The Thoughts of an Educated Young African American Male

Suprise, Suprise! Rape Charges dropped in the Duke Lacrosse Case

Ok, the District Attorney of Durham, NC dropped the rape charges in the Duke Lacrosse case. He managed to hold on to the sexual offense and kidnapping. Some are going to wonder the difference between rape and sexual offense. The major difference is that:

(1) Rape involves vaginal intercourse. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-27.2 (2006).

Sexual offense involves : a sexual act defined by North Carolina statutes as, cunnilingus (oral sex on a female organ), fellatio (oral sex on a male organ), analingus (oral sex on the anal region), or anal intercourse, but does not include vaginal intercourse. Sexual act also means the penetration, however slight, by any object (including human body parts) into the genital or anal opening of another person’s body. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-27.1(4) (2006).  I added everything in parenthesis for clarity.

Both first degree rape and sexual offense, in relevant part, must include one of the following:
      a. Employs or displays a dangerous or deadly weapon or an article which the other person reasonably believes to be a dangerous or deadly weapon; or
      b. Inflicts serious personal injury upon the victim or another person; or
      c. The person commits the offense aided and abetted by one or more other persons. (clearly the element the State is going after).

Also, both rape and sexual offense carry the same punishment. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-27.4 (2006).

So, rape is vaginal intercouse while sexual offense involves other sex acts. Also, the punishment for both crimes is the same so this is not quite the victory it appears.  

It seemed clear from this point that a rape didn’t occur, and the sexual offense charges are a way for the State to maintain their belief in the story of the accuser. They might be the only people who still believe her. 

I wonder if all those people who were ready to burn the players’ house down, and vilify those who wanted to wait before coming to a decision will apologize. Also, when are the black panthers coming back to Durham? It’s about time for another circus act to come in town.

Also, some relevant case law to consider.

  The guarantee against double jeopardy under U.S. Const., Amend. V protects against multiple punishments for the same offense. Defendant may not be punished for both first-degree kidnapping and sexual assault, where sexual assault is used to elevate kidnapping to first degree. 

Further,  where defendant was convicted and sentenced for sexual assault and first-degree kidnapping predicated on one sexual assault, trial court was required to arrest judgment either on conviction of sexual assault or on conviction of first-degree kidnapping. Defendant could be resentenced for second-degree kidnapping, if judgment on first-degree kidnapping was arrested. State v. Coats, 100 N.C. App. 455, 397 S.E.2d 512 (1990), cert. denied, 328 N.C. 573, 403 S.E.2d 515 (1991).

December 22, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black men, Black Panthers, Black women, college, district attorney, Duke Lacrosse, Durham, Law, NC, rape, rape charges dropped, sexual offense, strip club | 7 Comments

How Much Must We Be Disrespected Before We Decide to Vote?

rep-burmeister.jpgGeorgia people should know this case well. They also likely know Representative Sue Burmeister, who is Secretary House Republican Caucus, Vice Chairman Rules, Secretary Special Committee on Tort Reform from House District 119, and a Republican representing Augusta, Georgia. She is currently serving her third term as a State Legislator. But do you realize her racist views?

In the seminal, and new, case of Billups v. Georgia, 439 F. Supp. 2d 1294 (2006), Burmeister’s sponsored bill to require that all registed voters in Georgia who vote in person in all primary, special, or general elections for state, national, and local offices held after July 1, 2005, was challenged. She wanted everyone, including poor blacks, to pay money ($35) for the ability to present a government-issed Photo ID to officials as a condition of being admitted to the polls and before being issued a ballot and being allowed to vote.

When questioned about the possibility of disenfranchising African Americans from voting (preventing us from doing something we rarely, if ever do…vote) she said, “that if there were fewer black voters because of this bill, it will ONLY be because there is less opprotunity for fraud.” She went on to say that when black voters in her black precints are not paid to vote, they do not go to the polls.

So there you have it. Whites don’t have to hide the fact they are trying to prevent you from voting. They don’t even hide their racial views, believing that the only way blacks will go and vote is if they are paid. 

So, what are we going to do about it? Vote? Malcolm X, the man we love to quote and adore, advocated for it when he said the ballot or the bullet. The phrase is just as relevant now as it was all those years ago. If we don’t vote people who think like us in, we will suffer from the bullet of tyrany from whites who don’t believe in our abilities.   

Please, vote in the upcoming elections. Go and register now! Don’t prove these racist right!

December 14, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black men, Black women, disenfranchise, Georgia, Georgia v. Billups, Law, malcolm x, republican from georgia, Sue Burmeister, vote, voting | 2 Comments

Understanding Racial Profiling

The framework of this entry is based in the legal profession which I will be employed shortly. I intern during the year at a local district attorney’s office. There, I interact with roughly 300 or so African Americans per day. I see many African Americans at the trial and punishment phase for the crimes they commit. As such, I have a duty to run their criminal records for sentencing purposes. After performing such searches for over a year, I have become immune to African American mens and women’s records which are 6 – 8 pages long, with conviction after conviction for a multitude of crimes. When they are in court, they dress as they would in their normal life: long white tee shirts; big baggy jeans; long chain around their neck; and a hat if the bailiff did not make them take it off.

 

In undergrad we were required to take a class called psychology. There, we learned the concept of conditioned stimuli. The concepts’ premise is that when you see or hear something repeatedly (the condition) and it is accompanied by a certain result (stimuli) you will eventually expect the result (stimuli) every time you see or hear the condition. The concept is similar to training a dog. If you point your finger down and tell the dog to sit (condition), once the dog knows he will get a treat every time he obeys the command (stimuli), he will do it mostly every time.  

 

When people in court see black men and women dressed a certain way 300 times a day (condition), and run their records half the time, seeing long records of convictions most of the time (stimuli), they become conditioned to believing that most every young black person they see in their personal lives dressed that way has a long record for the crimes like the people we see in court.   

 

Further, there is nothing in these white peoples lives to break the condition. When they go home, they have no reason to interact with blacks who look that way. Of course, they work with other blacks and went to school with many others. But, those blacks seem different and outside the condition. They do not wear their jeans baggy, with a big white tee-shirt, and a straight brimmed hat. Thus, they do not place the blacks they know within the conditioned group. The result is that when you dress a certain way (like anyone in a basic rap video) you will be perceived by these whites to have a long criminal record.  And, I do not condone such stereotyping. However, I must say, I understand where it comes from.

 

Some will say, they don’t know the real me. That is true. But, they do not have to get to know you. They see many blacks on a daily basis, and a person’s record is as much a reflection of their person and character as anything. 6-8 pages of convictions for assaults, larcenies, theft crimes, and violent crimes tells a white person all they need to know. We may not like it, but its real.

 

All of this just to say, we need to break the mold and do better to stop the conditioned stimuli.   

December 3, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black men, Black women, college, court, Law, racial profiling, teens, university | 5 Comments

Gangstas Cry why they get in trouble?

snoop_dogg_150v2.jpgSo, word on the streets is that Snoop Dogg was arrested again after a search warrant on his vehicle revealed cocaine, marijuana, and a gun. In regards to the warrant, I can only assume that he is a felon on probation and must submit to searches of his person (which would include his car if he was in it) which ordinary citizens would not have to submit to. I doubt the validity of the warrant, mainly because I doubt the police had enough information to submit to a magistrate to give him, the magistrate, “probable cause” to issue the warrant. So, on that basis, I doubt Snoop will wind up on jail.  But, if he is a felon which must submit to searches, the point may be moot.

 

However, interestingly enough, Suge Knight came out in response to the Snoop Dogg beef. He describes Snoop as a person who throws up, likely because of fear, and cries to police. WAIT! Snoop is a gang member! He claims to be so hard! A gangsta’! Snoop would never cry or get nervous about trouble. Would he?

 

Not that any of these rap stars are credible, but I believe Suge on this. I believe Snoop gets scared when he believes he is going to jail, because then he will have to move away from his mansion and body guards, and in with men whom he taught, persuaded, and encouraged to be thugs. They listened, and will want to prove they are really thugs by messin’ with the very  person they were influenced by. Snoop should be scared of those thugs.

 

Snoop may have been in a gang. But now he does Girls Gone Wild videos and puts his kids in private schools. Snoop has money, a family, and things to live for. He is not ready for the thugs whom he told to “not give a fuck!” When Snoop goes to jail, they won’t care. They won’t care about Snoop, his family, his money, or his “hoes.” They will treat him like any other guy who goes to jail. My friends, I don’t know from experience, but from what they say, it ain’t good.

 

All of these rappers who brag about being from the streets, being “hard,” and moving “weight” should all spend some recent time in jail. Let’s see if they can really live the lives they make up on compact disks. Snoop, if that warrant was valid, it might be time to start throwing up and crying!  

November 30, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black men, Gangs, gangsta, hip hop, Law, rap, Snoop Dogg, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Slow Down Al Sharpton. You need to take a seat beside Jesse.

It is a sub-heading in most columns, but a black man was shot and killed, on his wedding day, outside a strip club in New York. The reports are they the black man was in a verbal altercation and then ran over an under cover police officer before the police shot multiple times at his car.

Now, the African American community is going to get on the band wagon because he was unarmed. No doubt, Al Sharpton, as a fellow blogger calls him, the “VP to Jesse Jackson” is ready to march and get his chubby face all over television to stir racial tensions. And, I do not condone anyone dying;  but,  is this the guy we want to riot over?

First, he wasat a strip club on his wedding day. Yes, he has rights, but come on, hours before walking down the aisle doesn’t seem to be the appropriate time to get a table dance. Maybe that’s just me not buying into the racial stereotypes that MTV, BET, and rappers have been trying to sell me since I was a child.

Second, saying he was unarmed is misleading. He may not have had a gun, but he used a car to run over someone. In the law, a car used in such a way can be considered a deadly weapon. Murder, or manslaughter, charges could have been brought if the person he hit died. Thus, the deceased used deadly force. Let us not forget that before we rally behind him before we know all the facts.

I am not from New York, and have only been there once in my life for a weekend. I do not understand the cuture nor the racial climate up there.  I can imagine that the black powers that be, who make a living over-hyping and racially thinking everything, will make this a big deal up there.  

Here in NC, we had our own racial drama. A stripper who stripped for the Duke University Lacrosse team claimed she was raped. The New Black Panthers were down here in a second. Everyone was claiming how the white boys should be executed. Now, as more facts come out, this doesn’t seem to be as much of a tragedy as it does a stripper who may not have been telling the complete truth.  We should not have rushed so quick to judgment here. I hope you all do not make the same mistake in New York.   My advice, tell that negro Al Sharpton to sit down! Form your opinion on this on your own and be a free thinker.

November 27, 2006 Posted by | African American, Al Sharpton, Black men, Black Panthers, Duke Lacrosse, Law, New York, NYPD, strip club, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Michael Richards “Kramer” Is A Racist!

Michael Richards, A.K.A. KKKramer, recently apologized for his racial slurs.  I abstained from opinion until I heard what he had to say. Not that what said to the patrons could have been excused, but I truly believe that everyone makes mistakes and deserves to be heard (A little thing our legal system refers to as Due Process).

 

After watching his apology, I have come to the conclusion that he is a racist. His apology seemed forced, robotic, and as if he was just going though the motions, almost giving a “form” apology just as athletes and other entertainers give. It lacked sincerity.  It lacked emotion. He seemed mad that he is accused of being a racist. Why is that?

 

In an African American culture where we say ‘nigga’ about as much as a David Duke at home with his children, I seem to understand the argument some whites make when they say that they believed it was appropriate to say ‘nigga’ in certain context.  Those context include situations where whites are familiar with blacks, spend a lot of social time with them, and have observed them using the word to each other on repeated occasions. Richards’ situation was not that.

 

He spoke in hate. He called it anger and frustration. Again, he mis-spoke. He spoke in hate. He was upset at African American men and his true colors came out. Like an alcoholic who drinks to much, anger often brings true feelings to the forefront. He just didn’t stop at repeatedly using the word “nigga.” He said things like “that’s what happens when you interrupt a white man.” He also referred to lynching. A simple apology will not do here. What should be done, however, is by African Americans.

 

African Americans need to organize. Stop going to the Laugh Factory where they allow him to perform. Stop watching Seinfeld on television. Consistently speak out aginast this. Let people know how wrong it was for him to say what he did. By taking a lackadaisical approach to this, we only tell whites that while we may be offended by this behavior, we are not mad enough to do anything about it.

 

The sad part was the laughs in the audience as he went on his racial rampage. Why do people say racism is a thing of the past? People found a white man making racial slurs at a group of blacks was amusing. It probably was to them. It wasn’t for the rest of us.

 

Turing back to our culture, we have to stop using the word ‘nigga’ so much. I don’t believe in the opinion that there is a difference between ‘nigga’ and ‘nigger.’ After all, it seemed that Kramer put emphasis on the ‘a’ in ‘nigga.” It didn’t make it less offensive to me. Let us set the example of how we want to be treated. Then, they won’t have petty excuses to fall back on.      

November 21, 2006 Posted by | Black men, kkk, Kramer, Law, michael richards | 6 Comments

One HBCU is Listening to a Young Black Man!

Last week the Durham Herald Sun reported that HBCU (school name ommited by me) would focus on customer service. (See the article below). In the article, they refer to a letter sent to the board of trustees which complained of customer service at the school. It just so happens, that I sent a letter to the board of trustees complaining of customer service. See my letter under the news paper article.

Our classmates may not like it, but speaking up is the only way to facilitate change!
 

 article, which can also be found online at: http://www.heraldsun.com/durham/4-785275.html

HBCU to focus on customer service
November 5, 2006
BY GREGORY PHILLIPS, The Herald-Sun

Leaders at HBCU want to see the school’s employees paying a little more attention to customer service.     Recent incidents yielded letters to the board of trustees . And they have that body’s executive committee concerned that, while Chancellor James Ammons has set up an office reporting directly to him to handle complaints, more needs to be done to prevent them from happening in the first place.    

Every time we get a letter like that we have lost a potential contributor to the university ,” Chairman Cressie Thigpen told the trustees executive committee last week. “Sometimes I wonder if we are moving as quickly on that as we should.”    

Thigpen said a complaints office, while necessary, amounts to a Band-Aid approach when what’s needed is a change in the way HBCU hires and trains employees.    

The committee will present a list of recommendations to the full board of trustees meeting later this month, including customer service training for new employees, a mandatory annual seminar for all workers, monitors to deal with university departments and rate their service, plus a reward program for customer service.    

Board Secretary George Miller said some employees need reminding that, “We’re here to provide service and an education, not to keep someone in their place.”    

Any directive from the trustees is just a recommendation, but Thigpen said changing the customer service culture at HBCU has to come from the top.    

The chancellor has to send the word out that we’re not going to tolerate people treating other people badly ,” he said.    

Thigpen also wants to see the trustees more actively involved in the university’s capital fundraising campaign. The committee agreed that all trustees should contribute money, but past chairman Ed Stewart also pushed for a minimum pledge level.    

“We all should be a participant of at least $1,000 each,” he said.    

Although Stewart’s suggestion got no traction, Miller said he’d never been asked for a donation during six years on the board.    

“I don’t think we need to set a dollar amount, but each trustee needs to know there’s an expectation,” he said.    

     COPYRIGHT 2006 by The Durham Herald Company. All rights reserved.

My letter to the board of trustees.

I have attended HBCU School of Law for two years. I have enjoyed my experience here at the law school. The staff is educated, respectful, and the facilities are exceptional. However, that is where my love for this institution ends. While I have attended the law school, there has not been a year where the main campus staff and employees have been anything more than rude, disrespectful, and completely unhelpful.    Unlike many who attend the Law School, my undergraduate degree is from a historically black college/university. I understand the struggles which face our HBCUs. However, HBCU ranks, in my mind, as administratively, one of the worst institutions a person could attend. Some of the reasons why include:  

  Financial Aid I have never seen such an unorganized group of individuals like what I have seen in the fiancial aid building. It is typical to wait for hours on the phone in an attempt to talk with someone. Once someone is on the phone, students are greeted with an unpleasant employee who chides students and rushes people off the phone before disseminating any useful information. In person, financial aid workers are often on cell phones while lines wrap around the room. Like over the phone, workers treat students like children and chastise them about problems. Students are there for information about their money. Such lines would not be necessary if financial aid did their job through out the year explaining the processes and procedures. In financial aid, students are not treated as if they are respected and valued, but as a burden in the day of the workers. You may make undergraduate students believe it is like this everywhere, but the graduate students know better, and we know you do as well.  

Now, financial aid tells the law students we will not receive our refund checks until October of this year. What is equally as frustrating is that the financial aid office is placing the blame on the students! What did we do wrong other than fill out the same forms and financial aid with came in September last year? If a change occurred in procedure, I would assume it would be financial aid’s job to inform students about it. However, that would require people to do their job, and at HBCU, that is always asking for too much.

Parking

Why are the law school parking lots VIP parking for football games? There is no where to park on Saturday’s to do school work. Students cannot study our rigorous course work because of these events. Indeed, there is no parking for students to use the undergraduate library during games. So, attending the athletic events is the focus on HBCU. Funny, at most schools, getting an education comes first. What do you think your serious students do instead? They travel to UNC-CH, Duke, or NC State to have a place to study. When students feel that it is too much of a hassle to study at their own institution, do you think they will become an alumni dedicated to giving contributions to improve the university? I hope not, because most students I talk to feel it was a mistake to come here, mainly because of the issues dealing with administration.

In regards to the daily parking problems revolving around the school, what attempts have been made to increase parking areas? All many students see is increased enrollment with no new lots. The law school itself has enough students to fill all the lots surrounding it. Because your administration is slow to act on anything non athletic, the law school pays a local church to rent parking spaces for its students. At least the law school takes swift, affirmative steps to show its students it is working with and for them.

Cafeteria and other services

At HBCU, I have witnessed, on multiple occasions, employees of this institution using profanity at students for asking questions like: ‘what is that for dinner’; ‘is there anywhere to park’; and ‘why can’t I wear my undergraduate school paraphernalia in the gym’? Overall, the staff at your institution is disrespectful and rude. Most graduate students feel being on campus only leads to hassle, and head-ache and prefer to stay here only for class. Is that the reputation you want for this university?

Before the Law School MPRE exam, a white individual said, “I was told to not take the exam at HBCU. Hopefully nothing will go wrong.” Not surprisingly, a fire alarm went off during the test. Many students are appealing the scores and want to invalidate the results. This is embarrassing to the institution. The students who took the exam are not just HBCU students, but students from across the world taking the NC Bar examination. The widely known reputation of HBCU as being ghetto, inefficient, unprofessional, unorganized, and dangerously susceptible to crime continues to grow with each instance where outsiders come on campus. Most students at the law school leave immediately after class because they do not feel safe here. In addition, many students here illuminate their undergraduate institutions in interviews because HBCU is thought to be a stain on any resume. After internships, many employers remark that they are impressed with our work despite coming from HBCU. All of this combines to make this institution the worst collegiate experience most of us here at the law school have ever experienced.

HBCU is a business and the students are its customers. The customers are dissatisfied. Most of my classmates agree that our children will never attend this institution. Further, we have no since of pride for anything here outside the law school. This letter could be longer, but you have heard all I have to say before. The question is, will you do anything about it or continue to hide behind the fake guise that this is a great institution with no problems?  

Young Black Man

School of Law, Class of 2007

November 13, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black men, Black women, college, HBCU, Law, Law School, university | 6 Comments

Duke Lacrosse, from the Start to Now, from a Durham, NC Perspective

Kim Roberts (Self Proclaimed Stripper) is one of the many people involved in this case that will say anything for the attention and national spotlight.Now that the trial in the Duke Lacrosse Case is a mere formality, I want to share my views on the case. For those who do not know, I attend law school in Durham NC.  There are only two law schools in Durham, and both have students involved in the case. When the news of the accusation broke last spring, I was in a class named Criminal Procedure. Of course, after class, we had our views of what was going on. The females were ready to join the protest in front of the players’ house, spoke of racism and how wrong the players’ were. I reminded them that “WE ARE IN LAW SCHOOL” and that they need some actual facts before they could make an accurate decision or opinion.

 

Then, I said something that changed my fate at the law school for the rest of my time here. I said, “What you ladies need to do is go to NCCU’s Main Campus and hold a forum with other students groups telling our black women to stop hoe-ing, stop stripping, and start acting like intelligent women” (a clear theme on this blog).  The black women thought the forum was a terrible idea. They said, “She had a child. She had to do what she had to do to put money in the child’s mouth. You don’t understand the struggles of a black woman!” To this day, many of those women will not speak to me, do not respect me, and various other things not to be mentioned here.

 

Now, we know the alleged victim lived with her parents. So, while people claim that stripping pays the bills, it did not afford her enough money to get her own place. These black women didn’t believe me, but most strippers don’t make a lot of money.

 

The truth is a stripper may make a lot of money living in a major city like Atlanta, New York, California, etc. But, in Durham, a predominately African American city, where the majority of wealth is still in the hands of whites, the average black stripper in a black strip club will not make any more than she would make working at Leaner. Don’t believe me?

 

First, most people are cheap in strip clubs and throw out one dollar bills. Further, most of the African American males in Durham are either in high school, in college with student loan money, or adult locals who are not making a decent living.  Therefore, there is not a large amount of wealth within the African American community. And, the money they do have gets spent on the frivolous things blacks spend money on, i.e., rims, a car, shoes, hats, jerseys, and just anything that does not appreciate in value. Jay Z and big named rappers are not throwing hundred dollar bills around in Durham strip clubs. Second, the club takes a large percentage of private dances for which they charge the most. So, even the money she gets is taxed.

 

Third, because Durham is not a major city, every night is not a party night. A stripper has to make the majority of her money during weekends, and specifically around pay days, because Monday-Thursday will yield low profits for a stripper. It’s just not in Durham’s culture to go out on a Monday night. This is still the south, has southern ways, and nothing has modernized the city to change that.

 

I am digressing.  These women had convicted the boys from the beginning. I wanted to wait. Never the less, asking to wait for facts, in their eyes, made me anti-black, anti-woman, and just an outcast. How could I side with the white boys?  But, I wasn’t. I just wanted to hear some concrete evidence before making a decision. 

 

The forum I proposed wasn’t totally about money. I thought it was needed to show our young black women that they won’t make enough money to pay back those student loans, so don’t use that excuse. Notwithstanding that, it was more about not placing themselves in adverse situations.

I told the black women I know, “take the victim out of the picture, no black women should be shaking her ass for money at anyone’s house.” But, the excuses continued. Men need to stop hiring them. I agree with that statement, but the issue at hand is black women and stripping. Can black women admit that stripping is wrong?

And, young black women need to know, that while no woman deserves to get raped, putting yourself in adverse situations will increase the odds that something bad will happen. No black man deserves to get killed, but dealing in drugs will increase the odds of a man reaching that fate. Can we tell women that if you strip, you may get raped, and you will have to prosecute the man, and the world will know that you are a stripper? The men will deserve to go to jail, but your secret of stripping will fade. So, if you strip, the odds of your secret being revealed are greater. Are they ready for that? Are they ready to be disrespected?    

 

Now, because the case involves the underworld of stripping, we have a situation where every stripper involved is standing up, telling anything and everything they can, trying to get national media attention, and trying to work the media like the men they work in the VIP rooms.  The case has become an embarrassment to our culture.

 

Speaking of culture, what happened to the New Black Panthers Party? They came down to our town, made a little stir, were mostly disorganized, did not raise the level of fear and shock that they wanted, and left. They promised to be back, but we haven’t seen them sense. We will likely never see them again. What a joke. If you’re going to do something, be organized and follow through. They tried to march on Duke and got shut down so fast the national audience may have missed it. I was there when they came. The media was laughing at them. CNN, FOX, NBC, ABC, everyone was there. They laughed. They found it funny. They were mocking the New Black Panther Party, taunting them when they were late to arrive to their own press conference. They were left to hold their press conference at the gates of Duke’s West Campus. Hell, any other idiot can ride through campus anytime of the day or night. It’s never shut down. To be so political, I am suprised the New Black Panther Party could not find one student to reserve a room for them!

 

Further, the racial rhetoric doesn’t work well in Durham. Jackie Waggstaff  (former Durham County School Board Member) was voted out of office here for using similar rhetoric. So, when she appeared with the Black Panther Party, the credibility of the party was lessened worse than imaginable. And, before radical blacks respond about us being too middle class, she was voted out in a predominately black, lower income, part of Durham. Yes, we all know that the Duke family gained wealth using slave labor and tobacco. Tell me something new within the past 100 years. The so called refrences to Duke as the “Plantation” were only for national media. I have lived in Durham for my entire life, minus 4 years of undergraduate school, both of my African American parents work at Duke, as do many African Americans in Durham, and I had never heard that phrase until this case. So, for the New Black Panther Party to come in and tell me about my city, when they were not even here long enough to be called visitors, showed how wrong, off point, and comical they truely were.

 

Those who were ready to hang the white lacrosse players last spring are really quiet now. I hope the lesson learned is to take race out of the equation, wait until facts come out, and make as much as an informed decision as possible.

November 3, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black men, Black Panther, Black Panthers, Black women, club, college, Duke Lacrosse, HBCU, hood economics, Law, Law School, university | 8 Comments

Are you Suprised Snoop Dogg was Arrested?

I have to admit, I like Snoop Dogg’s music. When Snoop was in his prime in the early to mid 90s I was in middle and high school. I was a part of the syndrome I spoke of in the below post “Act Like the Middle Class Negro You Are.” I also admit that Snoop Dogg influenced many of my peers. I would even go as far as to say that he was one of the most influential people to my generation of African Americans. Why?

Snoop make it common place to call girls “hoes” and he started the pattern of  “I don’t love them hoes.” He took passion out of relationships, and made young African American affection seem soft and corny.  Snoop was responsible for eliminating courtship from our generation and replacing it with casual sex and telling young black men that, “Real niggas don’t give a fu**!” That pattern continues even stronger today.

Snoop was also infuential to the spread of gangs into surburan culture. After all, Snoop was the loveable gang member.  His videos, for the most part,  showed parties, girls, and liquor. For young men (white or black) who could argue with that? Thus, Snoop might be the most influential person to African American culture.  

With all of that out of the way, MTV is reporting that Snoop was arrested outside of an airport for possession of marajuana and a gun. Now, from the person who told us over ten years ago that he would “stay high ’till the day that [he] die” and that fact that he is an open gang member, I ask, are you suprised?

Snoop’s arrest is the result of what happenned to many black men who embraced his music. He was arrested for doing the very things he brags about. The only problem is, that because so many of his followers suffer the same fate, his arrest is not a negative.  Instead, his followers will like him more because they feel he goes through the same things they do.  Worse yet, while the local street negro continues to get arrested and suffer financial strain, Snoop’s arrest is profitable because it makes him more marketable to his genre of followers. Therefore, it is a positive for him to get arrested.  No, he doesn’t want jail, because he can’t make money there.  But,  Snoop is not trying to get a job where you need a clean record.  Snoop makes money off of being a thug.

I am not saying don’t listen to the music. I am just saying look at the example. When you proclaim to be a pimp, a drug user, and a gang member, and you act on those things, the odds of you going to jail are increased.  Snoop doesn’t care because he has enough money not to. Plus, you buying his records justifies the behavior. But, for the local street thug, what’s your insentive? Who is paying you to go to jail?  

I know from experience in the District Attorney’s Office, that the majority of local thugs don’t even have the money to hire an attorney. Instead, after all the talk of “getting [your] lawyer to make sure the cop is transferred of Alaska,” you have to hire a public defender. In real life, you are not Scarface or Snoop Dogg. You are an uneducated, broke, hopeless negro destined to continue to cycle through the penal system. It is a sad fate. Look at the lessons of Snoop, but take in account you don’t have a million dollars. Is the behavior worth it. What do you think Snoop really tells his wife and kids when he gets out of jail? I don’t know for sure, but I can imagine it doesn’t sound like anything he has ever said on an album.

Another thought for you. MTV reports that “After being booked into the Burbank Police Department jail, Snoop was released at 7:50 p.m. on $35,000 bond.” Who out there can afford $35,000 secured bond? Don’t lie, don’t claim have it like that, don’t claim to be ballin’? Seriously, how many people can afford that? Not many, so for the local thug, think twice. Snoop got out the same day. You may be in jail until trial.

In sum, I was smart enough not to follow the examples of the rap music to which I listen. I hope you do the same.  

October 30, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black men, Black women, hip hop, Law, rap, teens | 2 Comments

Go Ahead, Get Low, and Consent to the Touch

Lil John told females to ” bend over to the front, touch your toes, bounce that ass up and down and get low.”  They responded in droves.  In young African American society, it is common place for clubs and parties to mirror strip clubs.  Dancing has involved from a seductive form of affection to outright simulated sex.  Yet, I consistently hear the argument from females that “I don’t understand why guys touch all over me and ask me for sex in the club.” The basis for my argument is twofold. First, I will explore the legality of touching women and if it amounts to an assault or common law battery. Second, I will address the degradation of our African American youth by acting in such overly sexual ways in public.  

In the legal word, a common law battery occurs when a person, for purposes of this discussion a male,  acts intending to cause a harmful or offensive contact with the person of another or a third person, and a harmful or offensive contact with the person of the other directly or indirectly results.

There is no question that the unwanted touching of a woman justifies a battery, and in most jurisdictions, the statutory crime of assault on a female. However, a defense to battery is “consent.” There are two types of consent, express and implied.  Express intent is when one overtly states that is acceptable to perform the touch that would otherwise,  in the context of this discussion,  be offensive.  Implied consent exist when the consent is formed from one’s conduct. This implied consent is what is at issue. Does the conduct of some women in club settings give implied consent to touching? I believe the answer is in the affirmative. 

For the conduct to rise to the level of implied consent I believe four factors must exist. Many women claim that these factors are a matter of right, and that they do not deserve certain treatment because they allow themselves to fit in these categories. However, it should be noted that for implied consent the test is an objective one. That is, would a “reasonable person” believe that they are consenting to the activity based on the conduct.  It is not a subjective standard of “what I personally intended to consent to by my actions.” Thus, for women who say it is my right to participate in the factors, I respond by saying simply that it is not about what you personally intended by engaging in the factors. Instead, it is what a reasonable person would intend and expect based on the conduct. If a woman brought a legal claim, would she be successful?  

At the outset of my listing of factors, it should be known I believe any factor, standing alone, does not give rise to consent. Instead, at least two or more need to be present for the implied consent to be attached to the act.

With that said, the factors I believe rise to the level of implied consent for women to be touched in a club include: (1) clothing which overly exposes the body; (2) dancing with anyone (male or female) in a style which simulates a sex act; (3) dancing in the manner described in (2) to music with highly suggestive sexual lyrics and ; (4) touching of the dance partners body parts. Each factor will receive an individual analysis.

Factor 1 – Clothing which overly exposes the body 

There is no doubt that men love to see scantly clad women. It is also known that local stores sell women’s’ cloths where skirts get shorter by the summer, and tops seem to reveal more of girls’ breast. Such is a matter of taste, and does not normally reveal anything that would amount to indecent exposure.

 

I believe such attire standing alone, is appropriate to wear in a club. There is a truth that in clubs, where intoxicating substances and consumed, that wearing such revealing cloths can have the dual effect of: (1) giving men an impression that you are loose and; (2) exposing more of yourself to strangers than you would normally do. This over exposure has the effect of saying, “Hey! Look at my ass!” Or, “Hey, look, my breast are out!” Surely enough, men get that message.

 

Even if that is not the message a woman is not trying to send, that is the message that is being received. Woman often take the position of, “It’s not my fault men look, I’m just here to chill with my girls.” This may be true, but a woman’s image and dignity is in her control. Don’t get mad if men take away the wrong message from the type of cloths you wear. Women have the right to wear what they want. Men have the right to interpret what ever signals they believe appropriate from what the woman wears.

Factor 2 – Dancing With Anyone (male or female) in a Style Which Simulates a Sex Act 

In an era of MTV, BET Uncut, and rap music from the southern regions tailored to strip clubs, there has been a vast movement in which dancing has become simulated sex. This is not suggestive, intimate, or sensual dancing. This form of dance includes females hands and/or  backs on the floor, mens pelvic regions firmly pressed against a females corresponding region or buttocks, and movement which essentially simulates sex acts. (See YouTube video below for an example) Often, a person can observe a man pick up a woman and bounce her on his pelvic region. In fact, men standing on walls, the traditional ‘wall flower,’ can now be found at his usual spot with a girl in front of him gyrating her buttocks on him. 

 

Again, this can lead to unintended consequences. First, if a woman simulates sex with one person, most other guys are going to want to simulate the sex act with you too.  This is because in a young teenage logical analysis, simulated sex leads to actual sex. In other words,  a teenage boy will think, “if she will grind her ass on me in front of these two hundred people in the club, imagine what she will do with me in private!”

 

Second, such loose behavior with strangers opens you up to contact with people whom you would not ordinarily include in your personal circle.  For example, clubs which are 18 and up do not just include college students.  Many of the men in these clubs are old, grown men. Why are they there? Because the ten dollars to get in the club is cheaper than getting in a strip club.  And, the benefits are greater. Women grind on men for free.  A guy may even get a phone number out of the deal.  If he’s lucky, the girl is as slutty as she dances.  So in essence,  while the girl may think she is just dancing and having a good time,  she is being set up by pedophiles all under the guise of a good time in the club.

 

Third, when a woman has her butt gyrating on a man’s penis, simulating a sex act, it is natural for the man to believe that it is appropriate to touch the woman. After all, the man’s sex organ is being purposefully stimulated.  If women do not wish to do this, then don’t grind on the male.  Once upon a time, men and women danced without being joined at the hips.  Going back to the implied consent theory, the woman’s act of stimulating the man’s penis leads the man to believe, objectively, that she consents to be touched. Therefore, he may touch the girls buttocks, her breast, and at a minimum, her hips to grind harder.  If women to not want to be touched, then the obvious remedy is to not dance so suggestively with men.  

Factor 3 – Dancing To Music with Highly Suggestive Sexual Lyrics 

Today’s music, rap specifically, has gotten to the point where there is no simile or metaphor. Marvin Gay sang of “love” and R&B singers of the 60’s and 70’s sang of “groovin.” Today, rappers sing songs with hooks like “Girl gimme dat pu***,” “back that ass up,” and “fu**in’ you tonight.” Also, in videos, rappers are seen with women who, in real life are strippers, dance like strippers and make it seem like it is the status quo to do so.  The result, women in clubs dance to songs which imply that they are easy.

 

Would a black person ride in their car blasting old speeches of David Duke, or the Grand Wizard of the KKK? Obviously not, and the reason is simply they do not adopt their views, and do not want others to think they agree with their ideology.  So, what is different when a rapper says “girl gimme that pussy” and women rush to the dance floor. Are women sending the message that they do not condone men making comments which are similar to the words of a rapist?  No, they are essentially signaling that they agree with the message.  Thus, they agree with the hard tone rappers take toward women, they agree that they should be giving it up (sex), and they are implying that they want to be touched.  The argument that “I just like the beat” is not enough. In fact, it is a weak argument.  Women should be more conscious than that.  Look beyond the beat.  What is the song saying? Do you adopt those views?  If you want to dance to such songs, know that others will believe that you condone what is said.  Again, would an African American go to a Klan meeting?  Similarly, if you do not adopt the views of certain rappers,  do not go to their concerts and clubs that play their music.

Factor 4: The Touching of the Dance Partners’ Body Parts 

This is obvious and will not receive much attention. Some women dance in such awkward positions and in such a way, that it is necessary to grab a man’s thigh, waste, on grab his back. Sometimes, this touching is just intentional without the need for assistance. Regardless, this only further leads to the act simulating sex, giving the male the idea that it is reasonable to touch the corresponding body part of the female.

Putting It All Together 

In sum, the four factors, in any cobination, would lead an objective person to believe that a woman consents to being touched in the club. Not all four need to exist, but at least two of them do. The question then becomes, how long does this consent last?  Women may concede that there is an implied consent when dancing, and thus, this blog is a waste of time!  However, many women will say that the consent does not extend past the dance.  I believe that this could be true but is not usually the case.  If a woman dances suggestively and then goes and sits down,  I believe they does not want to be touched again.  However, if a woman leaves one man for another, song after song, with the factors as described above, then I believe she is essentially consenting to be touched by anyone while she is on the dance floor.  Thus, a woman should not get mad if she has been grindin’ on men all night long and then gets her buttocks grabbed when she is walking though a crowd.  I believe the consent ends when the woman attempts to leave the dance floor, when the women expressly says do not touch me, or when the music stops and the club is over.

I believe that when women adhere to any combination of the above mentioned four factors, they in fact consent to being touched in a club and could not successfully win a legal claim for battery based on a touch in a club or club like setting.

For an example of the factors in action, minus the dancing with a partner, please watch the video below. 

 

October 11, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black men, Black women, club, college, HBCU, hip hop, Law, Law School, rap, teens, torts, university | 16 Comments