Hard question: Should Blacks get a pass for killing people

26 Aug

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Moi read this story from NBC News and it literally made her sick.  Second teen arrested in beating death of WWII vet Delbert Belton written by Tracy Connor:

A second teenager was arrested Monday in the beating death of an 88-year-old World War II veteran in Spokane, Wash., where the chief of police said the community must take action to keep more kids out of trouble.

Kenan Adams-Kinard, 16, was charged with first-degree murder for the slaying of 88-year-old Delbert “Shorty” Belton, a crime that horrified people across the country. Another 16-year-old, Demetruis Glenn, was arrested last week and charged as an adult.

The great nephew of a World War II veteran who was killed outside a lodge in Spokane, Wash., speaks out about his great uncle. KHQ’s Dylan Wohlenhaus reports.

“They did a horrendous thing and they need to pay the consequences,” said the victim’s daughter-in-law, Barbara Belton.

“They just kept hitting and hitting him,” she said. “He was an 88-year-old man. Even if they wanted his money and he didn’t want to give it to them, they didn’t need to do that.”

Belton, who survived being shot in Okinawa during the war, was in his car in the parking lot outside his Eagles Lodge when he was attacked on Wednesday night.

“The motive for this attack was robbery,” Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub said, adding that the victim’s wallet was found discarded near the crime scene.

“Race was not a factor. Additionally, there was no gang activity that was associated with his incident,” he added, apparently responding to some commentators who had seized on the fact the teens were black and the victim was white.

“These are two young men who just spun out of control.”

Belton was found wedged between the two front seats. His family said doctors told them he was battered so badly he would have sustained brain damage and had lost too much blood to survive.

“Our information is that the individual fought back and that may have made this a worse situation,” Straub said when asked about the viciousness of the beating.

Glenn turned himself in and was charged as an adult, but Adams-Kinard remained in hiding for four days as police worked with churches and his family in an effort to arrange a peaceful surrender.

“The family was helpful. The family encouraged him to surrender. The family got the gravity of this,” the chief said.

Over the weekend, dozens of tips came in and one led cops to an apartment where Adams-Kinard was arrested without incident about 3 a.m. Monday.

He will likely be charged as an adult, Straub said. Even though he is a juvenile, his name was released while he was at large because he was considered a danger to the public, police said.

Three other juveniles who had helped Adams-Kinard elude capture were also arrested and charged with felonies.

Both Glenn and Adams-Kinard had previous arrests, including assault convictions. Straub noted that one of them had been a “standout” basketball player before straying into delinquency.

He said he planned to institute a mentoring program to ensure the city’s youth have good role models.

“We have a collective responsibility to make sure these types of events don’t happen and that our children don’t wind up in these situations,” he said.

“We have to wrap our arms around our children,” he said. “Where families can’t get it together, the community has to.”  http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/08/26/20197098-second-teen-arrested-in-beating-death-of-wwii-vet-delbert-belton?lite

Maybe race was not the key factor, but culture was. Here is the HARD QUESTION this case provokes:

Should Black people get a pass for killing each other and other folk because of poverty, a history of slavery or any other excuse a defense attorney can dream up?

In other words, are some groups exempt from the precepts of the “GOLDEN RULE”???

The Tanenbaum Center which honors the work of the late Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum has a really good definition of the “Golden Rule” which is stated in an interview with Joyce Dubensky entitled, The Golden Rule Around the World

At its simplest, it’s really just “being kind.” Caring about other people. That means putting that kindness into action and treating people with compassion. It means trying to understand people’s beliefs and needs. It means not harming others and actively working to eliminate harm…. 
What concrete steps can people take to start to put the Rule into practice?

Practically, there are steps that institutions and individuals can take to make a difference.

Institutionally, there are anti-discrimination and accommodation policies you can put into place to ensure that employees aren’t unduly thwarted in their ability to practice their religions. Educational institutions can make sure that teachers are properly trained to create inclusive, multi-cultural and multi-religious classrooms. And hospitals can work proactively with patients who may not want treatment that conflicts with their religion.

There are also things we can all do on the individual level. We can notice people who are not from our own group – people who have different practices or beliefs – and be interested in them. We can be curious about who they are and what their lives are like, without applying stereotypes. We can ask questions with curiosity and respect and truly listen to and digest the answers. And we can be willing to share about ourselves, our own beliefs and our own experiences.

Finally, we can work together, whether in workplaces, schools, community groups or governments to ensure that people from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints are
involved in decision-making. By making all voices heard – and really listening to each of those voices – we can solve many of the problems we face together.

And when we do that, we’ll get to the gold.

Some form of the “Golden Rule” is found in most religious traditions.

The “Golden Rule” simply provides a rational basis for living in community.

Here are 18 Practical Tips for Living the Golden Rule:

18 Practical Tips for Living the Golden Rule

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some practical tips for living the Golden Rule in your daily life:

  1. Practice empathy. Make it a habit to try to place yourself in the shoes of another person. Any person. Loved ones, co-workers, people you meet on the street. Really try to understand, to the extent that you can, what it is like to be them, what they are going through, and why they do what they do.

  2. Practice compassion. Once you can understand another person, and feel what they’re going through, learn to want to end their suffering. And when you can, take even a small action to somehow ease their suffering in some way.

  3. How would you want to be treated? The Golden Rule doesn’t really mean that you should treat someone else exactly as you’d want them to treat you … it means that you should try to imagine how they want to be treated, and do that. So when you put yourself in their shoes, ask yourself how you think they want to be treated. Ask yourself how you would want to be treated if you were in their situation. John F. Kennedy did that during the controversial days of de-segregation in the 1960s, asking white Americans to imagine being looked down upon and treated badly based only on the color of their skin. He asked them to imagine how they would want to be treated if they were in that situation, and act accordingly towards the blacks.

  4. Be friendly. When in doubt, follow this tip. It’s usually safe to be friendly towards others. Of course, there are times when others just don’t want someone acting friendly towards them, and you should be sensitive to that. You should also be friendly within the bounds of appropriateness. But who doesn’t like to feel welcome and wanted?

  5. Be helpful. This is probably one of the weaknesses of our society. Sure, there are many people who go out of their way to be helpful, and I applaud them. But in general there is a tendency to keep to yourself, and to ignore the problems of others. Don’t be blind to the needs and troubles of others. Look to help even before you’re asked.

  6. Be courteous in traffic. Another weakness of our society. There are few times when we are as selfish as when we’re driving. We don’t want to give up the right of way, we cut people off, we honk and curse. Perhaps it’s the isolation of the automobile. We certainly don’t act that rude in person, most of the time. So try to be courteous in traffic.

  7. Listen to others. Another weakness: we all want to talk, but very few of us want to listen. And yet, we all want to be listened to. So take the time to actually listen to another person, rather than just wait your turn to talk. It’ll also go a long way to helping you understand others.

  8. Overcome prejudice. We all have our prejudices, whether it’s based on skin color, attractiveness, height, age, gender … it’s human nature, I guess. But try to see each person as an individual human being, with different backgrounds and needs and dreams. And try to see the commonalities between you and that person, despite your differences.

  9. Stop criticism. We all have a tendency to criticize others, whether it’s people we know or people we see on television. However, ask yourself if you would like to be criticized in that person’s situation. The answer is almost always “no”. So hold back your criticism, and instead learn to interact with others in a positive way.

  10. Don’t control others. It’s also rare that people want to be controlled. Trust me. So don’t do it. This is a difficult thing, especially if we are conditioned to control people. But when you get the urge to control, put yourself in that person’s shoes. You would want freedom and autonomy and trust, wouldn’t you? Give that to others then.

  11. Be a child. The urge to control and criticize is especially strong when we are adults dealing with children. In some cases, it’s necessary, of course: you don’t want the child to hurt himself, for example. But in most cases, it’s not. Put yourself in the shoes of that child. Remember what it was like to be a child, and to be criticized and controlled. You probably didn’t like it. How would you want to be treated if you were that child?

  12. Send yourself a reminder. Email yourself a daily reminder (use Google Calendar or memotome.com, for example) to live your life by the Golden Rule, so you don’t forget.

  13. Tie a string to your finger. Or give yourself some other reminder throughout the day so that you don’t forget to follow the Golden Rule in all interactions with others. Perhaps a fake golden ring on your keychain? A tattoo? 🙂

  14. Post it on your wall or make it your home page. The Golden Rule makes a great mantra, and a great poster.

  15. Rise above retaliation. We have a tendency to strike back when we’re treated badly. This is natural. Resist that urge. The Golden Rule isn’t about retaliation. It’s about treating others well, despite how they treat you. Does that mean you should be a doormat? No … you have to assert your rights, of course, but you can do so in a way where you still treat others well and don’t strike back just because they treated you badly first. Remember Jesus’ wise (but difficult to follow) advice: turn the other cheek.

  16. Be the change. Gandhi famously told us to be the change we want to see in the world. Well, we often think of that quote as applying to grand changes, such as poverty and racism and violence. Well, sure, it does apply to those things … but it also applies on a much smaller scale: to all the small interactions between people. Do you want people to treat each other with more compassion and kindness? Then let it start with you. Even if the world doesn’t change, at least you have.

  17. Notice how it makes you feel. Notice how your actions affect others, especially when you start to treat them with kindness, compassion, respect, trust, love. But also notice the change in yourself. Do you feel better about yourself? Happier? More secure? More willing to trust others, now that you trust yourself? These changes come slowly and in small increments, but if you pay attention, you’ll see them.

  18. Say a prayer. There is a prayer on the Golden Rule, attributed to Eusebius of Caesarea, that would be worth saying once a day. It includes the following lines, among others: “May I gain no victory that harms me or my opponent. May I reconcile friends who are mad at each other. May I, insofar as I can, give all necessary help to my friends and to all who are in need. May I never fail a friend in trouble.”                                                                       http://zenhabits.net/18-practical-tips-for-living-the-golden-rule/

These rules definitely run counter to the thug culture of hip-hop.

Moi wrote in Hip-Hop and rap represent destructive life choices: How low can this genre sink?

The death cult of hip-hop has been on a lot of people’s radar for the past few years. Because of artistic freedom and the romanticizing  of some hip-hop and rap stars, those sounding the alarm about this death cult have been labeled as prudes, nervous ninnies, and anti-free speech. A 2005 Nightline story by Jake Tapper and Marie Nelson looked at the  links between corporate America and hip-hop

“The blueprint now is an image that promotes all of the worst aspects of violent and anti-social behavior,” said Source editor Mays. “It takes those real issues of violent life that occur in our inner cities, it takes them out of context.”

Attorney Londell McMillan, who represents Lil’ Kim and many other hip-hop performers, says the record labels and radio stations push the artists toward a more violent image. “They all seek to do things that are extraordinary,” he said, “unfortunately it’s been extraordinarily in the pain of a people. They are often encouraged to take a certain kind of approach to the art form.”

Added NYPD Commissioner Kelly, “Whereas some of the other violence was sort of attendant to the business itself, now I think they’re trying to exploit it and make money off of it.”

But C-Murder says if he projected a more benign image his career would be over. “I wouldn’t sell a record because my fans would know that’s not me,” he said. “They don’t expect me to just sit in that booth and write about stuff that the news or the media want to hear about.”

Record executive Dash adds there is a double standard between predominantly black and predominantly white music. “I remember Woodstock Part II was a mess,” Dash said, referring to the 1999 rock ‘n’ roll concert festival that exploded in a mass of riots and rapes. But, Dash said, “nothing more about it than that” transpired. “There wasn’t any new laws, there wasn’t any investigations. It just was.”

Lest you think moi is anti-capitalism, the real kind, not the corporate welfare of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase, you are wrong. Most inner city neighborhoods and poor regions like Appalachia and Mississippi desperately need investment and capital to encourage entrepreneurs.  As the motto of Homeboy Industries states, the best defense against violence is a job.

Moi has been railing against the hip hop culture for years because it is destructive, produces violence, but just as important it stereotypes Blacks whether they participate in hip hop culture or not.

Does Hip-Hop Culture Affect Student Behavior?

Gosa and Young’s case study about the oppositional culture of hip-hop is a good description of the possible impact of a certain genre of music on the educational values of the young listeners.

Given the prominent, yet controversial theory of oppositional culture used to explain the poor academic achievement of black youth and recent concerns that hip-hop is leading black youth to adopt anti-school attitudes, we examine the construction of oppositional culture in hip-hop music. Through a qualitative case of song lyrics (n=250) from two of hip-hop’s most influential artists – “conscious” rapper Kanye West and “gangster” rapper Tupac Skakur, we find oppositional culture in both artist’s lyrics. However, our analysis reveals important differences in how the two artists describe the role of schooling in adult success, relationships with teachers and schools, and how education is related to authentic black male identity. Our findings suggest a need for reexamining the notion that oppositional culture means school resistance.

The study gives a good description of oppositional culture, but it is overly optimistic about the role of the market place in promoting the basest values for a buck.

Lest one think that hip-hop culture is simply the province of thugs and low- income urban youth. Think again, there are many attempts to market a stylized version of the culture. A 1996 American Demographicsarticle, Marketing Street Culture Bringing Hip-Hop Style to the Mainstream, describes the marketing used to cross-over hip-hop culture into the mainstream.

Many of the hottest trends in teenage music, language, and fashion start in America’s inner cities, then quickly spread to suburbs. Targeting urban teens has put some companies on the map with the larger mainstream market. But companies need an education in hip-hop culture to avoid costly mistakes.

The Scene: Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, a bastion of the white East Coast establishment. A teenaged boy saunters down the street, his gait and attitude embodying adolescent rebellion. Baggy jeans sag atop over-designed sneakers, gold hoops adorn both ears, and a baseball cap shields his eyes. On his chest, a Tommy Hilfiger shirt sports the designer’s distinctive pairing of blue, red, and white rectangles.

Four years ago, this outfit would have been unimaginable to this cool teen; only his clean-cut, country-club peers sported Hilfiger clothes. What linked the previously preppy Hilfiger to jeans so low-slung they seem to defy gravity? To a large extent, the answer lies 200 miles southwest, in the oversized personage of Brooklyn’s Biggie Smalls, an admitted ex-drug dealer turned rapper.

Over the past few years, Smalls and other hip-hop stars have become a crucial part of Hilfiger’s open attempt to tap into the urban youth market. In exchange for giving artists free wardrobes, Hilfiger found its name mentioned in both the rhyming verses of rap songs and their “shout-out” lyrics, in which rap artists chant out thanks to friends and sponsors for their support.

For Tommy Hilfiger and other brands, the result is de facto product placement. The September 1996 issue of Rolling Stone magazine featured the rap group The Fugees, with the men prominently sporting the Tommy Hilfiger logo. In February 1996, Hilfiger even used a pair of rap stars as runway models: horror-core rapper Method Man and muscular bad-boy Treach of Naughty by Nature.

Suburban normed or middle class youth may dabble in hip-hop culture, but they have a “recovery period.” The “recovery period” for suburban youth means moving from deviant norms, which preclude success into mainstream norms, which often promote success. Suburban children often have parental and peer social pressure to move them to the mainstream. Robert Downey, Jr., the once troubled actor is not necessarily an example of hip-hop culture, but he is an example of the process of “recovery” moving an individual back into the mainstream. Children of color and low-income children often do not get the chance to “recover” and move into mainstream norms. The next movement for them after a suspension or expulsion is often the criminal justice system.

The data is shouting load and clear. Hip-hop and rap culture more often than not is a destructive life choice.

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