Jul 18, 2013 - Issue 525

 BlackCommentator.com: Flee Florida - The Other Side of the Tracks - By Perry Redd - BC Columnist

Whether or not you’re among the surprised, facts on the ground are abundantly clear that the state of Florida is intentionally hostile - at the least - to the American Black man. Women are targets in Florida too. I am wholly convinced that no good thing can come to the Negro in the Sunshine State.

Year after year, the ghosts of racism past keep appearing. What used to be terrorism against Black Americans is now legalized genocide. The trial verdict in the case of George Zimmerman is among the latest. When a zealous Neighborhood Watchman packing a gun can be acquitted of murdering an unarmed boy - a Black boy, no less - your eyes can’t, in the words of Zora Neal Hurston, “keep watching God.”

You can pray all day and all night, and have been since the days of Ponce de Leon, but the devilish idelogy of white supremacy still thrives. The courts protect the acts of these demons. It is high time to do something different. A mass exodus from the very place Americans treasure is in order for the Black man in America. God won’t mind…

We just witnessed a horrendous injustice in the killing of Trayvon Martin. Protectors of America’s sordid history of racial violence beat the drum of Zimmerman’s right to stand his ground. He followed the 17-year-old Martin because he “looked suspicious,” which always amounts to “he was Black and shouldn’t be around here.” We know the stories of injustice, whether in the criminal courts or on the streets. When will Black Floridians say, “enough is enough?”

I recall the pictures of Negroes lynched in and around the place where Hurston grew up, Eatonville. I always grew up thinking Florida was one big Disneyworld…until the reality TV show “Cops” came out. Every second segment showed a Black being arrested, especially in Broward County. I knew something wasn’t all Mickey Mousey in Florida.

Hurston’s family moved to Eatonville, Florida, one of the first all-black towns to be incorporated in the United States, when she was three. Hurston said she always felt that Eatonville was “home” to her and sometimes claimed it as her birthplace. Her father later became mayor of the town, which Hurston would glorify in her stories as a place where Blacks could live as they desired, independent of white society. Her eyes were definitely watching God, and apparently, God’s eyes were indeed watching them!

But while we’re watching God, white America is killing us. George Zimmerman gets acquitted and walks the streets today for killing Trayvon Martin, but do you remember what happened to the Florida A&M band members who hazed and killed Robert Champion? Prosecution and jail, jail, jail! No one had to wait to prosecute those students, contrary to the case with Zimmerman. All of those young people were Black! Champion was found to have been beaten to death by his fellow band members on Nov. 19, 2011 in a hazing ritual called Crossing Bus C in the parking lot of an Orlando hotel where the band was staying.

The investigation initially accused 10 band members in Champion’s death, adding the other two - Henry Nesbitt, 26, and Darryl Cearnel, 25. The hazing charge is a third-degree felony, while manslaughter is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

I think back to the case of Lionel Tate. He was and is the youngest American citizen ever sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole. Tate is Black. In January 2001, when Tate was 14, he was convicted of first-degree murder for the 1999 battering death of 6-year-old Tiffany Eunick in Broward County, Florida. He didn’t mean to kill the little girl he was playing with, but contrast that to the juror who justified acquitting George Zimmerman. She said she believes Zimmerman’s “heart was in the right place” the night he shot Martin; he just didn’t use “good judgment” in confronting the Florida teen. And, no “race wasn’t a factor.”

“Use good judgment?” He’s a grown man! Since when does not using good judgment exempt you from the law? Oh, when you’re a white American.

Marissa Alexander had never been arrested before she fired a bullet at a wall one day in 2010 to scare off her chronically abusive husband when she felt he was threatening her. Nobody got hurt, but a Tampa, Florida judge was bound by state law to sentence her to 20 years in prison. Alexander is Black. Funny how that happens…

She had claimed self-defense, tried to invoke Florida’s “stand your ground” law and rejected plea deals that could have gotten her a much shorter sentence. A jury found her guilty as charged: aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Because she fired a gun while committing a felony, Florida’s mandatory-minimum gun law dictated the 20-year sentence.

Just look at Florida’s vicious attempts to excise the rights of Black Americans: Federal judges struck down a Photo ID requirement in 2012. In 2007, Florida moved to restore voting rights to convicted felons. In March 2011, however, Republican Governor Rick Scott reversed the 2007 reforms, making Florida the state with the most punitive law in terms of disenfranchising citizens with past felony convictions.

The attack on Blacks in Florida is the snapshot for the rest of the country. Blacks are not fighting back; voting and economic boycott are the surest means, short of picking up a brick, to preserve your existence as Americans. If you don’t carry out the non-violent actions, then simply flee Florida for survival.

BlackCommentator.com Columnist, Perry Redd, longtime activist & organizer, is the Executive Director of the workers rights advocacy, Sincere Seven, and author of the soon-to-be-released on-line book, “As A Condition of Your Freedom”. He is also the host of the internet-based talk radio show, Socially Speaking in Washington, DC. Click here to contact Mr. Redd.