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Life Cycles of Inequity: A Colorlines Series on Black Men
Colorlines ^ | May 12, 2014 | Kai Wright, editor-at-large

Posted on 05/12/2014 7:40:57 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

It’s hard to imagine there’s more to say about Trayvon Martin’s death, but I continue to wonder about his life.

I’m still haunted by the few details that made it into public discussion, in particular the fact that he’d recently been suspended from school—an event black boys are three times as likely to experience as their white peers. George Zimmerman’s defense team attempted to use Trayvon’s suspension as a smear, to label him a thug. The funny thing is, if Trayvon had not been killed, that’s precisely how it would have been used against him in life. Suspensions have been established as defining steps along the school-to-prison pipeline. At 17, Trayvon’s opportunities were already shrinking, inequity had begun closing in around him.

And so, in July 2013, I found myself uncharacteristically tongue-tied. Person after person asked for my reaction to the verdict in Zimmerman’s trial. Over and over, I avoided answering. My challenge wasn’t a lack of thoughts; they just didn’t fit into the narrow space in which we are allowed to consider the stretched lives of black men in America. I suspect a great many of us feel this way. We think about Trayvon Martin or Jordan Davis or Oscar Grant—or, if we’re black, likely someone in our family who died early and needlessly—and we are paralyzed by the immense odds those men faced in the first place. We know that their deaths cannot truly be understood without first examining the context of their lives.

Throughout 2014, Colorlines will examine that context. This week, we launch “Life Cycles of Inequity: A Series on Black Men.”

Each month, we will publish a package of content focused on a life stage or event that for black men in the United States is uniquely confined by broad, societal inequities. We begin with high school boys—Trayvon’s peers—and we will conclude with the early mortality that takes too many of our fathers, uncles and partners in their middle ages. We’ll explore issues ranging from school discipline to fatherhood, from job markets to health care access. The video above—in which a group of teenagers speak with one another about confronting implicit bias—offers an introduction to the series. Tomorrow, we’ll explore the forces driving the school-to-prison pipeline.

The series is deliberately broad, but we certainly won’t cover the breadth of the black male experience. We won’t even exhaust the range of inequities that impact our lives. Rather, we’ve focused our efforts primarily on places where existing data shows a profound relationship between poor outcomes and being a black man. In some stories we’ll try to explain that relationship, in others we’ll highlight efforts to end it. Overall, we hope simply to join a broader dialogue about the ways in which inequity shapes so many parts of life for black men.

Our stories will vary in both form and approach. We’ll have investigations, essays, dispatches and graphic features—and opportunities to dialogue with you about it all. Each package will be anchored by a short film in which we hear directly from black men who are trying to build lives in spite of the inequities our reporting explores. We’re honored to have award-winning documentary filmmaker André Robert Lee to direct the series.

André and I were honored to meet the eight young men in our opening video in Oakland earlier this year. They talked with each other about walking into classrooms and being pre-judged, about being tracked—in ways both overt and subtle—as problems. From the White House to family rooms around the country, Trayvon Martin’s murder has sparked renewed debates about how to interrupt this kind of bias. We’ll continue following and contributing to that discussion here at Colorlines. But throughout this series we also hope to remind everyone that we’re talking about human experiences—that real people are trying their best to build lives amid this whirlwind. Humanity can be sorely lacking from politicial discussions involving race.

Finally, throughout the year we’ll be inviting you into this discussion as well. We’re particularly interested in hearing from other black men who have experienced the issues we’re covering. Join us on Facebook, Twitter or by chiming in to the comment section of the site. We hope to hear from you.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: blacks; inequity; race; racism

The author

1 posted on 05/12/2014 7:40:57 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
It’s hard to imagine there’s more to say about Trayvon Martin’s death …
That’s because any more is purely imaginary. Enough imaginary stuff has been said already, besides.
2 posted on 05/12/2014 7:43:27 PM PDT by Olog-hai
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
we’ll be inviting you into this discussion as well.

Hey! Thanks so much! I really appreciate the opprtunity! Well, to start, too many black boys grow up without fathers. And school and work just don't seem to be priorities in many black communities. What's up with that? And the rap music? That really seems to focus on turning women into nasty objects and men into thoughtless hormone machines. And the racism which is just absolutely rampant in the black community?? That has got to stop.

You clean up your culture a little, and I think you might be OK.

3 posted on 05/12/2014 7:46:06 PM PDT by ClearCase_guy
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Always victims, always excuses

There are reasons why they are permanently ensconced at the bottom of the socio-economic barrel


4 posted on 05/12/2014 7:48:17 PM PDT by A_Former_Democrat (Hey 2008, we told you so)
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To: Olog-hai
I’m still haunted by the few details that made it into public discussion, in particular the fact that he’d recently been suspended from school—an event black boys are three times as likely to experience as their white peers.

Sometimes the obvious answer is the correct one.

Maybe it is the same reason black men are three times as likely to be in prison.

Maybe they are both three times as likely to be thugs.

5 posted on 05/12/2014 7:48:26 PM PDT by seowulf (Cogito cogito, ergo cogito sum. Cogito.---Ambrose Bierce)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Time to get over yourself, Kai.


6 posted on 05/12/2014 7:49:11 PM PDT by tumblindice (America's founding fathers: all armed conservatives)
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To: Olog-hai

He was found with stolen goods and burglary tools in his school backpack and that wasn’t even the main reason for his suspension.

http://patdollard.com/2013/06/trayvon-martins-involvement-in-local-burglaries-covered-up-by-media-school-police/


7 posted on 05/12/2014 7:51:51 PM PDT by CaptainK (...please make it stop. Shake a can of pennies at it.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

8 posted on 05/12/2014 7:52:25 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum ("The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the government." --Tacitus)
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To: All
At 17, Trayvon’s opportunities were already shrinking, inequity had begun closing in around him.

Bullcrap kai. Trey's injuries (well, except for that last one) were self-induced. You never will get that personal responsibility thing, will you?

9 posted on 05/12/2014 7:52:33 PM PDT by rockrr (Everything is different now...)
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To: ClearCase_guy
Hey! Hey! LBJ,

How many Black families

Did you ruin today?

10 posted on 05/12/2014 7:55:21 PM PDT by Bernard Marx
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To: Bernard Marx

Mission accomplished. He said he’d have ‘em voting Democrat for the next 200 years (by any means necessary).


11 posted on 05/12/2014 7:57:26 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (Resist We Much)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

an event black boys are three times as likely to experience as their white peers. George Zimmerman’s defense team attempted to use Trayvon’s suspension as a smear, to label him a thug.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Maybe, by comparison, Black Boys are three times as likely to bring drugs into school.
You surely can’t say that the White Boys aren’t getting suspended.

His next column is going to be in defense of White Boys getting suspended for drawing a picture or eating a breakfast treat into the (supposed) shape of a Gun.

Or maybe he will write how White (Lets say AMERICAN) boys can’t wear T shirts with an image of the American Flag on it, lest they ‘upset’ the ‘foreigners LEGAL and/or ILLEGAL’

Or maybe he will write about a School System that allows certain peoples to skate through school, terrorizing those that WANT TO LEARN (doesn’t matter what ‘they’ are), let them speak their own language - fracturing sentences, not caring about spelling or pronunciation,

THEN

when these ‘geniuses’ get turned loose on the world, complain that they can’t spell, speak, dress for public, blaming (naturally) Whitey for putting him down and only allowing IDIOTS to teach in the ‘inner city schools’.

I am sure that this gentleman has a lot to say, BUT he damn sure will not be ‘sharing’ it with us.

I ‘like’ the Black Washington Post reporter(Keith Ellison) that went to Africa a few of years back and upon returning he virtually kissed the ground and thanked the day that his ancestors were transported HERE and THANKED his ancestors for sticking it out so he didn’t have to undergo what the present day Africans are going through.


12 posted on 05/12/2014 8:20:20 PM PDT by xrmusn ((6/98)"Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until they speak.".)
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To: xrmusn

Keith B. Richburg wrote that book (Out Of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa). Keith Ellison is the moonbat Islamicist Congressman from Minnesota.


13 posted on 05/12/2014 8:27:56 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (Resist We Much)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
We won’t even exhaust the range of inequities that impact our lives.

And we won't even begin to address the range of iniquities that impact our lives.

14 posted on 05/12/2014 8:29:42 PM PDT by 17th Miss Regt
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
There is as big a gulf between Mr. Wright and blacks growing up as Travon, as there is between me and Travon.

If Kai Wright feels so strongly about it, why doesn't he take his cardigan wearing self and move his whole family into Compton, or Detroit or Camden, etc?

Wonder how much compassion “Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation” has ever shown to Asians who were brought to the US after war destroyed their country?

Mr. Wright is as different from Travon and that “black culture” as I am different from a “hillbilly culture”.

15 posted on 05/12/2014 8:30:10 PM PDT by texas booster (Join FreeRepublic's Folding@Home team (Team # 36120) Cure Alzheimer's!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

His life story: Thug. Doper. Punk.

The end.


16 posted on 05/12/2014 8:38:11 PM PDT by bigbob (The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly. Abraham Lincoln)
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To: texas booster
I guess impeachment should be the next and only option left.

Ahh, I guess it's a way to scratch out a living when universities are graduating so many worthless writers.

17 posted on 05/12/2014 8:52:47 PM PDT by imardmd1 (Fiat Lux)
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To: fieldmarshaldj
He said he’d have ‘em voting Democrat for the next 200 years (by any means necessary).

Yes. And Obamacare seals the deal forever.

18 posted on 05/12/2014 8:57:16 PM PDT by Bernard Marx
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Why to foreign-born blacks do so much better than American-born blacks, Kai?


19 posted on 05/12/2014 8:57:37 PM PDT by Lizavetta
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To: texas booster
(Ooops! Wrong contents on my Clipboard. Resending:)

Mr. Wright is as different from Travon and that “black culture” as I am different from a “hillbilly culture”

Ahh, I guess it's a way to scratch out a living when universities are graduating so many worthless writers.

***********

(I guess my error above shows I'm one of them.)

20 posted on 05/12/2014 9:00:01 PM PDT by imardmd1 (Fiat Lux)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Plantation slavery: Worst. Idea. Ever.


21 posted on 05/12/2014 9:00:11 PM PDT by Dagnabitt (Amnesty is Treason. Its agents are Traitors.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

This guy looks like an African American Alfred E. Newman. He’s even got the space between his teeth.


22 posted on 05/12/2014 9:27:31 PM PDT by jmacusa
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To: CaptainK

“He was found with stolen goods and burglary tools in his school backpack . . ..”

The Miami-Dade School District had its own in-house police dept., and the relevant administrators/officers decided that student offenses that could by law be deemed felonies would be dealt with administratively in-house, and not be referred to municipal police officials.
The school officials chose to deal with Trayvon’s two offenses (I believe he also had drugs or drug paraphernalia in his backpack) by suspending him, whereupon his father and mother, who resided in that district, sent him to Sanford to live with Dad’s girl friend.


23 posted on 05/12/2014 9:38:05 PM PDT by Elsiejay
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Uh...Mr. Wright...has it ever occurred to you that young black men victimize themselves by failing to take advantage of the educational opportunities made available to them, courtesy of the taxpayer, and further, engaging in criminal activity against said taxpayers?

No? Somehow I am not surprised at your answer.
24 posted on 05/12/2014 9:51:43 PM PDT by Milton Miteybad (I am Jim Thompson. {Really.})
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To: fieldmarshaldj

maybe killing them off was the best way to get democrat votes out of them?


25 posted on 05/12/2014 10:01:03 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Embrace the Lion of Judah and He will roar for you and teach you to roar too. See my page.)
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To: Milton Miteybad

When they damn America and then find that they have damned themselves too, they shouldn’t be very surprised!


26 posted on 05/12/2014 10:01:58 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Embrace the Lion of Judah and He will roar for you and teach you to roar too. See my page.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
"...At 17, Trayvon’s opportunities were already shrinking, inequity had begun closing in around him..."

Drinking "Lean" and robbing people's houses will tend to have that effect, Kai.

27 posted on 05/12/2014 10:10:35 PM PDT by Little Pig (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.)
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To: fieldmarshaldj

Keith Ellison is the moonbat Islamicist Congressman from Minnesota.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Of course you are correct.
I even ‘looked it up’....saw the name Keith on one of the blurbs, the name ellison came to mind, I clicked to ‘verify’ and had Post in my query so apparently a mention etc...
When I typed it in I wasn’t sure BUT...since I had ‘looked it up’.....

NO EXCUSES, just a plausible explanation....

Thanks


28 posted on 05/12/2014 10:37:30 PM PDT by xrmusn ((6/98)"Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until they speak.".)
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To: rockrr

True dat rockrr. So at the tender age of 17 our little ‘’Willy Loman’’ here (Trayvon) is all washed up .No hope,no chance , in the greatest country on earth no sunshine on the horizon of life.Mmmm. ‘’ I cain’t get nothing from nobody cuz dey cain’t get everything from nobody to give to me ‘cuz it’s all whitey’s fault anyway ‘cuz it’s raciss’. Boy, talk about somebody dead from the neck up. This author I mean. How come the ‘’inequity’s’’of life didn’t stop him? Not to sound too harsh here or quais-racist but deserved what he got. Instead he thought a better plan for his life would to sit on his ass , steal , beat people up and break into houses. Again, I don’t mean to be insensitive here but the tragic irony in all of this, given his short, violently criminal life it ran him over bit his butt. Instant karma is a bi!tch.


29 posted on 05/12/2014 10:42:25 PM PDT by jmacusa
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

trayvon WAS a thug. end of discussion.


30 posted on 05/12/2014 10:54:15 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (Gone Galt; Not averse to Going Bronson.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Not one word about the collapse of the black family, and the corresponding moral collapse in the black community.

Which leads slightly the collapse of the family in the culture at large and the collapse of morality in the broader society.

Poverty and crime each have a direct tie to broken and shattered families, and to substance abuse, and those two are themselves closely related. These are moral issues and while they can be treated by social institutions, they can never be solved by anything other than a moral revival. The country as a whole is desperately in need of it and the black community even more so.


31 posted on 05/12/2014 11:50:51 PM PDT by marron
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To: Lizavetta

You think you’re seeing a representative sample from Africa ?

Africans who make it here are from the elite or exceptionally talented and educated. ergo, Obama’s dad.

You live in a dusty village in Africa (or SE Asia) you ain’t going to make it through immigration and the self-sufficiency requirements.


32 posted on 05/13/2014 1:00:06 AM PDT by sunrise_sunset
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To: E. Pluribus Unum; 2ndDivisionVet

What’s the point of displaying the author’s appearance? Why spoil the mystery?


33 posted on 05/13/2014 1:14:18 AM PDT by Gene Eric (Don't be a statist!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I wonder how many older, white libs who have been allied with people like Wright for decades protesting evil, racist whitey are ready to throw in the towel? They have to know why black males fail at such high rates. Black males are always at the bottom for scholastic achievement, highest for criminal activity, and highest for having the worst attitudes towards life and work. But still the drumbeat goes on about evil whitey keeping black people down.

If you're a white businessman or woman, are you going to hire somebody of whatever color with no education, a criminal record, and a thoroughly sh...y attitude? That's a great many young blacks. I mean, how many black people even believe people like Wright anymore? Is the level of self-delusion that high among black Americans?

34 posted on 05/13/2014 2:15:16 AM PDT by driftless2
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To: ClearCase_guy

So, why not forward that to him? After all he did invite you to give input. Posting here isn’t going to help a bit....I doubt anyone would substantively disagree w/ your points.


35 posted on 05/13/2014 5:18:39 AM PDT by 556x45
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To: imardmd1
You had me confused there for just a bit.

And to those that care, I am just a generation removed from living really rural.

36 posted on 05/13/2014 9:35:50 PM PDT by texas booster (Join FreeRepublic's Folding@Home team (Team # 36120) Cure Alzheimer's!)
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