Monday, April 5, 2010

Court Case In Roanoke Virginia

On Monday March, 22, 2010, in the Roanoke City Circuit Court, I witnessed the opening statements for the murder trial of William Ray Hagy Jr, a 49 year old man incarcerated since 1984 for the rape of a 14-year-old girl. Hagy was indicted for the cold case murder of Cynthia McCray in 1984. Cynthia McCray’s naked dead body was dumped under a Virginia interstate 581 underpass. (citation) Advances in DNA testing linked Hagy's involvement in the Murder of Cynthia McCray. In addition, the testimony of Roy Dickinson, an inmate Hagy befriended in prison, provided detailed information about the murder of Cynthia McCray, which helped strengthen the Commonwealth Attorney's case against Hagy. However, William Hagy's court appointed defense attorney, Gary Lumsden hopes to weaken the prosecutions case by attacking the informant's credibility. Informant, Roy Dickinson is currently serving prison time for pleading guilty to fraud charges in 2008.(citation) Dickinson has a history of white collar crime, and behind bars has acquired incriminating information against fellow inmates, and has used this information to snitch on fellow inmates. Dickinson has had one sentence dropped below the minimum sentencing requirement, and he also currently faces more charges for forging documents from another inmate who he said was plotting to kill a federal prosecutor, and a Securities Exchange Commission Lawyer.(citation) This case was a very interesting case which prompted my own research on the trial.

I arrived to the Roanoke City Circuit Court around 9:30 am Monday March 22, 2010. I checked the court’s docket online the previous night and decided to attend the Hagy case; since it was a jury trial that began the following day. In courtroom number 4, Deputy Commonwealth Attorney Betty Jo Anthony and Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Sheri Jones were getting prepared for their case. As they both scrambled through a file cabinet, I noticed the Defense Attorney and his assistant entered the court. The Defense Attorney Gary Lumsden walked into the court with an aggravated demeanor and a newspaper in his hand. As he approached his table he slammed the newspaper onto the table and shook his head. His assistant, a young looking man with balding hair had dropped a file cabinet onto the table. The bailiff approached me and asked me if I was there for the Hagy case. I acknowledged that I was indeed in court for the Hagy case, and I asked him about the case, and also asked him the Defense Attorneys’, Prosecutor’s, and the Judge’s names. He provided me with their names and I then asked him why the Defense Attorney slammed the newspaper onto the table with such disgust. The Bailiff explained that the Roanoke Times printed an article that morning that thoroughly detailed the Hagy case, which Gary Lumsden felt could harm his defense. Gary Lumsden then walked over to the Commonwealth Attorneys’ table placed the newspaper on their table, shook his head in disgust and walked back to his table. I also noticed that there were several journalists observing the trial and taking notes. The court clerk was busy typing into a computer and the Judge was nowhere to be seen. The Bailiffs were conversing about March Madness College Basketball Brackets, and Baseball. Time slowly passed and the victim’s family sat down across from me. Gary Lumsden began to swing back and forth in his chair and his assistant continued to walk in and out of the court room every few minutes. I expected the trial to start on time but it actually didn’t start until around 11 am. Judge William Broadhurst entered the courtroom a couple of minutes after 11 am. The Defendant William Ray Hagy Jr alongside a Bailiff was escorted into the court room 10 minutes after the Judge entered. William Hagy Jr. an aging white man wearing a pair of black glasses with long black hair tied into a ponytail entered the court room walking gingerly. As Hagy sat down he looked around the court room and even made eye contact with me for a brief moment. Hagy scanned the room as though he was looking for a long lost friend or a relative he has not seen in a long time, but it appeared that no one showed up in support of Hagy. A television located in the middle of the court room displayed a picture of Hagy when he was a young man and a picture of his accused victim Cynthia Mccray. Hagy as a young man had the same hairstyle that he currently has and wore similar glasses. From his appearance, I figured that the murder he was being accused of must have had drugs involved due to Hagy’s hippie like appearance. William Ray Hagy Jr suffers from Parkinson’s syndrome so he noticeably twitches constantly as though he is nervous. After Hagy sat down he whispered something to his Attorney Gary Lumsden and Gary Lumsden then said something back to Hagy. I tried to listen closely but I couldn’t clearly pick up the gist of what he was saying. The atmosphere in the court room before a trial begins is just as compelling as the actual trial. Arriving early to the trial allowed me to witness the pre trial regimen and the different personalities from the Common Wealth Attorneys and the defense team. I was lucky enough to go to court on a day an interesting and detailed trial was beginning. I observed the courtroom work procedures and the different actors of the court. In addition, I gained credible information from the Bailiffs in the courtroom. The pre trial activities at The Roanoke City Circuit Court will always be an experience I will never forget.

Once everyone was settled in court Judge William Broadhurst began the trial. William Hagy Jr was arraigned on a murder charge, and Judge William Broadhurst asked Hagy if he was satisfied with his Attorneys’ services. Hagy responded by stating he was satisfied with his Attorneys’ services. Judge William Broadhurst then read Hagy his rights and advised him of his choice to a trial by jury or a bench trial. The witnesses of the case were discussed and Judge William Broadhurst then asked Hagy whether he would prefer to have a bench or trial by jury. In response, Hagy turned to his lawyer and whispered something into his ear. After talking to his lawyer for a minute, Hagy then proclaimed to Judge Broadhurst “I prefer whatever trial that can occur today“. Judge Broadhurst notified Hagy that the court was ready for both trials, so it was up to Hagy to decide which type of trial he preferred. With advise from his Lawyer Hagy decided to have a Bench trial rather than a Jury trial, since Hagy has a notorious history in Roanoke that may sway the jury to convict him due to the jury’s biases against him. After Hagy announced his wishes to a Bench trial the several journalists in the court room began writing into their journals aggressively. Judge William Broadhurst then dismissed the Jury and granted a five minute recess for the court. Leaving the court during the five minute recess I followed behind a group of older woman, who I figured were relatives and friends of the assailant. As they exited the courtroom the woman stepped into an office to the right hand side of the court. The door to the office was open and I noticed the Commonwealth Attorney in the office talking to the various women. I positioned myself closer to the door to try to hear what the woman and the Commonwealth Attorney were talking about, but as I lunged closer to the door the Commonwealth Attorney with a stern look on her face closed the door. I then sat down on a bench outside the courtroom next to a man on the phone. The man on the phone, glancing through his notepad provided details of the trial to a caller on the other line of the phone. I listened closely to his conversation to hear his perspective of the trial. The man on the phone felt that Hagy did not have a chance with a bench trial and that a trial by jury would benefit Hagy since the evidence against him was not strong enough to convict Hagy. Five minutes passed and I headed back into the courtroom and waited patiently for opening statements to begin.

The opening statements of the William Hagy Jr case began with the prosecution describing the details of the case and the chain of custody. The victim Cynthia McCray was found dead on the side of Campbell Ave under the 581 underpass raped with her purse tied around her arm. The Medical Examiner at The Medical Examiners Office in 1984 who worked on the McCray homicide was Dr. Marcello, who ruled that the cause of death was compression to the neck. Semen stains found on the backside of Ms. McCray’s panties linked Hagy to the crime, but the case became cold because the panties were stored in the Roanoke Police Department storage room since they did not have a suspect. Advances in DNA technology led to several cold cases being reopened which included the Murder and Rape of Cynthia McCray. William Hagy Jr who is currently incarcerated in Red Onion State Prison in Pound Virginia is eligible for Parole some time next year and he also faces another Murder charge for the murder of a 33 year old woman in Roanoke. The prosecution also has testimony from a witness who befriended Hagy in The Roanoke City Jail and acquired vital information from Hagy in regards to the murder of Cynthia McCray. The witness Roy Dickinson also will provide as evidence a map drawn by William Hagy showing the location of where Cynthia McCray’s body was dumped. The defense did not have any opening statements so the trial began with the cross examination of Roy Dickinson.

Roy Dickinson walked into the court room escorted by a bailiff. As Mr. Dickinson approached the witness stand he glanced at William Hagy Jr, and Mr. Hagy shook his head as Mr. Dickinson sat down. Mr. Dickinson a pudgy man with long greasy hair was jailed at the Roanoke City Jail with Mr. William Hagy Jr. The Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Sheri Jones asked Mr. Dickinson to identify Mr. Hagy, in response Mr. Dickinson proceeded to point to Mr. Hagy. Sheri Jones further questioned Mr. Dickinson on how he met Mr. Hagy, and what information Hagy confided to him, and his reason for being incarcerated. Mr. Dickinson described his relationship with Mr. Hagy which began when Mr. Dickinson was moved to Roanoke City Jail to serve jail time before his sentencing in a fraud case. Mr. Hagy and Mr. Dickinson were both confined in segregation together at the Roanoke City Jail. Mr. Dickinson was confined to segregation due to his wrist’s being broken by another inmate for testifying against a fellow inmate. In segregation inmates only have an hour to either use the phone or go outside for exercise. With family living in California Mr. Dickinson did not have an opportunity to call his family because of the time differences in California. Since Mr. Hagy was released later in the day for recreation he had the opportunity to call Mr. Dickinson’s wife for him. On a daily basis Mr. Hagy would take down notes for Mr. Dickinson and relay the messages to Mr. Dickinson’s wife. Through these exchanges Mr. Hagy and Mr. Dickinson developed a close relationship where Mr. Hagy felt comfortable enough to confide to Mr. Dickinson vivid details about the murder of Cynthia McCray. William Hagy told Roy Dickinson that he killed Cynthia McCray after a drug deal went wrong. Cynthia McCray was a prostitute in Roanoke and Mr. Hagy traded Marijuana to Ms. McCray for sexual favors. One day Ms. McCray denied Mr. Hagy’s advances and Mr. Hagy could not take no for an answer so he strangled and raped Ms. Mccray and tossed her body near some train tracks. After committing the murder Mr. Hagy went to a restaurant called Hardees to clean himself up and dispose some of the evidence used in the crime. Hagy felt as though Ms. McCray had no right to deny him sexual favors since she was a prostitute; he believed that it was no big deal that he had killed her. A map drawn by Mr. Hagy was given to Mr. Dickinson to show the location of where Ms. McCray’s body was dumped off. After receiving this map Mr. Dickinson sent the map to his attorney because he believed he had credible evidence on a murder. During cross examination Defense Attorney Gary Lumsden attacked Roy Dickinson’s criminal past. He asked about Mr. Dickinson’s criminal past which included civil and criminal convictions. Gary Lumsden presented several exhibits to the court clerk as evidence to discredit the testimony of Mr. Dickinson. Several times Mr. Lumsden caught Mr. Dickinson lying and Mr. Dickinson often had to think hard before he answered any of Mr. Lumsden’s questions. For a Court Appointed Attorney Gary Lumsden provided adequate representation for William Hagy Jr. If it were not for the DNA evidence I believe Mr. Hagy may have been acquitted. Gary Lumsden did a great job exposing the witnesses past character issues. Roy Dickinson has been convicted of fraud, impeding the IRS, and also has a history of forging documents to use as incriminating evidence against fellow inmates. A discrepancy surrounding the details of the map Mr. Hagy gave to Mr. Dickinson occurred when Mr. Lumsden asked Mr. Dickinson why he wrote on the back of the map. In Mr. Dickinson’s testimony regarding the map he stated that Mr. Hagy drew the map for him then described the locations to him. Since Mr. Hagy did not write the names of the streets on the map or the direct location the body was disposed, Mr. Dickinson asked Mr. Hagy to tell him the names of the streets and the location of the body. Mr. Dickerson then proceeded to write the names of the streets and the location of the body on the back of the map. Gary Lumsden questioned Mr. Dickinson’s motive in doing this. Gary Lumsden believed it was not logical for someone to make a map for someone else without labeling the streets and any other important locations on the map. With Roy Dickinson’s past history of forgery and fraud it would not surprise me if he indeed created that map himself to use as evidence against Hagy to reduce his own sentence.

Besides the DNA evidence the prosecution’s evidence during the trial’s first day was very weak. Their primary witness was a convicted white collar criminal who has a known history of gathering incriminating information to use against other inmates. Roy Dickinson was far from a credible witness, and the Commonwealth Attorneys Office ought to be ashamed of themselves for using such a devious informant. I agree with Gary Lumsden when he stated that Dickinson, “as a well practiced, serial informant, was in effect a government agent and should not have been allowed to discuss McCray's death with Hagy without Hagy's counsel present“.(citation) Prosecutors often rely on testimony from serial informants far too much. When granting an informant a reduced sentence due to their testimony in a trial, informants like Mr. Dickinson often fabricate information. When this information is presented to the court jurors can be swayed by informant testimony that is not always true. Rather than gain real evidence prosecutors seek snitches to strengthen their cases when in reality the testimony of an informant is often far from factual. When using informants the Justice System grants a disservice to the people they are supposed to be protecting. Thus, a market of informant testimony is created and anybody willing to receive a sentence reduction will participate in testifying. Testimony from informants who receive incentives should not be admitted in court. Since the Prosecution in the Hagy case had DNA evidence along with informant testimony the DNA was enough evidence to convict him, but if the prosecution only has informant testimony from an informant who received an incentive then their testimony should be thrown out of court. People searching for information with their intentions focused on an incentive will fabricate information to ensure their own personal gain. In addition, individuals can believe things said about people when told by a person in power. For example, when a cop tells a kid in a high drug environment that he won’t arrest him if he can provide information on someone selling drugs, that kid will look for someone who may look like they’re selling drugs when in reality they may not be selling drugs. Thus, using informant testimony dampers the credibility of a case against a defendant. However, The Commonwealth Attorneys Office was lucky they had secondary evidence that tied Hagy to the crime scene. Advancements in DNA technology led to the conviction of William Ray Hagy Jr.

My experience in court on March 22, 2010 provided me with an experience I would not be able to receive from reading a book or watching television. I also learned that court appointed attorneys can actually do a great job if you are blessed to be appointed a good attorney. Watching cases in court is very entertaining and I plan to attend more cases in the future. People tend to spend money to be entertained when you can wake up early and sit in on an interesting case and be entertained for several days. If I had spare time to attend the rest of the Hagy case I definitely would have. I also want to attend an actual trial by jury since I didn’t get to witness one. The court room is a very interesting environment and I plan on working in one in the future.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Capitalism has a major effect on people around the world. In capitalism, a minority of people benefit from capitalism, while the majority either suffer in poverty or make just enough money to survive. Wages continue to drop while prices for goods increase daily. Unemployment in the United States continues to rise while gas prices steadily increase. In Virginia gas is currently $2.65 cents a gallon. Corporations make billions from consumers, and their slave like working conditions for their employees. Wal-Mart is one of the biggest corporations in the world, but their employees make peanuts compared to the billions of dollars Wal-Mart grosses annually. In socialistic societies the workers own a piece of the companies they work for, and wages are distributed evenly. These types of policies would never work in America since average Americans are indoctrinated by white supremacy. Thus, the idea of competition rather than working together for a greater cause for all is indoctrinated in the minds of folks throughout the nation. As a result, poor rednecks that live in dingy trailer parks walk around with confederate flags, and Republican bumper stickers on their cars as though they have benefited from Capitalism. However, their ignorance only insures politicians fat pay days. Politicians constantly benefit off of the stupidity of their constituents, and the political spectrum is essentially a game of who can lie the best. Poor people and working class people never receive any real solutions to their problems just broken promises and bills that end up costing taxpayers more money.

The House of Representatives, with the support of President Barrack Obama, recently passed a Health Care Reform Bill. The President’s concerns for those who desperately need health care are needed, but he fails to address their problems thoroughly. Without a public option which essentially forces insurances companies to compete with a medi-care like health care coverage program from the government for all; insurance companies will still make billions of dollars from tax payer money. The Health Care Reform Americans will be receiving will be the watered down version. By not fighting for a public option, the Democrats proved that they too like the Republican Party share interests with the insurance companies. In getting the Republicans to fight hard against the public option, the Democrats were able to push through the house a health care bill they felt would gather up enough votes to pass into law. If this premise is true then both parties are corrupted and true progressive are needed to bring forth true change. It is time for the youth to take over and make our voices heard. We are the future and capitalism continues to fail this nation. I refuse to become a wage slave. Capitalism must be destroyed and it will take grassroots efforts to bring capitalism to its much needed demise......

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Blacks And Criminal Justice

African-Americans in America are under constant scrutiny and surveillance by the Criminal Justice System. The war on drugs has single handedly funded an intrusive quest to incarcerate record numbers of African-Americans. However, since its arrival in the 80s, the war on drugs has failed to address the real drug problems in this country. The big drug kingpins continue to earn astronomical profits while corner non violent young black drug dealers face long prison sentences. Drug force agencies such as the D.E.A, F.B.I and Swat Teams regularly raid innocent citizens homes with guns drawn in the presence of children; in search of drugs that are not present. Unreliable informant testimony often leads to poor innocent civilians being charged as felons. Once charged indigents have no chance to fight for justice since they cannot afford proper representation. Often times poor people plead guilty in order to avoid serving several years in prison due to maximum sentencing. Blacks are disproportionately criminalized by the Criminal Justice System, although they do not commit crime at any higher rate than any other group of people in America. In a so called post racial society more injustices are being committed, but laws written by white supremacist promoters justify injustice. Police officers invade inner cities with malice intent to destroy the livelihood of hardworking black people. Blacks on a daily basis around the nation are searched unconstitutionally. Thus, an overwhelming number of young black men and women are branded with criminal records. As Michelle Alexander stated in “The New Jim Crow” blacks with felony convictions are delegated to a second caste status like blacks during Jim Crow.

Terry vs. Ohio upheld the notion that reasonable suspicion rather than probable cause is all that is needed to conduct a search on an individual. No consent from an individual to conduct a search is needed, so police officers have the discretion to consider who is suspicious and who is not, and who deserves to be searched. This policy disproportionately affects poor blacks since poor blacks often live in inner cities, and inner cities are seen as a hot bed for crime, although crime occurs in all communities. From a young age blacks are taught what and what not to say to police and to also be weary of police officers. Since local police agencies fail in maintaining a strong relationship with black communities; police officers often have a hard time communicating with blacks and a disconnect between blacks and law enforcement is present. Since blacks are weary of police officers, when stopped by an officer blacks are often nervous or even evasive. If an innocent kid runs from the police because he/she is sincerely scared of the police, the police have reasonable suspension to search the kid although he did not commit a crime. The fourth amendment protects blacks from unreasonable search and seizure, but Terry vs. Ohio grants police officers the ability to conduct arbitrary searches. So, if an officer visualizes a black male in a high crime neighborhood the officer has the reasonable suspicion to question and search him. Furthermore, officers are granted unconstitutional authority to use discretion rather than probable cause in implementing searches. Blacks who cannot afford to move to the suburbs should not be criminalized and forced to engage in unconstitutional searches just because they happen to live in pseudo high crime areas. These policies are nothing more than defacto discrimination.

Race neutral policies drastically harm African- Americans. These policies treat blacks as though they do not have a disparate impact on them. Policy makers must address the disparities in regards to blacks in the Criminal Justice System and do further research to find out why blacks are affected disproportionately. The public must fight for transparency from local police departments, and blacks cannot continue to be treated like second class citizens. Unconstitutional search and seizures are not tolerated in upper class white communities because police officers know better; whites are granted their fourth amendment rights. Black criminologists must study and write more about these issues because only they can truly touch upon these issues properly. New ideas and strategies must be implemented to challenge status quo.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Criminal Justice Reform

The Criminal Justice System has historically had a disparate impact on African-Americans in America. However, little has been done to address these disparities and Blacks continue to be incarcerated and sentenced to death at record numbers. Sentencing reform is a strategy that must be pushed into the forefront of political debate. It is inhumane and immoral to sentence blacks to death when disparities in regards to sentencing exist. The crimes that black offenders commit are often no different than the crimes that their white counterparts commit, but blacks often find themselves incarcerated ten times longer than whites and are often times sentenced to death. Black politicians like Barrack Obama must address these issues, and Attorney General Erick Holder must begin the dialogue on sentencing reform. Barrack Obama is the first African-American President and Eric Holder is the first African-American Attorney General but they both fail miserably in regards to addressing black issues within The Criminal Justice System.

Young African-American men tend to find it hard to adapt to a white-supremacist society which criminalizes and labels young black males at an early age. In elementary schools black children with behavioral problems are often labeled as problem children and given a behavioral history that follows them throughout their academic careers. In suburban school districts white children with behavioral problems are granted the opportunity to correct their behavioral deficiencies by being granted the opportunity to enroll in after school programs, and extra curricular activities to keep them out of trouble. Black children enrolled in schools in poor districts are not granted the benefit to vent their frustrations by taking part in various extra circular activities that may help these children succeed in life. Thus, a fair amount of black children are left hopeless without any sort of positive guidance. As these children age the probability of them engaging in criminal activity increases. In addition, police officers prey on young black males who are not aware of their rights. Black males are subject to illegal searches which sometimes result in petty drug possession charges. Criminal records for young black men start early and once in the system it is hard to stay out of it. Misdemeanor convictions can lead to felony convictions and once an individual develops a pattern of convictions; the criminal justice system can burden an individual with extensive probation and restitution, which can lead to incarceration if the probationer does not follow their probation properly.

Whites are given second chances that blacks do not always have the opportunity to benefit from. White criminals can be sentenced to rehab, probation, halfway houses, and sometimes their charges may even be lowered substantially. In regards to the death penalty blacks are sentenced to death at higher numbers than whites. Modern day lynching is being executed by the state, and although there is substantial evidence that shows that blacks are being executed at disproportionate numbers little is being done or said to address this travesty. I suggest that blacks in all states demand dialogue on sentencing reform, and politicians who are scared to address black issues must be voted out. In the 60’s blacks of all ages marched for justice, but sadly their struggles have reappeared in new forms in the new millennium. Our elders granted us the opportunity to have black representation but sadly our black representatives have been bought out by corporate interests. Blacks in America have become complacent and feel as though the fight is over, since a black family is in the white house. We must remember that Barrack’s and Michelle’s accomplishments are strictly their own personal accomplishments. Blacks are still suffering and disparities on all levels still exist. The fight is not over a new breed of radical black activists must continue the fight for social justice.

Monday, March 8, 2010

White Supremacy in Proffesional Sports Media

Ben Roethlisberger quarterback for The Pittsburgh Steelers has just been accused for the second time in less than a year of sexually assaulting a woman. When Kobe Bryant was accused of rape in 2006 the media had a field day covering Kobe’s trial and it was as though the media enjoyed showcasing another black athletes demise. The myth of White supremacy exposes itself as a fallacy, but the white ran media continuously hide white dysfunction. Ben has not lost any sponsors and the media has a lack luster mentality toward woman rights by keeping quite in regards to the allegations brought against Ben Roethlisberger. One can only question why certain athletes are allowed to defend their image while other athletes are persecuted by the media. Racism must be considered since Ben Roethlisberger is white and Kobe Bryant and other athletes such as Michael Vick were presumed guilty,while Roethlisberger has a chance to defend his image. Sports reporting needs more black people. Black athletes consistently get judged and analyzed through the eyes of white writers.

Sports Journalists and Anchors on ESPN and various other sports networks constantly bash and belittle black athletes. Professional Sports including Football, Basketball, and Baseball are predominately played by athletes of color, but the journalists who write about and often belittle black professional athletes are often white. Blacks in America are under attack from all levels of society and it does not help that the negative image of black men is further perpetrated on black professional athletes when white athletes are being protected. A good amount of black professional athletes come from poor urban environments, so white journalists who come from privilege have no right to discuss and explain why certain black athletes commit crimes. When Plaxico Burress shot himself several white ESPN anchors expressed that Plaxico was a thug from a bad neighborhood who has not grown up. These white anchors have no clue on what it is like to be young and black with money in America so their commentary on issues regarding black athletes issues has no credibility. Like so many fields in America the voice of black journalists who can relate to black athletes are silenced, and the black journalists who do have a voice are often white washed. In addition, ESPN often picks safe blacks to make their network seem diverse, but they fail miserably.

When black athletes are filling arenas, selling shoes, and selling jerseys everyone loves them, but when a young black athlete makes a simple mistake they are reminded that they will always be a nigger no matter how much money they have. A lot of pressure comes along with making millions of dollars for a young black man who is not used to having a lot of money. Friends and enemies from the past want a piece of the newly acquired wealth and popularity. White journalists really hate seeing a 21 year old black man from the ghetto make more money in one year than they may make in their whole life, but in order to keep their job they must act as though they like the athlete; when in reality they can’t wait to see them fail. Whenever a black athlete faces controversy it is as though white journalists show their true racist colors, and go on a black athlete bashing spree. Instead of finding the aggravating and mitigating circumstances like white athletes are granted; white journalists assume black athletes are guilty until proven innocent much like society treats average blacks in inner cities. White supremacy is in effect on all levels in America and the media helps maintain white supremacy. The voice of blacks in America on levels must be heard to ensure that white supremacy is eliminated.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Double Standards

Anti American sentiment has drastically increased since the election of the first African-American president. Many white men in America have become angered and feel as though Barrack Obama poses a threat to white supremacy. Gun sales throughout the nation have increased substantially, and there has been an influx of militia and white supremacist groups. These groups fill the internet with anti government propaganda and are a threat to democracy. Militias and White supremacist groups who threaten and act against the well being of this country are terrorists and should be labeled as such. The recent Pentagon Shooting and The IRS building suicide plane crash in Texas are examples of terrorist attacks committed by white men. The stereotypes of a typical terrorist in the eyes of most Americans are Middle Eastern Muslim men. However, recently middle aged white men have been the ones committing terrorist attacks against the United States, but their actions are not being considered terrorist attacks. Their attacks are not being considered terrorist attacks because white men are never labeled.

When U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hassan unloaded his weapon at Fort Hood and killed 13 innocent soldiers immediately this attack was tied to terrorism. The mass media began questioning if Muslim American Soldiers would face repercussions for Major Hassan’s attack. The problem with this kind of media coverage and thinking is that whenever a white man commits a crime white men are persecuted as individuals, but whenever Muslim or black men commit crimes blacks and Muslims as a whole are profiled. For example, after September 11th passengers of airplanes who looked Middle Eastern were watched closely. When in reality, not all men who appear Middle Eastern pose a threat to the safety of The United States. This security strategy of profiling actually fails because we focus on one group of people that may pose a threat instead of all people who pose a threat. An intelligent terrorist group who knows the stereotype of terrorists in America can easily find someone who doesn’t fit the stereotype and use them to implement their attacks. The true terrorists are those who are not being labeled and continue to enforce terror on American citizens daily.

The attack on the IRS building in Texas was an act of terrorism. However, since the pilot of the plane that crashed into the building was white; the government considered his attack “a criminal act by a lone individual”. White people have the privilege of being considered an individual while every other race is labeled as a whole. There is no such thing as a lone terrorist from Iraq, or a lone gang banger from Compton. White people are guilty of bunching people of color together. They do not have the ability to separate individuals from a group of misfits whom portray a negative image. They see a group of bad black kids misbehaving and consider the whole black race criminal. This is why racial profiling exists. White men can post anti government rhetoric online, commit terrorist attacks, and not be considered terrorists. I guess the word terrorist only applies to men in countries we want to invade. The United States better wake up and realize who the real threat is before it is too late. The biggest threat to democracy resides within our own borders.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Genocide of The Poor in America

The physical and mental sufferings of the underprivileged in America should be considered a form of genocide. It is no secret that The United States of America has a history of oppression, genocide, racism, and corruption, but in regards to the current status of our country; the needs of the oppressed are often overlooked. In the so called land of opportunity those without a history of wealth or those without the privilege of having fair skin, find it hard to advance in a society that does not care about their hardships. The poor are under attack from all levels, but their plight continues due to the inability to bring forth awareness in regards to their issues. Human suffering is often looked upon as laziness when in fact this country was built on human suffering. The poor do not ask for much, all they ask for is an opportunity to reach their highest potential, but when public schools in rural and urban districts are under funded, and the Criminal Justice System criminalizes their suffering one can only consider their suffering a form of genocide.

Public schools in America are being under funded while drop out rates continue to rise in poorer communities. Professors at Public Universities have to fight for tenure, while private institutions continue to receive public and private grants. A quality and cheap education is essential for those who must work while they attend school, but students who attend public universities continue to see their tuition rise every semester. In addition, the interest on student loans continues to rise without concern for the students. In Cuba students in medical school attend school for free as long as they work in hospitals in poor communities. Sadly, Americans are terrified of communistic education policies such as those in Cuba. The price of Higher Education in America will continue to rise if action is not taken by those affected by these policies. Public Higher Education is being sacrificed to ensure that private schools can earn record profits. An individual may not be born into wealth, but he/she can create wealth with academic success. Preventing the poor from an opportunity at Higher Education is a way for those in power to maintain their power. If the masses of poor people were to gain academic credentials the power structure would shift drastically, but in order to maintain this power structure poor people must be shut out of academia.

Employment is an essential need for an individual in this society in order to live comfortably. In order to gain adequate employment one must keep a clean criminal record. In regards to poor people this requirement is often hard to maintain since they are often in contact with police officers. Economically deprived neighborhoods are stigmatized as high crime environments by various police departments throughout The United States. Although, those who live in these environments do not engage in criminal activity anymore than any other neighborhood throughout The United States; these neighborhoods are under intense scrutiny daily. With higher chances of having police contact poor people of color have a higher probability of having criminal records. A good percentage of African-Americans who are currently incarcerated are serving time on victimless and drug related charges. When they return to society from incarceration they are then branded felons and become part of a permanent under caste. Their ability to gain reputable employment is substantially decreased. The injustices that are attached to being a convicted felon are astronomical and inhumane. The rights to vote, live in public housing, and carry licensed weapons are also surrendered. With a high percentage of blacks incarcerated and labeled felons blacks around the nation experience a substantial loss in representation when it comes time to vote. Employment disparities continue to surface and more poor blacks continue to be incarcerated. The suffering of the poor must be considered a form of genocide.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Youth Priorities

Youth and Priorities

The revolution has always been in the hands of the young. The young always inherit the revolution.-Huey Newton.

In today’s day and age the youth have become indoctrinated by the television, and young people tend to run from themselves in order to fit in with. Individualism is a rare commodity and the collective sense is to do what is popular and socially acceptable. Thus, several teens and young adults pursue dreams not meant for them, and too many of our youth want to be actors, rappers, musicians, models, sports stars and etc. Now there is nothing wrong with pursuing these careers if one feels that they have a chance at making it in these perspective fields, however the reality is that their chances of making it in Hollywood are slim to none. Hollywood has been historically known to be a dirty and cheap business and a lot of people who do make it end up selling their souls to become famous. One can only run from themselves for so long until they have some kind of mental breakdown. Today I watched a disturbing video of Danger from For the love of Ray-J and her mental status thoroughly showed that the spotlight of Hollywood truly was not meant for her. I will post a link to this video at the end of the note. In this video she showcased serious signs of mental illness, and her physical look showed her stress from being in the spotlight. A lot of Reality T.V stars have serious mental issues and their addiction to attention only provethat they were not loved by their parents, and desperately need someone to justify their existence. With the current state of our economy and the Criminal Justice system it would only be logical for the youth to further their education in fields that can possibly implement change, yet young people only continue to run further away from themselves, by trying to become someone that they are not. For example, Maurice Clarett a star Running Back at the Ohio State University had a opportunity to play professional football, but his ignorant decisions to ride around in his car with loaded guns lead to his incarceration and early end to his football career. If he were to accept himself for who he truly was then this situation may not have occurred. Running away from oneself is a major issue because when it comes time for these young people to grow up and accept themselves, they will realize that they were running from oneself and if they were to accept who they really are then their lives would improve drastically. How hard is it to sing or rap with the right studio equipment, producers, and record executives? Why limit yourself to one petty dream that can be accomplished by the average Joe off of the streets? The youth must realize that they do have the potential to accomplish and implement major changes in this society, but if they continue to limit themselves to petty dreams then our collective condition , which consists of debt, unemployment, incarnation and meritocracy, will only continue to worsen.

Immigrants come to this country on a daily basis and are amazed at our stupidity as a society. Citizens often worry about things that are not important while immigrants come to this country and worry about surviving. Although immigrants do not have room to criticize our ethics and social standings in this country, since their homelands lack the essential needs for them to live a comfortable life, but they do make a great point. Our schools continue to fail and drop out rates continue to rise. Countries like China push hard for academic success, although they fail miserably in regards to human rights. Blaming schools can only last so long until students and parents must take accountability for their downfalls. Sometimes I think the youth forget how far this country has come and how much further we have to go. A young Malcolm X and Huey Newton marched for social justice at young ages, but our generation and the generation before us have dropped the ball. We have become complacent and I see it on a daily basis. Now I am no saint but I am aware of whom I am and I know where I want to go. My dreams and aspirations are reasonable and realistic. I plan to finish my undergrad studies and attend law school. In addition, a problem with many young people is that their dreams and aspirations are not realistic because they do not know themselves. Blacks and minorities are continuing to be incarcerated disproportionately yet nothing is being done to address these problems. If Malcolm or Martin were alive I can guarantee society justice would be achieved, but the youth today have become satisfied with their mediocrity in this society. In order to ensure change, awareness of self must be taught at a very young age to ensure that our youth have a fighting chance in a globalistic society. Chinese children know at very young ages what fields they gain employment in, but our children dream to be like Lil Wayne and Kobe Bryant. I can only agree with Barrack Obama's sentiments on the youth in America. He stated, "You are probably not that good a rapper. Maybe you are the next Lil Wayne, but probably not, in which case you need to stay in school." If change does not occur in America then America will be left behind while “so called” third world countries will continue to gain ground on us….

Friday, January 29, 2010

Self Hate: The Negro Dilemma

Self hate amongst people of color, Blacks in general has been a historic problem throughout the world. In a society where blacks are labeled as less than it is to no surprise why some blacks hate themselves. Black history has been erased out of the books and young blacks tend to be ignorant to the totality of their ancestors, accomplishments. In addition, white supremacy and western standards help demonize afro centric cultures. Some blacks feel that they have no choice but to distance themselves from their black roots if they want a chance to fulfill their dreams in America. Little do they know that there will always be barriers to overcome no matter what their social status may become. Blacks in Spanish speaking countries are quick to denounce their African blood although Blacks are historically oppressed around the globe. Sammy Sosa Is a perfect example of a self hating Latin-Negro who went to the extent to even bleach his skin and perm his hair to appear less Black. Not all people who bleach their skin and perm their hair have self hate issues. However, when a person denounces their true self and tries to be someone that they are not then it is evident that they suffer from self hate. Michael Jackson may have bleached his skin for whatever reasons, but he never denounced who he was. He let it be known that he was a black man and his humanitarian efforts prove that he loved black people. Blacks who suffer from self hate feel that if they distance themselves from their black characteristics then they have a better chance at assimilating to a white supremacist society.

Many Black Immigrants are known for migrating to the United States and feeling as though they are better than American Blacks, but when they go back to their home countries they are treated like dogs and reminded that they are nothing more than a poor Black. It is also imperative that immigrant Blacks be reminded that if it were not for earlier generations of Blacks in America fighting for freedom then they too would not have a opportunity to create a life for themselves in America. Instead of looking down upon American Blacks, Immigrant Blacks must respect and understand American Blacks struggles and achievements. Self hate plays a major role in this cultural divide because some Immigrant Blacks like American Blacks are indoctrinated to believe that being black is something to regret. I have a friend who claims to be mixed but in all actuality he is really just ashamed of being Black. This behavior was placed upon him by his family, and he was taught at an early age to distance himself from anything that may be "too" black. This behavior is typical of a white racist from the south but nowadays there are blacks who hate fellow blacks just as much as a clan member would. Light Skin and dark skin is another major issue with Blacks. Some blacks feel as though darker skin is unattractive and lighter skin is ideal and acceptable in society. Some Black men may even seek lighter complexion woman just in hopes to lighten their children's skin. Some will even go to the extent of perming their hair to make it appear more curly when their original texture is much more coarse. How many people do you know that denounce their black genes but acknowledge their so called white genes? Although, during slavery, they would most likely, be out on the field picking cotton with the rest of the black slaves.

Self hate is a major issue affecting people of color around the world. One must understand that no matter how far you distance yourself from your roots their will always be a disparity or an injustice to remind you of your status in this world. You can only hide from yourself for so long until you have to accept the totality of yourself. Haiti is a perfect example of Black status in this world. You can be as free as you want to but their will always be a physical or mental embargo holding you back like the embargo's that crushed Haiti’s economy. Blacks must free themselves from mental oppression and embrace their culture's and accomplishments in this world.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Birthday Thoughts

Today is my Birthday another year in this so called post racial country. I was at the department of motor vehicles today and I was amazed at all of the white woman clutching their purses as I walked by them, like I was some sort of menace to society. I was reminded today that no matter how far I come or what success I obtain in this world I will always be nothing more than a Black Man in society's eyes. The media portrays blacks and minority's as inferior and inherently criminal. The blacks who do succeed tend to bow down to western standards and other blacks who refuse to change themselves for society are marginalized. Our voice in this democracy is never heard and we are constantly told to shut up and deal with what ever problems we may face. I am writing this because I am tired of going to a school in the South where my voice and viewpoints are not welcome. I am tired of seeing other blacks keep their mouths shut while injustice and bigotry stare them in their eyes. Today is my birthday I enjoy having the opportunity to live another year on this earth, but I cannot ignore the injustices I face on a daily basis just because today happens to be my birthday. Injustices and racism should be acknowledged on a daily basis and today I was reminded once again that most of society sees me as a menace to society. Oh well, Its my Birthday Happy Birthday Me........

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I read an interesting article in the New York Times today that really aggravated me.I Also read an interesting article in the St. John’s Law Review entitled, "The Disturbing Correlation Between ABA Accreditation Review and Declining African-American Law School Enrollment" by John Nussbaumer. I decided to write a response to both articles. I will post links to both articles at the end of this note. Enjoy!

Law schools continue to deny people of color a chance at enrollment. Since the criminal justice system affects people of color disproportionally, then an adequate amount of minorities should gain acceptance into law schools to pursue degrees, this must be done in order to give miniorities proper representation in the ameircian judiccial system. The American population continues to diversify, yet lawyers and judges continue to remain predominantly white. According to the New York Times from 1993 to 2008, Black and Mexican-American students who have applied for law school have improved their grade point averages and LSAT scores substantially, only to be denied admittance into law school. The LSAT is a standardized test which is used by law schools as a trump card to deny minority students acceptance; however, studies have shown that lawyers with lower LSAT scores tend to become better lawyers than those with higher LSAT scores. A standardized test cannot determine one's success or abilities in their field, but they are continuously being used to deter minorities from gaining admittance into law schools. The reason law schools rely heavily on LSAT scores during admittance is that they are mostly concerned with their rankings in the U.S. News World Report. Therefore, students with lower LSAT scores burden schools with lower rankings so these students are denied admittance to ensure higher rankings. However, these practices create racial disparities that are not being addressed, thus creating law schools that lack in diversity. Maragaret Martin berry, Co-President of the Society of American Law Teachers said it best “If you’re so concerned with rankings, you’re going to lose a whole generation”.

In the United States Supreme Court case Grutter v. Bollinger in 2003, the court ruled that race can be taken into account in law school admissions because a diverse student body is needed. Apparently things have gotten worse and the disparate numbers are not being taken into account. I propose that another case needs to be brought to the Supreme Court to address the disparate numbers of Blacks and Mexican-Americans being denied matriculation into law school. When a standardized test leaves a group of people isolated then a policy needs to be implemented to ensure that all people have an equal opportunity to pursue academic success, regardless of how well an individual can perform on a standardized test. Those who are not affected by this disparity like to proclaim that those who do suffer from it are just not qualified, but several studies have proved that minorities who are denied acceptance tend to have higher grade point averages than those who gain acceptance. Although minority LSAT scores have improved in the recent years, the ABA Accreditation Committee continues to raise the 25th percentile LSAT scores. As a result, a huge decline in minority enrollment has resulted from these practices.

The ST. John’s Law Review has an article entitled "The Disturbing Correlation Between ABA Accreditation Review and Declining African-American Law School Enrollment". In this article the author John Nussbaumer pointed out that private institutes are free to consider diversity in their admissions process to the full extent of the law. Yet, most private institutes still suffer from low African-American and minority enrollment. Qualified students should be allowed into private schools since private institutes are not subject to strict state laws like public institutes are, but private law schools also continue to deny large amounts of minority students acceptance due to low LSAT scores. It is as though minority students are being punished because they cannot pass tests that were not designed to be passed by them. Essentially ones academic success holds no bearing if you cannot pass the LSAT. In addition, every time a school decides to increase their 25th percentile minimum LSAT score five points or more , the number of African-American students decrease. Researches want to know why these practices are continued despite the negative affects they have on minorities, but information is being with held that can potentially solve these problems.

The LSAT creates blockages for students who should otherwise be accepted into law schools. Blacks and Mexican-Americans and other minorities suffer disparately from these blockages as the statistics show. Students are not allowed to prove that they can perform, and that their LSAT scores are not a predictor of their potential to graduate from law school. Diversity must be accepted and enforced to ensure that society has an equal justice system representative of all people. This system continues to embrace white-supremacy by allowing standardized tests such as the LSAT to determine a person’s merit. This seems to be very reminiscent to Little Rock Arkansas in the 1950's. Blacks and minorities are still fighting for equal access to education. Those who benefit from this system must denounce it and be willing to lose what ever benefits they may posses for the betterment of all.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Jury Nullification as a Tool for Social Justice

Is jury nullification a strategy that can be used to ensure social change? I propose this strategy because our current social contract is in need of a drastic makeover. A social contract is a contract we are bound to follow since birth enforced by government, in which we give up some of our sovereignty in order to be protected by the government. As a society we have no involvement in determining the laws that we must follow, due to misrepresentation. Therefore, since we have no say in creating our own social contract, we must use the little power that we do possess to destroy the current social contract. We must dismantle the current system with its own tools. Punishing poor people for their own victimization is wrong, a wrong that is justified by telling criminals that their punishments are deserved, when in fact most poor peoples criminal conduct is often a reaction to oppression. A new paradigm of justice is desperately needed to ensure that the focus of rehabilitation returns. Jury nullification of non violent offenders is a step towards creating a new social contract which benefits all.

Paul Butler wrote an awesome article in the Yale Law Journal entitled Racially Based Jury Nullification. He suggests that Blacks must take it upon themselves to nullify non violent offenders when serving as jurors. In a sense, my proposal is similar to Mr. Butler's beliefs, but my ideas extend to all people who fall victim to white-supremacist beliefs, which punish us all. In addition, those most affected by the criminal justice system must take this theory very seriously. With the increasing amount of citizens under the supervision of the criminal justice system, we must ask ourselves as a society a question; if we were given the key to free non violent offenders, would we use it? Or would we continue to sit on juries and convict people who suffer from injustice. The power to decide is granted, but society suffers from white-supremacist beliefs that forces them to choose otherwise. Proponents to jury nullification would argue that an increase in non guilty verdicts and mistrials would lead to increases in crime. This argument fails to point out that those who are criminalized most are victims of oppression, and that our current social contract promotes disparities. If we can figure out a way to even out these disparities legally then an action must be taken. It is legal for a juror to nullify if he/she fells that the law is unjust.

I recently engaged in a discussion with one of my good friends. He seemed to be indoctrinated by conservative views. He believes that an individual has a choice to whether or not he/she will commit a crime,and that any crime committed deserves whatever sentence is attached to that crime. In criminology, rational choice theory proposes that an individual is a reasoned actor who weighs the means and ends, costs and benefits and makes a rational choice. Therefore, a person who cannot afford a meal to satisfy their hunger will weigh the risks and benefits of stealing and decide accordingly. If a person is willing to risk possible incarceration and sanctions, clearly their is a an obvious void of basic human necessity.Therefore, is it morally right to charge and convict or is it better to find actual solutions to their unique situation.

It is up to those with empathy for human suffering to change the current social contract. If non violent offenders continue to be convicted and sentenced for petty crimes then we have failed as a society. Clearly the ball has been dropped, due to the countless disparities this society has;however,there is still a chance to make amends for the apathy that exists. The power to nullify is a power that can affect policy and bring forth true change and equality to America. This idea may seem radical to some but it will take radical action to re-write our social contract.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Politics of Fear

Fear propaganda is a favorable strategy implemented by both the Democratic and Republican parties. Whether it is the war on terror, the war on drugs, or any policy that benefits the ruling powers interests. The failed terrorist attack on Christmas day is a great example of fear propaganda. Enlist fear in the public by propagandizing an issue at hand, and pacify these fears by enforcing policies that are meant to solve the issue. Yes, Homeland security is in desperate need of adequate leadership to protect us from future attacks, but we cannot discriminate against Muslims, and violate individual rights by racially profiling and performing full body scans at airports, which the Republicans believe in. In times of confusion and fear, policy is written and enacted quickly, to ensure that it is passed with little outcry from the public. If the public is in fear of a threat, whether it be an actual threat or a fabricated threat, then the government can use these fears as leverage to implement policy, which often ends up limiting our freedom.

The War on terror has been fought off of the back of fear propaganda. In return, laws like the US Patriot Act has been created, which limit the rights of citizens. The Anti-American sentiment has greatly expanded in foreign nations, and taxpayer money continues to be spent to promote democracy abroad. How can a government promote democracy, when it has a rich history of oppression, and pillaging of indigenous people? How can we condemn others, when our own injustices are continuously swept under the rug? Political correctness is taught at an early age, and individuals who act against the establishment, are outcasted as radicals who are ungrateful of the country they live in. Freedom is limited by policy implemented from fear tactics, placed upon an uneducated population, who vote against their own interests; based off an indoctrinated political ideology. Therefore, companies like BlackWater and their political affiliates are able to profit off of contracts that are meant to comfort our pseudo fears.