On Martin case, Obama shifts from passion to calm

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2013-07-16 17:42Z by Steven

On Martin case, Obama shifts from passion to calm

Associated Press

Julie Pace

WASHINGTON (AP) – When President Barack Obama first addressed the death of Trayvon Martin last year, he did so passionately, declaring that if he had a son, he would look like the slain 17-year-old. His powerful and personal commentary marked a rare public reflection on race from the nation’s first black president.

But now, with the man who fatally shot Martin acquitted and the burden of any future charges squarely on his own administration, Obama is seeking to inject calm into a case that has inflamed passions, including his own. In a brief statement, the president called Martin’s killing a “tragedy” but implored the public to respect a Florida jury’s decision to clear George Zimmerman, the man charged in the teen’s death.

“I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher,” Obama said Sunday. “But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken.”…

Read the entire article here.

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In Florida, a Death Foretold

Posted in Articles, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-07-15 02:52Z by Steven

In Florida, a Death Foretold

The New York Times

Isabel Wilkerson

In the mid-1930s, a Yale anthropologist ventured to an unnamed town in the South to explore the feudal divisions of what we commonly call race but what he preferred to describe with the more layered language of caste. When he arrived — white, earnest and fresh from the North — white Southerners told him that a Northerner would soon enough “feel about Negroes as Southerners do.” In making that prediction, the anthropologist John Dollard wrote in his seminal study “Caste and Class in a Southern Town,” they are saying “that he joins the white caste. The solicitation is extremely active, though informal, and one must stand by one’s caste to survive.”

Americans tend to think of the rigid stratification of caste as a distant notion from feudal Europe or Victorian India. But caste is alive and well in this country, where a still unsettled multiracial society is emerging from the starkly drawn social order that Dollard described. Assumptions about one’s place in this new social order have become a muddying subtext in the case of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager slain at the hands of an overzealous neighborhood watch captain, who is the son of a white father and a Peruvian mother.

We do not know what George Zimmerman was thinking as he watched Mr. Martin from afar, told a 911 dispatcher that he looked suspicious and ultimately shot him. But we do know that it happened in central Florida, a region whose demographic landscape is rapidly changing, where unprecedented numbers of Latino immigrants have arrived at a place still scarred by the history of a vigilante-enforced caste system and the stereotypes that linger from it. In this context, newcomers — like previous waves of immigrants in the past — may feel pressed to identify with the dominant caste and distance themselves from blacks, in order to survive…

…On the other hand, almost three-quarters of blacks felt that Latinos were hard-working or could be trusted. Black Americans appear to view Latinos as more like themselves. “Blacks are not as negative toward Latinos as Latinos are toward blacks because blacks see them as another nonwhite group that will be treated as they have been,” said Paula D. McClain, the lead author on the study. Even as blacks worry about losing jobs to new immigrants, they are less supportive of harsh anti-immigration laws, she said, “because they know what laws have done to them.”

But shared hardships don’t necessarily make allies. “As linked fate rises, so does competition,” said Michael Jones-Correa, a professor of government at Cornell who specializes in immigration and interethnic relations. “It’s like a sibling rivalry,” he said. “This is not a painless relationship.” And, of course, Latino immigrants don’t just enter a pre-existing racial hierarchy; they bring with them their own assumptions based on the hierarchies in their home countries. “When we come to the U.S.,” Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, a professor of sociology at Duke, who is Puerto Rican, said, “we immediately recognize whites on top and blacks on the bottom and say, ‘My job is to be anything but black.’ ”…

Read the entire opinion piece here.

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Trayvon Martin, my son, and the Black Male Code

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-07-14 16:20Z by Steven

Trayvon Martin, my son, and the Black Male Code

The Associated Press

Jesse Washington, National Writer/Race and Ethnicity

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — I thought my son would be much older before I had to tell him about the Black Male Code. He’s only 12, still sleeping with stuffed animals, still afraid of the dark. But after the Trayvon Martin tragedy, I needed to explain to my child that soon people might be afraid of him.

We were in the car on the way to school when a story about Martin came on the radio. “The guy who killed him should get arrested. The dead guy was unarmed!” my son said after hearing that neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman had claimed self-defense in the shooting in Sanford, Fla.

We listened to the rest of the story, describing how Zimmerman had spotted Martin, who was 17, walking home from the store on a rainy night, the hood of his sweatshirt pulled over his head. When it was over, I turned off the radio and told my son about the rules he needs to follow to avoid becoming another Trayvon Martin – a black male who Zimmerman assumed was “suspicious” and “up to no good.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Of Loving and Zimmerman

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-07-05 23:33Z by Steven

Of Loving and Zimmerman

Univision Communications, Inc.

Carlos Cortés, Professor Emeritus of History
University of California, Riverside

In my last blog I addressed the question of Latino identity by examining the controversy in “Is the New Pope Latino?” I responded with an emphatic “yes” (in about 500 words). Since then, three separate items relating to Latino identity have caught my eye.

First was the Census Bureau’s report that, between 2010 and 2012, the number of multiracial Americans grew faster (6.6%) than any other racial category. That figure does not include marriages between Latinos and non-Latinos, as the federal government correctly classifies us as an ethnic group, not as a race.

Second was the start of the Florida murder trial of George Zimmerman for the February 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin. Current articles often explicitly identify Zimmerman as Hispanic. Indeed, he is of mixed ancestry—his mother is Peruvian.

Third, June marked the 46th anniversary of the game-changing Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision, which voided state-level anti-miscegenation laws. That decision has given rise to the boom in interracial marriages (now around 15% annually). It also contributed to the recent outpouring of public support for General Mills when it was criticized by some for featuring a biracial family in one of its Cheerios commercials.

As an ethnic group with a long tradition of intermarriage stretching back to our Latin American roots, Hispanics have been way ahead of the U.S. curve.  According to some estimates, by the third generation more than half of U.S. Latinos outmarry—that is, marry someone who is not Latino.

This raises two critical questions: How do children of such intermarriages identify ethnically? How are they identified by others?…

Read the entire opinion piece here.

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Who is George Zimmerman?

Posted in Identity Development/Psychology, Latino Studies, Law, New Media, Social Science, United States on 2012-03-23 19:14Z by Steven

Who is George Zimmerman?

The Washington Post

Manuel Roig-Franzia

Tom Jackman

Darryl Fears

The shooter was once a Catholic altar boy — with a surname that could have been Jewish.

His father is white, neighbors say. His mother is Latina. And his family is eager to point out that some of his relatives are black.

There may be no box to check for George Zimmerman, no tidy way to categorize, define and sort the 28-year-old man whose pull of a trigger on a darkened Florida street is forcing America to once again confront its fraught relationship with race and identity. The victim, we know, was named Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager in a hoodie. The rest becomes a matter for interpretation.

The drama in Florida takes on a kind of modern complexity. Its nuances show America for what it is steadily becoming, a realm in which identity is understood as something that cannot be summed up in a single word.

The images of Zimmerman — not just his face, but the words used to describe him — can confound and confuse. Why are they calling him white, wondered Paul Ebert, the Prince William County commonwealth’s attorney who knew Zimmerman’s mother, Gladys, from her days as an interpreter at the county courthouse. Zimmerman’s mother, Ebert knew, was Peruvian, and he thought of her as Hispanic…

Read the entire article here.

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