Like all high profile, controversial news stories tend to do, the death of 17 year old Trayvon Martin has created several stories that become mini-dramas in their own right. In magazine-speak, these spinoffs are called sidebars. One such sidebar, as reported by The Miami Herald in Miami-Dade firefighter under investigation for Trayvon Martin Facebook rant, has become a controversy unto itself. Captain Brian Beckman is under fire for something he wrote on his Facebook page in which he “lambasts the prosecutor in the George Zimmerman case and suggests “urban youth” are the products of “failed, sh*tbag, ignorant, pathetic, welfare dependent excuses for parents.”
Most telling about the intense racial divide in South Florida are the comments posted by readers of the article who apparently come from all walks of life. I don’t need to repeat them here since you can go read them yourself. I somehow crossed paths with a reader who uses the name “theblacsheep,” who kept insisting I was a racist and seemed to twist every comment I made into a racial issue. There seemed to be nothing I could do to get through to him without his writing back to me that I was a racist and that everything I wrote had racial “undertones.” He certainly didn’t hide his contempt for me and “White folk” in general, all the while not recognizing this own overt racial “overtones.”
Still, I kept trying to reach him until he wrote, “you are the typical pathetic POS White person.” At that point, I posted ‘”Nothing says “I’m a mature adult, capable of having a rational, intelligent discussion” like “you are the typical pathetic POS White person.”‘ Theblacsheep responded with, “But White racism continues full speed ahead, with the likes of you and those even more blatant than yourself responding here and other internet media sources as proof. You are racist, convince yourself of whatever you like but that’s the fact!”
Apparently, theblacsheep thought that because he said something was a fact, it had to be true. He also apparently was going to hold me responsible for what the other “White folk” were writing – and, yes, some of it was highly inflammatory and racially motivated. He also charged me with racism because I criticized certain actions of Al Sharpton, President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder simply because they all happen to be black. The things for which I chastised them had to do with this Trayvon Martin case in particular, all of which are well documented, and which I believe are definitely racially motivated. Had theblacsheep read my comments on other national issues published in articles in the Herald, as well as other websites, he would have known that I have been equally vocal in my condemnations of Nancy Pelosi, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rahm Emmanuel, Alan Grayson, Harry Reid and Barney Frank, among others, all of whom are “White folk.” Some of whom are Jewish to boot!
But this particular issue was about a young black man who happened to be killed by an Hispanic man, and to my knowledge, none of the aforesaid White folk have weighed in on this matter. Perhaps this topic is too politically incorrect for them to risk creating media soundbites that might bite them back during their next run for re-election. Or perhaps they’re merely contented to sit back and let their black spokesmouths do all the talking. Whatever. The point is that I’ve been equally disapproving of whites and blacks who I feel do and say stupid stuff. I’m an equal opportunity critic.
Bleeding heart conservative that I am, I decided to try one more time to see if I could get theblacsheep to have an honest dialogue with me without resorting to calling me a racist. I wrote:
“I know I probably shouldn’t bother, and others will most likely think I’m crazy to try to have any further discussion with you. But, in all honesty, there is something about you that makes me think you are an intelligent person, despite your anger. If you could put the weapon down for just a minute and hear me out, I’d appreciate it.
As a Jew, I am insulted when the word Holocaust is used to describe anything that doesn’t even remotely resemble the tragedy of the true Holocaust. To do so belittles and minimizes that event. By the same token, I also look askance when the word slavery is misused and abused in the same manner. I read an article today that tells how labor unions are actually equating slavery, which was a very real and shameful chapter in American history, with union members being “forced to work alongside nonunion employees.” Do you believe that is wrong, and does it evoke the same emotion in you as erroneous mention of the word Holocaust does to me?
Would you see that comparison as a true form of racism? I do, but I’d like your take on it.
I know there is nothing I can say to you that would make you understand or believe that I am not a racist. I find that very sad, because I know I am not. Any chance you’d rethink your opinion? If not, I find that regrettable, but you are attempting to put me in a position where I’d have to try to defend myself and that would be completely unproductive.”
Theblacsheep wrote back:
“umm, sorry but you haven’t answered a single one of my comments directly and you’re asking ME to respond to something YOU have a concern about???
If you will give me the reasoning behind why you think that someone who
(1) would embrace the hate filled rantings of a bigoted fire chief against a dead teenage victim and his grieving parents, then turn around and call (not the hate-filled morally bankrupt POS fireman, but) the Black leaders responding to his kind, racist.
(2) then to add insult to injury, have the audacity to say (in light of this POS bigoted fire chief’s comments); “The only prevalent racism going on now are from those blacks who turn everything into a racial issue”…as if Blacks had anything to do with this bigots statements!
If you will explain to me the reasoning behind why someone with those opinions should not be considered racist, I’d be glad to honestly answer your question concerning the “belittling” of the word slavery.”
Ah, yes, now we were getting somewhere.
In all honesty, I had not recalled his asking me these questions days earlier when hundreds of comments were being posted in the week since the article was first published. He was, however, obviously unnerved because he felt I did not answer them. I will respond to his post online, but I also felt this topic worthy of a column because, if we are to get anywhere at all in this issue of race relations, we need to start talking. And, we need to start the conversation at a gut level, no holds barred. We can’t be wishy-washy and politically correct about it, either.
In general, white people are already painfully aware of what black people think of them. I have been in the unfortunate position of being called a “f***ing white bitch,” and worse, for the audacity of being white. I’ve been called a racist because I disagree with President Obama’s policies. (Ironically, I never heard any of black person being called a racist for despising President Bush.) And now I’m being called a “POS White person” for allegedly embracing “hate filled rantings of a bigoted fire chief,” when I’ve done no such thing.
If blacks want to know what white people, in general, think of them and want honest answers to their questions, they’d better be prepared to hear it – at least my opinion and the opinion of the majority of “White folk” I speak with. I first must express the caveat that BY NO MEANS do I speak for ALL WHITE PEOPLE. I am only giving my opinion based on conversations I have had with a majority of white people since this whole incident has become national news. When I reference “white people” here, I am speaking in general terms. There are plenty of white people who don’t see it the same way, but a great many more seem to agree with most of my points.
First, I will answer theblacsheep’s questions, and then try to explain the “white community’s” reaction to this incident as best I can.
(1) I never “embraced the hate filled rantings” of Captain Brian Beckmann, or the actual racist remarks made by any of the readers who commented on that article. What I did and do “embrace” is the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, which is all about freedom of speech. Regardless of the policies and procedures of the Miami-Dade County Fire Department about its employees’ use of social media (and if the Captain violated them, I imagine he will be censured), in this country people have a right to voice their opinion. Whether anyone likes it or not. For example, the American Nazi Party (yes, folks, there IS such a thing!) has the right to exist and march at Holocaust memorials if it chooses to do so. As abhorrent and despicable as it is and as that party is, it has a right to exist and march and do whatever any other group is allowed to do under the First Amendment. By the same token, as a private citizen, Captain Beckmann has a right to voice his opinion about “urban youths,” “welfare,” and irresponsible parenting (which happens to be my personal bugaboo). You will note that his rant did not include the word “black.” The phrase “urban youth” today describes the current and very popular culture of rap music, baggy pants, and gangsta-style language and behavior. Although started by urban black youths, this culture has most definitely spread across ethnic lines. White teenagers have embraced urban culture with as much passion as the teenagers of the 1950s embraced Elvic Presley and the “wild” rock and roll their parents warned them against. (Yes, kids, don’t laugh. Elvis was the Snoop Dog of his time.) “Urban youth” no longer describes only black kids, welfare rolls include lots of ‘White folk,” and bad parents come in every color of the rainbow.
But, even IF Captain Beckmann was referring solely to the black community, he still had the right as a citizen to express his opinion. Like I said, if the MDFD feels he violated their policy, he will be dealt with accordingly.
(2) I definitely feel that in this particular case regarding Trayvon Martin that some blacks, particularly those in the public spotlight, such as Al Sharpton, et al, have turned this into a racial issue. Before she even knew the facts, our own Congressional Representative Frederica Wilson irresponsibly spoke out publicly decrying this as a hate crime and claiming that George Zimmerman “hunted Trayvon down like a rabbit” because he was black. She knew no such thing, but it didn’t stop her from grabbing the spotlight and spewing her hate filled rhetoric. President Obama stated publicly that if he “had a son, he would look like Trayvon.” Does that mean that if the victim had been white, the President wouldn’t have given a crap? That statement was a slap in the face to every white person, and to every non-black parent who has lost a child. The members of the New Black Panther Party put a bounty on Mr. Zimmerman’s head and called on black everywhere to volunteer to hunt him down. Really? A bounty? That felt like they were declaring open season on white people. What did the President or the Attorney General Eric Holder have to say about this bounty hunt? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! So, yeah, I’m extremely critical of the President and the AG for the way they have responded (or not) to this entire tragedy. Theblacksheep would have you believe that I’m a racist because they all just happen to be black, and because I feel that they have made this a racial issue when I believe it was not. It was a tragic encounter that ended really badly between two individuals who happened to cross paths, the details of which will now play out in a court of law. New details are being revealed as time goes on, and I’m betting more will be revealed before this is over. IF race had anything to do with it (and I do not believe it did), that, too, will be revealed. But for the media talking heads to automatically assume it was a hate crime was the worst type of irresponsible “leadership” imaginable. People like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan are known for their flaming the fires of racial tension. They took this opportunity to do it yet again. I called them out on it, yet somehow I’m accused of being a racist. I’m sorry if I offended you, theblacsheep, but in this particular instance it wasn’t the “typical POS White folk” who started the racial tension. That’s what I meant by my comment.
To further explain the reaction of “White folk,” I noted that the race mongers were on their soapbox before anyone realized that George Zimmerman is actually Hispanic and not “white.” In a rush to explain their own rush to judgment away, the media rushed to coin a new term to describe Mr. Zimmerman. He became a “white Hispanic.” Obviously, “white” must be demonized at any cost!
Al, Jesse & Co. didn’t seemed to care about the incident that occurred on February 28, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri, when a 13 year old white boy was doused with gasoline and set on fire by two black teenagers, while they told him, “This is what you deserve. You get what you deserve, white boy.” This was indisputably a Hate Crime, yet for some strange reason, they haven’t commented on this incident.
We have a complicit media that will now reinvent its own racial category system in order to make the details of shooting incident fit its own definition of Hate Crime. For years we’ve been told that “Hispanic” is a race, even though it is absolutely not a race, but merely describes those individuals who hail from Spanish speaking countries. Hispanics can be black, white or Asian, which are actual races, but to hear the members of La Raza (a radical Hispanic organization whose name actually means “The Race”), “Hispanic” is a race unto itself. Odd that La Raza, in its zeal to keep “the Hispanic Community” from being marginalized and discriminated against, hasn’t come to the defense of George Zimmerman. I guess “white” Hispanics don’t count. Sorry, but I call that hypocrisy.
All the talking heads have been calling this unfortunate incident a Hate Crime. Never mind that George Zimmerman’s friends, some of whom are black <gasp>, came out in his defense, claiming he is not a racist. Never mind that Mr. Zimmerman is actually Hispanic, er, I mean a “white” Hispanic. Never mind that Mr. Zimmerman has cooperated with the police, turned himself in once an arrest warrant was issued, and has complied with all court orders. Never mind that it has now been proven (by ABC NEWS!) that he sustained injuries in the encounter, which might help the defense prove his side of the story. It seems to me that none of this matters, as long as the “black community” is appeased. Unfortunately, if you believe the New Black Panther Party, appeasement will only come when more blood is spilled. That blood being Mr. Zimmerman’s of course.
The blood of two innocent black people who had the audacity to attend a funeral when six so far unidentified (officially, anyway) armed men sprayed bullets at a crowd of people doesn’t count. The blood of a beautiful young mother brutally stabbed to death in her sleep by her own son doesn’t count. The blood of the twelve black individuals murdered in Chicago this month alone doesn’t count. Of course, the blood of all the recent white murder victims at the hands of blacks doesn’t count. Because, well, when it comes to Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, the New Black Panther Party, and obviously the President himself, and the blood of white victims definitely doesn’t count.
But, heaven forbid an Hispanic man, who the media now claims is “white,” shoots and kills someone who happens to be black, in what may or may not have been self-defense, and it seems like every white person in the world has to pay for this “injustice.” Getting “what we deserve” perhaps?
In my opinion, the characterization of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman as a Hate Crime is ridiculous. It’s also an outrageously irresponsible and extreme example playing the race card. The only “Hate Crime” being perpetrated here is the one against the Truth.
I hope, theblacsheep, that I’ve answered your questions to your satisfaction. Most white people that I know have been trying for decades to bridge the gulf of racial tension. The frustration comes when we feel that no matter what we do or say, no matter how much we distance ourselves from the real bigots among us, no matter how often or sincerely we extend the olive branch, we are smacked down and called racists. Or honkies, or crackers, or whitey. Or, as in your case, “typical POS White folk.” Love, peace and understanding is a two way street. We want to understand and accept you. Please extend the same courtesy and let’s really talk. From the heart. In a respectful manner. No holds barred.
“Spreading the Wealth”