“I Believe We Lost That Trial for Trayvon Long Before He Was Killed”

 

There’s not much I can — or, frankly, should — add to this essay in the Huffington Post by African American actor Romany Malco. I’ll only say that he’s right, and that you don’t hear this kind of thing often enough. The “we” he’s talking about is the African American community:

Trayvon was doomed the moment ignorance became synonymous with young black America . We lost that case by using media outlets (music, movies, social media, etc.) as vehicles to perpetuate the same negative images and social issues that destroyed the black community in the first place. When we went on record glorifying violent crime and when we voted for a president we never thought to hold accountable. When we signed on to do reality shows that fed into the media’s stereotypes of black men, we ingrained an image of Trayvon Martin so overwhelming that who he actually may have been didn’t matter anymore.

True. And so is this:

If we really wanted to ensure Trayvon Martin’s killing was not in vain, we’d stop perpetuating negative images that are now synonymous with black men in America. We’d stop rapping about selling drugs and killing [redacted]. The next time we saw a man beating a woman, we’d call for help or break it up, but one thing we would not do is stand by with our cellphones out — yelling WORLDSTAR! Instead of rewarding kids for memorization, we’d reward them for independent and critical thinking.

We’d spend less time subconsciously repeating lyrics about death and murder and more time understanding why we are so willing to twerk to songs that demean women and boast of having things we cannot afford. We’d set examples of self-love for our youth by honoring our own hair, skin and eye color. We’d stop spending money on designer gear that we should be spending on our physical and psychological health. We’d seek information outside the corporate owned-media that manipulates us. We’d stop letting television babysit our kids and we’d quit regurgitating pundits we haven’t come up with on our own.

Okay, so it gets a little lefty-Marxy in there. But I like the message. It’s just too bad you don’t hear this from the one person, arguably, who could really make a difference with it. But of course our president is too busy with his platitudes and generalities to make a real impact.

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  1. Profile Photo Member
    @Goldgeller
    Tommy De Seno: So everyone is really buying this guy’s line that an abundance of stereo-type portrayed by Hollywood and Pop Culture can have a negative impact on the way that group thinks of themselves and others think of them?

    People are truly buying that? · 9 hours ago

    I wouldn’t hang my whole argument on that idea, but there is truth to it.

    What people see on TV influences them. There’s a segment of the black community that sees some, most, of these rappers– the way they dress, the way they talk, what they talk about– and the message that they get is: “it’s okay to act like that, you may even get rich!” And then they leave their community and they find out that most people don’t really think that’s okay. 

    His point about Worldstar [hip-hop] was right on– world star has music videos, yeah, but it also has some of the most crass, and violent fights on it (not saying that’s all worldstar is though). Most of the people in  said videos should suspended from school or arrested, yet they just “hits.” That’s absurd!

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  2. Profile Photo Member
    @Goldgeller
    Tommy De Seno

    I’m curious about what others think.  Really buying that the more Hollywood expresses a stereo-type, the more the stereotype is believed to change thinking?

    Or vice versa – the stereotype reflects reality?   If it’s that, is any stereotype really “unfair?”  That would debunk this follow’s point from the article. · 6 hours ago

    Edited 6 hours ago

    I missed this for some reason. Consider stereo-type being used neutrally, so let’s not worry about fair or not. The question is “when did some of these black stereotypes become “popular” in the black community? And that just depends on when and where you start your analysis of the situation. Some of these rapper’s parents probably told them to pull their pants up and “stop using that kind of language” but TV was a stronger influence, some rappers never saw anything but that type of behavior. At some point in time such a behavior wasn’t really acceptable in most any part of the black community, and then it became acceptable for some reason or another in certain segments of the community. 

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  3. Profile Photo Member
    @Larry3435

    I’m actually kind of grateful that the President doesn’t make a real impact.  I don’t think I would like the impact he would make, if he ever made one.

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  4. Profile Photo Editor
    @RobLong
    Larry3435: I’m actually kind of grateful that the President doesn’t make a real impact.  I don’t think I would like the impact he would make, if he ever made one. · 3 minutes ago

    You make a good point.  Still, he’s the most influential African American in history — it can be argued, anyway.  Would be nice to hear a little Cosby from him.  Even Cosby-lite.

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Contributor
    @TommyDeSeno

    It seems to the be the consensus so far that Hollywood and Pop Culture push the stereotype and members of the group then follow.

    Did Pop Culture create the stereotype?

    • #5
  6. Profile Photo Member
    @JimmyCarter

    Yeah, it’s “just too bad” that when the exact same message using nearly the exact same words coming from someone Who is white is threatened, or Their Family is threatened, or Their career….

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  7. Profile Photo Member
    @WesternChauvinist

    But of course our president is too busy with his platitudes and generalities to make a real impact.

    No, I think he makes an impact. And it’s all negative. Vile, in fact. I’m going to start using Mollie’s all too apropos term and say, “immoral.” The race and class divisions he’s inciting are immoral. The worst of his already very bad legacy.

    We may never recover from the fundamental transformation of this president’s administration. It’s sickening and terrifying.

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  8. Profile Photo Coolidge
    @ctlaw

    “…Instead of rewarding kids for memorization, we’d reward them for independent and critical thinking…”

    This is an evil canard. The real problem is that we stopped rewarding (i.e., grading) kids for memorization. In large part this was due to failure of blacks to perform to the standards of whites and Asians. Rather than address the underlying problems Malco noted, the grading for critical thinking was an excuse to adopt a system that can be fudged, thereby accellerating the downward spiral.

    Grading for critical thinking is impractical. The reward can be found elsewhere in terms of the random science compettion, essay contest, etc.

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  9. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Devereaux
    Rob Long

    Larry3435: I’m actually kind of grateful that the President doesn’t make a real impact.  I don’t think I would like the impact he would make, if he ever made one. · 3 minutes ago

    You make a good point.  Still, he’s the most influential African American in history — it can be argued, anyway.  Would be nice to hear a little Cosby from him.  Even Cosby-lite. · 4 minutes ago

    Interesting take. ?Are you arguing that he is the most influential black American vis a vis blacks, or overall. ?Is your take that since he is attempting to “fundamentally transform the nation” that’s what makes him the most influential.

    Else I would vote for Martin Luther King.

    • #9
  10. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DocJay
    Rob Long

    Larry3435: I’m actually kind of grateful that the President doesn’t make a real impact.  I don’t think I would like the impact he would make, if he ever made one. · 3 minutes ago

    You make a good point.  Still, he’s the most influential African American in history — it can be argued, anyway.  Would be nice to hear a little Cosby from him.  Even Cosby-lite. · 13 minutes ago

    Enjoy those Bath Salts Rob.   

    Cosby is pure class.

    Obama is an incompetent  racist.  

    We will either die off as a country or place Obama on history’s dung heap.  

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  11. Profile Photo Inactive
    @AaronMiller
    We’d set examples of self-love for our youth by honoring our own hair, skin and eye color.

    I’m not sure exactly what he meant by this, but it hits on a curiosity of mine. Why is it so common for black women to chemically burn their hair or wear wigs in order to mimic the hair styles of white women? I can see how the latter affords them more options. But isn’t it a little sad that so many black women are unsatisified by their natural hair?

    Honestly, I could date a black girl with natural hair but would have trouble ignoring a wig. Perhaps it’s irrational, but there it is.

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  12. Profile Photo Inactive
    @docmolloy

    Obama the college years.. don’t Bogart that joint Barry.. a real cool role model.

    • #12
  13. Profile Photo Contributor
    @PaulARahe

    Thank God for Cosby! A thoroughly decent, sweet man. And Romany Malco has the virtue of being smart.

    • #13
  14. Profile Photo Member
    @Sisyphus

    The President is making an impact. Dozens of acts of violence, including at lease one group homicide, have been dedicated to the bogus cause our Hater in Chief inflamed. 

    I am encouraged to see Malco step forward in such a big and important way, but I wonder if he will weather the blowback. The real atrocity here is that free speech, like the rule of law, is only respected on one side of the discussion. Of course, our beloved press will rise as one and show the true face of this President’s interference in a local legal matter for the atrocity it is. Mounted gloriously atop their winged pigs, crusaders for liberty.

    This President has far more blood on his hands in even this narrow case than George Zimmerman ever could have.

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  15. Profile Photo Inactive
    @KCMulville

    Timing is everything.

    I just happened to check NewsBusters, and I saw a post where the absurd CNN host Don Lemon decided to lecture some white guy on the “blindness” caused by white privilege.

    I’ll speak only for myself: the moment you tell me that I can’t understand you, but that you have some superior insight that allows you to understand me (more than I understand myself), I’d better be dead and you’d better be God. Otherwise, you’re the one deluding yourself. 

    It’s more than just a self-defeating style taught to black kids. It’s a problem when you tell a kid that his background makes him a mystery to others, and that there can be no understanding between races. (Or sexes. Or anything else.) Once that happens, all communication is reduced to mere posturing, and playing to the crowd (which is ironic, since if everything is relative, the crowd can’t understand you either).

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  16. Profile Photo Member
    @Sisyphus

    Sorry. I am happy to hear Cosby once more on the same side of an issue, but his insistence in 2012 that the opposition to Obama was rooted entirely in racism was vile and disgusting. 

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  17. Profile Photo Member
    @Franco

    Great message but I suspect it falls on deaf ears. Too much these days is lecturing to the scholars. Anyone reading – even the Huffington Post, is probably not the target audience. Any one reading at all, anyone caring at all pretty much knows this. Jeantel with her 3.0 average is getting her nails done right now, oblivious to this message.

    As to the marxyisms, I disagree. You don’t have to be a marxist to believe that corporatism combined with hero-worship and media influence can be toxic. I am a staunch capitalist. Modern corporatism is a distorted derivitive of capitialism IMO. 

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  18. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Pencilvania

    I feel I have to whisper the name > o’reilly< here, but his Talking Points tonight was passionate and honest, dealt with race in America and how the President and other politicians have not even begun to do the right thing about it.  It was good.

    • #18
  19. Profile Photo Inactive
    @dasmotorhead
    But of course our president is too busy with his platitudes and generalities to make a real impact.

    He stopped caring about making (or pretending to try to make) a real impact at or around 9:00pm, Tuesday November 4, 2008. Also about the same time he stopped caring, or pretending to care, about anyone other than himself and the guy he admires in the mirror every morning.

    +1 on everything WC said above, the man is a race-baiting Alinskyite of the highest order. But it would be even worse if he wasn’t such a narcissist.  Every minute he spends listening to his own speeches on his iPod is a minute not spent talking about Trayvon or Henry Louis Gates.

    • #19
  20. Profile Photo Inactive
    @dasmotorhead

    It’s nice to read, and I’m glad Malco put it out there. But it’s hard to see how/when real progress will be made. I’m not allowed to say anything because I’m white. Cosby, a reliable liberal, is vilified or ignored when he tells African American men to stand up and be men. Thomas Sowell and Justice Thomas are called the vilest of names because they don’t submit to groupthink. And Chris Brown, hero of heroes, continues to live out those songs Malco condemns.

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  21. Profile Photo Inactive
    @dasmotorhead

    On a related note, anyone read the Morning Jolt today? The black community celebrates violence, while the elite, liberal reporters inveighing against GZ go to cocktail parties and ask the quiet African American man to “fetch him a drink.” It’s a tough battle when there’s such cognitive dissonance and an intentional lack of self-awareness on the Left.

    • #21
  22. Profile Photo Inactive
    @MargaretSarah
    Tommy De Seno: It seems to the be the consensus so far that Hollywood and Pop Culture push the stereotype and members of the group then follow.

    Did Pop Culture create the stereotype? · 52 minutes ago

    Create? No. Heighten, exaggerate, glamorize? Yes. Spread into every home while Momma is away at work, and into every ear while walking to school, riding a bus, just sitting around.

    Remember, this is happening within a culture where there are few countervailing influences. The church, the grandmother, the mother might be struggling against it, but their voices seem small and localized, and the black TV and rap cultures hammer them constantly. School and old media TV are suspect, actually for good reasons–they have shown they are not interested in addressing real problems.

    Popular culture doesn’t invite the tropes, but by enlarging them it can have a big influence on how people think and act.  

    • #22
  23. Profile Photo Inactive
    @MargaretSarah
    ctlaw: “…Instead of rewarding kids for memorization, we’d reward them for independent and critical thinking…”

    This is an evil canard. The real problem is that we stopped rewarding (i.e., grading) kids for memorization. In large part this was due to failure of blacks to perform to the standards of whites and Asians. Rathere then address the underlying problems Malco noted, the grading for critical thinking was an excuse to adopt a system that can be fudged, thereby accellerating the downward spiral.

    Grading for critical thinking is impractical. The reward can be found elsewhere in terms of the random science compettion, essay contest, etc. · 49 minutes ago

    Grading for critical thinking can be done. Problem is, to be able to show any improvement you have to teach for critical thinking, instead of just setting up open-ended assignments and hoping the thinking will come.

    • #23
  24. Profile Photo Contributor
    @TommyDeSeno
    Margaret Sarah

    Tommy De Seno: It seems to the be the consensus so far that Hollywood and Pop Culture push the stereotype and members of the group then follow.

    Did Pop Culture create the stereotype? · 52 minutes ago

    Create? No. Heighten, exaggerate, glamorize? Yes. Spread into every home while Momma is away at work, and into every ear while walking to school, riding a bus, just sitting around.

    Remember, this is happening within a culture where there are few countervailing influences. The church, the grandmother, the mother might be struggling against it, but their voices seem small and localized, and the black TV and rap cultures hammer them constantly. School and old media TV are suspect, actually for good reasons–they have shown they are not interested in addressing real problems.

    Popular culture doesn’t invite the tropes, but by enlarging them it can have a big influence on how people think and act.   · 4 minutes ago

    Interesting.  Does the enlarging of the stereotype also influence how society views members of the group who are not representative of the stereotype, i.e. do they get unfairly stereotyped?

    • #24
  25. Profile Photo Inactive
    @MrDart
    Ryan M: The quote was “we made an image of trayvon martin … so it didn’t really matter who he really was.”  I find it a bit more likely that “[whoever we is] made an image of trayvon martin … and that was what he aspired to be and actually became.”  I get the impression that trayvon martin was exactly the negative character that this guy is talking about.

    This was my reading of that passage too.  The writer seems to be saying that Trayvon was an innocent child but people just can’t see it because of media stereotypes.  If that was his point he needs to explore the ample evidence of who Trayvon actually was.  It’s available— photos, text messages, the recipe for lean he got on facebook (two thirds of which is Arizona watermelon ice tea & skittles) his criminal record, school suspensions for drugs, etc. He might even ask why the kid was 240 miles from home.

    Careful.  The truth doesn’t fit the well-crafted media image.

    • #25
  26. Profile Photo Inactive
    @TheMugwump

    Career over.  Very few black men ‘scape the plantation without consequences.  Cosby is insulated because he has standing.  Marco just committed the unforgiveable sin of speaking truth to power while a black man inhabits the White House.  Mind you, he’ll be a better person for having escaped Sodom on the Pacific.  Sorry, Rob, but you know it’s true. 

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  27. Profile Photo Contributor
    @MatthewHennessey
    KC Mulville: I’ll speak only for myself: the moment you tell me that I can’t understand you, but that you have some superior insight that allows you to understand me (more than I understand myself), I’d better be dead and you’d better be God. 

    You can speak for me, too, KC. A great line.

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  28. Profile Photo Contributor
    @TommyDeSeno

    Wasn’t Bill Cosby on the Tawana Brawley side of the fence?

    • #28
  29. Profile Photo Contributor
    @TommyDeSeno

    So everyone is really buying this guy’s line that an abundance of stereo-type portrayed by Hollywood and Pop Culture can have a negative impact on the way that group thinks of themselves and others think of them?

    People are truly buying that?

    • #29
  30. Profile Photo Inactive
    @TheMugwump
    KC Mulville:  . . . and that there can be no understanding between races. (Or sexes. Or anything else.)

    Show me a man who claims to understand the opposite sex and I’ll show you a liar.  The truce line is called accommodation.  It’s a give and take between two completely different perspectives based on biology.  Happy the man (and woman) who can forge an accommodation.  God bless them.  Meanwhile, bachelors enjoy the liberty to drink to excess and leave the toilet seat up.  Small compensation perhaps, but compensation nevertheless.      

    • #30
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