racism

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Racism in Tarzan, Heart of Darkness, Captain Horn

Published May 2, 2017 by lorijss

 

Tarzan, from the animated Disney’s version to the most recent 2016 installment seems to cut out the racist components of the 1912 novel. With the animation editing out blacks entirely and the latest movie discarding the racism, the question remains as to whether this can be done without wiping out the existence and essence of Tarzan. In Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Borroughs, blacks are seen as barbaric, “savages” with the ape-reared male elevated above the natives with no basis other than because the author said so. However, Tarzan was not unique for In The Adventures of Captain Horn by Frank Stockton which was published in 1895, the Africans are also called “savage” and “half—tamed,” and planted in the narrative for comedic entertainment. Immediately, one can see a correlation between racism and entertainment with the more racist equaling the more entertaining based on the authorship. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, published in 1899 has a more serious undertone whilst still depicting blacks as subhuman and “niggers” which may have costed it it’s effectiveness. It’s important that white  or non-black readers do not read over these stereotypical views and also not take it lightly. That way closer inspection reveal that these novels are not as good it could have been without the distasteful parts. Fiction is better when it’s grounded in reality. All three of the action and or adventure texts, Tarzan, Captain Horn and Heart of Darkness regardless of their genre, portray stereotypical views of blacks or Africans as unintelligent, barbaric, wild and subhuman, thereby eluding the common sense of these persons, their subjective perspectives and overall veritableness.

 

The Adventures of Captain Horn

 

Throughout Captain Horn the supposed Africans are viewed as the same.

When the captain was told of “strange thing,” his reaction was a generalization—“another African!” After Mrs. Cliff and her companions insist that it wasn’t a Native Indian, they said “almost in the same breath..it was an African, exactly like Maka.” The conversation exemplifies a lack of experience or familiarity and possibly an obsession when they say, “you know they’re very dark.” Africans are just like one another. What are the chances that after stumbling upon a new land that he’d find a black person that looks exactly like Maka? It’s ironic that Mrs. Cliff and her companions in the “same breath” are also similar.

           The alleged “African” characters are depicted in an emasculated manner. When the author states, “Making a step toward him, the captain saw that he(Maka) had hold of another man, several feet below him, and that he could not pull him up.

“Hold on tight, Maka,” he cried, and then, taking hold of the African’s shoulders, he gave one mighty heave, lifted both men, and set them on their feet beside him.” Maka is the one that does all the manual labor for the Captain so logically he would not be the one to have the strength to lift both men.

The black characters are always depicted as frightened and scared. An example is, “The new African was sitting on the ground, as far back from the edge of the ledge as he could get, shivering and shaking, for the water was cold. He had apparently at reached the culmination and termination of his fright.” You can see that this “new African” is also authored as fearful like Maka. Keep in mind that they are socialized in two different parts of the word.  Here is another example, “The shivering negro had been listening attentively, and now half rose and nodded his head violently, and then began to speak rapidly in African.” Firstly the description is ironic and not realistic for one to go from “shivering” to “nodding head violently.” With this superficial description of the character’s speech, the reader is forced to think in stereotypes. There are thousands of African languages that were and still are spoken across the continent.

         The “Africans” are always placed at impending danger zones as tools for the initiation of a scene that makes Horn seem brave. It is interesting that the author describes Maka for example, has being fearful but put him the closest to danger. “Maka can sleep in the hall to keep out burglars.(17)” If he is indeed the most scared why would Captain Horn place him where he would be the first to face the onset of danger. Another instance: “then suddenly a scrambling sound of footsteps was heard, and Maka dashed through the two adjoining apartments and appeared before them. Instantly the captain was on his feet, his gun, which had been lying beside him, in his hand.” In this scene the captain is portrayed as being brave because he has a gun. That eludes the fact that anyone can sport a gun. It continues that “the captain satisfied himself with leaving Mok at his former post, with instructions to give the alarm if he heard the slightest sound, and put Maka, as before, in the outer passage.” Maka is placed in the latter passage which is the most exposed part of the vicinity.

Lines like “As soon as the negro saw him, he began to beckon wildly for him to come on,” and five black men in a state of mad excitement” are exaggerated and misinterpreted behavioral expressions of the “Africans.” “Some more Africans have turned up. Maka has gone to meet them…”  This phrase assumes that Maka would automatically run towards the Africans of the land he just arrived on with Captain Horn, like long lost brothers. Once again we find Maka being put at the forefront where if Captain Horn were really the brave one he would take the initiative and “go to meet them.” The lack of sufficient interpretation of Africans is evident when, “…the other African, Mok, sat crouched on his heels, his eyes wide open. Whether he was asleep or not it would have been difficult to determine, but if anyone had appeared in the great cleft on the other side of the lake, he would have sprung to his feet with a yell—his fear of the Rackbirds was always awake.” It’s not clear why it would be difficult to know whether Mok is sleeping or not. It implies that the author is lacking in skills of interpreting or observing behavior.  Again we see assumptions of fear.

Statements to describe black characters in the novel are geared towards “exclusion” or “differentiation.”  Take for example this statement by Captain Horn. “Now we can take it easy to-day, and rest our bones. The order of the day is to keep close…Keep those four niggers up in the pigeonhole.” The use of the word, “those” imply that they are seen as “the other” —differentiated and excluded despite being used for manual labor. Horn continues, “We will do our own cooking to-day, for we can’t afford to run after any more of them. Lucky the fellow who got away can’t speak English, for he can’t tell anything about us, any more than if he was an ape.”  Needless to state, the racism—someone doesn’t speak English they are inferior and the comparison to an ape. We already know that the Captain must’ve had incompetency for learning the languages of the African. For he sees no problem that Maka would know his language but he not know Maka’s at all. When Horn said, “You are a good fellow, Maka,” that quite frankly is a racist statement. The reason is that there is an implication that all blacks are “bad” for him to be making statements such as, “Apart from his being such an abject coward, he seems to be a good, quiet fellow, willing to do what he is told…(83)” The white characters would also say things like “ those black fellows(72)”and “those colored people(73)” after they brought all the food and provisions to them. They are viewed as “the other” and different even though they take care of them. There is a lot of name calling of blacks such as “coal-black heathen(93)”

Blacks wanting to find “good white people” to “take care of them” lacks plausibility as there is no textual evidence of this want. Examine: “The Africans went to a spot..and there they hid themselves, and watched as long as it was daylight…But they saw nothing, and being very anxious to find good white people who would take care of them, they started out before dawn that morning to look for the shipwrecked party…whom they hoped to find their companion Mok.” Maka does the physical work for the crew so it is he that takes care of the captain and the crew. In essence it is the white people that seek blacks to “take care of them,” constantly throughout the novel. When the captain and his crew were soon going to be without food, Maka proposed that he and the rest of the “black fellows” bring some supplies.(60)” Upon return, “The negroes were heavily loaded with bags and packages, and they were glad to deposit their burdens on the ground.(60)” This show us that it’s blacks that are taking care of the whites.

Voices added to the African characters are inauthentic, similar to Captain Horn. For example, “Yes,” replied the African. “One day before, three went out to look for Mok, and they found his track and more track, and they waited in the black darkness.” It is unlikely that an African would say this statement because growing up in The Caribbean or South American climate, the natives would be accustomed to the black darkness at night which is apart of their environment. The African is speaking about the darkness of the night as if it is strange or new and he fears it. These inauthentic voices do not reflect the cultural-environment. In Europe it snows and the atmosphere becomes brighter outside at night when it snows, so the night is shorter and looks like day. Tropical climates have not only longer nights but darker nights all year round with apparently no snow.

The strength of Mok and Maka are underestimated despite the manual labor Stockton depicts them doing throughout the novel. “Maka, that is a fine lot of fire-wood you have brought. It will last us a long time,” said Horn. Maka who seems to have carried a bunch of firewood should imply his strength but earlier on he was not able to lift two men. It’s more likely that Captain Horn would not be able to have the strength to do the latter as throughout the book he only lifts a gun. This is portrayed as if it takes the same strength to lift a weapon as to lift firewood.

Mok and Maka are also given similar sounding names and that eludes to the fact that the author strives to make them all the more alike. Mok is pronounced the same as Muck whose googled definition is “dirt, rubbish, waste manner.” Clearly, even the names of the characters are of a underlying, racist origin.

Tarzan

            In Tarzan, there are exaggerated and clearly stereotypically racist descriptions of the appearance of “Africans.” Case in point, “Their yellow teeth were filed to sharp points, and their great protruding lips added…to the low and bestial brutishness of their appearance.” It assumes that appearance has anything to do with behavior when he states “bestial brutishness.” It edges the reader to accept that physical appearance are of any intrinsic value in determining a person’s character. The author adds judgements to physical appearances as if there are any basic correlation between the two. He also assumes that appearances of the natives has anything to do with the observer.

Tarzan behavior towards the Natives shows but an insult of their intelligence, despite the fact that apes raised him, according to the novel’s premise. “Without haste he wrapped them securely, and then, ere he turned to leave, the devil of capriciousness entered his heart. He looked about for some hint of a wild prank to play upon these strange, grotesque creatures that they might be again aware of his presence among them.(111)” So when Tarzan is around Africans a devil enters his heart. It’s interesting that the author makes Tarzan first experience with an African be when his ape mother is murdered with a bow and arrow. He could have easily been exposed to the natives before that tragedy. The existence of Tarzan rests partly if not solely on racism. It would be more likely that the natives would have found him—”aware of his presence” and brought him up in human culture.

Like Captain Horn, blacks in Tarzan are depicted as fearful and also emasculated. When the natives found out that their arrows were missing—“thoroughly awed and frightened group of savages”(105). When the village found out that Mbonga died, “They stood in little groups, talking in low tones, and ever casting affrighted glances behind them from their great rolling eyes.”(105)” Anyone with common sense would know that if a prominent person has been murdered in a village then that would be the last reaction. There would be sadness, revenge, an investigation etc.   Fearfulness is then taken to a new level—  without logical reason. “He was moving carelessly along a winding jungle trail…, when suddenly he came face to face with a black warrior. The look of surprise on the savage face was almost com- ical, and before Tarzan could unsling his bow the fellow had turned and ed down the path crying out in alarm as though to others before him. (133)” While we know that Tarzan is fiction this particular scene is like a macho fantasy one because there is no reason one would fear Tarzan. It is unlikely that they’d be afraid of a naked white man running around in their environment. Now notice the phrase, “unsling his bow” which is ironic because we know that this bow was stolen from the Africans. Also, why would this black warrior not have a bow and arrow himself? Even if Tarzan practiced with the bow and arrow he would not be as skilled as the natives. They not only engineered them but have a society and culture that would contribute to them mastering shooting a bow from an arrow through socialization and education. That apparently contributes to the whole racism which includes the insulting of people’s intelligence.
Scenes in Tarzan are remindful of southern lynching in the 19th and 20th century during which time the novel was published. “The blacks, their eyes protruding in horror, watched spellbound. Once beneath the trees, the body rose straight into the air, and as it disappeared into the foliage above, the terrified negroes, screaming with fright, broke into a mad race for the village gate. (248)” It is apparent that lynching was done in hopes of instilling fear of the latter description in maintaining white supremacy as exemplified in Tarzan even in the “African jungle.” By now we see numerous scenes of fearful Africans both in Tarzan and Captain Horn being repeated over and over again in hopes that this continuous repetition would make it true or real, for the obvious reasons that it is not true or actual.

Esmeralda in Tarzan of the Apes

Like the African Natives, Esmeralda is also depicted as fearful “like a frightened child(148).” Her character identity is posited as African American. We know this because she arrived from “America” as Jane’s maiden. Esmeralda wanted to leave the “African jungles.” She said, “You all don’t mean to tell ME that you’re going to stay right here in this here land of carnivable animals…Don’t you tell me THAT, honey.(280)” Not only is this voice clearly stereotypical, she is depicted as having absolutely no interest in the African continent much less in remaining there. Nor in her African roots because we already know that as an African American she would be of African descent.  The only way she would have no interest her African ancestral home, is if she had been brainwashed, denied or stripped of her history by the influence or behavior of oppressor/s during some type of servitude.

Esmeralda, like other “black” characters is there for entertainment—albeit a racist. It’s akin to the minstrel shows used to entertain the white masses. In this period these shows had to be racist to be deemed entertaining by white audiences.  I will go as far as saying that Esmeralda is “blackface”— a non-black character with theatrical makeup to represent a black person. Even though Esmeralda is not one of the African native, she is still portrayed as fearful as much as the African characters in the “jungle” where Tarzan also resides. Whether they are black Americans or Africans in the Congo, they are all depicted as the same: fearful. None of the black characters are portrayed in a suitable manner from the beginning.

Heart of Darkness

Conrad also depicted Africans in his novel in a stereotypical, superficial, and distasteful manner. Here is a descriptions of the natives, “Black shapes crouched, lay, sat between the trees, leaning against the trunks, clinging to the earth in all attitudes of pain, abandonment, and despair they were nothing earthly now….One of these creatures rose to his hands and knees and went off on all fours towards the river to drink. (Conrad 25)” The natives are portrayed as shapes and moving forms with no characteristics so as to distinguish one from the other.  They are described as animalistic, moving “on all fours,” and in a superstitious manner as in “nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation.(25)” Alluding to Captain Horn, they are Mok and Maka, very similar as if they are one body and not separate individuals.

Like Tarzan and Captain Horn, the Natives are described in sweeping generalizations and has literally one body. We know that the author did in fact go to this area of the African continent. However, he must have left with the same stereotypes he came with of Africans and did not discover a full truth exemplified in his racist descriptions of Africans as sub-human.

Similarly, the two previously mentioned novels, blacks aren’t given authentic voices. Marlowe chose to describe the voice of the Africans as a “growing murmur of voices” and a “violent babble of uncouth sounds(15).”

Solely based on authorship, one can tell that Borrough, Stockton, and Conrad do not know or have little to no familiarity with blacks making their stance superstitious. Examine the phrase, “Then Mbonga emerged, a look of mingled wrath and superstitious fear writ upon his hideous countenance.” European or white characters are not depicted as fearful, atleast not as much as melanated characters. Logically speaking it would more be the European that would be afraid not being familiar with the surroundings.

Apart from the authors being racist, one can argue that racism is superstition. The definition of superstition in the Webster’s dictionary is: 1. any belief, based on fear or ignorance, that is inconsistent with the known laws of science or with what is considered as true and rational. 2. any action or practice based on such a belief. Meanwhile dictionary.com defines superstition as “irrational belief usually founded on ignorance or fear and characterized by obsessive reverence…a notion, act or ritual that derives from such belief. 2. any irrational belief[racism], esp with regard to the unknown[blacks].” Evidently, it is ironic that the natives or blacks are repeatedly shown to be superstitious when it’s really Stockton reflected in Captain Horn and his crew, Borroughs, and Conrad that would likely be afraid and superstitious. They carry superstitious beliefs of blacks.

Colonialism in the texts

In both Tarzan and Captain Horn Europeans have been shipwrecked on another land in one way for another. In Tarzan and Heart of Darkness, however short, there have been colonialism.  When Lord Greystroke was sent to “[investigate] conditions in a British West Coast African Colony. The English men stated that the Africans were held in slavery. Even after their enlistment ended they were taken advantage of and kept in servitude for several more years. This is very similar to Heart of Darkness where the Africans are overworked as the earlier quote above describes their conditions and then left to die. In Tarzan there is also scenes that can arguably be symbolic of colonialism. When Tarzan steals the Native’s bows and arrows on numerous occasions, it is symbolic of Europeans exploitation of African resources. And when Tarzan was using the arrow against the Native it’s using the very resources they’ve gained from the oppressed against the oppressed. When “the devil of capriciousness entered [Tarzan’s] heart,” it can also be symbolic of the behavior of colonists because of the subjugation of people and echoes the title of Conrad’s novel—Heart of Darkness. Conrad and Borrough would say Europeans shouldn’t be in Africa looting and exploiting. All three authors would agree more or less that material things are the root of all evil.

Conclusion

As a black person reading Captain Horn, for example when I laugh, I always stop abruptly in my tracks to remember that I am laughing at the author’s ignorance. This novel could’ve been hilarious without racism and would make a great movie if my aforementioned discussion is considered. While reading Conrad’s description of blacks, I couldn’t help but think that he was mentally ill. If, Heart of Darkness’ goal was to show the evils of colonization then what better way to show this than through the eyes of oppressors? That Conrad had no empathy towards blacks, making his work less effective if it’s goal was to educate Europeans on the horrors of colonialism so that it may be eradicated. To actively fight colonialism and the oppression, blacks would have had to be an integral part of the solution. We know this because they are the ones oppressed and also because Europeans are on an African land. As for Tarzan, Borrough seems to admit something closer to the truth with this line near the end of the novel, “But one might as well judge all blacks by the fellow who ran amuck last week, or decide that all whites are cowards because one has met a cowardly white.(302)” So when it’s said and done Borrough is implying that in reality it is actually whites that are the cowards and that cowardice is only projected unto black characters in Tarzan and Captain Horn.

Imagery over romantic love in Astrophil and Stella I

Published December 2, 2015 by lorijss

Imagery over romantic love in Astrophil and Stella I

Many people struggle with expressing their feelings for others. In Astrophil and Stella Sonnet 1 Sidney does just that with a lover, struggle. He starts to declare how he has been trying to find the right words that would make his poem have an impact on its recipient. Unfortunately for him, this woman doesn’t give him the time of day so he is stuck with his imagination rather than any expression of romantic interaction. Incapable of writing a poem about his professed love for this woman, he does however, successfully uses succinct imagery to express how difficult it is for romantic words to come out unto the paper.
There are multiple ways to interpret some of the image-laden lines. Most notably the line “I sought fit words, to paint the blackest face of woe” where he starts to declare how he has been trying to find the right words that would make his poem have an impact on its recipient. He wants something that will arouse pity from his lover in order to get her attention. He hopes that this attention in the form of pity will transform into returned love. “The blackest face of woe” can be interpreted racially by an African American reader. If taken literally posits that to have a black face is to be in misery. It can even be seen as racist; as a woe is a thing that causes trouble and distress implying to be black is to cause trouble. The other meaning is that Sidney simply sees himself as the most depressed and sorrowful person on the face of the earth.
Sidney paints a vivid picture of the condition of his mind during writer’s block. Another densely packed imagery line is, “Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sunburn’d brain,” is that gives the reader an idea that he is in pain, trying to force something from his head, rubbing two sticks together to create fire. The only problem is that he ends up sunburn’d. Now he would like something fresh and original, fruitful as in mindblowing and profound stemming from a shower of inspiration. There is a world wind going on inside of him that he wants to unleash but feels week, saying he is “great with child to speak and helpless in my throes.” This metaphorical imagery lets us know that he wants to lets the words out but is unable to. He empathizes with a woman late in pregnancy who cannot wait for the birth of the baby and who experiences intense pain and struggle in childbirth. “By biting [his] truant pen,” televises it in one’s mind not only that he is biting his pen but that he’s truant like an absent student who is not where he needs to be when he needs to be in school. Finally the writer is on to something, he begins to think that there is something he is not doing, somewhere he is not going.
The most powerful line of the poem is the very last one that is introduced through, “beating myself for spite,” where he blames himself. It is this self-flagellation that incites his Muse to say immediately after, “Fool, look in thy heart and write.” It would appear that this might have been more captivating if his Muse yelled this instead; if Sidney had put an exclamation point to indicate strong feelings. Upon first read it would appear that he comes out of nowhere with that command of writing from the heart, but a closer encounter shows that he beats it out of himself. One sees how closely beating is related to the heart. He is possibly subconsciously aware of his heartbeating. His muse tugs at his heartstring urging him to look within. Hence a firm statement can be just as resounding and emphatic as an indication of strong feelings. The ultimate line also vibrates (resonate, continue to cause the preceding lines to be heard) the preceding lines: blackest face of woe, great with child, and sunburnt brain, allowing underlying cohesive depth to the poem. These are examples of successfully crafted imagery. Behold, Sidney completed an imaginative poem even though it isn’t particularly the romantic-love one he set out to do in the beginning.

Works Cited
Philip Sidney. “From Astrophil and Stella I.” The Norton Anthology English Literature: 8th ed. Vol. 1. Greenblatt, Stephen, General Editor. New York: Norton, 2012. 1084-1085. Print.

New surveillance camera Shows Trayvon Martin

Published May 18, 2012 by lorijss

New surveillance camera show Trayvon Martin minutes before the shooting took place. Trayvon is a normal 17 year old teenager collecting his items and paying for them in a grocery store, there is an undercurrent of happiness and go-luckiness in his demeanor(very characteristic of youth) as he walks around in the store and then pays for his items. If he was an “asshole” as Zimmerman assumed on the police recordings, wouldn’t he have been one in the empty store itself? All I see is a 17 year old and a store clerk, it is apparent that Trayvon saw the store clerk as a normal store clerk the same way the store clerk saw Trayvon as a normal customer.  Did the store clerk take out a weapon and shoot him? No, but Zimmerman did just that. An average, normal everyday like routine that Zimmerman’s idiotic behavior turned into something tragic. It should be considered a fact that Trayvon’s death could have been avoided.

Trayvon Martin at the store – Yahoo/ABCNews

Surveillance Camera of Trayvon Martin —->http://cdnapi.kaltura.com/index.php/kwidget/wid/1_25uhxxq9/uiconf_id/6501231

It is obvious that Zimmerman was the aggressor if he had just stayed in his car like he was suppose to this whole tragic incident could have been avoided. Now I personally believe that Zimmerman should just serve life in prison for his idiotic behavior. At the end of the day the facts still remain, he shot the unarmed 17 year old teenager point blank to the chest. The new photos of Zimmerman’s cut and scraps shows that he was NOT injured in a way where he had to use deadly force, a few cuts and scraps are what people get everyday. He should get over his cuts and scrapes and admit that he should have just stayed in his vehicle and not chased and confronted the teenager. His cuts and scraps were so minor, that once the blood was cleaned up no one would even have noticed ANYTHING. No one would even have considered that there was anything physically hurt about him and that he had just taken someone’s life in “self-defense.” Obviously cuts and scrapes do not need stitches, and people get cuts and scraps from playing sports all the time, doesn’t mean they take out a gun and shoot somebody because of it. And people can’t tell a black person’s voice from a half-white person’s voice? You don’t even need FBI analysts for this.

Also, that’s the way that a person screams when someone who they have never seen or heard from in their whole life tries to get physically aggressive with them(out of nowhere duh).  That’s the way I would scream, like I don’t know what the heck is about to happen but I am going to fight this person off to save myself I don’t know who this person is, is he a kidnapper, a molester? Get your hands off of me! Obviously it was more likely that the teenager was the one screaming for help, if Zimmerman was screaming for help it would mean that he was not armed, why would a person scream for help if they’re armed unless they are severely a wimp? If Zimmerman was screaming for help that is another way of saying that he is a wimp or on drugs and can’t think right because why in the world would he be walking around with a weapon if he was going to be screaming for help anyway? There isn’t anymore details to be needed more that a grown 28 year old shot and killed a 17 year old minor, that is all the system needs to know to put him away for life. You can’t just go around shooting unarmed people especially minors(who happens to be black), who are not responsible for their behavior until their 18th birthday. I stand by what I wrote in my previous entries that this incident has everything to do with race, racial stereotyping, and racism. There is still no evidence that Zimmerman had to use deadly force, jail him for life and stop this waste of time. Stop enforcing practicality and enforce some humanity and stop taking forever to jail this idiot for LIFE preferably. He is safer in jail than out on the streets anyway, might has well do him a favor and save his life by keeping him behind bars. It doesn’t matter what photos or videos reveal now the child was unarmed and if there was a struggle for life and death it would have been on Trayvon Martin’s behalf only. Whereas Zimmerman was simply acting on his imagination and fear that stemmed from racial stereotyping, profiling. May peace be with the Martin’s family as they continue the fight for justice. R.I.P Trayvon Martin.

Photo from Yahoo – Crucial evidence released in Martin’s Case

Zimmerman stands trial

Published April 14, 2012 by lorijss

Zimmerman finally got arrested and charged with second degree murder in the death of the unarmed 17 year old teenager, Trayvon Martin. He could face 25 years to life, I am hoping he serves life but what matters the most is that there is finally justice for Trayvon’s family. It is still shocking that it took 45 days for Zimmerman to finally get arrested, whereas if he were a black male I honestly believe that he would have been arrested right on the spot and given a background check and an investigation immediately launched. Moral of the story, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, and this tragic incident as shown us an example of how dangerous it can be to judge someone especially if the person has a gun that that they intend on using. Not only that, defying authority and in this case, his complete disregard for authority eventually led to a tragic loss of life. I believe that Zimmerman behaved in a reckless and idiotic manner and could’ve handled the situation in an intelligent, calm and considerate manner. He was simply acting on his own imagination, stereotype and fear. Trayvon’s mom is strong to state that it may have been an accident, that if he had known that Trayvon was a normal 17 year old with Skittles and Ice Tea then he would not have pulled the trigger. Trayvon, his mom, dad and whole family is a symbol of hope and justice for us as human beings. I predicted that he was indeed going to get arrested but I didn’t know his charges would have been second degree murder, I thought it would have been negligent homicide but the more I think about it the more second degree murder makes sense, I mean he did disregard authority and chased after the boy.  He is safer in custody and in a jail cell than out on the streets where he could be assaulted or even worse, killed. I pray for Trayvon’s family, may peace be with them in their strong hearts and soul forevermore, for this is only the beginning.

ABC NEWS- Zimmerman charged with 2nd Degree Murder in Trayvon Martin’s Death

The Trayvon Martin Case

Published March 25, 2012 by lorijss

Watch captain fatally shots unarmed teen in Florida. This is truly a tragedy, having two brothers myself, who are young black males, ages 18 and 23. I fear for the life of any innocent young black male in this country. The so-called watch captain should be jailed for life, this kid was unarmed, this cannot be seen as self-defense, but seen as the dangers of allowing fear to cripple one’s life and one’s outlook on things. Racial profiling is a fatal mixture of  racism, fear and ignorance. Racial profiling is dangerous and should not be taken lightly because this is the core cause of the mistreatment and injustice of the young black male in this society. It wasn’t the young black male that was dangerous. Fear itself is dangerous, it was the fear that the watchman had that was dangerous. In this case, fear itself is dangerous to your well being and to that of those around you. What could a kid possibly do to a grown 28 year old male? Everything that the watch-captain says about this tragic incident should be questioned, for dead young black males tell NO TALES. It breaks my heart to know that racial-profiling against young black males constitutes a thin line between life and death for young black males in this society.  Trayvon Martin was racially-profiled and this lead to him being killed, this is a very sad tragedy indeed. The gunning down of young black males that are unarmed is a horrific trend that needs to be dealt with promptly for this is 2012 why are these things so common as if it were the 1950’s and 60’s and prior to that time period? The fear of young black males in society is very irrational, it is a fear the stems from the dominant white American ideology that has been passed down from generation to generation through the process of socialization. Yes one can be socialized to fear young black males, racial profiling, and stereotypical prejudice has its roots in fear and ignorance. This fear of the young black male is dangerous not to the people that harbor these fears, but to young black males themselves. This society is far away from achieving Martin Luther king’s dream where one would be judged by the content of our character and not the color of our skin. It breaks my heart when they released the watchman, named Zimmerman, as if to say oh it was just another young black male that died, it happens  all the time, everyday, every second of everyday. The continued degradation of the young black male’s life is evident when they released the watchman as if to say he did nothing wrong. There is no doubt that Trayvon Martin did not have to die, just because some idiot with a racist stereotype of the young black male, came up to Trayvon Martin out of nowhere, started getting physical and aggressive with him, holding him down on the ground, it’s not like this idiot was a cop or anything. Trayvon Martin was the one who was acting in self-defense, not that brainless watchman. The kid did not know that Zimmerman was a watchman, especially since he had no uniform on, had no idea what this watchman(who was a complete stranger to Trayvon Martin) was going to do to him. Again, the kid did not know that the watchman WAS A watchman. In addition to that, the kid might have thought he was a rapist, kidnapper or a robber, the kid didn’t know what this complete stranger was going to do to him, or why the stranger was acting this way towards him, the kid was trying to defend himself.  This self-proclaimed watchman had no business drawing his gun unless Trayvon Martin drew a gun. If his fear was that profound maybe he should not be appointing himself a watchman in the first place. As a watchman he was not trained in when to draw a gun, and how to draw a gun fast, so he recklessly drew a gun while drowning in imagination and irrational fear.

This watchman must have been WATCHING too much TV, see how the young black male is demonized and dehumanized by the media, one should not allow the media to allow fear to govern our lives.  Fear coupled with a weapon is an extremely dangerous thing and Zimmerman’s actions were cowardly. This was an unnecessary use of deadly force, Zimmerman had multiple options and each option he made was just based on his own irrational fears in addition to being brainless. His last option could have been to shoot in the foot, not to shoot the child to death, this is unnecessary homicide and negligence. There is no doubt that the watchman was just plain racist and prejudiced, maybe he just hated all young black males. This incident is all about race, race is the primary focus. He is just a 17 year old kid, UNARMED, didn’t know what to do, didn’t know why Zimmerman, who was a stranger to him, was getting physical with him and throwing himself on him, he was fighting for his life. Perhaps Zimmerman was trying to hold Trayvon down on the ground until the cops came, still he was in no position to do that. Trayvon was trying to defend himself, but his fists were no match for the weapon. We are socially conditioned to respond to the police it’s not like this watchman was a police. Zimmerman was trying to play hero like in the movies, well this is real life. I bet this self-professed watchman, after shooting the innocent unarmed Trayvon Martin was hoping that he had a gun on him only to find that it was only a bag of skittles. One has to wonder if Trayvon Martin was a white male would he have faced the same fate, or if he were an Asian male? Imagine how the kid’s parents must feel, his family members and friends. Condolences to his family and friends, justice must be served. Trayton Martin’s family’s attorneys has a lot of strong arguments that they can make, I believe this can make a good case.  My sincere hope is that this watchman serves a very long jail time preferably life. I will  be following this case like a hawk.

RIP Trayvon Martin

Attorneys in Trayvon Martin case make arguments

Racist Remarks by BYU professor sparks controversy

Published March 11, 2012 by lorijss

Racist Remarks by BYU professor sparks controversy

According to the article above, on the 18th of February, Randy Bott, a BYU professor of religion, spoke to the Washington Post and said that the LDS Church’s historic ban of the priesthood for men of African descent was a “blessing” because at the time they were not “ready” for the priesthood authority.

This news is sort of old but since I am currently a student at BYU taking time off of course I am going to discuss this. It’s professors like those that give BYU (in present day 2012) this notion of being a racist institution that African Americans need to stay far away from. I have had my own personal experience with racist BYU religion professors. Religion classes at BYU are a requirement for graduation so no one attending BYU can escape taking them and I believe that these classes are prone to racism lurking in the mist of it’s curriculum. Anyway, I was in one of my religion classes and the professor was explaining something I don’t remember what it was specifically and then said “nowadays you can’t even say the word ‘nigger’ or ‘chicano’ when back then it was okay to say those words.” This is an old white professor who was basically saying that his family or the whole social environment in which he grew up in use to say the words “nigger” and “chicano” when interacting amongst themselves and it used to be okay to do that. Okay for who exactly? I can’t even dignify this professor’s statement with a response anyone with modern day common sense can see what is wrong with that religion professor’s statement. They should stop with those religion classes all together or make them current.  Men of African descent being banned from the priesthood authority was a blessing because they weren’t ready for it? Anyone who can’t see that as racist is racist. How would LDS blacks feel sitting in a religion class hearing a religion professor saying things as blatantly racist as that? Well black LDS people who can actually point out what is racist as opposed to what is religious, because religion can be used as a means to accept injustice against your own self. Why? Because God said so. I call this religious racism or religion being used as a means to justify or even perpetrate racism when we as a society are suppose to be moving past this. You get the picture. An African American professor named Darron Smith was speaking out against things like this at BYU and BYU authorities fired him. Anytime BYU is in the news it’s always about something regarding race and racism. BYU needs to get itself checked. Stop running away from the issue and confront it. Weed out all those old racist professors and hire some professors of African descent then that would be progress for BYU-Provo.

What do you know about Black history month?

Published February 9, 2012 by lorijss

This video show the racism and stereotypical behavior towards or about people of African descent at BYU. I am sure all the white respondents in this video are nice, friendly, fun, welcoming individuals, who mean no harm or don’t intend to insult black Americans. Also they obviously don’t consider themselves “racists” or “color-blind racists.” In response to some of the white girls’ thoughts: “Classy”obviously should not or does NOT equal white, and white does NOT or should not equal “classy.” Classy is also very subjective in other words self-defined, but may seem to be more defined by people who are members of the white American culture and ideology which is the most dominant & prevalent culture and ideology in the US. These statements about being “classy” can be interpreted as “racist” or color-blind “racist.” What does it mean “to act” like a “black guy” or what does it mean “to act” like a “white guy?” That question is open to many debates and discussions that I won’t lend a hand to in this post. For the sake of this post, the white girls in the video are basically trying to say that “acting white” is “better”without actually being conscious that that can be interpreted as “racist.”

In this video, all the white respondents can be viewed as racist in it’s own right because they are first of all White Americans. White Americans since the beginning of the United States have always enjoyed unearned privileges at the expense of non-whites, specifically people of African descent. In this video the whites can be interpreted as standing at the pedestal looking down on Black Americans or anyone of African descent without intending to or meaning to, this is on the basis of their own ignorance.  So African immigrants which includes immigrants from Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Botswana or Caribbean immigrants which includes, Jamaica at BYU are put into this box of stereotypes that white Americans have. This is due to their ignorance which is a direct result of their upbringing, or their inexperience with having  interactions with people that are directly from African countries and immigrated or black Americans that are born and raised in the US . Whatever the case may be either way the white respondents in this video have had both little social interaction with black Americans or meaningless social interactions with black Americans.  In addition to that these whites don’t understand the concept of white privilege and in order to understand that they have to step outside the box that they’re in & accept their white privileges. In order to accept that  they have white privileges, however major and minor it is, is by going out of their “way” to be in an environment where they’re interacting with blacks or non-whites on a day to day basis, even leaving the US will do. After doing that go back to interacting with whites and they will see it loud and clear if they open their minds. At least that’s what I think. Therefore, as a result of this lacking in experience that I just discussed, these whites are unable to form sensible responses when interviewed. Whether or not they were being interviewed by that dude their views of black Americans would still be ignorant and stereotypical, therefore it can be interpreted as “racist.” On top of that white Americans are the majority at BYU and most of the positions of power and affluence are filled with people that are White Americans. Honestly my personal experience at BYU as a black Caribbean/Jamaican has showed me that BYU is not only the whitest and most white-washed institution in the US but as a result of that both the most “racist” and “color-blind” racist institution. Still due to the fact that most whites at BYU are Mormons who have served a mission, which is basically spending 2 years in another country for the purpose of spreading Mormonism. The melting of stereotypical views is hopeful especially for those who have served missions in African countries, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.

What are your thoughts on this video?