Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Our White Criminal of the Week: White Man Charged With Sexually Molesting Corpse at Toledo, Ohio Funeral Home

A few years back, I won a Black Weblog Award for my mockumentary series White in America. There, I engaged in an act of political imagination to highlight how narratives can be framed in the service of certain unstated assumptions about race, citizenship, belonging, and "culture."

Recent events have provided a pivot point for returning to that conversation. As we have discussed here quite often, in the American collective subconscious, black masculinity is assumed to be inexorably linked to criminality.

For example, many of the defenders of George Zimmerman, the murderer of Trayvon Martin, are dependent on that logic: the burden of proof is on a dead unarmed black person to prove why they "belonged" in a certain neighborhood. By implication, black folks' Constitutional Rights are forever precarious and contingent. They can be challenged by any white person (or those identified with White authority) at any time or any place.

In all, black people are anti-citizens and a criminal class...until proven otherwise. There are many ways to think like a white racist regarding the sociology of crime. One can deny the very existence of white crime (or offer excuses for it), obsessively highlight white victimhood by blacks who commit "hate crimes" against them, or make blanket denials (despite the available data) that white people do not constitute a criminal class in America--one which enjoys a near monopoly over many categories of crime.

These are leaps of faith which are impossible for the white racial frame because the deeds of white people are those of individuals, whereas the individual actions of a given person of color are attributed to some group characteristic, behavior, or common identity.

I am a fan of reversing the gaze. As such, I am going to introduce a recurring series here on WARN which applies a parallel logic to that of reactionary conservatism (and its fixation on "black crime") in order to highlight a "White Criminal of the Week."

Our first nominee is Lawrence Clement, a white man who was accused of sexually molesting a corpse that was put in his charge at H.H. Birkencamp funeral home in Toledo, Ohio.

Sick. Disgusting. Pathological.

As Ethiop famously asked, "what shall we do with the white people?" What in White Culture drives them to do such horrible things?

A family has been protesting outside a funeral home in Toledo, Ohio, after they were told a parttime employee sexually assaulted their loved one's corpse. They want the place shut down."I'm having nightmares about it," her mother, Ann Lemprecht, told WTVG. "I can't imagine someone touching my daughter."

Brenda Shular-Cameron (pictured), a 51-year-old Chrysler employee, who loved horseback riding, camping and anything outdoors, died of multiple organ failure at a hospice in Northwest Ohio earlier this month, reports The Toledo Blade. She was taken to the H.H. Birkenkamp Funeral Home, which has been caring for the deceased for over 150 years.

Soon after, the funeral home manager, Susan Birkencamp, met with Shular-Cameron's two children, Marc Nail and Amber Thebeau-Tunison. She told them their mother's body had been "mistreated," Nail told The Blade, and that another employee had witnessed his coworker Lawrence Clement "fondling" the corpse. If they didn't go to the police, and thus make the incident public record, Birkencamp allegedly said, she would dismiss the $11,000 cost of the funeral services.

Lisa Marshall, a spokeswoman for the funeral home, disagreed with that description of events and said that if the business was interested in covering up the story, it wouldn't have even told the family about the alleged abuse. Marshall wouldn't tell The Blade whether 57-year-old Clement, who is employed part-time and is not a licensed funeral director or embalmer, had regular contact with corpses at the facility.

The funeral home fired Clement, and contacted the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, which oversees the state's funeral homes. A police investigation followed.

Clement, who does not appear to have a criminal past, soon gave himself up to authorities, and was arraigned on the federal charge of abusing a corpse. He paid his $50,000 bond, and is now waiting for a grand jury. He should be indicted early this week."We can't even bury her now," her mother, Anne Lamprecht, told The Blade. "We can't make funeral arrangements. We don't know if the police will hold her body. She didn't deserve this. None of the family deserved this."

But Shular-Cameron was buried, a week later than planned, at a different Toledo funeral home. This isn't the first time these charges have besmirched the name of the H.H. Birkenkamp Funeral Home. Twenty-four years ago, two former employees were found guilty of gross abuse of a corpse. One was sentenced to a year in prison, and the other was given limited immunity as part of a plea bargain."

I want Birkencamp out of business," Ann told WTVG." This has happened before, and it continues to happen, unless people do something about it. We have to inform the public so that the public knows what's going on."If the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors find the charges to be valid, they could revoke the license of the home or its director. They can't discipline Clement himself, because he's unlicensed. But the courts can.


freebones said...

do you think that some generalizations about groups are useful?

i typically agree with you, but i see generalizations about "whites" and "whiteness" all the time on this blog, and often they are helpful descriptors.

my point is not that the "black males are criminal" generalization is valid, or that you should stop using white generalizations, but that they can be a double-edged sword.

chaunceydevega said...

@Free. "Blackness" and "Whiteness" are real. How we parse them and the genealogies we construct are what is important. But to your point, sometimes you have to play with fire, if folks want to use blackness as a cudgel I am not so noble as to avoid returning the favor with whiteness.

Weird Beard said...

I think it's important to take these generalizations in context of power and privilege. Blackness is frequently 'generalized' and stereotyped, while whiteness is the norm, and overlooked. Whites are treated as individuals, while blacks, considering availability heuristics, get stereotyped by whiteness based on a select few examples more indicative of white fear than black culture. Black stereotypes are disproportionately harmful for blacks due to the power dynamics that impact individuals. White privilege also blinds people to what whiteness is, because it is left unexamined and uncriticized in dominant culture. So inherently comparing the generalizations of whiteness and blackness is comparing apples to oranges because of differential power dynamics. Functionally, generalizations of whiteness are enlightening, generalizations of blackness are oppressive. Not in all cases, but from a broad lens.

ColorBind said...

There are black stereotypes, many of which are sadly promoted by blacks themselves.

However, there thus far has been zero evidence that this had anything to do with the tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin.

sledge said...

Oh great! The White Criminal of the Week. It doesn't get any better than this!

You're just a little ray of sunshine yourself, aren't you? LOL!

chaunceydevega said...

@Free. See Beard

@Colorblind. People's exhibit number one in the museum of flat and literal thinking. You have won a prize!

@Sledge. I try to be inclusive.

Colorbind said...

@Chauncey 1) Thanks for the lesson in misspelling (again)

2) Back your charge with evidence, if that wouldn't be asking too much.

3) Why flat and literal, and what's wrong with stating the truth?

4) Do you have a different "truth"?
If so, what and why?

5) Condescension is cool. Facts are better.

chaunceydevega said...


1. I prefer Colorblind to bind. Just is.

2. If you can't see the connection between the criminalization of blacks as a group in the logic of how many on the Right defend Zimmerman with the presumed guilt of Trayvon then you are quite simply proceeding from bad faith. Can't help you there.

3. Facts? Look at the FBI stats for crime, serial killing, treason, child rape, domestic terrorism, financial fraud, etc. are almost exclusively white crimes. Look at the FBI's 10 most wanted I believe 7 or 8 of them are white. But again, no attribution or reflection on white criminality.

I think you are being playfully difficult sometimes.

Weird Beard said...

We have studies back in the 1940s done by Mamie Phipps Clark and Kenneth B Clark on dolls showing that 4 year olds recognize racial differences, and instantly infer things about the racial differences such as 'good' and 'bad'. Those were the studies that informed Brown vs Board of education and with Thurgood Marshall helped end segregation. Today the studies can still be replicated and we also have implicit attitude tests that show that people recognize race and make instant value judgements about them on a subconscious level. So the instant Zimmerman saw Trayvon, those racial scripts, attitudes, and biases were activated. That is what science studying the recognition of race tells us. He may not be a neo-nazi, kkk, or rush limbaugh, but he is subjected to the same information about race that all of us are. We know this crap from at least the age of 4. To say that stereotypes have absolutely nothing to do with this, just denies the racial reality in the US and over 70 years of science to the contrary.

ColorBIND said...

@Chauncley: 1) Just because you choose to see something the wrong way doesn't make it so

2) Your second statement is a nice diversion, but has absolutely NOTHING to do with my first statement, which is still true (there ARE black stereotypes, many of which ARE promoted by blacks themselves (see rap, hip hop, etc)

3) Another clever diversion with no aim. The fact remains that nothing in the Travyvon shooting has anything to do with race -- unless you have some really cool secret evidence that hasn't been revealed yet. FBI stats are just that. And the evidence in this case is just that. You can quote weather statistics or cookbook recipes if you like, it still won't connect racism to this killing. If you think otherwise, demonstrate it with facts, not verbiage.


Colorbind said...

@Weird Beard: I appreciate studies and all that "crap" you know you know.
Just as you and Chauncley don't like black stereotypes, some people don't care for "white Hispanic" stereotypes.

You cannot read what was in the mind of George Zimmerman. You might look at the evidence, ie, he tutored black youths in his home. He said "cold", not "coon". He organized his community two years ago to fight the police over the coverup of a beating of a black man by the white son of a cop. He is a champion for blacks. Yet you claim to know that he profiled a kid who he didn't even identify as black at first (if you want to believe the actual 911 call). You base this belief not on current evidence, but rather on theories of people who never knew Zimmerman.

BTW, I'm not claiming innocence for Zimmerman, and if he actually was guilty of gunning down an innocent because of race, I'd say hang him tomorrow. But despite a deluge of media claims to the contrary, at this point the evidence says Zimmerman does not fit that bill.

If you can demonstrate that Zimmerman exhibited racism, against ALL the evidence, I'd like to see it. So far, evidence and facts are all the "crap" I know.

Brotha Wolf said...

White Criminal of the Week. Damn! Why didn't I think of that?

chaunceydevega said...

@colorobsessed. you are an object lesson in selective processing of information. the White gaze is deep...and sick.

no mention of conflicting accounts of the event by other witnesses; zimmerman's obsession with "suspicious" black people; no visible injuries to him or accounts by paramedics; martin yelling for help on the audio tape; no consideration of the highly suspect and crappy police work that covered this mess up; zimmerman's history of battery and violence is ignored; the much in dispute "goons" "cold" or other mess on the 911 call...I still hear "coons" btw; the fact that he ignored the police dispatcher; or his permanent cop wannabe hard on metaphorical blow and go obsession with the po po.

Give me a break. Simple test. If a black man who is not a cop disobeyed the police, stalked and hunted down a private citizen who was white, accosted him, and then killed him, would said black man not be on death row already. Please do answer. Pretty please.

Paleo conservative reactionaries would gain much more credibility if they were at all consistent or at the minimum owned their racial priors.

Zimmerman is gonna walk. Not because he is innocent. His daddy's friends covered this up or he is a CI. Something stinks about this whole thing.

Weird Beard said...

Just because he potentially has been a nice guy to blacks in his lifetime doesn't mean he is completely absent of implicit bias or stereotypes. In the studies I mentioned, it was black 4 year old children that recognized a negative association with blackness. I am not saying 4 year black children are bigots, I am saying they are racially aware. Zimmerman was racially aware, just like the 4 year old black children were. That doesn't make him an evil person, just as it doesn't make the 4 year olds evil. I don't like hispanic stereotypes either. I never claimed to read his mind, I merely stated he is subjected to the same racial scripts and stereotypes as all of us, the same as 4 year old children. Race matters all the time. Why you want to racially sterilize this particular situation, and remove the racial realities that are in play at all times I don't understand.

ColorBind said...

@FactDenyingKnowItAll (Chauncley)

If you have listened to the most current analysis of the CNN tape and hear "coons", you need to have either your hearing or your bias checked.

If a white man or Hispanic or any other shade did what you claim, he should hang. I agree. (simple test)

The conflicting accounts that I am aware of say nothing about Zimmerman and racism. Injuries have nothing to do with racism. Calling on anyone who happens to look suspicious is what responsible people do. (KINDLY demonstrate where he ignored whites and profiled blacks here).

Kindly demonstrate how ANYONE yelling on the tape demonstrates racial profiling.

Kindly demonstrate your "FACT" that he ignored the police dispatcher, btw, this, too, would do nothing to demonstrate the alleged racism. If the investigation was crappy, there's a problem, but it would say nothing about Zimmerman and racism, and should become clear with the DOJ and FBI also checking (or are you going to claim they are also steered by racism?)

If you think there were no injuries, you haven't seen the latest video or read the police report (or maybe your "unwhite haze" is guiding you.

If Zimmerman committed a crime, he should pay. If he reluctantly shot another human being (of ANY color) in defense of his life, he was within his legal rights. Do you have the right to defend yourself?

You call me a paleo conservative reactionary without consistency. You are clearly locked in your own little world here. I am completely consistent and don't fit labels, no matter how much your clairvoyance may claim otherwise.

Got that, Chaunc? I believe that either person in either role should be judged by the same standards.

You seem to think that standards and evidence don't matter, and that Zimmerman, despite past history and available evidence, is a racist.

Once again I will ask, stop with your labels and provide facts. If you can demonstrate your claims with evidence, I am happy to listen, rather than hiding behind alleged stereotypes of both Zimmerman and whoever you imagine I might be.

@Weird Beard: Zimmerman may or may not be racially aware. I do not want to racially sterilize this situation, nor do I want to automatically charge anyone with racial profiling. I look at the available FACTS, and see nothing to indicate Zimmerman would have done anything different had Martin been an albino Mormon missionary. You and our host here, while claiming I am stuck in my worldview (which is merely saying look at the FACTS) are yourselves stuck in a view that anybody not black MUST profile, with no other possibilities. That in itself is racial profiling which you rail against.

How about we all treat each other equally? That's my objective.

chaunceydevega said...

@Colorstruck. This is very fascinating. Why all the investment in giving Zimmerman every possible benefit of the doubt and turning him into a martyr when you show little disregard for the person he killed? That is very telling.

Zimmerman was told to stop chasing Martin by the dispatcher. Are you so dishonest that you want to ignore an obvious fact? Apparently, they don't count as the police. Do you really want to suggest that?

I listened to the CNN "enhancement." I still heard coons. But again, you seem primed to not hear or see anything problematic or potentially racist or prejudicial from Zimmerman so your cognitive bias eliminates alternative facts.

You dig deep again. Please explain how someone wearing a hooded sweat shirt walking home in the rain is "suspicious." Deep sickness there again--are all black people suspicious to you?

Finally, the good friend to the blacks meme about Zimmerman is irrelevant. There were slave owners who carried sick slaves home on their backs or intervened to do "right" by the free blacks they favored. I could care less.

Zimmerman was not a police officer, had a history of violence, was a wannabe thug vigilante and had obsessively called the police over "suspicious negros" in his neighborhood. You preach fairness but are invested in defending Zimmerman. Is he a proxy for you? Is this about wish fulfillment?

You still haven't engaged my common sense counter-factual by the way.

chaunceydevega said...


You also wrote this gem, "If Zimmerman committed a crime, he should pay. If he reluctantly shot another human being (of ANY color) in defense of his life, he was within his legal rights. Do you have the right to defend yourself?"

Would stand your ground apply to Trayvon? A stranger with a gun is threatening and harassing him. If he shot and killed Zimmerman would you be defending him?" Or do these rules only apply to white people and their allies?

freebones said...


Surely I agree, but those generalizations have a lot more to do with things that are seen as negative by outside observers.

Here's an innocent example:
I was listening to some tasty jazz a few years back: Pharoah Sanders' "Karma"; and someone said "the yodeling is just ruining it for me." and I said "that is the whitest statement of all time," and everyone laughed. Later, with the same people, during the chanting in Trane's "A Love Supreme," I said "this is the blackest thing ever!" and everyone was all "whoa whoa whoa dude racism."

That struck me as odd. If whiteness and blackness implicitly are different and quantifiable things... those statements about musical preference, however tongue-in-cheek they may be, shouldn't be inflammatory.

regardless, generalizations with any real consequence are dangerous things, and we should try to refrain from using them when we can. that's all i'm saying.

ColorBind said...

@ColorBiasedBeyondObjectivity (Chaunc)

You are so focused on your myopic viewpoint that you fail to get what I keep trying to say -- while you keep making it up. In your approximate words: "In all, for many in the White-blame echo chamber, ideology trumps
empirical reality."

I did not give Zimmerman every benefit of the doubt, nor did I show disregard for Martin. You are MAKING THIS STUFF UP. I said that Zimmerman should hang if he did what is claimed. (How racially biased can one person get????)

You are "so dishonest" as to MISSTATE an obvious fact. The police said "You don't need to do that". Z said "OK". Nobody videotaped what happened at that point, but the evidence says it's plausible Z then went back to his truck. (Your EVIDENCE that he "disobeyed a police order" is welcome).

Your ears are apparently as biased as your "objectivity", or you heard an old tape. Even the people at CNN agreed he said "Cold" -- and one of the comments on your own blog stated that it was cold in Sanford that night. By the way, that video (of Tulsa 1921) included a WHITE family that risked their own safety to rescue some of the injured blacks. Sometimes whites aren't the bad people. Again, your own words: "NEVER FORGET".

(I also note that on that page you had no comment on one person saying they neither approved nor disapproved of black uprisings. Do you favor the recent attacks in Wisconsin and Philadelphia, among others?)

The hooded shirt (and later-discovered race, along with skittles) had nothing to do with the suspicion. There had been break-ins. An unknown person (who was there due to school problems elsewhere, according to reports) was apparently moving oddly through the neighborhood. One would think he might have made a direct route to his father's home -- that, too is open to speculation.

Zimmerman's past is as irrelevant to this case as 70 year old studies on racial prejudice. But they do offer a valid counter to those who claim he acted out of racial animus.
And no, I have no vested stake in this case, other than I want to see it judged based on facts, not 70 year old theories. And no, I am not a neighborhood watch person, and yes, I do keep an eye out for suspicious people in our neighborhood, most of whom are not black -- and somebody ransacked my neighbor's home after breaking a rear window.

ColorBind said...


Tell me again what your "common sense counter factual" is. So far, I've yet to see much in your response that is either factual or common sense, since you tell me to ignore existing evidence and instead buy into your theories.

I have no stake in defending Zimmerman, not in convicting Martin.
If Zimmerman is guilty of the crime of murder, then hang him. I don't know how many ways I need to say this so you will understand my intent is fairness to all. That also means that if Zimmerman is NOT guilty of murder, and was acting in legal self defense, then he should be left alone (now that his life has been all but destroyed by the hysteria that's arisen.)

Dig deep, Chauncey. Dig through all Those Colored Glasses and see if you can provide the evidence I keep asking for that Zimmerman's actions were racially motivated.

I believe in this country people are innocent until proven guilty, and so far the evidence says he's not guilty. Instead of attacking me for seeking fairness here, either prove your case or admit that your position is a lot of idealistic flash and little or no factual substance.

As to your second comment:
In my little idealistic world, all the rules apply to everyone equally.
Although technically speaking, Trayvon was not of age to own and carry a gun. So Trayvon would have been guilty of a crime merely for carrying a gun, but enough in the weeds. Were Trayvon legally entitled to carry a gun, and he were in fear for his life by another person of ANY color, then, yes, I would support his using that guy in self defense, and I would be on forums like this attacking those making up false racial narratives about him.

Now, then. Back to those pesky things called FACTS. Where is your evidence that Zimmerman was threatening and harassing Martin? Or that Martin even knew Zimmerman had a gun until he was on top of and beating him -- which gives credence to Zimmerman's story. Oh, yes, and why didn't Martin's girlfriend have anything to say about Zimmerman threatening or harassing Martin, since she was supposedly on the phone during much of the confrontation, until she claims the headset was knocked off)?

Come on, Chaunc, dig deep. I know you have the intelligence. Can you back it with facts?

chaunceydevega said...

@colorstruck. You are fun. I hope you write up this report of the "facts" (secondhand by the way), as are mine, and send this compelling narrative to the DA or the FBI. I have looked at the same "facts" (and included others you excluded) and have come up with a different conclusion.

Funny thing, you seem to take Zimmerman's account at face value and have no sense or belief that he could be lying in order to save his butt from jail. He was told to not get out of the vehicle, to leave Martin alone, and he proceeded to do so. As I said he is a vigilante with an obsession for suspicious coloreds who don't have their slave passes.

Once more, Trayvon did not need Zimmerman's permission to be walking down the street.

Again, why all the upset and investment in a man of utterly questionable character? Are you a closet George Zimmerman? Do you have fantasies of going all Taxi Driver as your protect the good people of your community? Do you have an add on Craig's List offering "special services" for our local fire fighters and police?

ColorBind said...


Still stuck on "coon"? I guess those high tech morons at CNN are deaf...

Yes, Zimmerman could be lying, as could those painting him as a racist and Trayvon as an innocent candy eater.

He was told "You don't need to do that" to which he said "OK". What part of that exchange do you not comprehend?

Trayvon did not need Zimmerman's permission. And Zimmerman had every right to investigate a stranger in the neighborhood. That's exactly what the Neighborhood Watch sign there says.

You apparently have skipped over every single word in my comments that doesn't fit into your preconceived (and WRONG) notion of my motives. I'm sticking up for the truth, and would for EITHER SIDE. Why can't you read what is on this page and comprehend that?

You can make up all the fantasies you like, but this one should suffice: "he is a vigilante with an obsession for suspicious coloreds who don't have their slave passes." Based on what FACTS?

You keep shoveling that b.s., and I keep asking for evidence. You keep digging deeper and avoiding a reasonable request. Why this avoidance issue? Did you run away from mama's breast when you were a wee tot? (I know -- absolutely silly, guess I can't do a good enough impression of your detours).

The "face value" I utilize is the existing evidence that supports Zimmerman's testimony. You can read minds, and you criticize me for listening to the evidence?

BTW: It's just now announced that Zimmerman will be charged, so you may be forced to make your esteemed judgments based on all the EVIDENCE. Or will you claim the legal system also has a racial bias?

You should put your own ad (was A.D.D. a Freudian slip? I notice your lack in spelling comprehension)
on Craig's List for Eloquent Diversionary Tactics to Distract From the Matter at Hand in Support of Efforts to Avoid the Real Issue.

Just provide this exchange as your C.V. and you'll be in like Fred.

Anonymous said...

Wonder what the autopsy report will reveal?

Anonymous said...

Color Blind -BTW: It's just now announced that Zimmerman will be charged, so you may be forced to make your esteemed judgments based on all the EVIDENCE. Or will you claim the legal system also has a racial bias?

Where? Couldn't confirm it anywhere.

ColorBind said...

@Anonymous: Look above and see that I already noted the charges, and we can ALL make our judgments based on evidence. If you R E A D what I've repeatedly W R I T T E N above, you will note that is ALL I'VE EVER ASKED FOR. And I'm all for revealing exactly what the autopsy reveals, because that is evidence, not emotion.
(Have you ever seen me ask for anything else?)

BTW: It's ColorBIND, not BLIND.

Thanks for playing.

sledge said...

Anonymous said...
Where? Couldn't confirm it anywhere.

LOL! Guess you don't watch FOX huh?

They claim it comes from AP.

Weird Beard said...

I guess you and I see this through different lenses. You think that Zimmerman may or may not have any awareness of race. I assert that he is aware of race. You claim that you want all rules to apply to all equally. I say we all are aware of race equally. The norm of whiteness is to feel like it has no race, so when it wants to treat everyone "equally" it really means treating everyone as 'white' or non-racially. Basically just denying racial realities and all history of race and culture. That isn't equality, its a white-washing, and its a white centered view and common white sentiment. The thing is when people claim that they treat everyone 'equally' regardless of race, (which is inherently racist) they never actually live up to that. Someone asserting that they want 'equal' treatment the way you seem to be asserting just ends up coming off as 'let's pretend race has nothing to do with this' despite reality, despite the facts that say that isn't how things work (i.e. implicit attitudes, 70 years worth of racial recognition studies that continue currently). You cherry pick facts to specifically ignore race. Why do you want this case to be non-racial?

Anonymous said...


Don't get all emotional. When I asked for confirmation I was referring to Zimmerman being charged. I went to the CNN and Yahoo websites and they didn't confirm it until the next 10 minutes afterwards.

ColorBind said...

@Weird Beard:

I don't contend that Zimmerman is not aware of race. I contend that evidence says his actions were not based on race. And the evidence says he wasn't even aware of Trayvon's race at first. (That hoodie people claim was a clear motivation would also obscure Martin's race). I'm not denying history or racial realities; one of those racial realities would include Zimmerman not basing his actions on race, unless EVERYTHING has to be dealt with on a racial basis -- and despite your study of four year olds, I don't buy that.

I don't know your race and you don't know mine. Is this exchange based on our perceptions of each other's race? I don't think so.

How can it possibly be inherently racist to treat everyone equally? Are you also therefore claiming that Obama in his efforts is inherently racist? Your use of the word "never" (as with a use of the word "always") belies your objectivity.

Sometimes race is involved. Sometimes it isn't. One would think that an reality on any other standard would be racist in itself.

I want this case to be non-racial because I'm a big fan of justice and objectivity. Please tell me which FACTS I have cherry picked.

Why would any sane person want this case to be racial?

ColorBind said...

@Anonymous (3:41 PM) I was not "all emotional". Try reading YOUR OWN WORDS (2:31) You clearly questioned my belief in evidence and suggested I had a racial bias.

Or should you disavow your own words?

All I did was respond to your questioning of my integrity. Wouldn't you do the same?

Anonymous said...


I did not question your belief in the evidence nor suggest you had a racial bias. I questioned Zimmerman being charged. Sledge comment reflect that even he understood my question. Inhale and then slowly e x h a l e....

ColorBind said...

@Anonymous: after I wrote to Chauncey:

BTW: It's just now announced that Zimmerman will be charged, so you may be forced to make your esteemed judgments based on all the EVIDENCE. Or will you claim the legal system also has a racial bias?

You then wrote to me:

Color Blind -BTW: It's just now announced that Zimmerman will be charged, so you may be forced to make your esteemed judgments based on all the EVIDENCE. Or will you claim the legal system also has a racial bias?

I assumed you were using those words to mock me, as it didn't make sense to me that you would need to repeat them.

Sorry if I misconstrued your intent.
Guess I'm just too used to getting my every statement on this site attacked.

See what happens when we make assumptions? (Hint to Chauncey)

Weird Beard said...

Treating everyone as non-racial is a white sentiment that caters to a white mentality. Respecting peoples diversity, along with their culture and race is what I would contend is equal. The thing is whiteness says 'treat everyone the same' that means treat everyone like they are white or non-racial which is disrespectful of race and racist. And most fail to do the racist thing they propose anyway. You can poo-poo and scoff science all you want, doesn't change a thing. My perspective is that all things are racial involving people because we are all racial/cultural beings. Whiteness wants to deny that (which perpetuates a system by-and-for whites, white hegemony, and white supremecy). So Zimmerman knows what race is. Zimmerman at some point became aware of Trayvons race. At that point he is subject to all the racial scripts and stereotypes that we all are. So race matters. Whether or not it mattered enough in this case to be considered a hate crime or labeled 'racially motivated' depends on who's side of the story you believe. If you take everything Zimmerman says as fact (which you seem to) than perhaps not. If you take what the Martin's lawyer says as fact, then perhaps. I have a sneaking suspicion that it may be somewhere in between, but I stand by my assertion that race mattered here. Just don't know how much. I would suspect more than most white folks think considering the norm of denying racial realities and context such as you seem to do.

Weird Beard said...

I don't know if I would construe your example as racist. I think race is a topic that there is not enough cross-cultural dialog over. So when race gets brought up, things can be very charged and heated. I think many folks don't know how to approach the topic so out of fear or social discomfort may just avoid wanting to hear anything about race. Perhaps the reaction was one of discomfort. This is what fuels aversive racism, where people avoid people of color due to not wanting to make some racial faux pas. This discomfort serves to keep people of color as outsiders, and less likely to get promotions, been seen as social, be construed as warm, and be thought of as one of the team.

Weird Beard said...

it is interesting that you see justice and equality as inherently bereft of race. I don't.

ColorBind said...

@Weird Beard: I understand Race Matters -- in fact Cornell West's book is sitting four feet from me.

I don't see how treating everyone the same equals being racial. And I don't take anyone's statements here as the Gospel. I just see that way too many of the attacks on Zimmerman are not based on fact.

I'm really looking forward to the trial so we can hopefully get a better picture of what happened.

And I think you'll agree that there are some people who wouldn't change their opinion no matter how ironclad the evidence turned out to be. I'm against that on either side.

Weird Beard said...

well, i've explained how treating everyone the same is racist like 4 times, so I guess you just take a different view of that. You say you don't take anyone's statements as gospel, but yet it seems most of the 'facts' you cite are directly from Zimmerman and his lawyers. I didn't catch you citing the Martin's lawyers talking points as fact, so that is what I meant by cherry picking. You seem to come off as siding with Zimmerman.

sledge said...

Weird Beard said...
Treating everyone as non-racial is a white sentiment that caters to a white mentality. Respecting peoples diversity, along with their culture and race is what I would contend is equal. The thing is whiteness says 'treat everyone the same' that means treat everyone like they are white or non-racial which is disrespectful of race and racist.

I found that very interesting as I have never considered that. The more I think about it,the more I think it's true.

ColorBind said...

@Weird Beard: I haven't heard all of Crump's talking points, nor those of Zimmerman's attorneys. I do recall Martin's mother claiming that her son was outweighed by 100 pounds, which is clearly a fabrication (inspired by the media, but still wrong). I'm basing my opinion on evidence I've heard. Every attorney will advocate for their client, and that can mean lying -- on both sides. (I've spent enough time around attorneys to know this first hand.)

From Webster:

Definition of RACISM
: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
: racial prejudice or discrimination

The dictionary says racism is treating people differently because of some trait, yet you maintain it's treating everyone the same (like 4 times). Sorry, but I have to go with the dictionary on this one.

I side with the truth, no matter whose side it ends up on. (And I've never liked cherries).

sledge said...

Alright, I don't know. I just called a friend of mine up who's black. I told him I was visiting this site to see what I could learn about race relations.

I told him I had just learned something that I didn't know. That whites treat other races like whites to be non racial, which could in itself be a form of racism.

I asked him if I had been treating him like a white man and how he wanted me to treat him as a black man?

He said Quote:
"What? D@@@d you need to stay off of that site. Those N@@@@@ have done f@@ked your mind up. If you start acting all weird around me I'm going to slap some sense into you."

I don't know. Maybe he's right. Maybe I should just leave well enough alone. Later people. Good luck and best wishes.

Anonymous said...

This was fun. It's really not far of a stretch to generalize though. Remeber, they thought blacks from Afrca were animals and savages yet, there was a whole lot of interracial babies during slavery.

Weird Beard said...

A number of different scholars who study racism have defined it a number of different ways. I am not sure what webster's credentials are for studying racism but that is one definition.
I take my definition from Derald Wing Sue. It includes modern day racism in the form of racial microaggressions. Microaggressions include microinvalidations. A common microinvalidation would be for a white dude to tell a black person that "I don't see color" or "We are all human beings", the effect is to negate their experiences as a racial/cultural human being.
I would contend that if you told your black friend that you don't see him as a black person, but just as a person, that would be a racial slight and a form of racism. He may not agree.

Weird Beard said...

Looks like George has been charged with 2nd degree murder and has been taken into custody. Finally, an arrest and a charge.

ColorBind said...

@Weird Beard: I must admit I find this entertaining, perplexing, and humorously oxymoronic.

I thought Sledge's experience summed it up fairly well, and then you wrote it would be a racial slight not to see his friend as a black person.

And I thought blacks didn't like to be seen as "others" or "profiled", if you wish.

Tell me, WB. Is it also racist for blacks to see whites as "people"? Same for Asians, Middle Eastern,
Native American, etc?

Blacks are against discrimination, yet you seem to be saying that NOT discriminating is racism.

Pardon my while me and my baffled mind slink off into a black hole.

PS: Zimmerman is reported to be in custody after turning himself in. Sadly, that's probably the safest place for him to be (as long as he's kept away from people who might have different visions of "justice".

Weird Beard said...

Respect peoples race/culture/ethnic heritage. Don't continue to white-wash your entire world. Using whiteness as the norm by which to judge all other races and as the plumb line of what is right, and american perpetuates a system that is by-whites and for-whites. Include other races at the table as equals, but respect the diversity, don't ignore it.
You use the term discrimination, but racial discrimination is different. Respecting someones culture/race/heritage doesn't include profiling or stereotyping them.
You are baffled because you are using a 5th grade definition and understanding of racism. These aspects of studying racism get into more subtle, covert, and nuanced aspects of racism.
Though I don't expect you to understand it, and probably just dismiss me, but from my perspective only white people can be racist due to power structures and systems of oppression.

ColorBind said...

@Weird Beard:

1) You make assumptions about my race, and my grasp of nuance.

2) I think we should respect cultures and heritage. I do. Do you? If my "culture and heritage" entails treating each person as an equal person, will you respect that?
Why can't you respect diversity without using somebody else's concepts of race? Are you really that powerless? I doubt it.

3) I am well beyond 5th grade. Seems that's where people may start to notice differences in color.

4) I believe anybody can be racist, and to deny that is in itself a form of racism.

5) I'm not dismissing you, I just can't quite grasp your selectively contradictory definitions

6) I'm not really baffled. I'm just tired of banging my head against a wall not knowing whether to blame the wall, my color, my blood pressure, my ancestors, or some guy 70 year old who some think should determine how I think.

Enjoy your limitations. I would rather live by the creed of Dr. Martin Luther King.

chaunceydevega said...


I give you points for sticktoitevness. If there was even an old school rumble you would be great to have on my side.

You wrote: "Enjoy your limitations. I would rather live by the creed of Dr. Martin Luther King."

Does that include reparations, anti-war, pro-union, pro affirmative action, and redistributive justice Dr. King or the flat, one line, make white folks feel good, Dr. King that is quoted by McDonald's to sell french fries and profiled in Nike's Just Do It campaign?

Weird Beard said...

1) i never called you a race. I talk about racism that deals with whiteness. You haven't really expressed a lot of grasp about institutional racism, covert racism, aversive racism, or systemic racism so I didn't get the nuance vibe from you.
2)sure I can respect individuals and their right to viewpoints. I don't exist in a vacuum and there are much better men than me that have addressed race in this country, so I respect and defer to their work on the matter.
4) I may call that racial bigotry if its not from a white person, or say that anyone can participate in perpetuating systems of racism and can internalize white racism.
5) not my definitions, but if you have beef with Sue, thats fine (any definition in particular bothering you?)
6)Kenneth B Clark and Mamie Phipps Clark were awesome, and helped illustrate how race is recognized. People did neuroscience back in the day too that sheds light on how humans think, but I don't see you getting in a huff about that. Studying the human mind is awesome, don't take it personally.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was awesome, a good path to follow.

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]A few years back, I won a Black Weblog Award for my mockumentary series White in America. [/quote]

My Dear Friend Chauncey DeVega:

My friend Filled Negro has also won a "Black Weblog Award". The pattern that I see is that they like "Non-White White Supremacist" and "Anti-Republican" blogs rather than "Pro-Black Blogs". My opinion.

I wonder - If you or anyone else would win a "Black Weblog" Award if they dared to take a position that runs against the grain of the "Black Progressive Establishment".

If they threw away notions of "STEREOTYPES of Black Criminality" and instead looked at the reasonable expectations that the Black rank & file should adopt that our "homicide victim rate", for example should not exceed our population rate by more than 5%?

What if a person made the assumption that BLACK PEOPLE ARE 100% EQUAL and thus the results in our community, after various forces took in our INVESTMENTS, should show evidence of a more permanent improvement.

Are you sure that you or the "Black Weblog" is prepared to change so that our communities will change?

ColorBind said...

@Chauncey: Thanks for the compliment.

While I don't patronize McDonalds or Nike, we both know those topics you mention have nothing to do with this conversation.

I meant judging a man (or woman) by their character rather than their color. Despite your subtle call for jailhouse violence against Zimmerman (they likely won't let Tyson in with a piece), I wish that EVERYBODY at this point would live by those words on both sides of this lethal issue.

@Weird Beard: Studying the human mind is awesome. But, if I can paraphrase that bastion of IQ Nancy Pelosi, you have to "get inside" before you can know what's in it.
We still don't know what's inside Zimmerman, ergo, we can't make judgments on what he was thinking.

The definitions I have trouble with are the ones claiming that racism is treating everyone the same, when the very accepted meaning of the word is the opposite.

I was bit by a German Shepherd when I was a kid (and no, I have nothing against Germans). The bite came within an inch of my eye. Based on your theories, I should have an aversion to dogs. The truth is precisely the opposite, and I have made friends with dogs that have sent others running. (Just a detour into my reality vs your theories).

I too, admire Dr. King. And I still think his words are a beacon we can and should all follow.

ColorBind said...

PS to both Chauncey and Weird Beard:

Trayvon Martin's mother has just stated she thinks the killing of her son by George Zimmerman may have been an accident.

What does that do to your position?

chaunceydevega said...


1. You make me smile again. Taking one sentence out of a whole speech is a great example of the limited and narrow thinking you display on these issues. Are you next going to say that King was a Black conservative in the stripe of Clarence Thomas and Herman Cain?

What his mother says means little for these arguments. The chain of events and decision to kill someone who was "suspicious" i.e. not white, are an example of a deep sickness in this society. The police department's complicity is another dimension of the lived realities of race in America.

I have devoted a good amount of energy to you. I will leave others to engage you as there is little evidence of your ability to reason through many of this issues in an open and fair manner.

Weird Beard said...

One form of racism, in its complexity is denying race. This is a typical tactic that serves whiteness. It is disrespective of diversity, an insistence on sameness, which in function is the white norm. This on subtle levels fuels cultural genocide and assimilation.
"The equality in political, industrial and social life which modern men must have in order to live, is not to be confounded with sameness. On the contrary, in our case, it is rather insistence upon the right of diversity; - upon the right of a human being to be a man even if he does not wear the same cut of vest, the same curl of hair or the same color of skin." W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk

ColorBind said...


1) Nearly any quote you appreciate is but one segment of a body of work. I said I agree with character over color. Paint that any way you wish, it is you who are being narrow-minded.

2) Again, you have no evidence that Z decided to kill M because he was black, nor that Z had time to do anything other than react or die. You judge the police department while you have no idea the lengths to which they went over several hours of investigation of Z. You are complicit in the willful ignorance of those who demand to be colored "right" while those doing the actual work are colored wrong.

With your continued refusal to take my words at their intended (and clear) meaning and your continued refusal to make judgments based on EVIDENCE rather than ingrained racial biases, there is little evidence of YOUR ability to reason through these issues in an open and fair manner. You gots some smarts, C, but at times you seem to have a hard time using them to answer the questions at hand. Maybe you get frequent flier miles for your detours into "racial realities"? I prefer to stay on the track before us, clearly the road less traveled in your opinion.

(And I believe any fair minded person without an agenda, looking at our positions here, would agree with that conclusion).

Thanks for playing. Next time, it would be nice if you actually competed inside the arena, instead of going off on tangents.

ColorBind said...

@ Weird Beard: Luckily I skipped the classes you and Chauncey apparently took. It seems like way too much time grooming the weeds instead of just getting the lawn mowed.

One tactic of whiteness is denying race? Aside from the fact that Zimmerman, the subject of this exchange is as white as Obama is black, nobody claims he's denying race. The point is whether his actions were directed by race. So far, we seem to be missing any data that back that charge.

Here's the problem: "If you see race, you're a racist. If you don't see race, you're a racist." That's parallel universe stuff, like politicians being blasted if the do respond, or if they don't. There is no winning with a mindset like this.

On the other hand, I agree with DuBois: we should treat a man the same "even if he does not wear the same cut of vest, the same curl of hair or the same color of skin."

Isn't that my point?

(Cue Chauncey to call me out for selectively quoting just one line out of a long speech. You'll have to take the blame for this one).

ColorBind said...

@Weird Beard: I actually meant to say "as white as Obama is white". But when you get down to it, the comparison works either way.

Weird Beard said...

I'm not sure if you actually don't understand what I've explained so far about racism, or if its just that your defense mechanisms are up so high that whatever is said you will adapt to the cognitive dissonance with self-justification. Either way we are at an impasse. There is probably little need in your life to be aware of the subtleties of racism. You can go on your merry way with your Webster's dictionary depth of wisdom on the subject and it won't make one lick of difference in your life.

ColorBind said...

@Weird Beard:

Cognitive dissonance can be a wonderful thing, even when it's smack dab in the middle of a two-way thoroughfare that includes denial.

And you can continue in a world where treating people as equals is racism and treating people as unequal is also racism.

I understand what you're saying. I just don't buy it. Sledge seemed to get the same impression from his own black friend.

Personally, I still believe we can judge people by their character rather than their color.

Odd. One would think this would be an acceptable view on this site.

ColorBind said...


You are free to disregard this, but I just came across a quote from Alan Dershowitz. He might know a bit more about the law than either of us will ever know. Here's his take on the case:

(CNN) -- On the basis of the evidence currently in the public record, one likely outcome of the case against George Zimmerman is a mixed one: There may be sufficient evidence for a reasonable prosecutor to indict him for manslaughter, but there may also be doubt sufficient for a reasonable jury to acquit him.

Any such predictions should be accepted with an abundance of caution, however, because the evidence known to the special prosecutor, but not to the public, may paint a different picture. It may be stronger or weaker.

Feel free to read the entire piece:

and then tell me if I'm still being unfair.

Full disclosure: I have never had, nor do I ever intend to have any form of contact with Mr. Dershowitz.

Weird Beard said...

Your reductionism of the concepts of racism has simplified them beyond the scope of coherency. After simplifying them down past the point of meaning, you claim they are false. Yes your simplistic reductions are false, but they reflect your understanding, not what I have conveyed. I wish Zimmerman would have judged by character not skin color and hoodie.

ColorBind said...

@Weird Beard: I didn't claim the concept of racism is false. I said it's silly to both claim racism for treating people the same and treating them differently. I don't see what's false about wanting to be consistent and treat everyone the same -- regardless of any "inner twitches" we may or may not have. People may have a normal reaction to swat flies. That doesn't mean we need to do it. I did the best I could with what you conveyed. But you DID say both sides of the "racist" definition.

I wish everybody would be judged by character rather than skin color and clothing. And I've yet to see any "evidence" that Zimmerman did either of those things.

Even Trayvon's mom has said "This shouldn't be about race; this should be about justice." I agree.

Weird Beard said...

I've highlighted multiple aspects of racism, and though you tried your best you missed it. How you are framing my definitions is not accurate and too simple. People have stepped down in this investigation, people are being double checked, this case has not been handled like business as usual. I would contend that race had some impact in how this case has been handled, and in greater social forces shaping the case. It ha certainly impacted public discourse. I know if I had a case that had nothing to do with race, the first thing I would do is call Al Sharpton. Race influences things, whether or not it influences it enough to say 'this case is completely about race' has been debated. But I contend race matters at least to some degree.

ColorBind said...

@Weird Beard: I find it fascinating that you say the first thing you would do is call Al Sharpton if you had a case that had nothing to do with race. If he could stir up a non-racial case, look at what he's done with one that has been made about race. (I agree that it is now about race. I also feel that it would be a lot more honest if race had been left out of it, which it could have been, and should have been, at least in my idealistic, apparently fantastical world where objectivity rules. Again, much of the so-called racism has been fabricated.)

Perhaps the definition I find so contrary to yours is the accepted definition of racism. However, you have gone from "One form of racism, in its complexity is denying race" to "treat everyone 'equally' regardless of race, (which is inherently racist)", "if you told your black friend that you don't see him as a black person, but just as a person, that would be a racial slight and a form of racism", "the instant Zimmerman saw Trayvon, those racial scripts, attitudes, and biases were activated", and "anyone can participate in perpetuating systems of racism and can internalize white racism."

You have a time-tested and complex definition you can live with. I have a time-tested and not-so-complex definition I can live with.

At least we can agree on Dr. King.

ColorBind said...




The arrest affidavit on Zimmerman concludes he did NOT utter a racial slur.


I know, it's not exactly "evidence". It's just the official filing paper for the charges against Zimmerman -- based on the evidence.

(People's exhibit number two in the museum of flat and literal thinking)

Weird Beard said...

The Sharpton thing was a joke, obviously. You don't understand color blind racism or color-blind racist attitudes (COBRAS). You continue to demonstrate that, I get that you don't get it. Your ideas support a notion of 'objectivity' that I assert is subjective and white-washed to some degree in practice. Zimmerman is not objective, how police handle these situations is not objective, our justice system is not objective. They are all subjective (as am I, but at least I own it). Whiteness and the white-view is not objective as it claims. Now we can begin the real argument which focuses on the objective vs subjective nature of reality (that was a joke).

ColorBind said...

@Weird Beard: Sorry I missed your sarcasm. I will agree wholeheartedly that "the Sharpton thing is a joke", albeit a very well paid and exposed one.

I get subjective and objective, and understand that at different times we can be either. Isn't being human the objective?

You find my objectivity subjective, and my response to some of your subjectivity is "objectivity".

You can claim Zimmerman was not objective. Until I see something clearly demonstrating that his actions here were based on race, I will give him the benefit of the subjective doubt.

Anonymous said...

Colorbind: "The arrest affidavit on Zimmerman concludes he did NOT utter a racial slur."

I read it and it doesn't conclude anything. The audio was not clear enough to determine whether the word coon/ cold/ etc. was used thus it is dismissed as evidence.

You know this so stop playing games.

ColorBind said...

@Anonymous: Here is the quote verbatim from the Arrest Affidavit:

'During the recorded call Zimmerman made reference to people he felt had committed and gotten away with break-ins In his neighborhood. Later, while talking about Martin,
Zimmerman stated "these assholes, they always get away" and also said "these f-ing punks".

Those are the words on the charging papers. If you see a racial slur in there, please point it out.

PS: I think (and CNN agreed) that the audio was plenty clear -- but it sounded like "f-ing cold".

Either way, where is the racial slur?

Anonymous said...


I read the arrest affidavit, can you point me out to where it states what Zimmerman said regarding the controversy over whether the word cold/ coon was used.

Until you do, I'll repeat what I said already: The audio was not clear enough to determine whether the word coon/ cold/ etc. was used THUS it is dismissed as evidence.

You know this so stop playing games.

ColorBind said...

@Anonymous: I will repeat what is clearly posted above (4/14 6:58 PM)

@Anonymous: Here is the quote verbatim from the Arrest Affidavit:

'During the recorded call Zimmerman made reference to people he felt had committed and gotten away with break-ins In his neighborhood. Later, while talking about Martin,
Zimmerman stated "these assholes, they always get away" and also said "these f-ing punks".

Those are the words on the charging papers. If you see a racial slur in there, please point it out.

PS: I think (and CNN agreed) that the audio was plenty clear -- but it sounded like "f-ing cold".

Either way, where is the racial slur?

April 14, 2012 6:58 PM

Who's playing games?????

Anonymous said...

I read it and it doesn't conclude anything. The audio was not clear enough to determine whether the word coon/ cold/ etc. was used thus it is dismissed as evidence

People claiming Zimmerman said coon, can't prove anything and likewise people like you claiming zimmerman didn't say coon, can't prove anything either.

So you pointing to the arrest affidavit to boost your argument when it doesn't even say what word was used, is a mere distraction.. but you know cause your playing games.

Anonymous said...

Oops I meant- "but you know that cause you're playing games."

ColorBInd said...

@Anonymous: Apparently, YOU are playing games. You asked where the words were in the Affidavit, I use no distractions; you're the on ignoring what I wrote, then claiming it says something different. (this is getting tedious).

The Arrest Affidavit, despite your contentions, says what it says. It says "punk". It says NOTHING about a racial slur.

That is the answer to your question.

Play any games you choose from there on out. I have given you what your requested -- TWICE.