On #Love4Trayvon: Richard Land, Fox News, and Conservative White Race Hustlers

Fox News Channel

If you (my regular audience) had not noticed, I have avoided posting on anything for a while; not because I did not have the time, but because over the distraught I felt for the Trayvon Martin and Rekia Boyd stories that have made national headlines. Murders happen everyday, so what makes these killings any different? That is the question that white conservative news commentators have been asking. The answer is quite simple: injustice. And not just any injustice, but injustice that is the spawn of racism. Today, I wish to write as a young African American male who loves to wear hoodies of all colors, drink tea (coffee disgusts me), a Baptist, a pacifist, and an educator.

First, as an educator: There has been some rambling and rumblings from white conservative race hustlers who depicted 17 year old Trayvon Martin as a thug, a street rat who was never up to any good, and who had a horrible attendance record at school, thus, his suspension. As an educator who works for the public education system, I am intolerant of tardies, so much so, that if I get word that a person is skipping class (regardless of prior record, race, age, or gender), I will write a referral. If a student is 15-20 minutes tardy or more, I consider that basically skipping, and I write students up. However, being tardy, skipping class is not a violent crime, and does not make Trayvon a thug. In fact, I have had honors students of all races, ages, and classes attempt to skip class or leave class and get away with it. Are they thugs? Should they be criminalized in the minds of our community? I seriously doubt it. As for Trayvon and how his school system suspended him for being tardy way too often, that is probably a bad idea; there is something called alternative/third party schools he should have been sent to at the worst, and at the best, probably in school suspension. The problem lies with both Trayvon’s choices as an individual to be late (but what student is so excited to class they aren’t tardy from time to time?) as well as the shape of our school systems as being the spitting image of our prison systems.

I learned the hard way, in critically examining my own teaching style, threatening students with write-ups is futile at the secondary level. Kids wear it as a badge of honor, and so I try to avoid them from now. Plus, I know first hand that there are some teachers who target African American males just for fogging up the mirror. I have substituted at third-party/alternative schools; very little difference culture wise between a prison and those schools. Part of my resistance to the stereotype of being “the angry black” as well as resisting influence of the PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX of which I will continue to write about, because Christianity continues to play the cheerleader to the executioner.

Secondly, As A Baptist: I have lived the majority of my life as member or participant in a Baptist church. I respect my Southern Baptist friends, I attend a church that identifies as Southern Baptist, but what I do not have time for is the SBC’s leadership, especially their history and views on race. Southern Baptist views on race and ethnicity go hand and hand with the Lost Cause Myth (the military humiliation of the Confederate States of America) as See my book review ofMark Newman’s Getting Right With God here linked argued. The PLAGIARIZED [see here, from the Washington Times] racist arguments that Richard Land made in order to call himself “controversial” were both ridiculous and a great example of conservative white race hustling. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Over and over in Richard Land’s radio show, YOU CAN LISTEN HEAR on 3/31/2012, Land repeats over and over: “What is a white Hispanic?” “Does that make Obama a white-black?” as a direct response to the media that tentatively called George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin’s murderer, a white Hispanic. What does this label mean? Well, um, it means that George Zimmerman has one parent that is “white” and the other that is “Peruvian”–what we categorically have constructed as “Hispanic” (Is there some planet or country called Hispania that I never learned about?). There is no way that Zimmerman can be racist, according to Richard Land, I mean the Washington Times, for the following reasons: Zimmerman “is Hispanic,” he may have “black family members” “He’s a registered Democrat” and according to “his mother: GZ has mentored a black single mother, and helped raised money for her all black church.” See, a racist would never do any of the above actions mentioned, right? According to the Washington Times, I mean, uh, Richard Land, these facts preclude Zimmerman from being a racist. In reality, this is White Conservative Race Hustling at its best. Notice how the topic has been changed from the loss of a HUMAN life to “oh, the murderer was a good person,” “he had black friends/family members.” What do these relationships have anything to do with George Zimmerman murdering an innocent teenage carrying Skittles and a can of cold tea? Absolutely nothing!

George Zimmerman, in the eyes of Fox News and other Conservative White Race Hustlers like Richard Land and Geraldo Rivera, has become a martyr of “political correctness” and “race mongerers.” Meanwhile, Richard Land, for example, can hide behind a veil of claiming that he’s worked for racial reconciliation. Let’s give him a pat on the back, everyone! He’s not racist, see, he realizes the bad history of race relations. So now, Land and Fox News and the Washington Times feign concern for, what, three or four people who call themselves the New Black Panther Party, and want to retaliate against GZ, in the name of fearing black racism? Let me state for the record, the BPP is relatively insignificant and irrelevant to the discussion, until you get to Fox News’ fear-mongering tactics. The Right paints black as unpatriotic, thuggish, and against the second amendment, and then distorts the truth to feign fearing black vigilante justice, and yet they defend George Zimmerman’s right to do vigilante justice? It’s the log in the eye, my friends, a log in the eyes.

The reason why I call Land’s positions on race racist is not because he has expressed animosity towards anyone; they are racist because his positions, like many conservatives’s views on race, are based on the premise that race is a biological, natural fact. The Constitution was written by men like Thomas Jefferson who believed that black were inferior naturally, and his views on race was part and parcel to his political philosophy. Any honest historian will tell you that; just not a conservative one. In reality, race is a social construct. It’s okay for Geraldo Rivera to argue (and then later apologize for) that black boys should not be wearing hoodies……so Justin Beiber can though….no suspicion there, right?

Do not blacks have the freedom of expression (within certain Constitutional limits set by the Supreme Court of the United States)? And so therefore, do not we black Americans have the right to wear hoodies as we so please? Just a question. The real race hustlers are those conservative whites who try to hide behind the Constitution in the name of “law and order.”

Lastly, as a Pacifist

I want to take up the latest argument by conservatives, a recycled, rehashed one, used against all proponents of nonviolent resistance. Richard Land’s, I mean, the Washington Times’ and Fox News’ concern really is not about Ron Paul’s coming race war at all. Instead, it boils down to electoral politics, and “exposing” President Obama who politicized the Trayvon Martin murder to galvanize his black base. I am utterly disinterested in this political season, one that has spanned since January 2009. I did not vote for President Obama, and I am not a supporter of his now, let’s just get that out of the way, so when someone responds, they will not make that HUGE mistake. In fact, I would say that Obama’s response, while nice and commendable, still is not enough. His “Trayvon Martin coulda been my son” pushes a concrete oppressive reality into the realm of the abstract. In other words, Obama does not have a son, he has 2 daughters, and his quote changes the topic from being about injustice to being about himself partially. That is why I believe showing solidarity is of most importance through first using SILENCE, being quiet, and listening to the victims for a while before taking action. I think this is very important, especially in incidents such as this. Sympathy is good, but solidarity is far superior.

Conservative White Race Hustlers propose that the Trayvon Martin murder will start a new set of riots and backlash from black Americans. What gives them this idea? Were there more black people to join the National Rifle Association recently?

While the African American community in Chicago were trying to fight gun violence through even a city-wide ban, (so much for states rights, and government by the people, right?!?, am I right?) whites have been far more successful in instituting stand your ground laws by the likes of the NRA, making it safer for vigilante avengers, who want to be comic book-like Punishers, killing persons in the name of “self-defense.” Stand Your Ground Laws both undermine what our Justice System claims to be as well as the authority of the police departments. If everyone has the right to be a policeman or woman, they also have the right to act as judge, juror, and executioner. In effect, Stand Your Ground Laws mark the legalization of lynching, you know, that thing that was never banned, and you know, and that which a few U.S. Senators did not even believe our government had to apologize for (hmmmm curious….)

My pacifist (and pro-Democratic Republican form of justice views) believes that no man (or woman) is a law to himself (herself), and that the proper authorities for dealing with violations of the law are not biased individuals of whom society has not given its trust, but to fair persons that have been entrusted by the community to enforce the law (the police). This is part of the thrust of John Howard Yoder’s THE POLITICS OF JESUS, and the idea of sub-ordination, or placing ourselves underneath an order. “Stand Your Ground Laws” makes room for the Devil (so to speak), where a select group of men can choose to place themselves above this “order” and name themselves “Neighborhood Watch Captains.”

Fact is, history testifies to the fact that black U.S. Americans are biased against anarchism and fascism, two sides of the same coin. For just as law and order dictatorships on the state-wide level protect racist histories and systems, anarchism/what some call libertarianism leads governments neglecting their duties to protect individuals, and in the end, vigilantes take that responsibility upon themselves. Is it any wonder why the decades that Paultards dream of (the first 3 decades of the 20th century) coincide with the same era in which ahem, the Ku Klux Klan were at their peak, and the federal government was negligent in its responsibility to guarantee life, liberty, and the pursuit of happyness for its Negro citizens, but instead allowing them to keep getting lynched? Just curious.


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10 thoughts on “On #Love4Trayvon: Richard Land, Fox News, and Conservative White Race Hustlers

  1. Ken Leonard

    Brilliant, Rodney. Nothing short of brilliantly said.

    I don’t have a whole lot else to say at the moment, because I’m still processing all of that. But this might be one of the best statements I’ve seen on the subject of Mr. Martin’s murder.

    Richard Land demonstrates a profound indifference to the death of a human being, and the fact that the conversation about this whole thing is really disgusting. The almost-jovial way in which people say, “He can’t be a racist, he’s Hispanic!” removes the conversation from reality and into absurd definitions of racism which allow white guys to pretend to be persecuted. As a white guy, that disgusts me. I’m well aware of the fact that I’m privileged and those who deny it turn my stomach.

    Not as much as those who have to malign the late Mr. Martin, though. Glenn Beck’s “The Blaze” and its smear job, implying that he might have been selling drugs or committing arson or kidnapping, really demonstrates that a portion of the population — most of it rather pale in complexion — would never accept the idea that injustice can exist. The rationalization, of course, fails. I don’t see that Mr. Zimmerman had the ability to run a background check on the spot. I suppose that we’re supposed to believe that Mr. Martin attacked Mr. Zimmerman with his Skittles. If there wasn’t a dead man, then it might be comical.

    I agree about Mr. Zimmerman and the Punisher. My impression has been that the guy thinks he’s Batman or Captain America, out there protecting the world. Of course, he does it his own way — ignoring the advice of the 911 dispatcher and pressing the situation. Then he kills and claims to be the victim.

    Interestingly, very few people seem to mention the fact that if anyone had the right to “stand his ground,” it was Mr. Martin. He, after all, was the one being stalked down the sidewalk by an armed man with a dangerous record. If he attacked GZ, then by the “stand your ground” standard, he seems to have been in the right. But I think it’s safe to say that skin color plays into that. After all, how could a young black man feel threatened by a white guy?

    As for the last picture, I’d have to say that he does look slightly suspicious, but I think it’s mostly because he kind of looks like the Radioactive Man, only more blue.

    Huh. I guess I did have a lot to say. Sorry about the rambling length.

  2. Charles

    Not-Serious Portion:
    You lost me at “coffee disgusts me.” Insufficient love and reverence for the Blessed Bean is a clear indicator of moral and intellectual decay.

    And I’m not sure who that person in the pic is (I’m out of the comics loop these days), but he definitely looks suspicious. He is clearly trying to smuggle some kind of light source under his clothes. But my attitude toward super-heroes wearing hoodies may have been unfairly tainted by my tragic exposure to The Scarlet Spider ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Reilly ) and the associated clone-related nonsense of the 1990s.

    Serious Portion:
    I haven’t been following the coverage, so I’m just going off of your description. It seems odd that a conservative is trying to play the “minorities can’t be racist” card, since I’ve usually heard that coming from liberals. I have no problem with people calling out activists who try to turn everything into a racial issue (they remind me of fundamentalist Christians who see everything as a Satanist plot), but concluding that someone is a dangerous criminal because black + hoodie = thug is a bit hard to explain as anything other than racism.

    I don’t know if this angle has been brought up yet (like I said, I’m a bit out of the loop), but this reminds me a lot about current social-psychological research on racism. Overt declarations of racism are sharply dropping, to the point that it’s hard to get any interesting data from a self-report racism scale, but researchers continue to find racist automatic assumptions even among those who publicly proclaim their non-racism. So the argument that GZ can’t be racist because he has black friends and votes for democrats is deeply mistaken. (Maybe I’ll write up a guest post on this for Amanda).

    (As and aside, on the topic of Hispanic status and the social construction of race, I had a prof in grad school who was Peruvian, and she commented that it wasn’t until she moved to the US that anyone told her that she wasn’t “actually” white. Whatever that means.)

    1. RodtRDH Post author

      I’m racist against Marvels! Bam!
      Also the superhero highlighted is

      Black Lightning, from Year One.

      “So the argument that GZ can’t be racist because he has black friends and votes for democrats is deeply mistaken. (Maybe I’ll write up a guest post on this for Amanda).”

      YEAH! Please do!

  3. Pingback: Heroes Wear Hoodies: Trayvon Martin, Vigilantism, & CW’s #Arrow #MillionHoodies |

  4. David

    GZ’s racial makeup demonstrates the utter failure of white supremacist logic of who passes for white. However it reifies that anger at the same time. Arguing that GZ is “Hispanic” demonstrates the ways that white supremacy pits races against each other. It admits to there being racist crimes and more specifically anti-black crimes. GZ has a super checkered past that gets looked over because in this moment he conformed to white hegemonic masculinity standards of aggression and violence. Would land be defending GZ in other cases? Nope.

    No matter how you view the case a young man is dead and the mitigating factors in his death are race, class, and gender.

    The discussions around the death of TM demonstrates how only certain lives are grieveable. White children are grieveable but black bodies are not grieveable on a national level by people like Land

  5. J. K. Gayle

    As usual, you’ve given us a lot to think about, to meditate on, in SILENCE listening to the victims for a good long while.

    I’m not sure it was listening and reflectiveness from the SBC that caused leaders of the Southern Baptists to be measured in their responses. Richard Land’s replacement, Russell Moore, has indeed been giving Washington Post interviews, for example:

    MICHELLE BOORSTEIN – “Did a lot of Southern Baptist pastors preach on the Trayvon Martin case? (Land retired from the commission several months after being reprimanded for controversial remarks about the Martin case.)”

    MOORE – “Most white evangelicals, white Americans, are seeing this microscopically in terms of this verdict, and most African Americans are seeing it macroscopically. It’s Trayvon Martin, it’s Emmitt Till, it’s Medgar Evers, it’s my son, it’s my neighbor’s son, it’s my situation that I had. . . . Most white Americans say, ‘We don’t know what happened that night,’ and [whites] are missing the point.”

    But, however, and nonetheless, Moore has said nothing nada and not one thing about Trayvon on his blog, except to repost (on Sunday, July 14th, 2013 at 6:30 pm) an old post (from January 17, 2011) “Racial Justice and the Godness of God.”

    And althought Land’s racist comments on Trayvon last year were severely and publicly and rightly critiqued by SBC president Fred Luter, Jr., where is the encouragement to SBC pastors and church members to mourn?

    Thos who expect to hear SBC leadership have some been disappointed. For example, for CNN reporter Jeffrey Weiss says:

    “By Tuesday, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the first African-American leader of that body, offered a bland quote to his denomination’s official news service. ‘Some people are upset, angry and frustrated, while others are in full support of the verdict, so where does the church fit in? The church should be there to pray for both families, the city of Sanford, and our nation,’ said the Rev. Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans.

    Russell Moore, head of the convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, took a stronger stand, saying that regardless of the verdict, Zimmerman was wrong to take ‘upon himself some sort of vigilante justice.'”



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