Archive for Sandy Banks

"Maybe that nice man in line behind me at the market has a white hood in the trunk of his car."

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sandy banks

Sandy Banks is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times whose work I have posted about previously. For example:

She just wrote another compelling piece titled, "Evolving fight for equality: Remembering King and reflecting on what remains to be done."

Please read the entire thing, because I can't do it justice by offering a few excerpts to make her poignant and astute points. Banks takes a hard look at how far we've come on this 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, and how far we still have to go.

Short version: Character matters.

So when will I stop wondering whether the content of my character really matters more to strangers than the color of my skin?

Maybe when I'm not held accountable for the misdeeds of black people I have never met. [...]

It's hard to celebrate progress when we're busy name-calling, finger-pointing and shouting at one another. [...]

I've learned to consider online comments a minefield when I write about race. I cringe when I have to read them.

They tend to leave me angry and discouraged... maybe that nice man in line behind me at the market has a white hood in the trunk of his car. [...]

That same political muscle that helped elect a black president ought to be used to pressure legislators to support our interests: broader access to higher education, affordable healthcare, decent housing, an equitable justice system and stable, well-paying jobs. [...]

Solving those problems won't be as straightforward as eliminating poll taxes or integrating lunch counters. And the solutions won't come from men with stirring oratory and expensive suits.

The real leaders will be fathers who stick around and marry the mothers of their children; mothers who teach their children to respect themselves and one another; teachers, pastors, police officers, neighbors, professionals willing to reach back and mentor.

Please take the time to read the rest here.

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Teen: "Before #Trayvon, we didn't have that kind of feeling of injustice." Plus VIDEO of Tracy Martin.

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Demonstrators are participating in nationwide “Justice for Trayvon” rallies, and as of this writing, despite what you may hear from the trolls among us, the gatherings have been 100% peaceful.

Responding to the trial, Los Angeles Times columnist Sandy Banks had a great piece up last week, “Heartsick and numb over the Zimmerman verdict… George Zimmerman’s paranoia became Trayvon Martin’s crime.”

Today's column was equally insightful and covers a relevant topic that I haven't seen mentioned in depth anywhere else: Teen protesters and how they differ from their protesting predecessors. Their mindset and needs differ from those who marched before them for a number of reasons that she explains beautifully.

They feel they are not being listened to by adults. Banks points out how their civil rights battle is different from previous ones, and how they see don't see Trayvon Martin as "a product of centuries of racial injustice or a cry for policy changes," but for them, this is more of a cultural issue about how they dress and look, about guns, and about being profiled because they are young and black.

She makes it clear that "youths ache for adults to let them speak for themselves."

President Obama said this yesterday:

And so the fact that sometimes that’s unacknowledged adds to the frustration. And the fact that a lot of African-American boys are painted with a broad brush and the excuse is given, well, there are these statistics out there that show that African-American boys are more violent -- using that as an excuse to then see sons treated differently causes pain...

So -- so folks understand the challenges that exist for African- American boys, but they get frustrated, I think, if they feel that there’s no context for it or -- and that context is being denied. And -- and that all contributes, I think, to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different. ...

We need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our African-American boys? And this is something that Michelle and I talk a lot about. There are a lot of kids out there who need help who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them?

Sandy Banks takes it from there. Quoting Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who heads the Community Coalition who has worked with hundreds of young people in that education and community program:

"This is not your grandmother's civil rights movement … walking slowly, carrying signs... They don't do things the way we do. And we don't know how to organize or control it."

Banks also quoted Timothy, 16, who has been working with the coalition:

"We see the adults talking for us, and we don't really get a chance to be at the forefront. Then when we do get a chance, it comes out kind of violent, like we saw on Monday night."

The civil rights establishment is going to have to change its tactics and its focus to get this younger generation on board.

"Everybody who was born after the riots, we've never really been through this," Timothy pointed out. "Before Trayvon Martin, we didn't have that kind of feeling of injustice."

Banks ends with this:

They're more concerned with getting guns off the streets than putting Zimmerman on trial again. And they don't need to gather in Leimert Park, when they've got hundreds of like-minded friends as near as the apps on their cellphones.

The people of this country have a lot to learn, but only if they're willing, would pay attention, and would take the time.

Please read the entire article here.

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"Heartsick and numb over the Zimmerman verdict... George Zimmerman's paranoia became Trayvon Martin's crime"

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Via the L.A. Times:

The Zimmermans said they didn't know whether they or their son would ever be able to rebuild their lives.

"We have lost everything, everything," Gladys Zimmerman said. "The whole family, not only George."

The Zimmermans have lost "everything, everything"... except their lives. No, they sure didn't lose their lives. Trayvon Martin lost his, though. He truly lost everything. His "whole family" lost everything.

With that in mind, please read Sandy Banks' L.A. Times column today, titled "Heartsick and numb over the Zimmerman verdict," and sub-titled, "Jury's decision may be legally correct, but it isn't moral justice. It's a perversion of right and wrong."

Here are some excerpts, but not enough to do the piece justice (just another thing in common with Trayvon, no justice):

The murder case was weak under Florida law. The prosecution overcharged and underperformed. The defense shamelessly played the race card. There was no cellphone video, no surveillance film and no eyewitness accounts. The only person who could dispute Zimmerman's tale of what happened that night is dead.

Still, the verdict may be legally correct, but it isn't moral justice. It's a perversion of right and wrong. [...]

But the verdict delivered a message that mocks those parental pretensions: "The world has just been told that my son is [going to be] the aggressor," Ross said. "That he has no right to exist without question or explanation. That's devastating to me. [...]

George Zimmerman's paranoia became Trayvon Martin's crime. How do you guard against that? [...]

My children have grown up in a black-man-can-be-president world. Now they have to accept that an unarmed black kid can be killed with impunity if someone thinks he just might possibly — with no evidence — be up to no good. [...]

"Don't forget to set your clock back 50 years before you go to bed tonight," one friend wrote on his Facebook page the day the verdict was announced.

One other thing Sandy Banks noted was this: "I have a bunch of notes scattered across my desk. I was going to bombard you with the facts that make this exoneration a travesty. But hours of reading tweets, message board comments and Facebook posts made me realize how futile that would be." I couldn't agree more.

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"The America the Republicans want is not the one we have. They lost through willful blindness."

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Sandy Banks has an excellent column in today's L.A. Times about the bubble in which the Republican party resides. Memo to GOP: It's 2012, there is such a thing as voter diversity, extremists views are frowned upon (understatement), equal rights and voting rights exist, misogyny is not an option, white people are no more American than other people nor are they in any way superior, and young people are smarter and more informed than you think.

In short, ignorance and bigotry are not acceptable:

...GOP pundits: Romney might have won, they say, if he had eased up on illegal immigration and found a running mate who could attract Latinos or draw votes in swing states.

But this is not a matter of fine-tuning the message or rustling up a candidate with brown skin or serviceable Spanish.

The problem is a platform that staked out the far-right fringe on so many issues that it turned off immigrants, women, minorities, single mothers, young people, gays and lesbians.

The images of winners and losers on election night said it all: the Norman Rockwell tableau in Romney's sullen Boston ballroom versus the kaleidoscopic diversity of Obama's Chicago victory montage.

The America the Republicans want is not the one we have. [...]

Voters carried those slights and insults to the voting booth, tired of being treated with contempt by a party that doesn't seem to understand their realities. [...]

... Republicans weren't beaten only by arithmetic this time. They lost through willful blindness.

Reality has a way of sneaking up on the delusional.

By the way, speaking of voting rights, here's Reynolds v. Sims (1964):

Undeniably, the Constitution of the United States protects the right of all qualified citizens to vote, in state as well as in federal, elections. A consistent line of decisions by this Court in cases involving attempts to deny or restrict the right of suffrage has made this indelibly clear. It has been repeatedly recognized that all qualified voters have a constitutionally protected right to voteEx parte Yarbrough, 110 U. S. 651, and to have their votes countedUnited States v. Mosley, 238 U. S. 383. In Mosley, the Court stated that it is "as equally unquestionable that the right to have one's vote counted is as open to protection . . . as the right to put a ballot in a box." 238 U.S. at 386.

Not only does the Republican party need revamping, so does our voting system. Both are a disgrace.

Please read the entire article by Sandy Banks here.

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