Viewpoint

viewThe crowd let out a monstrous applause just before the private screening of Fruitvale Station began inside Oakland’s Grand Lake Theatre. The majority of the audience then turned away from the screen, toward the back left corner of the room to honor Oscar Grant’s mother. I saw her acknowledge the crowd with a wave of her hand.

The movie opens with the footage of Oscar Grant III being shot in his back at pointblank range by a BART transit officer on New Year’s Day 2009 on the platform at Fruitvale Station.

businThe instant that Sanford police officials in March, 2012 leaked to the media school records that showed Trayvon Martin had been suspended from school for possessing a trace amount of marijuana, there was little doubt that George Zimmerman’s defense attorneys would jump all over this to prove their point about Martin.

The point was, and is the centerpiece of their Zimmerman self-defense claim, that Martin’s marijuana use made him edgy, aggressive, and violent. And since this is supposedly the case, it bolsters two of Zimmerman’s contentions that Martin came under his watch because of his drugged out, suspicious behavior and more importantly that Martin attacked him and he had to resort to deadly force to save himself from mortal harm from a doped out Martin.

vpSaggers are everywhere, from London to Paris, Barcelona to Port Au Prince, New Orleans to Steubenville, Ohio, and even Terrebonne Parish. Saggers are people, mostly young men who choose to wear their trousers particularly low on the hips, usually exposing about three to five inches of boxer shorts. While donning saggy pants isn’t exclusive to the United States, it is widely accepted that the “fashion” phenomenon was incubated in America’s prisons.

But many local officials in cities across the U.S. don’t consider it fashion at all and have had enough of the trend that some call ridiculous and thuggish. Others go further calling it indecent or even immoral. An official with the Black Mental Health Alliance of Massachusetts (BMHAM), a group that promotes parity in mental health services, thinks that wearing your jeans below your waist is a “behavioral health issue in our neighborhoods and communities that must be addressed.”

veiwpointWho is the most privileged among the least privileged? That's the question many are asking as Americans discuss how the Supreme Court treated race-centered cases over the Voting Rights Act and affirmative action versus cases over same-sex marriage.

Are African Americans and other people of color, who are the most likely to face voter suppression, winners of the dubious prize of "most oppressed," now that the court has struck down a key provision of one of the most important aspects of the civil rights struggle? And how does that compare to the court's treatment of gays and lesbians, which has seen a progressive sea change over the past 10 years?

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