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For those of you who by some extremely unlikely set of circumstances happened to stumble upon this page, I apologize to you. For those of you who intentionally came to this page - yikes! As the title of the weblog indicates, these are my Ramblings About Whatever. There is a chance that I will ramble about just about anything (as I am in this introduction), but only a select few topics will actually make this site. Enjoy! (I guess...)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Brooke Baldwin's Silly Question

I would much rather comment about happier things, or things that are more readily mocked, but yesterday I saw the exchange in the linked video between CNN's Brooke Baldwin and US Representative Corrine Brown.  See the video for yourself below.

Around the 5:55 mark, if you have not watched it, Baldwin asks, "would you, would your fellow African-American lawmakers be as concerned about this case if Trayvon wasn't black?"  This interview happened yesterday (March 28), but then earlier today, Baldwin was on her show and discussed briefly the responses she had received about the above exchange.  Forgive me, but I don't believe that video is available yet, but the gist of what Baldwin explained was that there had been mixed reaction to the question that I quoted above, and she then went on to detail the specific case that Representative Brown was citing, but then she also defended her question that I quoted as an appropriate question.  And it is with Baldwin saying that this question was appropriate to ask that I strongly disagree.

The simplest reason for why this question was completely absurd is that Baldwin did not just ask Brown whether she (Brown) would be as concerned if Trayvon Martin wasn't black, Baldwin asked whether Brown's fellow African-American lawmakers would be as concerned if Trayvon Martin wasn't black.  How is Representative Brown supposed to know whether her fellow African-American lawmakers would be as concerned if Trayvon Martin wasn't black?  As far as I can tell, Brown neither thinks nor speaks for all African-Americans in the House of Representatives.

But beyond this simple reason that this was a silly question if not inappropriate is that Baldwin's question seems to ignore a large part of the reason that there is such outrage in this case, namely that Martin was killed and there was no arrest and no criminal charge.  In those other cases that Baldwin cited earlier in the above video, as far as I know, there were arrests with criminal charges being assessed or there are ongoing criminal investigations.  One of the big problems with the Trayvon Martin case is that a competent investigation did not seem to have taken place at all.  It seems as if the Sanford police decided that they could not find evidence to dispute Zimmerman's claims of self-defense before taking the trouble to fully investigate the incident.  (Yes, it's strange that if you fail to actually investigate an incident that you would have trouble disputing someone's claim of self-defense.)  For instance, it seems absurd to me that the Sanford police evidently did not check Martin's cell phone records and interview his girlfriend, who was reportedly on the phone with him at the time this altercation began, because this information alone would seem to provide enough doubt about Zimmerman's self-defense claim to charge Zimmerman with some sort of crime.

And a last reason why this question seemed absurd is that the contention of many people, and not just Representative Brown and her fellow African-American lawmakers, is that Zimmerman only identified Martin as suspicious because he was black, and if Martin was not black, yet the same events transpired, then Zimmerman would not have likely gone without arrest.  Additionally, if the races of the individuals were reversed, it is the contention of many people, and not just Representative Brown and her fellow African-American lawmakers, that there is no chance that the black individual, being the shooter, would have gone without arrest by the Sanford Police Department.

But Representative Brown could have certainly done better in this exchange.  The information that she provided about the young girl in her district who had been killed was ultimately superfluous.  The easiest way to answer the stupid question as it was phrased by Baldwin would have been to say, "Well Brook, I cannot speak for my fellow African-American lawmakers, but yes."  And then she should have just left it with that.

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