Press TV, 4/8/12:
Hundreds of protesters have marched in Washington D.C. to demand justice for the late February fatal shooting of an African- American teenager by a Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Florida, Press TV reports.
Press TV has interviewed Linh Dinh, political analyst from Philadelphia about the targeting of black youths in particular and resulting tragedies.
What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: In New York, let's take some particular cases because there are so many unbelievable statistics found when I was researching this subject. Let's look at New York alone, there is still the 'stop and frisk' law, which gives the police the right to stop and search anyone that they may deem suspicious. 85 percent of those stopped are people of color and only 7% of those stopped were ultimately arrested.
What exactly does this mean - how are they allowed to just stop people at random and at the end obviously the majority of them have not even committed a crime?
Dinh: I'm glad you're bringing this up because one of the issues that we should address here is the increasing abuse of civil liberties in the US. The police are becoming more militarized; they're becoming more out of control because of the laws.
You can be arrested for any or no reason at all and you have no rights to a trial and can be strip searched etc. This erosion of civil liberties is a very serious issue and it's affecting the black community the most because the black community is always the most vulnerable to any kind of abuses.
Also, I want to backtrack a little bit… In any multi-cultural society you are going to have racial issues; you are going to have racial tensions. So, the big question here is - Are things improving, is the situation improving?
Paradoxically, with the election of Obama, things have actually gotten worse because many people are using the Obama presidency to become even more racist because they think he's a black president when in fact he's not a black president at all.
To people who defend him, they are also defending him because he happens to be a black man. But Obama is not a black president - He does nothing for the black community. In fact he does nothing for poor people. In fact he does nothing for anybody; he does nothing for the American people.
So, it is sad that the first black president that we have is exacerbating the racial tension in this country.
Press TV: I'm going to read to you more statistics: An estimated 5.3 million Americans are denied the right to vote based on past felony conviction and of course most of these being African American men; more black men are imprisoned today than were enslaved in 1850; we have employment and pay disparities; and even there are reports of African American children being aborted at alarming rates - reports say that planned parenthood has killed more black babies than the Ku Klux Klan the racist white group of course, which murdered black people years ago.
Your take on some of these statistics?
Dinh: All those statistics you just cited are very alarming, but the factors are varied so it would take a while to dissect exactly what role institutional racism plays in that.
I would say that… I live in a city that has a black mayor and has had three black mayors in recent history. This could not have happened in the 60s. So, superficially there is some improvement. But then again, like you say, the situation in the black community is very serious and is not encouraging.
I would like to rephrase this as a question of class. I think that the media would like to distract us by scape-goating, by dividing us, pitting us black against white, non-Muslims Vs Muslims etc. But I think the more serious issue is class and I think all Americans are being abused and exploited.
Eventually, hopefully, we can see beyond black and white and yellow or whatever and see that we are being abused by the same government.
Press TV: What has to be done at this point in time?
Dinh: Like I just said I think we have to see beyond race and look at the class issue that we are all threatened by the same government. Things are getting so out of control now; everything is criminalized now. You can be arrested for just about anything or for no reason at all. We need like a new John Brown (1850s abolitionist) to stir things up.