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VegasBabe On January - 5 - 2011

Justice for All?

White folks who remarkably continue to claim (or ignore) racism isn’t alive and well, that circumstances have markedly improved for black folks are either delusional or purposefully in denial or are lifelong gopers, or lifelong racists!  Case in point….the Scott sisters! Two black women convicted of robbery that involved a startling $11.00.  For this, they both received life sentences in their native state of Mississippi.  Yep, clearly they are in the same league as Bernie Madoff.  It gets better.  BECAUSE one of the sisters is in renal failure and is costing the state $200,000 per year receiving dialysis, the good Governor of Mississippi is ending their incarceration PROVIDED that the “well” sister donates a kidney to the ailing sister.   More often than not, for many black folks, living in America feels similar to the equivalent of the fucking Twilight Zone.

Many in the medical arena are up in arms because for them, the travesty is the negotiation for organ donation.  But that’s another talk show.  And it will be a good one, no doubt.  But it doesn’t exactly COMPARE, for me, with these two women having already spent 16 years of their lives behind bars for a crime that should never have garnered more than 16 months, at best.  Their BLACK mother has had to live with their absence for that long, about $11.00 fucken dollars, and live with Gawd only knows what horrors they faced in a Mississippi prison.  Kill me now!  The real question isn’t IS there more cases like this for African Americans, but HOW MANY?

When you show me JUSTICE for MINE, I’ll show you justice for yours and others.  Until then, tell your story walkin’!

16 Responses so far.

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  1. Kalima says:

    I just wanted to add this, and hope that someone will be working very hard to clear their names.

    Jailed Mississippi sisters freed for kidney donation

    http://edition.cnn.com/2011/CRIME/01/07/mississippi.sister.kidney/index.html

    • bito says:

      Kalima, I need to look into this case more. I would like to know about their legal defense in the original case and the workings of the public defender system in Mississippi. I have a strong suspicion, as probably you do, that their legal representation was not of the best quality.
      Beyond that fact, to reduce the sisters sentence on condition that one has to give up a kidney for the other is more than barbaric. It showed no compassion, no justice,no care for human lives, it showed we can’t afford the dialysis. I caught a bit of BBC news tonight and the story made it. not a proud moment for the USA. I also watched “The Journal” (sorta, it was on while I was on Vox) and didn’t see if it was a big story in Germany.
      Sad story of their incarceration, but the conditions of their release is much worse.

      • Kalima says:

        The conditions of their release is indeed scandalous bito. It is something you might expect in a dictatorship or a “third world” country, not in America. Of course Haley Barbour and his goons are not in the least bit embarrassed. Are Republicans even capable of feeling embarrassment?

        I really felt so bad watching the sisters talking, then I felt angry and wanted justice for them as soon as possible. What a terrible ordeal for them and their family, words fail me

  2. escribacat says:

    This story is pretty unbelievable.

  3. AdLib says:

    This is of course the same Haley Barbour who openly applauded the White Citizens Councils last month until public opinion slapped him down:

    “You heard of the Citizens’ Councils?” he said in an interview with the conservative Weekly Standard. “Up North they think it was like the KKK. Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders.” He went on to describe the Citizens’ Council in his hometown, Yazoo City, as a sort of Rotary Club that kept the racial peace, threatening to run those nasty cross-burning Ku Kluxers out of town.

    In reality, the Citizens’ Councils of the 1950s and ’60s -- originally known as White Citizens’ Councils -- were more like a lite expression of white supremacy. Composed of a city’s educated business class, the councils formed throughout the South following the historic Brown v. Board of Education ruling to desegregate schools, intent on giving a veneer of civility to their racist views.

    The councils decried violence but favored more genteel methods of racial intimidation. They saw to it that black people who sided with the NAACP were fired from their jobs, along with any white people who aligned with integrationists. (The councils did this often by publishing lists of NAACP sympathizers.) The councils could also be counted on to disrupt black voters.

    http://www.newsday.com/opinion/oped/was-haley-barbour-s-apology-sincere-1.2571339

    I don’t throw this word around loosely but this man displays a kind of racism that heralds back to the White Citizens Councils. He is treating the Scott sisters as if they are a lower class of human being, exercising a domination over them that reminds one of the days of slavery.

    And this man wants to be President of the United States of America?

    Though it’s no comfort to the Scott sisters, through his racist behavior, Barbour has destroyed any hope he may have had to spread his racism outside of those in MS who share his hateful views.

    And a p.s., a life sentence was given for a robbery of $11 yet Goldman Sachs stole billions, perhaps trillions, which is provable, and not one person from their company has ever been charged with a crime because of it.

    Hard to understand how so many people continue to believe in the fairy tale of what America is supposed to be.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      It is reassuring that we have not become a country where Boss Hogg is yet electable. I agree with what you wrote with one small edit: “He is treating the Scott sisters as if they are a lower species than a human being…”

      Also, I have a question. I know that the DOJ is investigating many Wall St firms, but did GS actually break any laws? And I mean laws on the books--not moral/ethical laws? I am not well informed about this.

      • AdLib says:

        Yes, GS did break the law. For one thing, they did not disclose to investors that they were intentionally selling them mortgage derivatives that they knew to be virtually worthless and were meanwhile investing their own money on a “bet” that those same derivatives would fail.

        Instead of pursuing criminal charges, the Obama Admin allowed them to pay a fine…which was a minute fraction of the profits they made off of such derivatives.

  4. Chernynkaya says:

    This is such a basic and important issue, VegasBabe! It goes to the very core of the meaning of Justice and should make us all think about where we are.

    The ancient law of “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” has come into disrepute, but that’s because it is misunderstood, I think. It actually represented progress towards justice (Gandhi’s statement about it aside): The punishment must fit the crime. If you caused someone to lose an eye, you could not punish them by killing them, but you could only take their eye too; if you punched someone in the mouth and they lost a tooth, you wouldn’t have to live the rest of your life as a galley slave.

    Obviously, in the case of these sisters, justice and fairness was denied. We can’t merely make them repay the $11.00, but their sentences were a repudiation of the ancient understanding that we cannot punish so disproportionately!

    Their sentences also make a mockery of the Social Contract—upon which the very idea of the United States was based. The Social Contract, posited by Rousseau, Locke and Hobbs, and was used in our Declaration of Independence as a sign of enforcing Democracy. The Social Contract says that the people give up sovereignty to a government in order to maintain social order through the rule of law. These sentences break that contract, which we citizens agreed to, because they are unjust.

    Justice is overwhelmingly important: Studies have indicated that reactions to fairness are “wired” into the brain and that, “Fairness is activating the same part of the brain that responds to food in rats… This is consistent with the notion that being treated fairly satisfies a basic need”. Other research, involving monkeys, demonstrated that other cooperative animals also possess such a sense and that “inequity aversion may not be uniquely human.” indicating that ideas of fairness and justice may be instinctual in nature. (Wiki)

    These sisters are nothing less than the story of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, who was sentenced to nineteen years in the Bastille for stealing a loaf of bread for his starving relatives in 19th century France. I know we as a country have regressed, but this story shows just how far.

    I am trying to wrap my head around this. I have always admired Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The Hierarchy of Needs is like a pyramid depicting the levels of human needs, psychological and physical. When a human being ascends the steps of the pyramid he reaches self actualization. At the bottom of the pyramid are the “Basic needs or Physiological needs” of a human being, food and water and sex. The next level is “Safety Needs: Security, Order, and Stability.” These two steps are important to the physical survival of the person. And this second level of needs includes justice. Only once individuals have basic nutrition, shelter and safety, can they attempt to accomplish more. So, if there is no justice, we are stuck at basic survival mode.

    But Americans are not literally in survival mode only, are we? Yes, people are starving, but not the whole country. Unless they perceive that they are merely surviving. Is that what makes us unable to accomplish true justice? Is fairness now reduced to a nicety—something too high on the pyramid for us to achieve? I kind of believe that—that we are struggling with so many issues that too many feel that a miscarriage of justice is off the radar.

  5. boomer1949 says:

    And Barry Scheck and The Innocence Project should be all over this by now…or at least yesterday. Moreover, The Southern Poverty Law Center should be involved as well.

  6. Mightywoof says:

    I’m having a hard time commenting on this article because I’m not an American and I’ve never lived in America -- I’ve been a neighbour for close to 40 years, though, and it’s always struck me that sentencing is barbaric in a lot of instances -- a life sentence for $11 (and ‘3 strikes you’re out’ and many life sentences to be served consecutively)? I’m not saying that Canada is squeaky clean when it comes to racism and the law but at least, so far (who knows what this damned Conservative government will do next), our sentencing hasn’t become so draconian that the punishment no longer fits the crime.

    Travesty of justice doesn’t come close to describing what happened to these women and the outrageous condition imposed on them for their early release -- totally, totally barbaric.

  7. Questinia says:

    I know this may sound doltish. But these sisters need to become poster children of America. If outrage doesn’t get livened up with this than we are really checked out as a nation.

    • bito says:

      Not doltish at all, Q, This any many other cases I’m sure, need to be exposed. I had a friend whose father did over 15 years because he was black and in the wrong part of town in rural Florida. It was big news about how he was railroaded—after he had done the 15 for his “crime”, a black man waiting for a ride in the wrong “quarters” of town.

  8. whatsthatsound says:

    and from the little research I’ve just done, it appears they aren’t even guilty. The crime was armed robbery, which would be serious no matter what the amount, but even the VICTIMS say the two sisters weren’t involved!
    This is awful!

    • Khirad says:

      It was more like a conspiracy charge, if I remember right. And those are tricky themselves. Thing is though that I think -- I’m remembering at this point -- that the actual robbers got off with lighter sentences?


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