Except when it’s not

Garrick Hopkins and his brother, Carl Hopkins, Jr.

Because your home is your castle, except when it’s not.

Garrick Hopkins and his wife Denise bought some property in Cabell County (West Virginia), with the intention of building their dream home.  Hopkins was showing his brother Carl around when they were shot dead by a neighbor.  Who apparently used a rifle with a scope out of his window from a distance of more than 50 yards.  Here are some of the headlines:

“Two brothers shot and killed, mistaken for trespassers”
“Man points rifle out window, fatally shoots 2 men he thought were trespassing on his property”
“WV man shoots new neighbors he thought were on his property”
“Man kills new neighbors after mistaking them for burglars”
“West Virginia Man Kills New Neighbor, Neighbor’s Brother After Mistaking Them for Trespassers”

The sheriff was quoted by multiple sources saying that the Hopkins had every legal right to be on the property.  Which misses the point, in my opinion.

Timeline and details here.


George Rivera

As a kid I once wondered how blind people experienced race. So did Osagie K. Obasogie. Apparently they “see” it much as sighted people do:

Indeed, Obasogie argues, it is that continual filing away of information, and not any visually obvious reality, that trains us to see race and attach meaning to it. “We are all socialized to see race. But it’s only by talking to blind people that we really get a true understanding of how strong that socialization practice is,” Obasogie said. “What this study highlights is how the things that we think are obvious are often things that society works very hard to teach us.”

More here. Journal article here (pdf format).

Shopping while black

The 97,241st edition.

Trayon Christian just wanted to buy a $350 belt.  He reportedly had to show identification just to buy the damn thing.  But after he did, the clerk apparently called the police.  Undercover officers questioned how he could afford to make such a purchase, and then dragged him to the police station.

We’ve all been there.  Because obviously our people couldn’t possibly have enough money to buy something like this.  Because we must have stolen the credit card or something.  I once asked why I had to show ID when using my credit card.  The cashier said, “It’s our policy.  We ask everybody.”  So I stood and watched as she rang up all the people in line after me.  None of them were asked for ID.

Christian decided he didn’t want the belt anymore.  And he filed suit.  Hope he wins.

Walking while black


Let’s be realistic.  We know who had the injuries; we know who didn’t.  It was a sad and tragic affair, but Trayvon Martin did in fact cause his own death, and this man should not face the jury any longer than he has already.
–Mark O’Mara, defense attorney for George Zimmerman, arguing for a judgment of acquittal

Well, there’s a lot in these few short sentences, isn’t there?

First, let’s be realistic.  Because everybody knows that only white people can be realistic.  Or rational.  Or objective.  Everybody else?  Well, we have an agenda.

We know who had the injuries; we know who didn’t.  Yeah, I guess death doesn’t count as an injury.

It was a sad and tragic affair that just kind of happened.

but Trayvon Martin did in fact cause his own death … by walking around looking suspicious.  By not being a choir boy.  By being a young black male.  By being presumed to have been the aggressor when he encountered a white man with a gun.

and this man should not face the jury any longer than he has already.  Because he had injuries and he didn’t cause Trayvon Martin’s death.  Because his life should not be inconvenienced.  Because he has suffered enough.

I guess I just can’t imagine any scenario in which Martin and Zimmerman scuffled.  If Martin did in fact punch Zimmerman repeatedly, wouldn’t he have injuries to his hands and blood on his clothing?  People who don’t fight (and often even people who do) typically end up with busted hands, cuts, scrapes and even broken fingers from fist fights.  The head is a big hard object, and landing a bare fist on it with any force hurts.

Plus head wounds bleed like you wouldn’t believe.

A more likely scenario would be one in which Zimmerman threatened Martin with the gun.  In which Martin was the one who feared for his life.

But black kids with skittles or sleeping on couches are more dangerous than white men with guns.  And now they are dead.

In what world

Every once in a while, the lid on my box slips and I remember I’m not really living in post-racial America.  I try to keep that lid tightly clamped down, because otherwise I might find it difficult to function.  I don’t want to think about 17-year-0ld boys going out to buy a pack of Skittles and being murdered on the way home.  I don’t want to remember that justifiable fear is a black kid coming home from the 7-11 with some candy, and not a white man with a gun.

Some years ago a white man tried to have me arrested because he said I was “breaking into cars.”  I was on my way home from work and was carrying a briefcase.  Lucky for me the cop was black.

It’s not uncommon for people of color to be seen as criminals (or as a “suspect,” as George Zimmerman referred to Trayvon Martin).  But although sometimes mistaken identity is just annoying, it can just as easily be life-threatening.

Or deadly.

Then you find out what privilege really means. Continue reading

But what about the Asians?

Gerry Kahrmann, Vancouver Sun

So Abraham Berhe and Emebet Belay and wanted to open a beauty salon. Which they did. They poured $70,000 of money and a lot of labor into a rented space. Only to allegedly be told by their landlord that they could not cut white men’s hair. Or advertise in the window.

Like anybody wants a lease with those provisions? The judge ruled against the landlord.

Discriminating against clients on the basis of race is just plain stupid, although the consequences would undoubtedly be more severe for Berhe and Belay than if white guys stuck to the hair of their own kind.  Because it wouldn’t just be about market forces–it would be about bringing down all of the institutional power upon your head.

‘Missouri judge denies Guatemalan mother custody of her son’

Tammy Ljungblad | The Kansas City Star

Encarnacion Bail Romero never wanted her son Carlos to be adopted.  But after she was detained in an immigration raid, that’s what happened.  You can read an article about her ordeal here.  And now the court has ruled that the six-year-old should stay with his “adoptive” parents.

Bail Romero has not been allowed to see him.  Not once.  Because although she stated repeatedly that she never wanted to allow him to be adopted, because although she said that if she were deported she would take him with her, because although she contacted her family who promised to help her care for him, she had no interest in the child and wanted to abandon him.  Yeah.

(Additional rant on “illegal” long in the making and forthcoming.)

‘Driver’s license nightmare continues’

Matt Powers, Deseret News

This is Irene Christenson. She is a naturalized U.S. citizen. Served in the army. Has lived in her home state for more than ten years. Became a citizen almost thirty years ago.

Christenson has a Certificate of Naturalization. What she doesn’t have is a driver’s license.

Christenson has been trying to renew her driver’s license.  The Utah DLD requires proof of legal status.  According to this news article, her Certificate of Naturalization needs to be verified:

Homeland Security needs to verify the certificate, which usually takes seconds. When that didn’t happen in December, Christenson got a temporary license and was told it would take 30 days because her certificate is “too old” and not stored in a computer database.

That was six months ago.  Please note that Christenson is trying to renew her Utah license, not obtain a new license.  You can thank the Real ID Act for this.  And remember, brown folks, get yourselves multiple proofs of citizenship.  Because you might actually want to have a bank account or drive or something.

Do you know this woman?

Edited to add:  One news source reports that this woman’s family has been found so I have removed her picture.

She was hit by a car June 8 when crossing the street at Vallejo Street and Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco.   She is estimated to be in her 70’s or 80’s, is Asian, has brown eyes and grey hair, is about 130 lbs. and 5′ 2″.

If you have any information about her identity, call the hospital’s sheriff’s department at (415) 206-8063 or the Police Department’s anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411.

From Angry Asian Man.

This story really struck a nerve with me, because my grandmother was struck by a vehicle when crossing the street near her home.  My family was frantic with worry when she did not return from her walk.  My parents and aunts and uncles called everywhere they could think of.  They called the police and all the hospitals.  Continue reading