Weekend Recap: Trayvon, Tulsa And That Derbyshire Column

By Arturo R. García

The tensions surrounding the death of Trayvon Martin continued to fester, with even United Nations officers getting involved.

“As High Commissioner for Human Rights, I call for an immediate investigation,” the U.N’s Navanethem Pillay said at a press conference Friday. “Justice must be done for the victim. It’s not just this individual case. It calls into question the delivery of justice in all situations like this.”

As hip-hop journalist Davey D reports, “situations like this” show no signs of stopping: 29 African-Americans have been killed by police or security officers this year–16 since Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman little more than a month ago.

In Sanford, Flo., where Martin died, a group of 40 college students completed a three-day march from Daytona Beach Sunday, then held a rally demanding justice:

Phillip Agnew, a Florida A&M University alumnus who took part in the march, angrily asked: “Why hasn’t there been an arrest?”

He then encouraged the students to continue speaking out about the Trayvon shooting long after Sunday’s event.

“We will soak our feet and then we will march again,” he said.

In addition to the march and rally, more than two dozen cities reportedly participated in motorcycle rides in memory of Martin.

The students weren’t the only new arrivals to Sanford, however, as seen in this report from WOFL-TV in Orlando (via Little Green Footballs):

LGF’s Charles Johnson also reported that, besides not challenging the National Socialist Movement’s claim to being “a civil rights group” on the air, the station also parroted it online:

Eventually, WOFL settled upon a correct description of the group.

Nazi imagery also surfaced in Ohio late last week, as Columbus residents reported seeing swastikas and “Nazi-inspired phrases” around the same time somebody spray-painted “LONG LIVE ZIMMERMAN” on the Black Cultural Center on the campus of Ohio State University.

Meanwhile, members of the black community in Tulsa, Okla. felt targeted Friday after five black residents were shot –killing three –by two men on Friday. Following the arrest of two suspects, 19-year-old Jake England and his 32-year-old roommate Alvin Watts, on Sunday, authorities said it was “way too early” to call the shootings a hate crime. But the Tulsa World reported that England’s Facebook page showed race was on England’s mind before it being taken down:

The man arrested in Carl England’s death, Pernell Demond Jefferson, was charged with pointing a firearm and is serving a prison sentence through October 2014, according to Department of Corrections records.

Jefferson is black.

Jake England makes several references to the two-year anniversary of his father’s death on his Facebook page, including a post 3:04 p.m. Thursday that says, “Today is two years that my dad has been gone shot by a f—— n—– it’s hard not to go off between that and sheran I’m gone in the head.”

England’s Facebook page indicates that his girlfriend, Sheran Hart Wilde, recently died. Her death notice was published Jan. 12 in the Tulsa World.

Against this backdrop, it gets increasingly difficult to take John Derbyshire’s column “The Talk: Nonblack Version” for Taki’s Magazine with anything other than disgust, because when only 33 percent of white respondents to a survey say Zimmerman would have been arrested by now if he had shot a white teenager, it’s disturbingly plausible that at least some of them would follow nuggets of Derbyshire’s “advice” like this:

In that pool of forty million, there are nonetheless many intelligent and well-socialized blacks. (I’ll use IWSB as an ad hoc abbreviation.) You should consciously seek opportunities to make friends with IWSBs. In addition to the ordinary pleasures of friendship, you will gain an amulet against potentially career-destroying accusations of prejudice.

Instead of the advice of Tyler S. Bugg:

It should be about the woman who clutches her purse when passing a person of color on a street sidewalk. It should be an ongoing discussion about normalized racism, and not only in response to the tragedies news outlets choose to sensationalize and blast across the media. (I’m equally as concerned for Shaima Alawadi and for all the other unheard-about minority-identifying people who were murdered by the violence of racism this week and did not have the same media attention to spread their narratives.) It should be about the too-legitimized institutions that perpetuate entrenched racism. It should be about removing the filters that silence the experiences of people of color. It should be about (deconstructing) the white savior industrial complex. It should be about reaching beyond the illusion that white people can forefront movements to “liberate” people of color.

I am not Trayvon Martin, but I am an ally of Travyon Martin and of every other person whose unique narrative is smothered by systems of privilege and power. I’m calling for activism that isn’t compromised by the hierarchy of power that continually fails to address it. I’m learning and listening and contributing my voice in the way I (constructively) know how, and I’m striving every day to do so out of the positive privilege of kindness and compassion. And that privilege, we all benefit from it.

Update: EgoTrip posted this picture of a road sign in Detroit hacked to deliver a slur against Martin.

  • http://twitter.com/TheSuperAmanda Super Amanda

    The National Review would have not fired him during the 80s. William F Buckley would have said the exact same thing.  I’m still surprised they fired him. Like Zimmerman, one of the killers in the Black hate crime murders is not white but self identifying white and Native American and once again there is a huge race fail on all parts of the msm media and blogisphere (with the exception of a few isolated bloggers)  to discuss Hispanic on Black crime and Native American on Black crime or vice versa and the alchemy of race where killing a Black person in cold blood turns a POC  “white”  in the eyes of many racists albeit only as an armament.  On MSNBC today they even described the two suspects as “white”. That issue and Derbyshire’s sick,  addlepated Eugenics rant are all connected via US history and impacting many today.

  • http://twitter.com/starvingwriter1 Ebony Harding

    “they STILL can’t deal with the fact that out President is black, and the fact that they’re going to be the minority within the next 50 years.”
    I’ve always felt that it’ll be sooner than 50 years. When I used to live in L.A. I had a white female friend who constantly went on about not being allowed to say anything because she was a white woman and apparently Hispanics and Asians were the majority. Of course, she’s entitled to her opinion. What people like my friend and others that think like that don’t get is that it won’t change the “privilege”dynamics of whites or those that can “pass” for white. Let’s take South Africa during the apartheid years. How is it that whites were still able to maintain control in a predominantly black country? I just hear crickets from my white friends who say “they’re not allowed to say anything”. The real fear, I think–in their minds–is the oppressed will lead a revolt. You heard this from fools such as Rush Limbaugh. And if you look throughout history, the oppressor(s) do everything in their power to keep the oppressed  powerless, so they won’t rise up. 

    • TeakLipstickFiend

      A couple years ago I was invited to dinner with a colleague I didn’t know very well after a long day of work. After she had had a few glasses of wine, she came out with “there will be more non-whites than whites soon in the world and they won’t treat us as well as we have treated them.” I was stunned and didn’t know what to say. I can’t even remember how the conversation moved on. As I was her guest, as I still had to work with her for a few months and as she was kind of my superior, I didn’t feel I could say anything (plus I’m rather a chicken), but I think my shock and distaste was visible in my expression and my retreat from friendliness to politeness. After that evening, we continued to work together, but we never socialised again and I avoided her as much as I could. And this was someone who had worked for many years in international, multicultural organisations. Ugh.

    • TeakLipstickFiend

      A couple years ago I was invited to dinner with a colleague I didn’t know very well after a long day of work. After she had had a few glasses of wine, she came out with “there will be more non-whites than whites soon in the world and they won’t treat us as well as we have treated them.” I was stunned and didn’t know what to say. I can’t even remember how the conversation moved on. As I was her guest, as I still had to work with her for a few months and as she was kind of my superior, I didn’t feel I could say anything (plus I’m rather a chicken), but I think my shock and distaste was visible in my expression and my retreat from friendliness to politeness. After that evening, we continued to work together, but we never socialised again and I avoided her as much as I could. And this was someone who had worked for many years in international, multicultural organisations. Ugh.

  • http://twitter.com/callmepartario Osama Larara

    “IWSBs”.  WOW.  As others ahead of me in the comments have noted, it is unsurprising that this person’s honest advice is to find yourself a “black friend” that  insulates you from any pesky charges of racism, as if being able to pull someone of color out of your rolodex is a foolproof get-out-of-jail-free card.

    I had never heard of “the talk” before, though it’s hardly surprising such a thing exists.  Has anyone had some version of “the talk” with their family (or others) before?  While I was never subject to this particular experience, Derbyshire’s list is certainly what passed for common sense among many adults where I grew up, and experienced all of those “helpful suggestions” as part of the fabric of growing up in Los Angeles’ predominantly white suburbs. 

    A formal “the talk” seems like an interesting intergenerational touch point for parents and kids; I would be very interested to hear others’ experiences with such a thing if anyone feels like sharing.

  • http://twitter.com/callmepartario Osama Larara

    “IWSBs”.  WOW.  As others ahead of me in the comments have noted, it is unsurprising that this person’s honest advice is to find yourself a “black friend” that  insulates you from any pesky charges of racism, as if being able to pull someone of color out of your rolodex is a foolproof get-out-of-jail-free card.

    I had never heard of “the talk” before, though it’s hardly surprising such a thing exists.  Has anyone had some version of “the talk” with their family (or others) before?  While I was never subject to this particular experience, Derbyshire’s list is certainly what passed for common sense among many adults where I grew up, and experienced all of those “helpful suggestions” as part of the fabric of growing up in Los Angeles’ predominantly white suburbs. 

    A formal “the talk” seems like an interesting intergenerational touch point for parents and kids; I would be very interested to hear others’ experiences with such a thing if anyone feels like sharing.

  • http://twitter.com/callmepartario Osama Larara

    “IWSBs”.  WOW.  As others ahead of me in the comments have noted, it is unsurprising that this person’s honest advice is to find yourself a “black friend” that  insulates you from any pesky charges of racism, as if being able to pull someone of color out of your rolodex is a foolproof get-out-of-jail-free card.

    I had never heard of “the talk” before, though it’s hardly surprising such a thing exists.  Has anyone had some version of “the talk” with their family (or others) before?  While I was never subject to this particular experience, Derbyshire’s list is certainly what passed for common sense among many adults where I grew up, and experienced all of those “helpful suggestions” as part of the fabric of growing up in Los Angeles’ predominantly white suburbs. 

    A formal “the talk” seems like an interesting intergenerational touch point for parents and kids; I would be very interested to hear others’ experiences with such a thing if anyone feels like sharing.

  • http://twitter.com/callmepartario Osama Larara

    “IWSBs”.  WOW.  As others ahead of me in the comments have noted, it is unsurprising that this person’s honest advice is to find yourself a “black friend” that  insulates you from any pesky charges of racism, as if being able to pull someone of color out of your rolodex is a foolproof get-out-of-jail-free card.

    I had never heard of “the talk” before, though it’s hardly surprising such a thing exists.  Has anyone had some version of “the talk” with their family (or others) before?  While I was never subject to this particular experience, Derbyshire’s list is certainly what passed for common sense among many adults where I grew up, and experienced all of those “helpful suggestions” as part of the fabric of growing up in Los Angeles’ predominantly white suburbs. 

    A formal “the talk” seems like an interesting intergenerational touch point for parents and kids; I would be very interested to hear others’ experiences with such a thing if anyone feels like sharing.

  • http://twitter.com/callmepartario Osama Larara

    “IWSBs”.  WOW.  As others ahead of me in the comments have noted, it is unsurprising that this person’s honest advice is to find yourself a “black friend” that  insulates you from any pesky charges of racism, as if being able to pull someone of color out of your rolodex is a foolproof get-out-of-jail-free card.

    I had never heard of “the talk” before, though it’s hardly surprising such a thing exists.  Has anyone had some version of “the talk” with their family (or others) before?  While I was never subject to this particular experience, Derbyshire’s list is certainly what passed for common sense among many adults where I grew up, and experienced all of those “helpful suggestions” as part of the fabric of growing up in Los Angeles’ predominantly white suburbs. 

    A formal “the talk” seems like an interesting intergenerational touch point for parents and kids; I would be very interested to hear others’ experiences with such a thing if anyone feels like sharing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Berdawn-Hutchinson/1345160033 Berdawn Hutchinson

    The Dispatch article refers to an incident a while back. Here is a link to the most recent graffiti similar to the vandalism at the Hale center
    http://www2.nbc4i.com/news/2012/apr/07/hope-mural-restored-after-racist-graffiti-found-ar-992544/

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Berdawn-Hutchinson/1345160033 Berdawn Hutchinson

    The Dispatch article refers to an incident a while back. Here is a link to the most recent graffiti similar to the vandalism at the Hale center
    http://www2.nbc4i.com/news/2012/apr/07/hope-mural-restored-after-racist-graffiti-found-ar-992544/

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Berdawn-Hutchinson/1345160033 Berdawn Hutchinson

    The Dispatch article refers to an incident a while back. Here is a link to the most recent graffiti similar to the vandalism at the Hale center
    http://www2.nbc4i.com/news/2012/apr/07/hope-mural-restored-after-racist-graffiti-found-ar-992544/

  • Matt Pizzuti

    It’s interesting that Derbyshire essentially gave away the playbook on the “I have a black friend so I can’t possibly be racist” argument lurking in the racist’s toolkit. I don’t have to explain what it is here because we’ve all seen the strategy used before. 

    As disturbing as Derbyshire’s column was, it handed anti-racists a huge favor – essentially suggesting that racists befriend people of color on purpose to give them a card to play if ever conscious or unconscious racism is called out. My hope is that the column stays online and can be readily linked to or quoted (in light of the fact that even the Right-wing National Review found it to be racist beyond acceptability) in threads and conversations, or in national debates, where somebody uses the “but one of my friends is black” argument to defend a racist rant. We now have as clear an example as ever that having a black acquaintance doesn’t prove non-racism. It probably won’t forever put that strategy to rest, but it’s a pretty helpful tool in forcing racists to retreat to some other argument. 

    A downside is that people of color now have yet another reason to mistrust a seemingly well-intentioned white person trying to be a friend. I think most were already too aware of it for Derbyshire’s self-righteous confessional change anything, but I hope it wouldn’t give any person of color a new reason to doubt her or his hard-earned accomplishments. 

  • Matt Pizzuti

    It’s interesting that Derbyshire essentially gave away the playbook on the “I have a black friend so I can’t possibly be racist” argument lurking in the racist’s toolkit. I don’t have to explain what it is here because we’ve all seen the strategy used before. 

    As disturbing as Derbyshire’s column was, it handed anti-racists a huge favor – essentially suggesting that racists befriend people of color on purpose to give them a card to play if ever conscious or unconscious racism is called out. My hope is that the column stays online and can be readily linked to or quoted (in light of the fact that even the Right-wing National Review found it to be racist beyond acceptability) in threads and conversations, or in national debates, where somebody uses the “but one of my friends is black” argument to defend a racist rant. We now have as clear an example as ever that having a black acquaintance doesn’t prove non-racism. It probably won’t forever put that strategy to rest, but it’s a pretty helpful tool in forcing racists to retreat to some other argument. 

    A downside is that people of color now have yet another reason to mistrust a seemingly well-intentioned white person trying to be a friend. I think most were already too aware of it for Derbyshire’s self-righteous confessional change anything, but I hope it wouldn’t give any person of color a new reason to doubt her or his hard-earned accomplishments. 

  • Matt Pizzuti

    It’s interesting that Derbyshire essentially gave away the playbook on the “I have a black friend so I can’t possibly be racist” argument lurking in the racist’s toolkit. I don’t have to explain what it is here because we’ve all seen the strategy used before. 

    As disturbing as Derbyshire’s column was, it handed anti-racists a huge favor – essentially suggesting that racists befriend people of color on purpose to give them a card to play if ever conscious or unconscious racism is called out. My hope is that the column stays online and can be readily linked to or quoted (in light of the fact that even the Right-wing National Review found it to be racist beyond acceptability) in threads and conversations, or in national debates, where somebody uses the “but one of my friends is black” argument to defend a racist rant. We now have as clear an example as ever that having a black acquaintance doesn’t prove non-racism. It probably won’t forever put that strategy to rest, but it’s a pretty helpful tool in forcing racists to retreat to some other argument. 

    A downside is that people of color now have yet another reason to mistrust a seemingly well-intentioned white person trying to be a friend. I think most were already too aware of it for Derbyshire’s self-righteous confessional change anything, but I hope it wouldn’t give any person of color a new reason to doubt her or his hard-earned accomplishments. 

  • mickinickharp

    What a wonderful post on one more tragic, disgusting civil rights breech.  Thanks, Arturo.

  • http://www.examiner.com/family-in-new-york/rahela-choudhury RCHOUDH

    I’m afraid of the possibility for GZ to get acquited (if he hasn’t fled the country already and gets re-arrested and convicted in the first place) because of the bungled police investigation and the “stand your ground” laws. Speaking of “stand your ground” being challenged, does anyone else have this sinking feeling of this issue igniting a powder keg of reaction from folks who are avid gun enthusiasts? The longer the Trayvon Martin case keeps getting dragged out the uglier the situation is becoming, with vigilante groups joining in the fray and a hardening of positions on both sides of this issue due to contradictory media reporting.
    I read that horrendous article at Taki’s magazine and couldn’t believe it wasn’t satire. At least Derbyshire got fired from one of his jobs (as writer for The Conservative Review).