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What happened to Jonathan Ferrell?

ferrell-1-0915Let me check my watch. What time is it? Is it 1963? Maybe it’s… 1973? In these long, bygone eras, a black man could not walk in just any old neighborhood and knock on any old door. There were rules. These rules were unwritten but were, nonetheless, enforced. If you were a black man walking in the wrong neighborhood, you were assumed to be a burglar. It was okay, even expected in some places, for the police to come, question you, arrest you and take you away. I guess one of my big problems is that I’ve been reading The New Jim Crow. Michelle Alexander clearly illustrates how a new system was developed during the Civil Rights movement which specifically targets people of color and locks them up for years at a time. Jonathan Ferrell was a young black male who apparently wrecked his car. This Florida A&M University student reportedly crashed and looked for help.

In this society, you can’t crash and crawl out of your car in a daze and you can NOT go bang on doors. You can’t do that. In our society, we are completely inundated and bombarded with images of violence. Therefore, the homeowners didn’t think that Jonathan Ferrell was looking for help. Instead, they pushed their alarm panic button. This summoned the police. Now, you know where this goes from here. If somebody had called an ambulance, I believe that Jonathan Ferrell might be alive today. Instead, the police were called. Jonathan Ferrell is now dead.

From TP:

Officer Randall Kerrick, 27, of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) in North Carolina is facing charges of voluntary manslaughter after fatally shooting Jonathan Ferrell, 24, a former Florida A&M football player who had apparently been seeking help after surviving a major car crash early Saturday morning.

CMPD officials called the shooting “excessive.” “Our investigation has shown that Officer Kerrick did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon during this encounter,” said CMPD Chief Rodney Monroe in a statement. “It’s with heavy hearts and significant regrets it’s come to this… Our hearts go out to the Ferrell family and many members of the CMPD family. This is never something easy.”

The Charlotte Observer reports that the car crash was so severe that Ferrell likely had to “pull himself out” of the wreckage. He then walked to the nearest house, about a half mile away, to seek assistance. But the local resident whose home Ferrell arrived at was frightened that he was attempting to burglarize her after not recognizing him.

The resident then made a 911 call and three officers arrived at the scene. According to police accounts, Ferrell, who is African-American, acted “aggressively” and charged towards the officers. Officer Thornell Little of the Hickory Grove division of the CMPD responded with an unsuccessful attempt to fire his Taser at Ferrell. Police say that when Ferrell continued to charge toward the police, 27-year-old officer Randall Kerrick discharged his weapon several times, eventually killing Ferrell.

By |2013-09-17T21:09:55-04:00September 16th, 2013|Race|Comments Off on What happened to Jonathan Ferrell?

The GI Bill and Race

I didn’t know this.

From NYT:

Katznelson (author of When Affirmative Action Was White’: Uncivil Rights) reserves his harshest criticism for the unfair application of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, known as the G.I. Bill of Rights, a series of programs that poured $95 billion into expanding opportunity for soldiers returning from World War II. Over all, the G.I. Bill was a dramatic success, helping 16 million veterans attend college, receive job training, start businesses and purchase their first homes. Half a century later, President Clinton praised the G.I. Bill as ”the best deal ever made by Uncle Sam,” and said it ”helped to unleash a prosperity never before known.”

But Katznelson demonstrates that African-American veterans received significantly less help from the G.I. Bill than their white counterparts. ”Written under Southern auspices,” he reports, ”the law was deliberately designed to accommodate Jim Crow.” He cites one 1940’s study that concluded it was ”as though the G.I. Bill had been earmarked ‘For White Veterans Only.’ ” Southern Congressional leaders made certain that the programs were directed not by Washington but by local white officials, businessmen, bankers and college administrators who would honor past practices. As a result, thousands of black veterans in the South — and the North as well — were denied housing and business loans, as well as admission to whites-only colleges and universities. They were also excluded from job-training programs for careers in promising new fields like radio and electrical work, commercial photography and mechanics. Instead, most African-Americans were channeled toward traditional, low-paying ”black jobs” and small black colleges, which were pitifully underfinanced and ill equipped to meet the needs of a surging enrollment of returning soldiers.

Something as American as the GI Bill which acted as an economic stimulus for middle America was administered in a racial way. I think this is remarkable. This reminds us that race is an all-encompassing issue in United States. I thank Linda for pointing this out.

Update: This is Katznelson’s web site – Of the 3,229 GI Bill guaranteed home, business, and farm loans made in 1947 in Mississippi, for example, only two were offered to black veterans. At no other time in American history has so much money and so many resources been put at the service of the generation completing education, entering the work force, and forming families. Comparatively little of this largesse was available to black veterans. With these policies, the Gordian Knot binding race to class tightened.

By |2012-04-05T20:48:45-04:00March 18th, 2012|Civil Rights, Military, Race|Comments Off on The GI Bill and Race

Thursday Evening News Roundup

There seems to be a question as to whether the Republicans are going to renege on their budget deal which was agreed upon last August. House Republicans are looking to stir the pot. I thought that the Republican Party was the party of honesty and moral values. I guess not.

After a ton of hype, this double secret tape that will be devastating to the president has been released. Did you feel that? The earth shook. Or maybe not. This is more nothing than usual. This double secret tape has been widely available on PBS and YouTube for more than three years.

The clock is ticking on Greece’s debt deal. Greece needs private investors to agree to debt reduction. The deadline on the agreement is 1 AM Eastern Standard Time. Greek debt deal is critical to the stability of the European Union and the stability of the European Union is critical to American exports.

Senate defeats a measure to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

Microraptor, a small four-winged dinosaur that lived approximately 130 million years ago appears to have had feathers. There seems to be some evidence that the feathers were glossy and iridescent. Totally cool.

There was a shooting today at Western Psychiatric Institute in Pennsylvania. Two people are dead and seven injured.

I would like to encourage everyone to take a look at this book by Michelle Alexander – the New Jim Crow.

It appears that Bank of America has made a deal with 200,000 financially strapped households in order to restructure their mortgages. This seems to be a nice step in the right direction.

I’d like to take a few minutes to talk about this article in the New York Times. It deals with the study that I talked about several weeks ago in which a significant number of physicians admitted that they did not tell the truth to their patients. The backbone of our medical system is a doctor-patient relationship. If this relationship doesn’t work, everything falls apart. Honesty is required from both sides. Patients have to honestly tell their physicians about their symptoms and about their thoughts and feelings in order for physicians to be able to give the appropriate advice. It is crucial for physicians to be honest with their patients. This means you can’t shirk off that duty to a nurse or physician’s assistant. This requires the doctor to be at the bedside with the patient. Sometimes, it requires the doctor to say the same thing, in different ways at different points in time in order for the information to sink in, not only to the patient but also to the patient’s family. Unfortunately, when dealing with the English language, there’s lots of nuance and opportunities for miscommunication. It is extremely important for both the patient and the doctor to seek perfect understanding.

Sarah Palin is truly special. That’s all I can say.

Mitt Romney seems to be more than happy to display his awkwardness in front of crowds, just like an NBA star shows off a fabulous jumpshot. The fact that he is “learning to say y’all and that he likes grits” just makes me shake my head.

What’s on your mind this evening?

By |2012-03-08T23:42:45-04:00March 8th, 2012|Foreign Affairs, Healthcare, House of Representatives, Science|Comments Off on Thursday Evening News Roundup
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