Making A Difference In An Indifferent World!

Posts tagged ‘racism’

Harris’ Insensitivity Requires An Apology…To Everyone!

The following is a presentation I made at the Trayvon Martin Vigil, in Salisbury, MD, on 7/13/13. The Vigil was organized locally by April Jackson, and was running concurrently with the nationwide Vigil.

Thank you, April Jackson, for allowing me to say a few words today, at a time when we are all mourning the senseless and unprovoked death of Trayvon Martin, and we cannot understand why there is no punishment for his killer.  I have been a civil rights activist, attorney and community organizer, for over 40 years; yes, I am one of those “old white men” we hear so much about in the news media.  But, I am also “an old white man” who stands in solidarity with my brothers and sisters in the African-American community, who are still the target of outrageous and unjust comments, actions and persecution, even in 2013!

"Get over it!", says Harris.

“Get over it!”, says Harris.

“GET OVER IT!”  The other morning, I was reading The Daily Times, when my jaw dropped, figuratively and literally, as I read these words…the response of our Congressman, Andy Harris, to the Zimmerman verdict.  “Get over it!”

This was something I might have told my son when I was coaching Little League baseball and we lost a game: “Get over it, son; it’s just a game and you did your best, which is all you can do.”

Or, perhaps something the Nazis said, after gassing 8 million Jews, gypsies, blacks, gays, disabled and other “undesirables”…”sich aufrappeln” – German, for Get over it!

As I tried to digest that statement, along with Harris’ use of the word, “political”, in describing why the Justice Dept was considering Federal charges against Zimmerman, I became outraged by his insensitivity and his refusal to acknowledge the emotional pain of millions of Americans.

I, like you, was bewildered by the prosecution’s failure to secure a guilty verdict.  As a retired trial attorney, it was clear to me that Zimmerman failed to follow standard “Neighborhood Watch” protocol, which is to report any suspicious activity to the police, so they can follow up, and then stand down.

Instead, Zimmerman followed his own idea of what a Neighborhood Watch volunteer should do (he was not a member of any official NW group): “identify, target, pursue and confront. When he reported “suspicious activity” of an African-American youth, he was asked whether he was following the youth, to which he answered, “Yes, I am” and was then told, “We don’t need you to do that”;  his response was, “ok”, according to his 911 transcript, and he was told that officers were being dispatched.

Martin - killed, based on "suspicions."

Martin – killed, based on “suspicions.”

Zimmerman - "Not guilty!"

Zimmerman – “Not guilty!”

Zimmerman’s injuries, and Martin’s death, are directly linked to his failure to follow the dispatcher’s directive. Instead, without legal authority, and in the face of obvious danger, he followed, approached, confronted and killed a young man who was not armed (contrary to the prosecutor’s assertion that Martin was “armed with the sidewalk”) and who had committed no crime.

These weren’t the actions of a hero or even a moral person; they were the actions of a bully vigilante, intent on pure retaliation, with impunity, against “those punks who get away with everything.”

Young black men don’t deserve to be profiled, targeted and killed, while walking home, enjoying a bag of Skittles and a bottle of juice or because a vigilante’s preconceived “suspicions” were used to justify his adrenaline rush.

Mr. Harris needs to apologize for his insensitivity; this wasn’t a Little League game! And Trayvon’s family will never ‘Get over it!’

A “Jewish Remodel”…Really?

Really? In this day and age? Posted on a blog, for all the world (well, at least a few people in Delmar) to see?  Yes, folks! Ignorance, anti-semitism, racism…it’s alive and well on a little-read blog in Delmar. The blog is Delmar Daily and it is run by a Delmar resident…T.J. McGuire…yup, the same T.J. McGuire who ran for commissioner and who’s wife ran for Mayor!!

On Tuesday, there was a huge house fire in Delmar! The home was being remodeled and apparently, an electrical fire started on the first floor, quickly spreading and engulfing the home. The heat was so intense that it also melted siding on neighboring homes and caused substantial damage to one home and the utility lines that ran in front of the home. On TJ McGuire’s blog, there was a post about the $250,000 blaze, entitled,

Rumor has it it was a Jewish remodel

I am not Jewish, however, I have an abundance of Jewish friends. I also have two grown sons, both Jewish, based upon the fact that their Mother was Jewish. If you know anything about Judaism, you’ll know that children of a Jewish Mother are automatically accepted as Jews, no matter the Father’s religion. BUT, even without my special affinity for the Jews in my life, I would still be offended by TJ’s remark. It is a casual, off-hand remark, that rolls easily off the tongue, without thought or premeditation. That’s because prejudice can be overt and outward, or it can be subtle and ingrained into our thought and speech patterns, sometimes the most insidious prejudice of all!

Now, we all know that ignorance can lead to stereotypes and use of stupid phrases that your Daddy or Grand-Daddy might have commonly used and thought nothing about!  But, in times when racism is still rampant in America and there seems to be a rise in anti-Semitic remarks and actions, everyone needs to be aware of the stupid things they say, BEFORE the words escape their lips or leak out of their pen, or jump the arc from their fingertips to the keyboard.

We all have a responsibility, now, more than ever, with the worldwide ability for anyone to write anything about anybody, to pick our words and phrases carefully. If TJ’s anti-Semitic remarks were meant to be just that, then that’s what he meant; he’ll not want to change or apologize. However, if his post title was merely an ignorant mistake, then folks, we all need to demand an apology from him. If you’re going to put your words and thoughts on a public forum, you have to take responsibility for it.  TJ…I demand an apology from you for your anti-Semitic remarks; or, if you meant them as such, then I demand that you explain yourself and your philosophy!

TJ McGuire lives in Delmar and his blog can be found at:   I encourage everyone that is offended by his remarks to visit and let him know what you think!



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