Black and White

Friday, December 5, 2014


Color and race are dominating the national news this week, following the non indictments in Ferguson and Staten Island, and new police shootings of unarmed blacks in Cleveland and Phoenix. 

I am not going to go off on a diatribe, you can get your fill of that sort of stuff anywhere, but wanted to point out a few news items that you might not have seen that have caused me to pause. Pause and wonder about the double standard that is applied in America if you are a person of color.

According to this morning's San Diego Union Tribune, people were not allowed into Superior Court if they were wearing blue shirts. A black man named Dwayne Harvey is shown in the picture being denied entry for wearing a shirt associated with a "gang color."

John Gibbons photo - Union Tribune
Mr. Harvey's shirt has the phrase "It's just a color" emblazoned on the front. How many white people do you think were denied entry to court wearing blue shirts yesterday? There must have been hundreds of them. I bet not very many were turned away, if any. Sounds quite stupid and discriminatory.

In fact, it wasn't just the color blue that was picked on yesterday. It was any colored shirt with the free speech message that the judiciary frowned on. Red, green, blue and even the trendy new masala were all taboo.
SAN DIEGO — The first-time use of a gang conspiracy law against dozens of alleged gang members sparked a protest over freedom of speech in front of the downtown Superior courthouse Thursday.
The protest coincided with a court hearing for some of the defendants, including rapper Brandon Duncan, or “Tiny Doo,” whose involvement in one of two cases has made national headlines in recent weeks.
Several dozen people tried to get into the hearing, but sheriff's deputies turned away those who were wearing bright red, green or blue T-shirts bearing the slogan, "It's only a color." Certain colors are often identified with particular street gangs.

These people were at court to support a rapper, Brandon Duncan, who is faced with 25 years in the stir because prosecutors allege that his rap lyrics have contributed to and inspired nine homicides. In spite of the fact that the rapper had no real or tangential connection to any of the crimes.

"There's no evidence that anyone who did the shootings — they haven’t solved the shootings themselves — they don’t know the people who committed the shootings even listened to the album," Watkins said. "For all they know, they could have been listening to Snoop Dogg or Frank Sinatra or talk radio." 

Both prosecutions are weak and troubling. Lots of people have written lyrics about anti heroes and villains.

Should we go after Bob Dylan for writing John Wesley Harding or Frankie and Johnnie? Marty Robbins and Merle Haggard did some outlaw songs...

Or is it only bad when the blacks write it or wear it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of long term trends contributing to the current distress. While I don't know what is definitive I see irony in the outbreak of discrimination cases after six years of right wing hysteria over a black president.