry.  We could probably abbreviate that title to Are You Sure List or the Be Careful What You Wish For List. It means pretty much the same thing. What’s #1 on the list? “What do you think?”

Table 43A

Offense charged Total arrests Percent distribution1
Total White Black American
Indian or
Alaskan
Native
Asian or
Pacific
Islander
Total White Black American
Indian or
Alaskan
Native
Asian or
Pacific
Islander
TOTAL 9,499,725 6,578,133 2,697,539 142,422 81,631 100.0 69.2 28.4 1.5 0.9
Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter 8,341 4,000 4,149 105 87 100.0 48.0 49.7 1.3 1.0
Forcible rape 14,611 9,504 4,811 170 126 100.0 65.0 32.9 1.2 0.9
Robbery 82,436 35,443 45,827 619 547 100.0 43.0 55.6 0.8 0.7
Aggravated assault 305,220 194,981 102,597 4,540 3,102 100.0 63.9 33.6 1.5 1.0
Burglary 227,899 151,934 72,244 2,095 1,626 100.0 66.7 31.7 0.9 0.7
Larceny-theft 977,743 670,768 281,197 15,122 10,656 100.0 68.6 28.8 1.5 1.1
Motor vehicle theft 50,902 32,575 17,250 658 419 100.0 64.0 33.9 1.3 0.8
Arson 8,965 6,479 2,302 107 77 100.0 72.3 25.7 1.2 0.9
Violent crime2 410,608 243,928 157,384 5,434 3,862 100.0 59.4 38.3 1.3 0.9
Property crime2 1,265,509 861,756 372,993 17,982 12,778 100.0 68.1 29.5 1.4 1.0
Other assaults 952,421 625,330 304,083 14,875 8,133 100.0 65.7 31.9 1.6 0.9
Forgery and counterfeiting 53,791 35,239 17,695 295 562 100.0 65.5 32.9 0.5 1.0
Fraud 127,664 84,919 40,621 1,140 984 100.0 66.5 31.8 0.9 0.8
Embezzlement 12,454 8,155 4,032 65 202 100.0 65.5 32.4 0.5 1.6
Stolen property; buying, receiving, possessing 71,727 47,434 23,191 542 560 100.0 66.1 32.3 0.8 0.8
Vandalism 182,482 132,850 45,055 3,029 1,548 100.0 72.8 24.7 1.7 0.8
Weapons; carrying, possessing, etc. 117,820 68,453 47,515 859 993 100.0 58.1 40.3 0.7 0.8
Prostitution and commercialized vice 44,090 23,555 19,227 255 1,053 100.0 53.4 43.6 0.6 2.4
Sex offenses (except forcible rape and prostitution) 52,891 38,422 13,189 729 551 100.0 72.6 24.9 1.4 1.0
Drug abuse violations 1,171,866 783,564 371,248 8,275 8,779 100.0 66.9 31.7 0.7 0.7
Gambling 6,507 1,937 4,351 40 179 100.0 29.8 66.9 0.6 2.8
Offenses against the family and children 87,586 56,973 28,183 1,848 582 100.0 65.0 32.2 2.1 0.7
Driving under the influence 924,210 788,175 111,480 13,618 10,937 100.0 85.3 12.1 1.5 1.2
Liquor laws 380,663 312,106 51,446 12,896 4,215 100.0 82.0 13.5 3.4 1.1
Drunkenness 413,723 339,019 64,268 7,619 2,817 100.0 81.9 15.5 1.8 0.7
Disorderly conduct 447,201 281,531 153,840 8,771 3,059 100.0 63.0 34.4 2.0 0.7
Vagrancy 22,375 12,989 8,794 447 145 100.0 58.1 39.3 2.0 0.6
All other offenses (except traffic) 2,693,823 1,794,893 837,095 42,869 18,966 100.0 66.6 31.1 1.6 0.7
Suspicion 1,150 634 506 5 5 100.0 55.1 44.0 0.4 0.4
Curfew and loitering law violations 59,164 36,271 21,343 829 721 100.0 61.3 36.1 1.4 1.2

Keep in mind that these statistics make it clear that crime is overwhelmingly likely to be committed by white people and that is taking into account that these are just arrest statistics. Black people are overwhelmingly more likely to be arrested for violent crimes than white people.

This is the greatest flaw and shame in our society. We simply value PoC less and do everything we can to lay blame when said people are victimized by whites.  This is especially common when the victims are black males and the assailant is white.

This is a systemic problem but it is most common here in Florida. Why? Castle Law, which pretty much sets this state up as hunting season for anyone seen as threatening and puts the burden of proof on the victim. This is especially convenient if the victim is dead.

Let’s make this clear. This isn’t one incident or three incidents of people being killed for walking, talking or existing while black. This is the state of Florida opening and recently affirming hunting season on PoC.

Now to the question, the most important question. What are we going to do about this?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 27, 2012 9:34 PM

    What are we going to do about it? I’ll start with fighting against victim blaming.

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