You’re walking in the middle of street. On the stretch of sidewalk to your right and left are two hooded figures. Which one will prove to be more dangerous ?
History says that the black kid in a hoodie is much more dangerous because he is dead unlike the clansman who is very alive and well. This is natural selection at its best: the survival of the fittest, and in the American justice system, fitness is indirectly proportional to skin pigmentation, meaning the darker you are the less fit you are to be living in these United States.
The Fruition of Rhetoric
A common stereotype of Negros in this country was that of the mandingo negro – this stereotypical concept was invented by white slave owners who promoted the notion that male African slaves were animalistic and bestial in nature asserting, for example, that in “Negroes all the passions, emotions, and ambitions, are almost wholly subservient to the sexual instinct…” and “this construction of the oversexed black male parlayed perfectly into notions of black bestiality and primitivism. What ramifications did this have ?
In the 1800s opiates and cocaine were mostly unregulated drugs. In the 1890s the Sears & Roebuck catalogue, which was distributed to millions of Americans homes, offered a syringe and a small amount of cocaine for $1.50. At the beginning of the 20th century, cocaine began to be linked to crime. In 1900, the Journal of the American Medical Association published an editorial stating,“Negroes in the South are reported as being addicted to a new form of vice – that of ‘cocaine sniffing’ or the ‘coke habit.’” Some newspapers later claimed cocaine use caused blacks to rape white women and was improving their pistol marksmanship.
The drafters played on fears of “drug-crazed, sex-mad negroes” and made references to Negroes under the influence of drugs murdering whites, degenerate Mexicans smoking marijuana, and “Chinamen” seducing white women with drugs. Dr.Hamilton Wright, testified at a hearing for the Harrison Act. Wright alleged that drugs made blacks uncontrollable, gave them superhuman powers and caused them to rebel against white authority. Dr. Christopher Koch of the State Pharmacy Board of Pennsylvania testified that “Most of the attacks upon the white women of the South are the direct result of a cocaine-crazed Negro brain”.
Before the Act was passed, on February 8, 1914 The New York Times published an article entitled “Negro Cocaine ‘Fiends’ Are New Southern Menace:Murder and Insanity Increasing Among Lower-Class Blacks” by Edward Huntington Williams which reported that Southern sheriffs had increased the caliber of their weapons from .32 to .38 to bring down Negroes under the effect of cocaine.
For about a century American society has been feed this myth that black are more animalistic, that under the influence of drugs we are superhuman in our ability to endure pain. I was not surprised to see how much talk irrelevant talk was centered on Trayvon Martin’s drug use. I call it irrelevant because one the night of his death Zimmerman didn’t get a rap sheet from the cops about Trayvon he just say a suspicious black kid. Old pairing are hard to ignore, which is why a grown man armed with a gun would be scared of a visible unarmed black kid and go after him even though the police had instructed him not to.
Negative racial stereotypes had a lot to do with the events of that night and with the case, and it is unfortunate that a lot of people do not want to believe that.