…and if you do not live there, why would you want to visit there?
When approaching Florida on most highways you encounter a sign like this:
I don’t know about you, but if I saw a beautiful sign like that while entering Florida, from Alabama or Georgia, I would want to jump into the nearest body of water to have fun, fun, and more fun – but I am white and that makes sense.
On the other hand, I might want to drive to the nearest seafood restaurant – but again, I am white and I know I would have no problem being welcomed in almost any seafood restaurant.
Another thing I might do, after a vacation of two, is to decide to relocate to Florida to finish out my days with gentle breezes, beautiful beaches, and fantastic sunsets – to say nothing of the great fresh seafood year round – but again, I am white and I think I would like retirement living in Florida.
A little disclaimer here – I have good friends who have retired to Florida years ago and they love it there. The first love of my life is married and living in Florida and assures me that life could not be better for her and her clan. I also have relatives and ex-relatives-in-law (sounds weird, right?) who frequent Florida often and they always have wonderful things to say after each visit and they back up their words with beautiful photos and videos and no so beautiful trinkets.
So, why am I differentiating white tourists from black tourists and white residents from black residents?
I would break down the differences into two categories – voting rights differences between blacks and whites and how blacks and whites are treated differently in Florida courts.
I am sure everyone remembers the 2000 Presidential election when Katherine Harris and company did everything humanly possible to keep as many blacks from voting in Florida.
Let’s start out with voting. If you are white, the probably of you being denied your right to vote in Florida is almost nil – with nil being zero.
But, on the other hand, if you are black – all bets are off. For example, if your name is Ruben Jones and there happens to be a Ruben Jones who is a felon in Florida, and there also is a felon in Wyoming named Rubin Jones (close enough for Florida vote purging), you might be “accidently confused” with Ruben the felon and you might not be “allowed” your right to vote – even though you have a voter identification card and have been voting at the same polling station for years.
So, you are not Ruben Jones but you are Kevin Addington Jones and thankfully there is no felon in Florida, or elsewhere across the United States, with your same name – how can you be denied the right to vote? Do not fear, Kevin, Florida has more tricks in their arsenal to minimize your opportunity to vote. It won’t be an outright denial – but because you are black and live in a primarily black neighborhood – there will be fewer polling locations and those locations will have fewer electronic voting machines – oh, I almost forgot, some of those machines will not even be working on Election Day. The ratio of voting machines to whites will be greater than the ratio of voting machines to blacks – i.e. there are fewer voting machines per 1,000 registered voters in predominately black neighborhoods.
Considering that fewer machines equates to longer lines, many minorities cannot afford to wait hours in line so they leave the polling place without voting because some predominately white election officials stack the deck against them.
Another dirty trick that was implemented this year in Florida and elsewhere is the requirement for a valid government photo id to vote. On the surface, this does not seem to be racially biased and that is because most whites have a valid driver’s license or they have a passport or they have some other kind of valid government issued picture id.
Many blacks, in urban areas, do not have cars and as a result, they do not have a valid operator’s license. Many minorities do not travel overseas or to Canada or to Mexico and as a result they do not have a passport. This whole effort is to suppress the black vote – even though they will not say so. Republican governors are the ones who are initiating these efforts and the logic is that there are just too many blacks in America and if they vote as a block, fewer Republicans will be elected – so the solution is to figure out creative ways to keep them away from the polling places.
Another trick that was done quite successfully in Florida was to create a huge computer generated list of “questionable voters” that were flagged for various reasons.
In Broward County, 259 people received letters implying that the computer process identified them as not being U. S. citizens and if they did not reply with proof of citizenship, they would be removed from the voter register – even though they voted in the last election. The letters could have been sent to an old address, an incorrect address, or even intentionally to a computer generated address – all of which would not get to the voter for his/her action. Pretty cool, huh?
There were a multitude of other reasons for hundreds of thousands of Florida citizens to receive other types of letters for bogus reasons – all of which were to delete them all if they didn’t respond with appropriate documentation.
Another cleaver trick Florida does, as well as a handful of other states hell bent on black voter suppression, is to let complainers cast provisional votes, which is a feel good thing to do but little does the voter know that his/her vote will probably not ever be counted. It is a little like patting the voter on the back with your left hand while you are stabbing them in the back with your right hand.
Governor Scott, of Florida, is trying diligently to recreate the crimes that were committed in 2000, 2004, and 2008 – in effect, doing everything to suppress the black vote. The gimmicks change every two years or so but the net effect is the same – “keep them blacks away from the voting booth.”
Well, I believe I have given numerous examples of how the Sunshine State discriminates against blacks in the voting booth, so let’s move on to how Florida treats blacks in the courtroom.
It doesn’t matter if they are dead or alive but it is easier if the black person is already dead – like 17 year old Trayvon Martin. I have written several blogs about Trayvon and a few more about the incident – my last one was a sarcastic blog about things a white person could do to insure that he/she can escape conviction when they are involved in an altercation with a black person. Here is the link:
Trayvon’s shooter, George Zimmerman, is claiming “stand your ground” as a defense – and George is half white and half Hispanic. There is much more to come on whether this case will go to trial or not.
One interesting thing is that Trayvon was examined for drugs, yet his shooter was not. Why? The “Stand Your Ground” defense is for courtrooms – it is not a defense for being arrested or not. Was he not arrested because he was white and because his father was a retired Florida magistrate and his father’s friend was Norman Wolfinger, the District Attorney, who just happened to visit the police station the night of the shooting? I am sure those were all just coincidences? If you believe that, you must be white and a Republican who votes straight ticket every time.
There was another recent Florida case where a wife fired a warning shot to keep her husband at bay – a husband who had just threatened to kill her and who had beaten her in the past. Fearing for her life, she fired a warning shot as he approached her. She claimed “stand your ground” as her defense.
The prosecutor offered her a 3 year prison sentence but she felt she did no wrong and took her chances with a trial.
What is interesting is that Angela Corey is involved in both cases. I have read where Ms. Corey felt the wife deserved to be prosecuted because she shot the gun in the general direction where the kids were in another room upstairs and because she did not accept the deal offered, she deserved what she got.
What bothers me about this case, is that the Prosecutor gave Marissa a carrot (if she agreed to a 3 year sentence) and if she didn’t accept it, they were going to throw the book at her. In this case, the wife felt her defense was valid and I am sure the Prosecutor hated the fact that the defense was being used and because the wife insulted them by not agreeing to go to jail for 3 years, they were going to do everything possible to make her regret that. If they were agreeable to offer her 3 years, then why couldn’t they give her somewhere between 3 and 5 years? In a nutshell, they used her as an example – take it or leave it, but if you leave it on the table, you are going away for a long, long, long, time. I believe that if Marissa Alexander was not black and instead she was Marsha Silverstein, a middle aged white woman from an affluent neighborhood, this never would have gotten past a grand jury.
In the Trayvon Martin case, I did not read where George Zimmerman fired a warning shot – nor have I read where George yelled a warning to Trayvon before he shot him. Considering they were in a neighborhood where dozens of families with kids live, I wonder if Ms. Corey will take the same approach – giving George Zimmerman 20 years because he discharged a firearm where kids where living nearby.
Ms. Marissa Alexander, the wife, and mother of 3, who received the 20 year sentence is quite accomplished. She earned both a B.S. and a MBA, and who knows, maybe her education worked against her – maybe she used her statistics and probability classes to calculate the odds of her being found guilty or not.
I will not insult blacks reading this by saying that Marissa Alexander deserved special consideration because of her social status and her educational accomplishments – that will be a slap in the face to the majority of blacks who are hardworking yet do not have the degrees like Marissa has. You should not need a degree of higher learning to get a fair shake in a court of law.
What will be interesting is if George Zimmerman, a half/white, half Hispanic gets off based on “Stand Your Ground” while Marissa Alexander, a black woman, got 20 years using the same defense.
Keep in mind that the 911 operator told George Zimmerman to stop following Trayvon and to turn around and go back to his vehicle and wait for the police to arrive. Zimmerman was also a Neighborhood Watch captain and that position carries a requirement to NOT carry a firearm. Zimmerman tries to explain that he was not on duty that night but as soon as he started carrying out duties by getting out of his car to follow Trayvon, he first should have put his weapon in his glove compartment. Why didn’t he do that? I propose he was on a hunting trip and he was itching to take the life of one of “those blacks” who had been robbing his friends in his neighborhood.
I hope Zimmerman does not get off because of “Stand Your Ground,” but if that does happen, it will support my theory that “Stand your Ground” is really “Stand your WHITE Ground” in Florida.
All courts in Florida should be required to put a sign on the courtroom doors that says, “If you are black, do not even think about using “Stand Your Ground” as a defense.”
I personally believe that all “Stand Your Ground” laws across the United States ought to be replaced with laws that take into account all the facts surrounding a crime and do not base prosecution on the race or ethnicity of the accused and victim.
Because of the voter irregularities and illegal voter suppression activities by Republicans in Florida, I believe black Americans across the country might consider initiating an economic boycott of the State of Florida to include the following:
- Blacks could avoid purchasing anything via the Internet from companies based in the State of Florida.
- Blacks visiting Florida could refrain from purchasing anything of substance from the state of Florida.
- All fruit and produce grown in Florida can also be purchased from nearby states such as Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Louisiana.
- Seafood normally purchased from vendors in Florida can also be purchased from other Gulf States, including Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
- Black conventions, of all sizes, such as religious conventions and large family reunions can have just as much fun in Mobile, Alabama, Gulfport Mississippi, and New Orleans, Louisiana, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Galveston, Texas.
- And for anyone wanting to take a cruise, there are many ports outside the state of Florida, such as Mobile, Alabama, New Orleans, Louisiana, and Galveston, Texas.
- Also, if blacks want to boycott Disney World and other theme parks in Florida, they could take their business to Disneyland in California. There are also other wonderful theme parks outside Florida like Busch Gardens in Virginia, Six Flags over Georgia, Dollywood in Tennessee, and Six Flags and SeaWorld in San Antonio.
As you can easily see, if Florida does not want to treat blacks fairly in the courtroom or the voting booth, there are ways blacks can effect change with their dollars.
…and if extreme right wing white Republicans hate the fact that blacks will be able to legitimately cast their votes in Florida unimpeded, blacks will be able to smile at those racist bigots as they exit the voting booth where they just exercised their constitutional right to vote.
Another thing, blacks can also exercise their constitutional right by initiating change to vote down those “Stand Your Ground” laws across our fine but biased country.
Once those laws are overturned maybe there will be just a few less blacks in prison and a few more blacks voting on Election Day.