Tough Questions for David Banner

Photo by William Patrick Butler

"God I know that we pimp, God I know that we wrong, God I know I should talk about more in all of my songs, I know these kids are listening, I know I'm here for a mission, but it's so hard to get ‘em when 22 rims are glistening."

Rapper David Banner is likely about to put Mississippi on the map again, but in a way we have not yet seen. His new CD, "Mississippi: The Album," his first with the backing of Universal/SRC, hits the stores May 20, and is expected to catapult the man formerly known as Lavell Crump to rap superstardom. But there's a little more to this story, as I've learned the last several days after spending a great deal of time with Banner during a press junket he hosted here in his hometown and in Vicksburg for national journalists.

On the road to fame, Banner is writing lyrics that mix the requisite hardcore street language with coded messages—pleas, almost—about his state, poverty, voting and civil rights. His new video for his current hit, "Like a Pimp," is an unsettling mixture of happy dancing and rapping in Jackson's Battlefield Park intercut with images of Banner running from angry white supremacists. He is a Mississippian, like so many, straddled with the burden of re-tilling his home soil even as he celebrates it, of looking for fame to help bolster his efforts back home. In the laid-back song, "Cadillac on 22s" on the new album, he voices the confusion: "God I know that we pimp, God I know that we wrong, God I know I should talk about more in all of my songs, I know these kids are listening, I know I'm here for a mission, but it's so hard to get ‘em when 22 rims are glistening."
During the press junket, Banner stole a few minutes every chance he could to talk to me about his obsession: the challenges facing young black Mississippians. I watched as he appeared at the Boys and Girls' Club on West Capitol to tell kids to stay in school and to start thinking about voting. Then during a sizzling performance at a packed Freelon's, he stopped the music long enough to warn his audience about a long, hot summer ahead with a lot of attention from people calling for "zero tolerance" aimed directly at them. "Either we take responsibility, or we reap repercussions," a shirtless Banner warned the frenzied crowd.

The day after the national media cleared out, Banner and his mother came by my office to answer tough questions about the crossroads our community is at, and what needs to happen next in the battle for a safe, inviting and inclusive city.

JFP: Police have just arrested a 16-year-old for a series of armed robberies in Fondren, and announced that he would be tried as an adult. What do you think of all the hysteria surrounding crime in Jackson right now?
Banner: Perception is the key. I learned in one of my psychology classes that in most cases with human beings, it's not really about what's right or wrong. If a person perceives the fact that the person is caught,that satisfies their psyche. It's something like the Medieval sacrifices; all they really want is a sacrificial lamb. They don't think that it affects somebody's life forever; once a kid goes to jail, life will never be the same. Even if he gets out, because of things he went through in jail, he'll never get a job that's worth anything. He'll probably have to resort to crime to live a mediocre life. It's a vicious cycle. That's what bothers me the most, not only about local government but about American government. They don't want to deal with what makes things happen; they just really want to convict and deal with the aftermath of the situation.

JFP: What makes kids rob and steal?
Banner: They don't have nothing to do in Jackson. They don't have any recreation. On top of that, when you do have events, the police patrol a little bit different than when white kids have events. It's like that's what they expect and what they want. That makes us upset; it's almost like a challenge. This weekend, I was driving my Dodge Viper, a $90,000 car, and I stopped at the mall. I had to run back to my car because I left something; I got there, and Narcotics was running my license plate. They're telling me subliminally that they don't want us to be successful. That pressures kids. If kids have nothing, they're not scared of jail. You have to give them some type of positive enforcement. Negativity is all they know.

JFP: What do you think of the "zero tolerance" policing approach that hard-liners are calling for?
Banner: I look at zero tolerance as similar to gun laws. It only affects those middle-class people who might commit situational crimes, the once-in-a-lifetime thieves. You have to think about it: Those people who want to do crimes; they're ready for the repercussions or they wouldn't do them in the first place. Those who want to do it have nothing to lose. If you're breaking into somebody's house, you're risking your life in the first place; you might get shot, so your mind is already set for whatever. The best way to deter this is give them options because the first rule of not being a human, but an animal period, is survival. In our neighborhoods, with the way they're sectioned off, what do we have? What other options? I'd like to see the people writing these types of negative articles give some positive options.

JFP: Do you give the people calling for "zero tolerance" credit for meaning well?
Banner: Honestly, they don't care about black people in the first place, or people of any culture outside their culture because I honestly believe that, if any way it affected their kids, it wouldn't be zero tolerance they want. And even if one of their kids were to be convicted, there would be a loophole. One of their friends would probably be a judge or something like that.
JFP: You grew up in West Jackson and went to Provine. How did you avoid the pitfalls of the streets?
Banner: Good parenting, a mother, a father. I went back and studied my life, and looked at my two best friends growing up. One is on drugs bad; the other is shot up and can barely walk. In both situations, there wasn't a father in the home. The government tries to make families more dependent on the system, and less dependent on individual family structure. But what's strange is that the system doesn't embrace them.

JFP: Many people like to blame the black community for crime. What do you say to that?
Banner: Look at guns and drugs. In most situations, black people are the ones being convicted for these crimes, but we don't have the natural resources to make the guns, the boats to bring the cocaine and the rest of the drugs into America. [Here his mother is saying, "Alright now!" in agreement.] But we are convicted. We're in ghettoes. It goes back to survival, and when your options are working at McDonalds or selling drugs [for more money], what would you pick?

JFP: What about the schools? Are they the key?
Banner: A lot of teachers don't want to be at these high schools in the ghettoes in the first place and just do whatever it takes to get through the day and get the day over with. Some are bold enough to tell you they're there only for a paycheck or their two years' mandatory, then they're moving out. In a lot of cases, kids are not being educated. Then they get put into the [jail] system. Even when they go into the jail system, people are trying to shut down any program to rehabilitate kids, and it becomes a vicious cycle. As I said in one of my rhymes, one of my songs, if we are blind when we come out, we're going right back in. If they didn't learn, and they're only caged, that will only sharpen animalistic qualities. Then it becomes codependency.

JFP: At the Boys & Girls Club Friday, you talked to the kids about the importance of education and doing well in school. Yet, rappers sometimes promote anything but a good education, the glamour of bling-bling and a gangsta lifestyle over becoming a college student. How do you jibe the two? Why should young people believe your education message?
Banner: It's hard because you have to walk a fine line. People don't understand that kids have to first of all trust you, to understand you've been through same thing they've been through. Kids say, "You went to school, had a father, never shot at nobody, never robbed, your mother was never on crack, you weren't in a gang. What do you know about my lifestyle?" With me, I've experienced—I don't know if I should say this around my mama—a lot of stuff growing up. I'm able to relay these messages, not glorifying them but putting them out. Snoop [the rapper] said something that changed my thoughts: People like clergyman and preachers criticize rap. Snoop said: "What if I don't know anything else? This is all I know? You haven't come to me to speak to me one-on-one, and said, hey baby, what's the problem? What's on my mind? Why am I so angry?" People don't want to remedy black problems; they just want to control our communities. Honestly, if black kids, the entire urban community, are not on drugs or not in jail, they'll have more time to think about what's really going on. Not only that, we would have more voting power. The hate groups pushing zero tolerance see that if people are not on drugs, or convicted for crimes, then we will have power, voting power. Being that Mississippi is one of the few states with such a large black population, that would give us more voting power, more control. It would be cute.

JFP: I met your mentor, Charlie Braxton, at Hal & Mal's. How did that come about? How did Charlie change your life?
Banner: He was doing a story for a magazine about me, when I was 22 or 23. I guess like a lot of people, he was surprised with my knowledge of black history. He collects books also. Charlie noticed I was at a crossroads, picking what path to go down. Either I was totally going to the streets, or I could keep things as positive as I possibly could. So we just stayed in touch. The thing is, I'm similar to these kids now; it's hard to trust somebody who has not been through things I've been through. What people try to do when they gain your trust is control you. I worked this hard to get this far without much assistance; I don't trust too many people. I could tell Charlie had a genuine interest in not only me, but people of culture all over the world. I listened. Sometimes you need another person outside yourself to filter your thoughts. In most cases, young black males don't have another male figure to filter their thoughts to or be an example. Tupac said before he died something that's monumental in my life: "If I was raised by a woman and a woman's thoughts were the only thoughts given to me, I couldn't help but be like one." It's impossible for a woman to teach a man to be a man. And that's what we need more of in our community. Men.

JFP: What are the dangers of hysteria about crime?
Banner: If you corner these kids, they're not going to do anything but fight back. All of us are still animals by nature. If you're in an oppressive situation with nothing else to lose, it can get bad. We're coming to be summertime, and it's getting hot, hot in the streets. The thing is, they (media) don't value our lives at all. I know how I'm treated. It's strange because I would honestly say that especially when it comes to cops, most black males who are on the police force, they know how they would be treated if they didn't have a badge on. Why would they condone zero tolerance? I don't know the exact statistics (on crime in Jackson), but I can't say it's too much worse than it was before. What it tells me is that something is going on. They're spending money on the downtown area; my personal theory is there's an underlying movement going on. Somebody is trying to paint a picture, and my community is going to be the sacrificial lamb. Whether they are trying to "clean up" Jackson to bring in a certain corporation, bring a certain type of money back to Jackson, or to shut down somebody's neighborhood to put something else there, it's crazy. Violence has always been a part of our community; it wasn't a big problem then when young black kids were getting killed and robbed. What's the problem now?

JFP: What is your message to young people in your community?
Banner: Honestly? I think the best thing is to just be careful right now. We're being used and manipulated, so this is just the time for sacrifice. Survival is key; there's something a whole lot bigger going on. We're almost to point where kids don't have nothing to do and then they're being policed. It's like they have a muzzle on.

JFP: Most serious crimes committed in Jackson are by high-school dropouts. How can you and I and the rest of Jackson keep these young people in school and motivated and, thus, out of prison?
Banner: It goes back to motivation, and I feel like we just have to give them a goal. It's hard for me to say to the kids because right now all they can see is what's in front of them. It's sort of hard for you to dream when you're hungry. It's easy to dream when your mind can be on other things. We must say to kids: There is something better. Knowledge is the best weapon to combat any war right now. Everything is moving toward being a mental war; you have to feed your mind and stockpile your ammo for this mental war. School is the start.

JFP: You are the only national celebrity I know of right now promoting Mississippi in such an aggressively positive way as you're doing. Yet, you burn Mississippi flags on stage, and you have angry Klansmen in your video on MTV and BET. Are you dwelling on the negative?
Banner: A flag is something that is supposed to embrace all cultures and represent us all. If Mississippi's state flag is supposed to represent Mississippi, it isn't supposed to be specifically depicting one group's lineage. I don't have a problem with the rebel flag itself; amongst your community do whatever you want. But it doesn't represent us all; especially a state that's so heavily black; it's a spit in the face. If you support the state's black culture, you have to embrace it holistically. That flag is a slap in the face every time I see it. I love Mississippi, but there are still problems I have with it. We're getting down to the point of right or wrong where there is no middle ground. The fact that people with that much influence would even push that [flag vote] off on us is really like a slap in the face. That goes back to what I was telling you about voting. I was told that in the Delta that kids who get in trouble in school don't go straight to detention hall. They go to jail. And a lot of kids think it's cool. What they're slowly doing is taking away our rights so they can do things like keep the flag. My grandparents (ancestors) died so that they could be free. That flag embraced things like slavery when (white) people of those times believed my people were one-third human. For us to be a nation that embraces all cultures and for that flag to fly means that they really don't support us. Mississippi is supposed to represent all of us.

JFP: Yet you say you love Mississippi. Why, with all the painful history here for your people, do you love it?
Banner: Love is almost a direct synonym for pain; the only reason you love something is that you're fearful of the fact that it might go away. If you don't love something, and it leaves or perishes, it wouldn't affect your life. My ancestors died for me to be here; my people were hung from trees. I deserve Mississippi; Mississippi deserves me. I love it the way I do because of all the pain my people went through for all those years.

David Banner will appear at Jubilee! Jam Sunday, May 18, at 7 p.m. on the Uptown Blues Stage.

Previous Comments

ID
76895
Comment
Well said, Banner!
Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-05-16T13:06:55-06:00
ID
76896
Comment
These are just Banner's opinions. Another message of victimization. Except in Banner's eyes it is the criminals who are the victims, not those upon whom the crimes are being perpetrated. Progressive thinking at its finest. Per Banner, it is everyone else's fault but those who are responsible. There is no call by Banner for self-responsibility or self-control. There is no call for understanding the difference between right and wrong. When asked for a message to our young people, he doesn't say 'stay in school', 'get an education', 'help your family', 'volunteer in your community to make it better', 'get involved and vote for change' he tells young people to hang on and be careful. He tells them that they are being used, manipulated, muzzled and sacrificed. Then he becomes a conspiracy theorist with the comment "thereís something a whole lot bigger going on.". Well what is it? Let us all know what the fix is. Is that truly the message you are going to share down the road with your children as they live in the lap of luxury your earned success has brought? This is by far the weakest piece in this JFP Crime Series. Banner's is a negative message, its a divisive message, its a blame game message, its a racist message. It is not a positive message. Its not a message of redemption or neighborhood rebirth. Its not enlightened and clearly not a message chock full of solutions.
Author
Reader
Date
2003-05-16T17:54:18-06:00
ID
76897
Comment
PT1 Note to Mr. Banner: May I suggest, since you are extremely frustrated with the system and what it is not doing and providing, that while you are in town that you take your concerns to our Mayor Harvey Johnson. You see, in our strong Mayoral form of city government here in Jackson Mr. Johnson is the CEO of our City. The Mayor's office is where the buck stops -- though he'd like to obscure that fact on many given days. The Mayor calls the shots and primarily just needs to keep our Board of Directors, the City Council, in the loop on the big decisions. The Mayor, Mr. Banner, is the person with the power. The Mayor is your Agent of Change. If he wanted to roll out meaningful solutions and reforms to all that you are crying out about no one would stand in his way -- at least not in Jackson. Sadly, for 6+ years Mayor Johnson has done nothing to address these issues. He has been extremely busy though working to build monuments to his legacy downtown. I can't even begin to quantify for you how many hours of his personal and staff time, and hard dollars, has been spent on lobbying the Legislature, business groups and any other Tom, Dick or Harrys who would listen for a local sales tax option to build even more monuments downtown. Was Farish Street a priority right now in light of the glaring shortfalls and inadequacies you've identified? Should we be engaged in delivering capital improvements downtown, or on High Street -- where no one lives -- or would we be better off spending that money on improving the physical condition of our schools in Jackson? How about spending money to redevelop and revitalize some of our downtrodden residential neighborhoods so that young families can enjoy the benefits of home ownership and in turn generate exponential rebirth? Agreat deal of that money could have been allocated to improve, enhance and provide the services that you feel so deeply are failing, and sorely needed by, our youth. Maybe we could be using some of that money to insure that we are hiring and retaining only the best teachers for our schools in Jackson? If it is shortsighted to not provide the Capital City of Mississippi with a state-of-the-art convention center surely it must be just as shortsighted to make sure that that same city not employ the very best teachers in the state.
Author
Reader
Date
2003-05-16T17:55:41-06:00
ID
76898
Comment
PT2 Do you think our community would benefit if we spent some of that money on helping our young families make end$ meet so that their children won't go hungry? Would funding for quality day care facilities help? How about marital counseling, could we use stand to apply some money to help those families stay together? Because if there is anything positive in your message Mr. Banner it is your specific identification that "Good parenting, a mother, a father" is what saw you through it all, what helped you avoid the pitfalls of your peers on the road to success and a $90,000 Dodge Viper. If you would indulge me for just a few more minutes Mr. Banner, I'd like to tell you a dirty little secret that NO ONE in the Jackson media community is talking about. While Precinct 4 -- a predominantly white precinct -- is the squeaky wheel getting the grease right now, do you think Mr. Banner that raising young children in Precincts 1 or 2 or 3 -- predominantly black precincts where violent crime has always been a constant -- do you think that is having a negative impact on our youth? You see, violent crime in Precinct 1 is 53% higher than in Precinct 4 so far this year. During a comparable period in 2002, violent crime in Precinct 2 was 157% higher than in Precinct 4. Where is the outrage Mr. Banner? Maybe some of that money spent downtown could have gone to hire more police officers to help these people live in the peace the folks in Precinct 4 are hollering they want back? Is it good for the mental and physical health of our well-meaning young black families doing their best to make it in this world to live in an environment like that? How many times do their homes have to get burglarized before someone pays attention? How many home invasions at gunpoint do they have to endure before someone asks our City government to actually perform? Do you think it may psychologically harm their young children to grow up in a violent neighborhood -- never feeling at ease, always staying vigiliant for the sound of gunfire? You see Mr. Banner, while the folks in Fondren and Woodland Hills, and Belhaven and the Heights are making lots of noise and getting lots of attention right now about their crime concerns -- in fact they generated the noise that spawned this 'Crime Series' -- the families and people working to live good, clean and honest lives in the other 3 precincts have been crying out for help for the past 10+ years and nothing has gotten done.
Author
Reader
Date
2003-05-16T17:59:13-06:00
ID
76899
Comment
PT3 Mr. Banner. Weren't you still here for some of that time? Surely you will agree Mr. Banner that we need to get back to basics in Jackson. If only it was that easy. Because, to get back to the basics we will have to prioritize because we simply don't have enough money to pay for it all. You see, we have a rampant tax base migration underway of tax-paying business and tax-paying citizens out of the City of Jackson. And we can't continually be increasing taxes -- already the highest in the Metro -- because that will surely stimulate more migration. Tax base migration is the single biggest issue facing our City and until we get a handle on its root causes -- and cease focusing on its symptoms -- every program and service the City provides is jeopardized including those you _alluded_ to that we desperately need for our youth. Yes, as some people will go out of their way to note, people and businesses are moving to Jackson -- and some have indicated a desire to do the same but desires don't pay taxes -- but not in numbers great enough to offset the churn. The rate of outflow exceeds the rate of inflow. It is not a tax revenue neutral phenomenon it is tax revenue negative. Despite a large property tax increase by the City and JPS just a couple years back, the City of Jackson by its own projections faces a $20+ million annual budget shortfall just a few years from now by 2006. Jackson is just out of money and the money is does receive shrinks with every business or residential move out of town. Don't get me wrong Mr. Banner, we can get back to basics. I'm confident we can, I pray we will and I actively lobby for the same. But we will have to prioritize first. We can't do it all. We've got to get back to basics. Its our only hope. If you get a chance, could you share our message with the Mayor? He is the one who so dearly needs to hear it. With your new fame, and elevation by the local media into an exalted leadership position as spokeperson for the young black community, maybe you can get in to see him and be persuasive enough to reclaim the focus to those issues that really matter. If you would, tell him that no one is going to remember him for his fixation for building monuments but that everyone will remember him for his contribution to our people. This has been a great talk. I thank you.
Author
Reader
Date
2003-05-16T18:00:14-06:00
ID
76900
Comment
I would call that a *speech,* Reader, or a monologue. You took up more space than most of our stories in the print magazine! You're welcome. One quick factual thing: In the sidebar to this interview, about the Banner appearance at the Boys & Girls Club voter rally (which we co-sponsored)0, the writer reported on him saying many of the things you accuse him of not doing here: stay in school, take responsibility, get involved and especially vote. Banner is a controversal figure, and is clearly speaking for himself here (of course, it's "just" his opinions; what else would a Q&A be?). I do, though, suggest a closer read of this interview; you seem to be cruising through doing your "reading to refute" thing that you love to do on the JFP site. There are all sorts of messages here involving education, mentoring, voting, listening to young people, reaching out across community lines, prevention, etc., that you're just ignoring in some of your comments. You don't have to agree with his take on them, but denying they are there adds nothing to the discussion. Otherwise, from a quick read, it seems you raise some interesting points that I'll consider more when I'm not Jubilee! Jam-bound. Just from your lengthy responseóaside from the many we're getting so far thanking us for running his commentsóit's obvious that this interview is serving the exact purpose it is meant to.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-16T18:25:12-06:00
ID
76901
Comment
Reader, another correction: The crime series came about directly in response to what I believed to be poor and misleading coverage of crime by the Clarion-Ledger and specifically by columnist Eric Stringfellow, starting back when the Captain D's drive-by happened and before I'd heard much about Northsiders worrying about crime (one Northside crime victim from Brandon called me after I started researching it, though). And after looking at it for myself, I saw that media were twisting the police's comments out of context seemingly in order to create an enemy and, I presume, sell papers and raise ratings. I also saw that, indeed, crime was rising as it is most everywhere (even Ventura County, Calif.), especially property and gun crimes. I wanted to help provide some balance and analysis to a debate that was totally turning ugly and distorted and being controlled mostly by corporate media outlets headquartered elsewhere, who don't have a real stake in the city of Jackson. When I saw that TV stations and other smaller papers were getting in it with even worse reporting, and scaring people to death and out of the city, I knew it was the JFP's role to try to add something to the discussion and the debate. Of course, there are still forces that won't stop screaming until they've torn apart the city, but I certainly hope we've helped smarten up the thinking a bitóand we're not finished, yet.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-16T19:03:10-06:00
ID
76902
Comment
Hey, I'm not a freeloader. If you want me to kick in a few $ for the server space the 8400 words occupied just say so and I'll send some postage stamps. Seriously, just ask and name the price. I'll send you the stamps tomorrow. I'm not sure where this over-reaction about my readiness to comment emanates. Do you want the dialog or not? This isn't the only forum in which I participate. Isn't that the beauty about the blogsphere? Direct, often instantaneous and sometimes contrary response from your readers. You like to ding me for commenting but then seem to be happy that the discourse is at least taking place. For the record, I pick up a hard copy of the JFP, every release, at the Video Library @ Deville. (Instead of stamps maybe you would like a Video Library gifrt certificate?) I really would appreciate it if you would spare me the commentary about conducting a cursory read. I read _thoroughly_ everything and I couldn't help but note the JFP's "softening" of Banner's interview with the sidebar. (<--I'm giving you credit.) I'm not ignoring anything and stand by my comments even if they rub you, or Banner, incorrectly. Banner's interview with you speaks volumes by and for itself. I didn't put any words into his mouth just as I am sure that you didn't pull punches for him from the actual comments he committed on the record. Banner had a golden opportunity in the _interview_ to communicate to all who read the JFP the positive messages you included in the sidebar but didn't. Why not? Some of his comments are easily as "hard-line" -- at the opposite end of the spectrum -- and go unchallenged as any with which you take exception from those you find hysterical in the anti-crime community. Thanks for the correction (sacrcasm). Of course I had no idea what actually spawned the series and I'll take your explanation at face value though I'm still curious about the timing. " . . . aside from the many [responses] we're getting so far thanking us for running his comments . . ." Finally, why in the world are you alluding that I'm not thankful for your running the piece? I'm not emotionally attached to any discussion -- except maybe about my children and family. I may be opinionated -- a trait we share -- but I'm not emotionally attached. Its not personal, never has been. Its not that I'm not thankful, never has been.
Author
Reader
Date
2003-05-16T21:25:21-06:00
ID
76903
Comment
Reader, you know I don't want your money. We provide a free forum for diverse views. You know as well as I do that I'm alluding to a comment you made on a different JFP blog that I disputed there as clearly erroneous: "There is no requirement that any media outlet let any voice get through except the one they want to be heard. You may not like it but that is a fact. Isn't that why the JFP was established?" (As you recall, I pointed out that clearly we were not just established to let one voice through; we were allowing you to publish your anonymous, unedited options in their entirety.) The *only* comments you make that "rub" me wrong are when you insist on definitively characterizing the JFP, or my personal beliefs or motives. Those are the ones I consistently respond to because I believe you're killing real debate with those jabs. For instance, you just said: "I read _thoroughly_ everything and I couldn't help but note the JFP's 'softening' of Banner's interview with the sidebar." You're mischaracterizing, pure and simple. No one set out to "soften" anything with a sidebar; I have no need to soften Mr. Banner's comments. The fact is, I sent a reporter separately to that event to cover the music panel; he cancelled the panel and just spoke to the kids. She wrote about what she saw and turned it in after I wrote the interview with Banner, and separately. We both wrote what we both heard. But this is an example of what confounds me about your posts here. You keep up with what's going on (cheers for that) and have thought-provoking comments to contribute, but you string them together with declarative accusations about the JFP that you have no way of substantiating. If your other non-JFP-related comments weren't often thoughtful and informed beyond where local media tend to go, I'd swear you write for a competitor and are out to make fun of us in print. (Which has happened on this site by other posters, who don't disguise their identity very well.)
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-16T22:56:50-06:00
ID
76904
Comment
MORE The truth is, if the JFP was just about me, I wouldn't really care what you say about it. As I said, I'm pretty tough-skinned. But, the JFP is a collaborative effort by an amazing collection of people coming together in a very special project; the Free Press is about all of them, and about an increasingly cohesive creative and progressive community of all ages and races in Jackson that is supporting us in touching and sobering ways. Many people have worked amazingly hard on this project for very little or no pay to date, and thus I will continue defending this effort on behalf of all of them. We believe in what we're doing here, and it sure as heck is not about censoring difficult ideas. It's about discussing them in an intelligent and civil way so we can collectively find solutions. And if that means listening to difficult-to-hear comments from someone with unique experiences such as Banner, the JFP will continue to be right there, giving voice to voices that are seldom heard in this city or state. What I'm asking you to do is to just leave out the JFP attack filler so we can have a real conversation. Several of your points above, for instance, certainly bear discussion, and I plan to give them some thought and respond. But if you keep up the JFP badgering for badgering sake, I'm just going to start ignoring your posts altogether. That is not censorship; I certainly won't block your IP address or such. I'll just stop wasting my energy trying to have a conversation with you, figuring that isn't your priority. One last thing: I do routinely point out when I think someone is mischaracterizing a story because they're missing important facts in it. Again, I think you missed or ignored components of Banner's message in the interview in your first posting above. That is not to say you should have agreed or not thought it should have been stronger or whatever. But I believe it's important to pay attention to what people are saying before launching a frontal attack on them. Funny thing, when I re-read his comments and yours, I tend to find that the two of you agree on at least a few points. But more on that soon. I'm being called to dinner by the man of the house. ;-)
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-16T22:59:29-06:00
ID
76905
Comment
"I'm not ignoring anything and stand by my comments even if they rub you, or Banner, incorrectly." -- (Anonymous) Reader Take the above for what it's worth... My post has nothing to do with the article instead it has everything to do with Reader; Reader makes some great comments and some futile comments but does not stand behind ANY of them. How credible can a source be that uses xyz.com as their domain? I'm irritated that someone could make the statement above (stand by my comments) and then "sign" anonymously. Unless Reader is part of XYZ consulting (and I doubt that) which owns the xyz.com domain, he is, according to internet terms, spamming this site (JFP) and fraudulently using the domain name of a consulting group (XYZ Consulting). All I'm asking is that you stand behind your comments and show your real name or at least initials... Otherwise your words and many others that post as "Reader" will begin to be overlooked by me and others since they are often Flames and lack an originating source. Reader, I challenge you. "stand by" your "comments"!
Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-05-17T12:37:52-06:00
ID
76906
Comment
I agree with Knol that's hard to "stand by" your comments when you make them anonymously. However, I still support Reader's right to do that, and the JFP is in no way saying he is committing fraud. That said, I'd really like to return this forum to a discussion of crime in Jackson, and I apologize if my reactions to Reader's characterizations of the JFP took the discussion a different direction. (I could lift the "Reader"-related comments out and give them their own blog; I don't want to censor anybody here, but I do want us to stay on topic.) Anyway, I'll be back with more comments soon on his/her crime-related comments. I encourage other Readers to do the same. Meantime, go on over to Jubilee! Jam this weekend. Looks like the day is brightening up about now. Hallelejah!
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-17T12:49:24-06:00
ID
76907
Comment
As a sidebar to my own aggressive post earlier. I did attend the Boys and Girls Club function that JFP and Banner hosted promoting the concept of political involvement and voting and how those actions can change our city and world. Also, Banner went out of his way to point out the importance of staying in school, interacting with parents, voting or talking to parents about voting, not falling victim to the streets and so many other topics I could go on for multiple points. Believe me, Donna is not making this up. This man really had alot to say! His message was well received by these young minds that receive little attention from the outside world and especially the surrounding white, middle/upper class bedroom communities. They seemed energized and readied by his words and were excited as children could be to see someone that came from their streets and schools that is not only famous but has done well for himself financially and schoolastically. He is doing his part to make things better by being a proud Mississippian and not neglecting his roots... He is also returning to help remedy the problems he sees in the streets... Are you doing your part for your community and state?
Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-05-17T12:54:33-06:00
ID
76908
Comment
Can we get over Reader posting anonymously? Maybe he's a city employee who could get fired if someone saw his name here. Maybe he's a cop. Maybe he's a closet conservative working for a liberal organization. Maybe he's believes all the conspiracy theory wandering the web about what John Ashcroft may do to you if 1) Patriot II goes into effect and 2) writing for an alternative weekly becomes a "suspicious activity" and doesn't want the FBI busting down his door. Maybe he's Kirk Fordice. Maybe he's Ronnie Musgrove. Maybe he works for a competing newspaper. Maybe he's like me and knows how easy it is for someone surfing the internet to find out his name and address and stalk/harass/spam/attack him. Maybe he'll tell us who he is--maybe not. Why should anyone besides Donna care? (She has legal issues to worry about as owner of the site) BTW--Donna knows who JW is and seems content to not mention it. Thanks for the forum, gal.
Author
JW
Date
2003-05-17T22:23:40-06:00
ID
76909
Comment
Hey, I may know who Reader is, too, for all you know. ;-) As I've said repeatedly to Reader, I don't mind that he posts anonymously (hell, I and the ACLU supported the Klan's right to wear masks when they marched in Manhattan, but Giuliani won). I think it keeps coming up here because Reader mixes in ad hominem (and factually inaccurate) attacks among his wider discussion points, which JW doesn't do, to her credit. Such lobs can be particularly hard to swallow from someone who doesn't sign their posts. But I agree with you that it should not be this forum's primary concern, so I apologize for any fuel I added to that fire. Meantime, we can all just believe Reader is Kirk "Positive Mississippi" Fordice, and really enjoy the idea that his ghost has risen to participate in a Free Press forum about David Banner. By the way, if any city or other government employee gets fired for posting here, please let me know. That would be a violation of First Amendment rights for the government to do such a thing (at least under the Constitution as it currently stands). By the way, who saw David Banner's Jam performance yesterday? Would love to hear some comments about it.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-19T11:18:17-06:00
ID
76910
Comment
Back to crime: In Reader's comments above, the following statement jumps out at me and deserves discussion: "Mr. Banner, I'd like to tell you a dirty little secret that NO ONE in the Jackson media community is talking about. While Precinct 4 -- a predominantly white precinct -- is the squeaky wheel getting the grease right now, do you think Mr. Banner that raising young children in Precincts 1 or 2 or 3 -- predominantly black precincts where violent crime has always been a constant -- do you think that is having a negative impact on our youth?" First, I think Banner was saying essentially the same thing -- that the media pay more attention to crime in the white community. In fact, a Clarion-Ledger headline last week seems to prove it. In huge print: "Crime up 45%," then down below in much smaller print: "Residents in city's northern areas see thefts, robberies skyrocket since start of year." And the story is focused on the 4th Precinct, which is mostly white. Those crimes must be taken seriously, and have been (arrests have been made), but Reader's point that we pay more attention to crimes in white communities is right on target. It's a point that Chief Moore has raised with his talk about black-on-black crime, and a point I raised back in my first Crime story ("Blame Game") when I attended the Comstat meeting and reported the discussion about violent crime and murders in West Jackson. The painful truth is that until we figure out how to fund more police resources, we must juggle what's there, and we cannot ignore serious crime in poorer communities to solve crimes in richer communities.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-19T13:20:45-06:00
ID
76911
Comment
MORE The funny thing, of course, on the media front is that the statistics the C-L reported (which the PD did not provide; a city councilman gave them to the paper) bear out exactly what Chief Moore has been telling the media at press conferences for months: property crime, burglaries and home robberies ("home invasion" is a media label, particularly popular during sweeps month) are way up over the same period last year. The question for Jackson, and the rest of the country, is how to stem rising crime in tough economic times when guns are very easy to come by. Remember: If we just tell the police to react to it, a crime will still have to be committed first. Let's figure out how to keep more crimes from being committed -- and remember that, despite unsubstantiated pontification to the contrary, research shows that fear of arrest and incarceration is simply not enough in the majority of cases committed by people who believe they have nothing to lose, especially young people. So we as a community and a nation are going to have to work a little harder than just yelling at police to go lock up the "thug" and "hoodlums" if we really want to decrease crime in all our communities. As much as we'd like it to be that easy, there is no one crime-fighting panacea, especially in miserable economic times when all but the very rich are in trouble. We need a full menu of do-able options that we can all participate in that add up to something big -- from locking our car doors to mentoring to neighborhood watch to supporting public education to raising money for more police resources. And if Virginia- and New York-based media outlets want to call that Policing or Crimefighting 101, they ought to call the home office and see what's worked where they're from (and find out that many of the same problems are surfacing everywhere). And "zero tolerance" shakedowns and empty lock-em-up rhetoric don't solve anything, except perhaps help someone's political (and ratings) aspirations. It's time to roll up our sleeves, y'all, and work together as a community here. Let's make the corporate media follow the lead of the local community, not the other way around.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-19T13:28:10-06:00
ID
76912
Comment
So why isn't there a fear of incarceration? I've read that statement before and it continues to puzzle me. If being a criminal is about breaking the rules of civil society, then why doesn't the thought of going to a prison, with rules aplenty, regulation of even private bodily functions, all controlled by "the Man", scare such people? PJ O'Rourke once made a comment about a particular juvenile criminal in DC that even if he goes to jail, it's not so bad-- he'll get to see all his friends there and sleep somewhere a lot cleaner than the house they arrested him at. Is that the thinking going on in these studies? How can researchers and experts expect ordinary lower-middle-class citizens to understand the mindset that doesn't see anything particularly wicked about going to jail? What we know is we go out and work jobs we may not particularly like for 20-40-60 hours a week, pay our taxes even when we could use that money somewhere else, save for our kids' education, keep the grass cut in the yard--in other words, we "follow the rules"--and when we're victimized by someone stealing something we worked very hard to own, we're practically told it's our own fault: for parking a car with a CD player in it. for not watching who was following us home, and especially for not understanding the world these kids have grown up in and why they commit crimes. Excuse me? I wouldn't want to understand--I would want to be compensated, either get my stuff back or give me the satisfaction of knowing there's punishment to be had. And I think that's the mindset that is prevalent in the recent crime uproar--neither one of those satisfactions seem to be available in Jackson.
Author
JW
Date
2003-05-19T14:53:47-06:00
ID
76913
Comment
JW, why can't punishment, compensation, understanding and prevention go hand-in-hand -- a multi-part plan of sorts as I mentioned above? We don't have to choose one side or another in that respect (no matter what any ideologue tells us). This is not a black or white issue if we don't allow it to be. Why the threat of prison doesn't deter many people is really not that hard of a puzzle to figure out. It's really about what conditions and mindset someone is living in already, and what they perceive they have to lose. If they are growing up amid buildings that are falling down, because some absentee landlord won't repair them and the city can't afford to, their family has been torn apart because of drug arrests or other criminal activity, their schools can barely afford textbooks, their fathers are missing, their mothers are working two jobs, and they perceive that no one cares about them, maybe prison doesn't seem so bad, at least at the moment. NOW, all this does not mean that they should get off "scot-free" as hard-line ideologues like to accuse anyone of looking at those darned root causes of saying. Let me say it loudly: You can explore, understand and treat causes WHILE you are dealing with the criminal-justice end of things. In fact, you have to, or the criminal-justice end will just keep growing, and the cycle just repeating itself. It would be jumping several miles in logic to say that one can't do both at once, and you should. I'm not going to sit here and argue that you should never punish those who commit crimes (although this state indeed has a history of that); that would be naive of me. Likewise, it is just as naive to say that you shouldn't pay any attention to causes and prevention as crime increases. That's just shortsighted.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-19T15:34:44-06:00
ID
76914
Comment
By the same token, advising someone to get a Club or to not leave CDs lying on the seat is not the same as blaming the victim. I have not heard one indication that the local police are blaming victims; they are merely giving advice on what we can do smarter to prevent ourselves from being victims of crime. There's no need to twist that into accusing them of blaming victims; doing that stinks of playing politics (not saying you're doing this, by the way, but others certainly do). In New York City, we knew that you don't leave valuables in your car; that doesn't mean we were saying it was "our fault" if a crime occurred. It's just being smart, especially during a bad economy when so many people are unemployed. What's wrong with advising residents to be smart in Jackson? By the way, P. J. O'Rourke is not the best authority on juvenile crime; he hurls ideological barbs at young people every chance he gets, from what I've seen. The truth is, the way juveniles are being incarcerated in many places in this country is very troubling, and is certainly not helping to stop the cycle of crime (which Banner refers to above). I've done a lot of research in this area; you'll be hearing more from me about it.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-19T15:46:30-06:00
ID
76915
Comment
One mo' thing: If the threat of going to jail *is* a strong deterrent, wouldn't it make sense to send the message that the police are working hard to make arrestsówhich every real indication is that they areórather than to hyperbolize real crime statistics into "drowning in crime" hysteria? Wouldn't the latter tactic send the message that amateur criminals can get away with more, and thus embolden them? How does that hysteria, in turn, help deterrence, especially if the message is they won't get caught? I just don't quite get the logic behind sending a message that crime is "out of control" and the police are ineffective, and then complaining that criminals are too emboldened lately. I suspect that the former is feeding some of the latter, and that's one of my main concerns right now in Jacksonóthat old "contagion effect" I keep mentioning. I fully realize that my logic can also circle in on itselfóthat is, if deterrence doesn't work, wouldn't they commit the crimes regardless of level of hysteria?óbut I fear that at least some bored, young drop-outs are doing a copycat thing to perhaps get attention (whether from peers or society), perhaps thinking they won't get caught and, if they do, so what?. And that contagion effect could easily kick in when all they see about themselves in the media is negative. Why not be who they say we are? That's tragic, but it's often true, and it's a problem that society must help change. (Society, after all, helped create it.) As you can see, I'm still reasoning all this out for myself, but I do believe that more answers are there if we try a little reasoning instead of yelling about the thugs (who could, by the way, be the nephew or brother of any one of us).
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-19T16:23:18-06:00
ID
76916
Comment
Oh, I know PJ's slant--the quote just seemed a good shorthand for the mindset under consideration. I think we are missing each other's point. "How can researchers and experts expect ordinary lower-middle-class citizens to understand the mindset that doesn't see anything particularly wicked about going to jail?" I didn't say "figure out"--I said "understand"--as in feel, empathize, find common ground, gain perspective. Middle-class Americans (let's dispense with concentration on Jackson at the moment) fall into largely two categories--those born to the middle class and those who fought their way up to it. (Some people fall down to it, but not many). Researchers and experts talking about the pathology of crime are not going to make any sense to middle-class citizens because the mindset that "anyone can make it in America" holds true for them, even after reading books like "Nickeled and Dimed". (Whether it's a useful myth or the truth is a topic for another blog) Those who fought their way up are expecially resistant to the idea that others can't do what they've done. Back to Jackson and Missisippi. You and I both know about growing up with a whole lot of nothing split several ways. I remember growing up if you couldn't grow it in the garden, you just about didn't eat it. We all saved Cool Whip bowls, rinsed out aluminum foil, and took handmedowns from relatives until they'd been through 13 cousins. Most people who grew up like that--but didn't turn to a life of crime or drugs or assorted pathology--are not going to respond the way you'd like to messages about how bad some car thief had it growing up--much less want fund an initiative to study it.
Author
JW
Date
2003-05-19T16:26:51-06:00
ID
76917
Comment
I think I see your point about the difficulty of understanding. There is, undoubtedly, a disconnect. I'd argue that it's going to be hard for most peopleóeven those of us who grew up in trailer parksóto understand the pathology of inner-city crime until we are willing to face the legacy of race and Jim Crow, drugs (which Banner is right to point out were not brought into the communities by African Americans), poor educational opportunities. It is important, though, to listen to him carefully (whether or not you agree with him). He wants (white) society to understand his community's challenges and help fix them, even AS African-Americans "take responsibility" as he warned during his Freelon's show. Contrary to Reader's reading of him above, I have not heard him said that the white community must just "save" his community or flood it with hand-outs or anything else. And he's not saying that the white community doesn't face some of the same challenges. Heólike Chief Mooreópreaches family responsibility, fatherhood, self sufficiency. (I quoted Chief Moore in "Blame Game" saying the following to a community meeting: ìI donít have the ability to come sit in front of your house and stop a burglary, or raise your children. You have to do that.î But another, er, newspaper in town picked up the quote, but left out the "or raise your children" in one of the more irresponsible moments of journalism I've witnessed lately.)
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-19T16:55:01-06:00
ID
76918
Comment
But, and I agree with Banner here, these problems are complex and aren't going to be solved simply by a "zero tolerance" attitude toward members of a very downtrodden communityóJim Crow ended here only 34 years ago, and the schools were already re-segregating into "good" white schools and "bad" black schools, as they're referred to as. The fact is, I came from a dirt-poor family in Neshoba County, but because I was white (and, frankly, blonde), I have had more opportunities than dirt-poor black families, and, as you allude to, I *believed* all along in the Horatio Algers dream, unlike many of my black friends with last names of the white families that owned their ancestors. While my people were struggling to figure out how to get a piece of the American dream, theirs were struggling to get actual schoolbooks and the right to vote without knowing how many bubbles are in a bar of soap. I could do it, and I had people telling me I could do it. They had people telling them they couldn't. That's a different starting place. Banner says above that black families are too reliant on the "system"; I agree with him; I'm not arguing for an irresponsible welfare state here. What I am saying is that it won't hurt these middle-class people you talk about to try to understand what the unique problems are in the black community. And if they don't, crime will continue to plague us all; we can't just run from "bad" neighborhoods and shut "them" behind walls like in the Warsaw Ghetto. We all have to live together, and the combination of guns and poverty will continue to be tragic if we don't all band together to both (a) eradicate the causes of crime and (b) deal effectively with criminals, with both imprisonment and rehabilitation. And don't forget the middle class (and opportunities to get into it) is shrinking dramatically, and by design, so these kinds of problems we're discussing are growing, not shrinking. Enough. Must work now. Keep talking, y'all. ;-D
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-19T16:55:31-06:00
ID
76919
Comment
Editing what I said above a bit: I'm not saying that all black families are too reliant on the system. I typed that wrong. Many people become too reliant on "the system" partly because there aren't enough opportunities not to be, and some people have easier access to those opportunities. Frankly, in my own extended family, there was way too much reliance on the welfare system and too little working when I was growing up. And a big part of that problem was that people had very little education and few good options. It's a hard cycle to break, but I'd argue that we can never quit trying.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-19T17:41:10-06:00
ID
76920
Comment
I believe that a lot of this antipathy toward JPD lately is anger toward Harvey coming back up to the surface. We saw the scandals and kept checking the calendar as the months passed with no police chief. City Council members had regular sparring matches with the Metro Crime Commission, Downtown Jackson Partners, and regular folks up for a school board position. It seemed anything somewhat logical was stymied by grandstanding and pretzel logic. (And did I hear correctly that Chief Moore hasn't moved his family to Jackson yet??) So now here we are in the middle of a large stewpot full of debate and finger pointing and name-calling and he-said she-said BS. Families are being robbed in their homes in the evening. Their homes are being "invaded" - this may be a media label, but it sounds quite accurate: you answer the door and someone shoves past you and holds a gun to your head while your kids scatter off screaming and the other two or three (you didn't notice because of primal fear) dash around scooping up valuables. This, to me, transcends the term "robbery", and I am sure that it hasn't occured to anyone to put on some coffee and ask the invaders about their upbringing and current home life. For the most part, these victims could live in the suburbs but choose not to. The mass exodus out of the city over the past decade-plus seemed to have been finally over. New development and investment in the city seemed to foretell a renaissance of sorts. If we can't get a handle on neighborhood safety and none of our city officials seem to care or have a workable solution, a new migration is going to begin.
Author
JLosset
Date
2003-05-20T00:36:41-06:00
ID
76921
Comment
MORE: A "new migration" is not what I am hoping for, nor do I think that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. I do not like the C-L's hysterical, sensational headlines. On the other hand, the tone coming out of the JFP lately tends to have an air of "It's not THAT bad, guys! C'mon, lets go play hopscotch!" These incidents are horrible no matter where they happen. If it really took some pissed-off residents of Precinct 4 to raise enough racket to get Eric Stringfellow's attention (which you say in turn sparked your coverage and debate), then we really do have more problems here than we're admitting. I have no plans to move, and I think that this rash will calm down as awareness and community involvement increase. Past events cannot console someone who has been violated in their home. We need to find a way to give young kids hope, in order to prevent this "career track". However, in the meantime, we need to crack down and stop the insanity before someone gets hurt.
Author
JLosset
Date
2003-05-20T00:51:42-06:00
ID
76922
Comment
JL, I fully agree on most parts though I do not believe JFP has ever had a "let's go hopscotch" mentality about crime... Still, many JFP writers have suggested that getting out and being seen is a good idea to prevent crime and also meet your neighbors and I could not agree with them more! Since JFP has been covering the 'hysteria' in the press, I have been taking special note of people's actions, reactions, and conversations. Today, as I was walking into work, I heard a security guard and coworker discussing physical attacks and crime from a third party view (in other words, they were discussing attacks without being victims or knowing any); days before, I heard people were scared to park downtown for Jam! and therefore not attending (perception problem? I saw cops on every street of the CBD the entire weekend. JPD even announced a heavy saturation of police for the event); further back in time, I heard coworkers discussing relocating to another city because of a "crime wave that threatened" them (I asked if they or anyone, including neighbors, had been victimized... the reply was "no".); hell, I even made a joke about how my car was still in the parking space after Jam! solely based on the recent press coverage implying that NONE OF US ARE SAFE. The problem is that crime is on all of our minds, whether we are victims of criminals or slanted media, and many are perceiving recent crime incorrectly and unjustly. Yes, there are home invasions, car thefts, rapes, murders and more. But, if you watch the news, it's everywhere and has been for at least a decade. Now and in the recent past, it has become a thorn in the sides of Jacksonians because the media is fanning the fire and making it seem much larger and dangerous than it is. Sure it's rising by increments but has been falling overall. Crime comes and goes... In the last year or two (since 9/11), I expected crime stats to rise due to strain, angst, and internal issues caused by terrorism, economic depression, war, and job loss; I also realized there would be little our police force could do to prevent it. It's a loop that must play out or be broken by significant change.
Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-05-20T09:34:19-06:00
ID
76923
Comment
There are two large issues at play in this city --crime and the perception of crime. I think JFP is honestly attempting to illuminate the strange relationship that exists between the two and are attempting to flesh-out solutions rather than perpetuate the hysteria (unlike the glossy and/or thick papers that bash the city with opinions and skewed stats). I can not see where the COMSTAT crime statistics have been rejected nor denied by JFP or that an "all clear" column has been posted. I think JFP is all about wanting everyone to slow down, take a deep breathe, and think clearly before speaking, reporting, antagonizing and so forth; I also believe they want our media and police to handle this situation correctly without inciting further hysteria... Of course, I'm no JFP spokesmodel so this is only interpretation... (If there is a spokesmodel position, I look fabulous in evening dresses and big hair and am available for most events! :P ) JL, I fully agree that a crack down is necessary but also see this backfiring in the face of JPD. I have heard many people complaining about "racial profiling" (example ), too many roadblocks, too many speeding traps and so on. It seems that the police are damned if they do and damned if they don't. I really appreciate your last comments ("I have no plans to move, and I think that this rash will calm down...") and think they align well with JFP's philosphy about this situation. It appears as though you are not a victim of the hysteria and understand there are multiple methods of healing this city. I guess what I'm saying is (pardon me for wandering above) that JFP, in my opinion, has had the best coverage of this particular issue for the decades I have been a Metro-resident. They have taken a human approach to the stats and appear to realize there is no one person or group to place the blame. This problem is our problem; we must all band together from City officials to children to resolve it.
Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-05-20T09:38:47-06:00
ID
76924
Comment
I personally feel that JPD is doing a horrible job of putting a stop to the crime problem in Jackson. From the bank robberies to the auto theft problem to the "home invasions", they are all very dangereous crimes that need to slow down heavily. As a victim of auto theft, I know all to well that JPD showed up to the scene as if I were a pain in their neck, a hassle that they did not want to deal with. My car was never recovered and no one was ever caught or prosecuted. This is not an exception to the norm either. Most of the cars that are stolen are never recovered and no one is ever prosecuted. This is a scary epidemic in Jackson, and I am ready to stop living in fear.
Author
SPrice
Date
2003-05-20T11:31:24-06:00
ID
76925
Comment
Jay, I'm happy to see your thoughtful and challenging post. It gives me the opportunity to do a little soul-bearing here (and procrastinate writing the next story related to this topic!). The JFP absolutely does not take a light approach to crime in the city (although we do encourage more kids to play hopscotch and more adults to ensure they have sidewalks to play it on! ). Todd and I regularly discuss this crime "perception" issue in our daily walks through our neighborhood. We fully realize that we run the risk of being seen of downplaying crime or defending the police, which is an interesting place for me to be, as someone who has done investigative work about police brutality, and started a Manhattan newspaper largely in response to a police riot. But as a result of all that, my research of community policing and juvenile justice, and my work in other parts of the country, I can offer a pretty unique perspective to this area to help fill a serious (and dangerous) void being left by sensationalist and cursory media coverage here. We call ourselves an "alternative," and what that is supposed to mean, and does in most cities, is that we offer ideas, research and reporting you don't see anywhere else in the market. In this city's crime coverage, we are trying to provide the balance that is needed to calm some of the hysteria about police and crime, so that we can get some real work done. (Picture a parent -- or a teacher -- screaming hysterically at their child, and another one calming discussing why what they just did was wrong and how to do it better, and maybe my point will be clearer. Which one is likely more effective?) In New York in the late '80s, we needed to help raise awareness of police insensitivity and brutality, and we may have to do that here at some point (especially if the hysteria doesn't abate). So we're ready to do what we need to do, even at the risk of being calling "soft on crime." Unfortunately, people who might accuse us of downplaying crime are not paying attention to everything we're saying. I have never said that crime is not a "problem" in Jackson (or heard the chief say that, or found a quote from him saying that). I have faulted the chief to his face in his office for not releasing more crime statistics, as well as throughout my coverage and these blogs. Frankly, I believe more openness would help calm hysteria, even as they show rising crime. And I suspect we're going to see more openness on the police's part very soon. I don't fault the C-L for harping on openness, although I don't always agree with the context they place those pleas in.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-20T11:46:57-06:00
ID
76926
Comment
MORE BUT the media should be responsible with the information that they get. On another blog last night I mentioned the C-L's mammoth "CRIME UP 45%" headline from last week with the Northside part in smaller print below. Then today they ran a letter to the editor in which the writer starts "Your May 15 edition carried the headline that crime in Jackson is up 45 percent," and then sarcastically asks if that is "real crime" or more of Moore's "perception." http://www.clarionledger.com/news/0305/20/l05.html The problem is obvious here. The letter basically contains a factual error (the C-L ultimately reported later in the story that "major crime" in Jackson is up 20 percent over last year), but the letter is technically correct that the misleading headline said that. Where is the factchecking here? (Not to mention on what the chief has actually said about "perception" rather than the twisted version.) Publications are suppose to factcheck letters; if you libel someone in a letter, we're still responsible. This isn't libel, of course, but it certainly is misleading. It would have been very easy to contact the writer and say that they need to add "on the Northside." By the way, I have not yet analyzed these statistics myself; police are supposed to send them to me -- I'm waiting ... -- a city councilman gave these numbers to the C-L. Police say they are misleading, so I can't pass judgment on that. Now, my pointing this out does not mean that the "20 percent up" part is not a problem that needs to be dealt with. If crime is up, and it is, we don't need to sensationalize it. We need to band together to repair and prevent it. And it's pretty obvious that the average citizen might not be as intimidated of 20 percent than of 45 percent. There is simply no need to embellish the facts, and there is a very serious reason not to, if you really care about stopping crime.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-20T12:15:24-06:00
ID
76927
Comment
MORE Now, Jay, on your mayor point. I appreciate the fact that people have what at least sound like legitimate gripes with the mayor. And, sure, criticize him if you want for not coming out and yelling louder about crime. But, I don't understand the slippery transferance of animosity of the mayor to the police chief. That's the part that sounds so political to me: that many folks want to skewer the chief, regardless of what he says or does, in order to hurt the mayor. That's the splitting-the-baby tactic I talk about. There is no doubt in my mind that this chief knows more than about anybody else in town about policing strategies, management, race sensitivity, black-on-black crime, hiring and retention, and the problems associated with a community's "perception of fear" that he likes to talk about (he doesn't get credit for coming up with this; the negatives effects of "perception" hysteria are well documented by criminologists). After talking with him and looking at his record, it is obvious to me why the mayor hired him to take on Jackson's problems. And up until Stringfellow started his anti-chief arc, the Clarion-Ledger was giving him credit for taking on the diverse pieces of the crime puzzle. (And in a recent editorial that made sense, the C-L pointed out that policing is indeed simple -- that is, a whole bunch of smaller efforts rolled into one big one. We're not living in the Old West here; the police can't just rush out firing and take out the bad guys.) I'm rambling, but my point is that I haven't seen the need to skewer this police chief--and join the posse trying to run him out of town--before we see how well his detailed plan works. And, yes, of course it includes some "101" strategies -- a lot of which hasn't been done well here in the past. You can't go to 202 until you get 101 in place; all us college grads know that. And you have to give police credit: It at least looks like they caught the Fondren "invaders." (BTW, it's fine to label the home robberies as "home invasion," but the C-L last week said they were charged with home invasion. The police said there is no such charge. Just a factual snippet.)
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-20T12:49:33-06:00
ID
76928
Comment
MORE The last thing on this point: I don't see that the fact that the chief hasn't moved his family here, yet, is an indictment of him. When someone that qualified is afraid to unpack his bags, it says something about the climate in the city that brought him here, more than it reflects on him. The chief himself says publicly that he's the 25th police chief in Jackson, and the 11th since 1985. And that was long before Johnson took office. I suspect I might live in an apartment for a year, too, before planting my rose bushes. And it's not hard to understand why he feels the need to tackle "perception" and try to shift the blame-police mentality that can cripple community policing. The C-L has said itself that it fears that it contributes to "false perception" about crime. http://www.gannett.com/go/newswatch/2001/october/nw1005-2.htm I've said it before: My bottom line here is that I don't believe we can afford to lose this police chief right now. Thus, we should focus on constructive criticism, not just lobbing missiles his way, hoping they bounce off and hit the mayor. Finally--and then I must STOP--of course I am not suggesting that victims of crime stop and ask about a criminal's home life. And those victims deserve respect from the police, which it seems is a top priority of the chief and police commanders like Seavey and Sampson and the others. Yes, people getting disrespect from them need to speak up and tell the commanders and the media if need be to get a reaction. But, if we want to stop these crimes from happening in the first place, we've got to figure out why they're happening. If we learn that most of the perpetrators are high-school dropouts with no role models, then that opens a door to solutions. Sure, it's not easy, but neither is watching a kid grow up in poverty and then get sent to the electric chair or prison for life, while the rest of us sit locked in our houses or move to the suburbs until the crime catches up with us. Of course, out-migration isn't the answer. It helped cause all this in the first place. A city united against crime, to deter and catch criminals, to comfort the victims, to save public education, to mentor kids and to prevent more crimes from happening is the only approach. Of course, that means we all have to stop finger-pointing and get involved, but we can do that, especially when we consider the alternative.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-20T12:59:42-06:00
ID
76929
Comment
MORE SPrice, I am very sorry to hear that you were a victim of crime. I had my bicycle stolen my first day at Mississippi State back in 1979, and I was mugged and then slapped in the face by the mugger in New York. (And I was a victim of a much worse crime in high school that I'll write more about at some point.) I never recovered any of my property, nor were these criminals caught or punished, either. I know personally that crime of any type is hard to deal with, and any crime is a terrible invasion of our privacy and our ability to feel safe and trusting in our surroundings. I wish you'd give us more details about your auto theft. When did it happen? Where in the city? From your post, it sounds like it was a while ago, although I don't want to jump to conclusions. The sad truth about most property crimes, including auto theft, is that it is very difficult to solve. Obviously, those are the first crimes that will rise in a bad economy, and they are rising around the country, including in rich Ventura County, Calif., which has long been known as the "safest urban area in the West," as the L.A. Times called it. Nationwide, the "clearance rate" (arrest rate) for such property crime is barely in the two digits; I think around 15 or 16 percent. Property crime plagues most every police department, and is something that Chief Moore has regularly addressed in press conferences -- the difficulty of solving property crimes, which he says have been "off the page" this year. I know that doesn't make you feel any better, but I do find it a bit comforting to know that the difficulty in solving such crimes isn't just a black mark on our city. I'm curious, SPrice, what specifically do you think the police should be doing to "stop" crime? (That's a tough charge for police; "solve" or "prevent" could be a better choice.) I think we should talk specifics as much as possible, so we can find solutions. All of you: please share any specific suggestions you have. I must go be an editor now. Whether or not you agree with my ramblings, please keep talking about this here and out in the community. And keep the faith.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-20T13:33:32-06:00
ID
76930
Comment
By the way, in the interest of fairness, I should point out that today Eric Stringfellow complimented the chief and the police for the Fondren armed-robbery arrests: "The Police Department and Chief Robert Moore should be commended for their efforts in addressing this problem, which is a fundamental quality of life issue." At the end of the column, he talks about the need for openness -- I agree -- and about the crime stats the C-L reported last week and said that "overall crime" is up 20 percent over last year. The article last week said that "major crime" is up 20 percent. Again, I haven't seen the stats myself, yet, so I don't know what is up 20 percent. Will let y'all know when I know, though.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-20T16:29:06-06:00
ID
76931
Comment
okay, a bit off topic, but the admin email isn't working...is there any page to go to see a summary of the most recent posts for all topics? thanks, lgn 'nobody teaches life anything...' -gabriel garcia marquez
Author
lowgreynite
Date
2003-05-21T12:46:09-06:00
ID
76932
Comment
For all those that haven't heard or seen David Banner, here's your chance... MTV2 has the "Like a Pimp" video available at the following link: http://www.mtv.com/bands/az/banner_david/artist.jhtml.
Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-05-21T13:20:39-06:00
ID
76933
Comment
Admin email was fixed. Thanks lgn for pointing out the error.
Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-05-21T14:40:02-06:00
ID
76934
Comment
Can anyone find anything redeeming about these lyrics? These are the words of our Mississippi success story? http://lyricsheaven.topcities.com/survey_d_k_bestanden/David_Banner.htm I've always found the flippant usage of the term Pimp highly offensive. A Pimp is someone who abuses women physically, mentally and sexually. Why do we condone the glorification of those in our society who abuse women? I'm all for free speech but these lyrics are morally repugnant. This can't be of benefit to our youth, black, white or other.
Author
TC Stein
Date
2003-05-21T14:49:25-06:00
ID
76935
Comment
TC, I'm glad someone brought this up; I figured it would come much higher up in the postings. The subject of misogynistic lyrics in rap is a topic due a lot of discussion and thought. Here's a piece I may run in the print magazine that addresses this: http://www.wiretapmag.org/story.html?StoryID=15531 She writes: "It's not fair that these male rappers continue to demonize and brutalize women in songs and videos and the female voices who try to challenge these characterizations are silenced. ... Hip-hop's irreverence towards women is now being used as a marketing ploy. In a recent Heineken ad, Rapper Jay-Z dismisses his female guest's request for a drink refill, opting instead to get himself a Heineken. There seems to be a complete lack of criticism of this new advertising trend from men and even women journalists." I sure don't disagree with her. Obscene words in and of themselves don't tend to bother me; they're just words and certainly no more obscene than the racial epithets I grew up hearing (or some of David Alan Coe's lyrics). But as a feminist who likes rap, I've long wrestled with (and written about) sexist lyrics in rap. I've also wrestled with sexist (and racist) lyrics in some of the country music I grew up listening to. I see the argument that "street talk" honestly reflects the street culture being chronicled; I also hate everytime I hear "ho," more so than "pimp," which I think has a more varied meaning in rap than just someone who mistreats women, but I certainly understand not liking it. This isn't a simple issue. The fact is, rightly or wrongly, someone like Banner is trying to use the requisite lyrics to be successful and to get other messages out there (watch the video). He's on the record saying that he had to beef up his lyrics to get more attention. Should he "sell out" in this way? I don't know the answer; I have the dirty version of the CD here, and it's pretty shocking. And I don't shock easily. On the other hand, *if* he is using the words that kids in his community hear everyday to try to get a stage to deliver other more positive messages, it that completely wrong? I'm not defending anything here; I've long wrestled with this issue. What is so interesting about Banner's lyrics, as opposed to many other rappers, are the messages encoded between the dirty stuff, like in the "22 Cadillacs" song I quoted at the beginning of the story. No easy answers from me on this.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-21T16:40:20-06:00
ID
76936
Comment
I will add that Haley Barbour's easy use of the word "whorehouses" as an analogy for poor homes makes Banner's use of "pimp" seem a little less shocking to me. Which is more tasteless? I dunno.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-21T16:42:37-06:00
ID
76937
Comment
I don't care for Ho either. I won't repeat them but there is language in those lyrics much worse than Pimp and Ho. Banner may be using language kids are hearing on the street in order to increase his sales but I'm far, far from convinced that children or young teens have the requisite skills needed to distinguish between the its-okay-to-abuse-women messages or the women-are-cheap-sex-objects messages and the positive messages you feel he is trying to make. Aren't many of our black children in Jackson already facing an uphill fight? While they may hear this language does it make sense to glorify it? Don't we have a responsibility to help put these children on the right track? My God, what kind of message does this send to black boys? And since this whole discussion is about crime, if kids and teens can understand the difference between the bad and good messages then these same young people, and the young adults, should be able to distinguish between right and wrong when it comes to considering crime as an option and then committing crime. We can't as a society speak out of both sides of our mouths. I don't agree that Haley Barbour's language mistake, which was inappropriate, is analogous. He shouldn't have said it but he is also not out actively promoting this type of language, or messages that it is okay to demean and abuse women whatever their race, religion or political affiliation. I guess I expected a much stronger condemnation from your publication. I don't understand why the link to the video was even posted. Part of me is sorry I looked and then googled for the lyrics. How can we advance and improve as a people, how can we stop the cycle of unwanted pregnancies, single parent households and battered women when we blast messages like this all over America on national TV and the radio. Part of me is glad I've had my eyes opened even further. I'm going to share this will all of my friends because if this is what is selling in America then we've gone beyond the pale and aren't doing enough to protect children, all of God's children, from this junk. It is just revolting to advocate mistreating women, regardless of the music genre, and even more so to emphasize it, what you called 'beef up', just so that more money can be made. Its disgusting and can't be justified in my mind.
Author
TC Stein
Date
2003-05-21T17:39:09-06:00
ID
76938
Comment
I posted the video because this article was about David Banner and his video is doing very well in the adult hip hop scene. Aside from why I posted the link, I have a few comments. Heard of Eminem? While the jury is out on David Banner's lyrics in relation to children, Americans are giving Eminem a Grammy here and a Grammy there. I guess it's not nearly as threatening when a white boy with blue eyes is calling others fags and slinging misogynistic lyrics all over the place (not to mention fully attacking Moby verbally and almost physically on MTV). A step further and you have many other white musicians that openly abuse drugs (recently Stone Temple Pilots and Marilyn Manson), boast of their sex lives and organs (Britney, Madonna, Christina Aguilara) and push ideals most Americans can barely stomach. Seems this issue is literally a black and white issue for many... Fine for whites but bad for blacks. David is the least of our worries if we are discussing a child's well-being; a growing number of white musicians have already established an orgy of decadence that permeates every music and television channel geared towards youth. First things first... Back to the topic of crime, last I checked, you had to be 18 to purchase CDs with a parental warning. This goes back to Chief Moore's comments about parents taking an active role in their children's lives. If parents did this, there would be no worries about lyrics, movies, literature or the estranged minorities sneaking into suburbia to "convert the children". I grew up with a lyrical content in my collection so hedonistic I'm baffled sometimes -- not to mention reading the Marquis de Sade at the age of 14... The lyrics did not damage me mentally and de Sade did not make me want to punish people sexually. If anything, it opened my eyes to a world that existed outside my little world in the countryside. Did it make me want to murder, rape, etc? No. If any part of my past instilled anger towards humanity or peoples it would have to be the Holy Bible with its lack of tolerance and full-on wars against "non-believers".
Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-05-21T19:25:30-06:00
ID
76939
Comment
Further, after re-reading the articles about David Banner and visiting his site, I do not feel he is targeting children. He is targeting his brethern on the streets. Not to mention this track is a club track... Been to a club lately? They are filled with near-sexual acts that would make some adults blush. This isn't something he's promoting; this is something that is real and occurs every weekend right down the street. ...As well, David is not using his music as much as his name to make change. He makes face-to-face visits with children in the inner-city where he shows his success as a producer, entertainer and businessman. When dealing with these children, I have never seen him push "ideals" or a pimp/ho mentality. Actually, he stressed children should respect their parents and take part heavily in school. The artist is not the art! Art is an interpretation of the real world from the eyes and mind of the artist that created it. How we as the viewers handle it is not the artists problem... The artist has no hold on our minds or our morals or our children. I'm not defending David but it's time we stop placing the responsibility on the artist because of our interpretations and lack of parenting skills.
Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-05-21T19:28:28-06:00
ID
76940
Comment
I have to add, TC, that I do understand your concerns and they are legit on many levels. I was not tossing them aside nor attacking you directly (though it may seem that way). I do understand children's minds are easily manipulated and influenced by music and art (not to mention tv and video games). This is why it's important (if you are a parent) to take a more active role in y(our) children's lives... I think this brings about another related topic -- mentoring. If you feel strongly about misguided children and children that might not receive the love and conditioning from their parental unit, now may be a good time to begin mentoring, if you are not! From my experiences, it is a great way to make a difference no CD or video game can make! Donna recently posted a blog requesting mentors. It should still be on the main page. :)
Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-05-21T19:37:12-06:00
ID
76941
Comment
TC, as I said above, I don't disagree with you even if I'm not personally ready to outright condemn Banner for the misogynistic lyrics. I think that's too easy. (Knol is right: these are labeled as adult lyrics, so the cursing is a different discussion). I certainly would never argue that Banner's lyrics have to be justified in your mind, or anyone else's, including mine (which they're not fully). "Obscenity" is often defined by the listener, and Knol makes a good point that we more easily forgive certain apparent obscenities and not others, often depending on the source. And that's certainly worth thinking about. I knew when I interviewed Banner that this interview would be provocative, and that it would bring challenges based on his lyrics, as it should. But my greater hope was that (a) people would understand that he can share knowledge of young people in his community that many of us don't have and (b) that just such a discussion as this one would result. If that means that you simply take from it the need to tell all your friends how bad rap is, that's OK. But I do suggest that there is more to glean here, even from the choice of lyrics that such an apparently caring person, with a wonderful mother and father, feels the need to record in order to gain a forum (and, yes, make money). There is a real message here about what it takes for a young black man who wants to talk about his black heritage and the state he loves to reach superstardom in the U.S., and that in itself will open up all sorts of discussion and thought paths if we let it. There's an opportunity to do more here than wring our hands and say how disgusting the F-word is and how dangerous Banner is for kids. Most of those kids are already in serious danger -- of failing federal math tests, of dropping out of school, of getting pulled into the Drug War and prison, of getting hold of a gun .... Banner's lyrics may well be the least of their worries. On that note, thanks to Knol for helping beat the mentoring drum, which Banner also beats, and the JFP is beating. I am currently putting together a team to start a project tentatively called "Jackson Mentors" and am looking for volunteers to help out, as well as to mentor. Please e-mail me if you're interested in helping turn negatives into positives.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-21T20:01:14-06:00
ID
76942
Comment
By the way, TC, if you re-read above, you'll see that I didn't say that Barbour's "whorehouse" barb was analagous to Banner's lyrics. I said he used "whorehouse" as an analogy for poor homes and that it made it a bit easier to swallow Banner's comments. That's not the same thing. I find the "whorehouse" reference more than "inappropriate"; it harks back to the Reagan campaign to discredit "welfare queens," which in turn led to the whole discussion of unredeemable young "super-predators" -- all very obscenely racist (and inaccurate) ways to blanketly characterize entire generations of black people for political purposesóall part of the infamous Southern Strategy by Republicans to appeal to racist white voters, which as a white Southerner, I find very offensive and obscene. And, worse, this kind of racist innuendo has a direct impact on the very young people that Banner is trying to reach out to, and that you worry that his lyrics will hurt. So, no, I don't find Barbour's one mention analagous to a while CD of lyrics, but I do believe the "pimp" and the "whorehouse" references can belong in the same conversation.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-21T20:16:16-06:00
ID
76943
Comment
"But I do suggest that there is more to glean here, even from the choice of lyrics that such an apparently caring person, with a wonderful mother and father, feels the need to record in order to gain a forum (and, yes, make money)." -- Donna I thought along similar lines regarding this particular topic. After seeing him in action, recognizing his parents at events, and experiencing his friendly, very southern hospitality, I can't help but feel he has an agenda using these words and ideals in his songs. It could be as simple as painting a picture... It could be as complex as painting a surreal picture that will have inter-racial conversations stirring (as it does). It could be as trivial as a man wanting ca$h. I do see his urge to help heal Mississippi as a very real and passionate urge. Or, I may be reading too far into this... He is well educated and very well spoken; so, these words are obviously not necessary for him to convey his message to a general audience. This leads me to believe he is either forced to use them to acheive this level of "success" (which paints a picture in and of itself) or he has a hidden agenda that has yet to be seen... The rap/hip hop genre has often employed subliminal methods to spread messages. It is also worth noting that hip hop has long held roots in the secretive and easily misunderstood songs of slavery; those roots may be firmly placed in David's agenda and lyrics. Only time will tell.
Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-05-21T20:40:33-06:00
ID
76944
Comment
Knol, your comments took me back to the quote from Banner's song that I used in the original story: ìGod I know that we pimp, God I know that we wrong, God I know I should talk about more in all of my songs, I know these kids are listening, I know Iím here for a mission, but itís so hard to get ëem when 22 rims are glistening.î It seems to capture this current discussion exactly. Sounds like a man who has pondered -- or is haunted by -- the same issues that we're debating ...
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-21T20:45:33-06:00
ID
76945
Comment
Just for the record--no, the lyrics aren't any more justified coming out of Eminem's mouth (or anyone else's) than out of David Banner's. When Eminem was nominated for a Grammy, I embarked on a one-woman boycott of pop music. I don't listen to Christina, Britney, N'Sync, Avril, JLo, Phat, Lil Kim, Eminem or any other pop recordings made since that point--ever. I decided if Eminem was where the hipness train was going, it was time for me to step off and turn into a blue-haired old biddy on the spot. Don't race TC on this--there are plenty of people who don't see color when it comes to knowing obscenity when they hear it. The music industry wants to blame the Internet swapping for low record sales? Denial is such a beautiful thing to watch in action sometimes! Maybe it's because with the lone exception of Norah Jones, they're not recording anything fit to play for your family. . . Banner has every right to make whatever kind of music he wants and should express whatever is in his heart and soul to convey whatever message he wishes--and I have every right to not listen to radio stations that play it or not to buy CD's that feature it. But Knol's comment about parental protection is way out of kilter from reality. Can I protect my girls, both under age 7, from listening popular music? The answer is NO. Not when 5-YEAR-OLDs in my oldest daughter's "affluent suburban" kindergarten class listed Britney, Shakira, and Lil' Bow Wow as their favorite singers and do impromptu performances of their music on the playground. But I can tell them it WILL not be played in my house and you WILL not recite those lyrics in my presence at ANY time because they are too young to listen to it. You can tell them you won't buy it, but it won't stop them from hearing it at a friend's house who got it from a parent that just isn't quite as adamant on that sort of thing as you are. When they get into preteens and out in the world more and get out from underfoot of me, then all I can do is hope I trained their musical taste with classical, instrumental jazz, Celtic, Christian CDs and their own private piano lessons so they recognize some of it as aural garbage--before they ever get to the lyrics. But they'll likely listen to whatever kind of music they want when they have the chance--whether I like it or not--and if that doesn't scare you, it does me.
Author
JW
Date
2003-05-21T21:19:25-06:00
ID
76946
Comment
Another situation where children are suspected of burglary (Link). Sad that all these kids have nothing better to do than terrorize the neighborhoods of Jackson and the Metro area.
Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-05-22T08:39:48-06:00
ID
76947
Comment
I'm curious what is done by our government/system to rehabilitate these kids? The two featured in the article I just posted have been previously arrested. You'd think they'd be under some kind of probation, mentoring, or other program that targets their particular issues (maybe they were). Donna (or anyone), do you know what is done to help young people like this that have records already stacking against them? You would think it would be easy to recognize a pattern is forming and intervention is necessary either by the parents or the government of our city/community.
Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-05-22T08:44:39-06:00
ID
76948
Comment
When one kicks down the door of a private residence, the government DOES intervene. The rehabilitation is called JAIL. To suggest anything else is anethema to an ordered, structured society. And I don't want to hear about how bad they had/have it. There are PLENTY of kids out there who live in less-than-desirable conditions who aren't out breaking into houses and stealing cars. Let's help and encourage and mentor the ones who want it. Let's send criminals to jail, for everyone's sake.
Author
JLosset
Date
2003-05-22T13:07:16-06:00
ID
76949
Comment
Couldn't agree more Jay!
Author
sprice
Date
2003-05-22T13:10:57-06:00
ID
76950
Comment
J, I am not sure you answered my question on any level. I think we all agree criminals need to be in jail (regardless of their background, race, age, upbringing etc)... There has been no discussion that suggests otherwise. I also realize there are plenty of kids with similar backgrounds that do not commit similar crimes. Those are points I easily accept. My question centered around the fact those teens had been arrested before and were still engaging in dangerous criminal behavior after conviction. Obviously, there is a fault in our system that exceeds quick release after imprisonment or detention -- another reason many do not support the "zero-tolerance" theories as a valid solution to all crimes. Last I heard the prisons were overcrowded which makes me wonder why? Why is it that a growing majority of criminals generally return to a life of crime after doing time? Is it possible that lessons are not being taught or are being taught improperly by our System? If this is the case, how do we teach lessons properly to make sure we see fewer using the prison's revolving door. Seems we are only generating more criminal behavior with our penal system's current form of maintenance than ever before. Since our jails are severely overcrowded and crime is rising (all over the globe), the threat of prison is obviously not a deterrent to the youth of our Metro area. I guess I expected a more thorough examination from those involved in this topic than "lock 'em all up". It's easy to say that but prevention, maintenance and rehabilitation are just as important as enforcement of laws (ask any country, city, or state that's tried it). If we chose not to rehabilitate and prevent (via education, mentoring, and other available means), can we still complain about prison overcrowding, taxes increasing to build new prisons, feeding and maintaining prisoners for repeat offenses, and criminals returning to the streets with a harder, more criminal mind? Seems people are not looking further than the quick-fix. It's easy to put caulk in a crack but that does not mean the cause of the crack has been fixed. I feel its necessary that we start seeking the cause of the problem rather than trying to sweep it under the rug or lock it away. Eventually, we'll have to come together to remedy the problem and the longer we procrastinate the bigger it will become.
Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-05-22T14:01:54-06:00
ID
76951
Comment
Jay, Do you really think that one can't help a young person BEFORE he/she becomes a criminal? If you had a kid that got mixed up with the wrong group and got involved in a bad crime -- and it could happen -- wouldn't you want rehabilitation efforts even as he/she was punished? Humans aren't stamped "good" or "criminal" on the butt when we come out of the womb. There are intervening factors, and what common sense argues is that as society figures out the best way to punish its criminals, it can also be working on how to prevent other young people (and adults) from becoming criminals. To argue otherwise would strike me as anathema to an ordered and structured (and safe) society. Besides, unless you're going to send a way a 16-year-old robber to jail for life with no possibility of parole, there is going to need to be some sort of rehabilitation along the way. Why not talk about both at the same time? I was on Charles Evers' radio show last night, and the main topic was crime. Mr. Evers told his overwhelmingly black audience (rightly) that they should take responsibility for crime in their community. A caller said (rightly) that the media overplay crime in the black community and underplay the positives and that crime isn't limited to the black community. My suggestion is them was that they were both right. We can take and demand responsibility and appropriate punishment even as we consider causes and prevention. It's just bizarre to me that anyone would argue that the answer is to wait around for someone to commit a crime and victimize someone and then send them away to jail with no thought to prevention or rehabiliation. An ordered society can't work that way, and evidence of that is all around us. Imagine, for instance, if more smart attention had been paid to the white surburban school shooters in the news since 1996. Perhaps some of those kids and a lot of victims could have been saved. To pick up Knol's terminology, you can caulk a crack even as you work on the problems that cause the crack in the first place. I suggest avoiding the liberal-vs-conservative, black-vs-white, Dem-vs-GOP track on these issues, and realize that we can work on both ends at once. In fact, we must. (Knol, I'm not ignoring your query about intervention programs for young people. That's a big and complicated topic, and one that I'm working on for the magazine. But I will be posting more on it here when I have a bit more time.) Cheers, all.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-22T15:08:04-06:00
ID
76952
Comment
Donna, Knol, everyone: My post was knee-jerk. I'll admit that. Anything sounds harsh when discussing youth, crime, and jail. No, I do not believe that there is a pre-destination of sorts and that kids are automatically stamped "good" or "bad" as they enter the world. Which is exactly my point. There are/were kids in these guys' elementary classes who are not currently out breaking the law. I am not calling for a life sentence. Nor do I support a "3 Strikes" policy. I have a kid brother who has been on the wrong side of the law before, has done a little time in jail AND in a psych ward, and I wouldn't want to see him locked away for life, for a single youthful indiscretion. I also know that there is NOTHING that anyone can do at this point to convince him that he can't get away with certain things, and if he is caught, he will go to jail, and there's nothing we can do about it. My brother doesn't want help. He thinks he can do it all, thinks he knows everything. And he was raised in an intact, stable home. I know that there are ways to prevent kids from following certain paths. Mentoring works for some kids. Some need role models besides gun-toting rappers, some need hobbies, skills, a way out. Some don't want anything. They want you out of their face, out of their way, out of their lives. It's sad, but I know one of these cases really really well. I agree that criminal rehabilitation is a neccessity. I know that jails are overcrowded, and oftentimes upon release, crimes are committed again. My point in bringing up the "Go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200" mindset goes back to my point from earlier in the week. Jackson residents need to feel safe in their homes, no matter what precinct or neighborhood in which they live. What if someone had been, say, murdered during that invasion? It didn't happen this time, but it has in the past. One time is too many.
Author
JLosset
Date
2003-05-22T16:37:33-06:00
ID
76953
Comment
MORE: My feelings on this have nothing to do with politics or race. They have everything to do with safety. We have got to break this current wave as we move into the hottest months of the year. We have got to get together with community organizations and non-profits and the city to reach these kids before it comes to this. But when it does come to this, we have got to support our law enforcement agencies in a sensible manner and move ahead. Wondering "what if" doesn't do much good when you're dealing with a mindset that will kick down your door in broad daylight.
Author
JLosset
Date
2003-05-22T16:40:15-06:00
ID
76954
Comment
Sorry about the multiple posts. Server error. Knol - I mean no ill-will toward you or your ideas. You too, Donna. This discussion (and the ones we will no doubt have in the future) are vital to getting my brain firing and making this great city even better, crime and the suburbs be damned. Cheers.
Author
JLosset
Date
2003-05-22T16:47:21-06:00
ID
76955
Comment
Oh, J, no problems! I love having intellectual discussions and rarely take offense to other's opinions and ideas unless they are completely uneducated or unnecessary roughness is involved. Glad you are part of the discussion! For a while there, I thought Donna and I were having a simple dialog! This has blown into a full-on round table of sorts!
Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-05-22T16:58:18-06:00
ID
76956
Comment
I second that, Jay. Your comments are kick-butt and make us all think. I'm so glad you're here. We're all making this up as we go, but we're trying, and that's what counts. I get passionate, too, but the only thing I usually take offense at is someone trying to tell me how *I* (or the JFP) think, and putting words in my mouth. And you're not doing that. So, challenge on, guy. We're all better for it. My only response to your last post is to reiterate that I, too, want Jacksonians to feel safe in their homes. And in the streets. And in the restaurants. And in the playgrounds. And that's behind a lot of my caviling about media coverage and such. I want to challenge Jacksonians to realize that merely reactionary policing will not make the city safer. There will still be victims first before we can go catch the bad guys. My whole philosophy is a holistic approach: apprehend criminals and deal with them intelligently and appropriately -- we won't argue those details right now! -- in a way that has the best chance to keep them from committing crimes again (and a lot of scientific data exist on this, although we don't hear about it often enough). Meantime, look for the causes and weaknesses and fix them in order to prevent crime. Jay, you're clearly down with such an approach, but so many people just think it's only about throwing people in jail, discounting that the crimes still must happen before you do that. I'd rather nip dem crimes in the bud before they happen. And I believe we can do that -- together -- in many of the cases. Meantime, I'll go delete your repeat posts. That's a bug in our system that I'm hoping that HTML expert Knol is going to find for us. Ta ...
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-22T17:31:42-06:00
ID
76957
Comment
Here's a bit of coffee talk. Check out this letter today in the Clarion-Ledger: http://www.clarionledger.com/news/0305/23/l06.html Quote from "It's not racist to question black drivers": "If a few innocent black males are slightly inconvenienced to ensure the safety of my family, then so be it. It is not racist to question him while in the area when every suspect in these crimes has been a young black man!" Any thoughts? Would the letter-writer be comfortable if all the "black" references here were changed to "white"? Talk among yourselves.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-23T09:54:38-06:00
ID
76958
Comment
Hmmm.. It's interesting to point out the original source article as well on this issue. Bingo and I were somewhat repulsed that this mother could not understand why her kid was pulled over. Hell, I was pulled over on the same night around the same time cruising through Fondren! Join the club! :) Original Editorial: Harassment based on drivers' skin color must stop now . The original editorial was about three, young black men driving through Fondren between 8-9pm during the Fondren "invasions". They fit the vague description of the "invaders" the police were using. Is it racial profiling when someone fits a description of a perp? I personally do not feel so. If the "Fondren invaders" were instead a white male, 20-something with a shaved head, I might feel a little inconvenienced if I were pulled over but would definitely understand why and would totally keep the "race card" in my back pocket. I'm not saying racial profiling does not exist and that it is a double-edged sword. I feel it does have practical purposes if used properly and effectively (which seems to be less often than not)... But in the case of this particular editorial, it is safe to say this was proper police routine and the mother needs to stop complaining about the police doing their job.
Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-05-23T10:50:30-06:00
ID
76959
Comment
Thanks for the original link, Knol. I couldn't find it. It does help widen the discussion a bit. Why were you pulled over? Did police approach you with a gun pulled? This has always been a complex debate. I think there are questions to ask: Were they pulled over merely based on their skin color, or with some other descriptions -- like your more detailed example about yourself -- added in that made more than their skin color matter in the decision? Had the "invasions" just occurred, and thus there was an imminent danger? This is, after all, a diverse neighborhood where young people live. It seems like "three young black men" driving on a Friday night shouldn't be enough for the reaction they got (just based on what little I know), and especially the drawn gun. That would mess with my mind if it happened to me for no reason other than my skin color. And, of course, the bigger concern in the black community is likely how often this kind of thing happens (like Narcotics running Banner's license plate) just because they're black, and with less justification than perhaps this one had. If racial profiling happens too often -- and evidence, at least nationally, shows that it does -- then I can see how an incident like this one, even if justifiable, could just seem like another insult piled on.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-23T11:41:39-06:00
ID
76960
Comment
Reason I was pulled over: Officer told me it was a random check and explained that there were recent crimes in the neighborhood. Mind you, I was casually riding around the Fondren area taking in my new neighborhood. So, I can also see where that might appear suspect. This incident (racial profiling editorial discussion) happened the Friday after the first suspect was arrested and announced. I will assume that the suspect had released info to the police or they had gathered info on the additional suspects and alerted the local beat in Fondren. I will assume (again) that the loose description of the suspects included a number (3), particular races (in this case African American), and a specific location to be watchful (Fondren). It's also important to note that this story is told by a third-party. The mother was not present so she is relying solely on her son's words (which have every opportunity of being accurate); she's also emotionally attached to the situation which may sway the story a little more in her favor. A gun drawn is different than a gun pointed but some might not see it that way... Not to mention that police rarely draw their guns in "routine" pull overs; they must have suspected more than a joyride was happening. I guess I have a hard time swallowing this particular situation. I'm not saying it's not a valid concern (racial profiling) but there seems to be alot of insinuation in her remarks without many details other than time, place, and a brief description. Plus, I feel that if this story had a huge amount of credibility, the rabid press would be ripping it apart! How can anyone disagree that the CL would have done more than post her editorial if there was a story there?
Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-05-23T15:19:33-06:00
ID
76961
Comment
MORE... Beyond my interpretation of the situation, I am curious why the hell people choose to write the Clarion Ledger to express their rage when they should obviously contact the Captains or Chief? Not to mention why people continue to blame JPD and the Mayor for crimes that occur in private facilities that should provide their own security? How will whining, screaming, crying, or exclaiming to the CL make anything better for anyone/thing other than the CLs ratings? One complaint leads to a thousand... I feel we may be beginning to see the effects of the hysteria you mentioned (Donna) based on many "Letters to the Editor" I've read and frankly I'm already growing weary and tired of it!
Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-05-23T15:19:47-06:00
ID
76962
Comment
Maybe people who write letters to the CL are ordinary average folks that don't own their own newspaper to express their views in. I've reread your post twice and still am not sure you meant for it to sound so condescending--you almost sound like you think the power of the press shouldn't be an avenue for Joe Blow off the street to say what he thinks. People write the CL because calling any government bureaucrat anywhere to get a problem solved is only slightly less complicated that smuggling a Bible into Saudi Arabia. (I used to be a govt. bureaucrat--I KNOW). Writing a LTE is one of those last resorts to get attention to an opinion, problem, or issue. Look how much ink you've spilled writing about some you've read :).
Author
JW
Date
2003-05-23T21:43:38-06:00
ID
76963
Comment
:) JW, I'm sure if you've received poor service in any restaurant, you've immediately asked to speak to the manager rather than write the CL. It simply seems that many people have forgotten the chain of command (when speaking of the police) and instead run immediately to the press crying their problem was not solved... Actions like this (writing the CL) rarely solve the problem and instead somewhat inflame the issue. Yes, I know I sounded condescending and I would apologize if I did not mean to... But I did. Still, I do not own a paper and I do not write the CL to complain about issues I need to be handling with government bureacrats. I guess to put it simply, I was merely confused why someone (with a legit reason to complain, if valid) would run to the CL rather than the Chief? On that same note, I was stressing the point that if the issue was as valid and horrid as the writer stressed, wouldn't CL have been all over it publishing how poor the services offered by JPD were?
Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-05-24T00:34:09-06:00
ID
76964
Comment
"Yes, I know I sounded condescending and I would apologize if I did not mean to... But I did." You're being purposefully condescending? Where I come from that's called arrogance and is downright un-neighborly. I guess that's a dose of progressive honesty.
Author
Reader
Date
2003-05-24T09:54:33-06:00
ID
76965
Comment
Look, Reader's back! We missed you, guy/gal. You seem to be a weekend-only warrior -- and you have a new e-mail address. Glad to have you back to keep us on our toes. I see where Knol's going with the C-L letter thing, but don't entirely agree. I will agree that too many people right now seem to want to complain to the media about the police, rather than calling the commanders and the chief directly, or perhaps writing a detailed letter about specific complaints to them. I've heard the police say repeatedly at community meetings: Why didn't you call us about this? (Say, that officers not being respectful enough and such.) Regardless of how it's been before last fall, it does seem that this police management is really trying to work on those issues, but they have to know about specific incidents before they can do anything. And simply writing letters to the editor, without enough specifics, isn't going to accomplish that. But I think it's wonderful to write letters to the editor of any publication. In fact, I wish we'd see more -- and more postings here -- from younger people (not saying you're old, Reader, so don't get all steamed) and from people of color who are affected in perhaps different ways (or not) by the issues we're discussing. The C-L letters page can get rather trite; you see many of the same complaints (and "liberal"-bashing) over and over, and many of them are just designed to be incendiary. But I support those letter-writers' right to do that. Remember: the types of letters a publication gets, at least overall, reflect the tone of the magazine and the willingness of its readers to engage in thoughtful discussion, rather than ad hominemisms, or just simplistic and angry rhetoric. So far, with a few exceptions, letters and comments to the Free Press are very intelligent, respectful and not personal even as they disagree, and we're pleased about that. All that said, whatever it means (I'm still on the first cup of coffee), I read the C-L's letters page (online) every day and find it educational. I want to know what people are thinking even when they're reacting based on emotion rather than facts; it both shows us where information voids exist and helps us question (and seek to support) our own beliefs.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-24T10:12:03-06:00
ID
76966
Comment
BTW, why don't all of us declare a moratorium on the "arrogant" and "condescending" labels that are starting to go back and forth. Those are dialogue-stoppers. The truth is, when you're trying to do a little soul-searching and thinking in public like we're all trying to do here, someone who disagrees is always going to find something in any of our posts to label "condescending." Then the writer has to waste energy defending it. Let's please focus on the meat of what everyone is saying, and keep serious debate going, and keep this discussion from going into the intellectual gutter. My manicurist, who loves to talk about ideas, has a plaque above her table with that old saying: "Intelligent people talk about ideas. Average people talk about things. Small people talk about other people." (Anyone know who said this so I can attribute?) Let's talk about ideas rather than trying to label each other.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-24T10:24:57-06:00
ID
76967
Comment
I really like the way Bobbi put it... http://www.clarionledger.com/news/0305/24/l04.html
Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-05-24T18:01:29-06:00
ID
76968
Comment
Saw this today: Crime perception just struck again! which brings a few questions and statements to mind. Anyone that feels like chiming in, please do so! 1) I realize a victim is a victim but why would anyone leave their briefcase and wallet on the seat of their car in plain sight while jogging a mile away from it? This particular area has been known for car burglaries for the last 4 years... Nearly every episode plays out similarly -- a load of valuables left in plain sight on a car seat left for minutes/hours while the owner jogs from sight. 2) Has anyone reported this to the police? I know of two individuals that jog at this location and had similar instances of crime; they did not report the crime. With that in mind, can anyone complain about it persisting? 3) What is the private sector that owns and operates this land doing to protect the citizens that park in this area? If the YMCA owns the land where these cars are being parked, are they providing secure lots? Further, from observation, many choose not to use the lots and instead park on the side of the street where their cars are unattended and exposed to any passerby. It keeps boiling down to two things in many instances like this: the private sector is not using their profits to produce secure lots and facilities and peope are not using common sense when it comes to protecting their own goods. While I realize all crimes mentioned do not occur in private lots, many do... and many of those that are victims in situations involving the private sector blame city officials and the police rather than the appropriate business and/or property owners. As well, many situations like this involve the same "bait" for criminals -- personal belongings plainly visible and easily accessible. I wish more people in this city would recognize the difference between instances that occur in the private sectors of the city and their own driveway. If crime is increasing in the County Line Rd. strip malls, those property owners are just as responsible (if not more) as JPD to provide their customers with ample, able-bodied security personnel. Why does it seem no one is screaming for the businesses to secure their facilities? I guess it's easier to kick JPD while they are down... One last rant: People, this is not the countryside where your belongings are surrounded by acres and acres of land. This is a growing metroplex with people of all makes and models! If you live in the Metro area, you're not in D'lo any more! You must protect your goods and whatever you do, do not leave your wallet or purse in your car on the passenger seat -- especially with it unlocked and running! ;)
Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-05-27T08:54:30-06:00
ID
76969
Comment
But private businesses DO pay out of their profits for protection from criminals--it's a rather substantial amount handed over to the city in the form of TAXES. Do private security guards get to arrest people? Are they protected from liability if they shoot someone engaging in a crime? Are they protected from a racial discrimination lawsuit if they approach someone who "looks suspicious"and shoo them away? Carry the analogy further--would you suggest that business protect themselves from fires by buying their own firetruck, hose, and firefighting personnel to be stationed in the parking lot at all times? No one expexts a 24-hour patrol of a private business by JPD--but there should be some trepidation on the part of a criminal--the criminal element is just getting a bit too brazen in the metro area.
Author
JW
Date
2003-05-27T09:23:42-06:00
ID
76970
Comment
Aren't businesses and property owners by law required to have smoke detection systems, fire alarms and some type of extinguisher system? Hmmm... Maybe they only provide those services because they are required to by law... Seems if they can provide extinguishers and detection systems for fires a much rarer occurrence, they could provide the same services regarding security (a need in high demand). Heck, CC TV is enough to prevent most petty thievery. Still, I agree the criminal element is getting a bit too brazen... But knowing this (and it's not a secret to anyone in the US), would you leave your purse/wallet/briefcase sitting on your car seat while you left it unattended on the side of the road while you went jogging and then complain without ownership about its loss later? Seems many want to and do. Think of the criminal element like roaches. If you leave food on your counter consistently, its bound to attract roaches. There's a fairly efficient remedy we can begin applying to work as a "pest control"... It's called preventative maintenance and common sense. If you don't "clean up your counters" and remove, seal or hide the "food", don't complain when the roaches come to take advantage of an easy meal. I guess I am loosing my sympathetic ear in situations like these.
Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-05-27T10:32:07-06:00
ID
76971
Comment
In Yosemite National Park there is high insidence of brown bears breaking into cars because of food left in them by people. Visitors are instructed on entering the park that no food, including ice chests and empty containers, are to be left in thier cars. They are held accountable and made to pay a fine if a bear breaks in. Basically, what I'm saying is don't leave Doritoes in your car if you don't want someone to eat them.
Author
Bingo
Date
2003-05-27T13:14:46-06:00
ID
76972
Comment
Thank you for taking a chance on an upcoming local Artist. Many artist are portrayed one-sided. The lyrics on his album and his philosophy on life in Mississippi were given in a way that rap lovers could understand. The article presented the same view in a way that the Jackson Free Press lovers could understand or at least spark debate.
Author
Cephus
Date
2003-05-27T13:21:02-06:00
ID
76973
Comment
I don't leave my car doors open with keys in the ignition, I don't leave my kids in the car with it running, I don't leave my car unlocked, I don't leave my garage door up, I don't even leave the buttons to my CD player in the car--I pop it out and take it with me, and the only things I leave lying out on the seat in plain sight are copies of JFP, Razor, and Planet Weekly. Thusly, I have never had my car broken into. (not to mention that my cars have never looked particularly worth stealing.) So you are preaching to the choir here as far as what to do to keep from being a victim. Again, take the analogy one step further--people may decide one way to lower their risk of being a victim of crime is to STAY AWAY from I-55. Yes, crime is everywhere. Ladies are getting wallets stolen out of their purses off the fabric table in the Flowood Wal-mart. But recently (and the CL reported this) a woman called 911 about her purse being snatched by a man in the parking lot as she was about to enter a United Blood Services building. Police responded, chased the guy's car up Lakeland Drive to Flowood Drive, where the criminal abadoned the car, got chased on foot, and arrested--and the police carried the woman's purse back to her. Are you shocked that this particular crime was taken so seriously? Has anyone guessed this scenario played out in Flowood's side of the Pearl instead of Jackson's? That's an example of how "perception" makes a difference. THere's crime in Rankin County--cops are breaking up meth labs, pulling people over for DUI, and arresting people for property crime. But citizens on this side of the Pearl believe the police will DO SOMETHING if they are called. One more point--is it lost on everyone that Sheriff Malcolm McMillian has been reelected overwhelmingly in Hinds County (and don't forget Jacksonians vote in county elections, too) because nd his department are successful in prevention, detention, AND rehabilitation? When McMillian makes headlines, it's because he has started a new inmate employment program or ran out his budget providing medical care for his prisoners--never because his people let paperwork lapse on a murder case. He's dealing with the same criminal element and justice system as Jackson is--could JFP try an article exploring why he achieves such different results?
Author
JW
Date
2003-05-27T14:08:54-06:00
ID
76974
Comment
"In Yosemite National Park there is high insidence of brown bears breaking into cars because of food left in them by people. Visitors are instructed on entering the park that no food, including ice chests and empty containers, are to be left in thier cars. They are held accountable and made to pay a fine if a bear breaks in. Basically, what I'm saying is don't leave Doritoes in your car if you don't want someone to eat them." 99% of the bears in Yosemite are tagged and previously known by an identity to the naturalists at Yosemite before they ever commit an infraction. While visitors to the park are fined if they are found to be in error, intervention is also done with the bears. Repeat offender bears are tranquilized and driven to remote locations in the park and released back into the wild. Bears who are unable to control themselves and become habitual in that type of behaviour are determined to be a menace and are euthanized. A last resort but one that is taken if it is determined that a risk to the public exists. Surely you aren't encouraging us to consider the criminals who are unable to exert any type of self-control -- even when they see valuables that they completely understand don't belong to them sitting in a locked vehicle -- as wild animals. I truly doubt you are advocating that we treat them like wild animals. If your contention is that the wild animals (criminals) of Jackson are not responsible for their own actions and are completely incapable of resisting any "bait" that they may inadvertantly run across, or have knowingly sought to uncover, then you are confirming that a state of crime anarchy exists in our city today -- the same level of threat that the JFP has categorized as hysterics and has worked diligently to refute even exists.
Author
Reader
Date
2003-05-27T14:13:50-06:00
ID
76975
Comment
Reader, it seems like a big jump in logic to say that advocating that Jacksonians be more careful about their belongings means, somehow, that criminals are "animals" that aren't responsible for their actions--although the rhetoric that criminals are animals is certainly nothing new, and gaining new life lately among some local politicians. Bingo doesn't need me to speak for her, but obviously she wasn't saying that; I heard her giving a smart example of how we humans do have the power to stop some "crimes" in their tracks and not be a victim. That's taking responsibility for our own lives and safety, regardless of what we believe should happen to a criminal once the crime is committed, and our concurrent efforts to fight and prevent crime. This either-or thinking is so bizarre to me, although I assume it's the inevitable result of a two-party, two-ideology system that forces everyone to choose sides. I reject that paradigm.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-27T16:00:02-06:00
ID
76976
Comment
I am in full agreement with Donna's comments. Further, I can only say, if you can not trust an animal with your food, what makes anyone think they can trust strangers? It would be fabulous to think we live in Utopia but we do not and humans have not for eons... JW, glad you are a member of the choir! We have wonderful benefits like property protection, safer streets and the like. If only everyone would get up from the pulpit and sing along! As for comparing JPD with any other centrally-located, police operation, it is futile. While they may be great examples and clearly demonstrate a force that responds, JPD vs (?) is like comparing apples and oranges. JPD has suffered many losses including multiple police chiefs, troops and more and is finally getting back to "business as usual"... It will take them some time because of the internal problems that have been an issue in the past but I have full faith they will regain their footing. As I keep saying, I sincerly doubt Moore wants the blood of Jacksonians on his hands. Still, back to the my original post this morning, I'm perplexed why someone would leave their belongings exposed to potential criminals and then complain when they are stolen. It's like leaving ice cream in the sun only to complain it melted! Like gambling -- knowing that your chances of winning are less than losing. It's all about potential and probability in many situations like those mentioned in the article... So, why bother taking the chance when all it would take is removing the purse/wallet/walkman/briefcase/whatever from sight?
Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-05-27T16:19:00-06:00
ID
76977
Comment
Knol, certain people always want to say they bemoan the olden days when it was safer and more moralistic. You hear that a lot in Mississippi -- from certain people. "I used to leave my doors unlocked," and so on. But the truth is, this country or this state has NEVER been safe for all its residents. There is a disconnect between people based on their own history. This really came home to me this past week as we were preparing special coverage of Medgar Evers in honor of the 40th anniversary of his death. When Evers was growing up in Newton County, he watched a lynching of a friend's father, whose bloody clothes remained on a fence in town for a year to quiet any potential threats to Jim Crow justice. Earlier this year, a white woman who lives in Brandon, who was a victim of a terrifying armed robbery in in the city, told me that she wanted to return to the days of her childhood in Newton County when her family, who lived on a big farm they'd owned since the mid-19th century, never had to lock their doors. There were clearly two Newton counties then. It took 31 years for Mississippians to decide to convict Medgar's murderer who shot him in the back in front of his own children in the same state where a surprising number of people believe that armed robbers should be executed immediately. I'm writing this now not to downplay anyone's crime concerns, but because it's all weighing on my mind at the moment and to say that understanding and perspective can go a long way toward fighting and preventing crime. This state has never been a crime-free utopia; we all have to take steps to prevent being a crime victim; we have to band together to make the community safer for all of us, using the knowledge history has taught us.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-27T16:40:33-06:00
ID
76978
Comment
BTW, that smart-aleck "perception" letter today you posted shows the bad result of poor media coverage. But I don't blame the writer; if the media had told me repeatedly that the chief says crime doesn't exist and then my car got burglarized, then I'd be miffed, too. He perhaps doens't know that media have twisted Chief Moore's comments about how too much "perception" of fear hurts crime-fighting efforts into a false impression that he has said that crime is *only* a perception. I feel absolutely confident, after spending so much time following him around and searching through news databases, saying that he has never said that. He continually said that crimes, especially those that the jogger reports, are rising dramatically and are difficult to solve. But we end up with this deriding letter to the editorósound and fury that signifies nothing. This just once again shows the negative effect of sensationalist media coverage. Meantime, though, be sure to check out a letter to the editor of the Free Press this week (out tomorrow, and I'll post it here, too) from a Lanier teacher complaining about overly negative coverage of crime in Georgetown and by Lanier while the media ignores the good stuff the school is doing. She told me she sent it to the Clarion-Ledger and they refused to print it, telling her to send it to the TV stations. But they then print this mocking "perception" letter today? I just don't get it.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-27T16:42:19-06:00
ID
76979
Comment
Part 1/2 "Reader, it seems like a big jump in logic ... ~~~ ... I reject that paradigm." Its not just valuables being taken out of cars in that area, there are actual cars being stolen and what's funny is that nobody lives at the levee end of High Street. The criminals are there for a reason. Its _pre-meditated_ theft taking place there not sophmoric accidental crimes of opportunity. There is a difference. We'll never get to the longer term solutions that you espouse -- a great deal of which I agree with and have advocated and lobbied for before you even began publishing here -- if the short term actions to contain the problem and stabilize the situation don't surface and arrive pretty darn quick. You can blame it on all of the _other_ media outlets till you are blue in the face, but the line between perception and reality blurs more each day as actual crime continues unabated and slowly addressed. The perception problem isn't the result of a bunch of gullible and naive sheep-like citizens who blindly accept and repeat every headline, TV soundbite and unsubstantiated crime hype, and then act irrationally after their brainwashing. Its not about the perception at this point, its about the reality. Its not Eric Stringfellow's fault, or Ben Allen's. Not Hampton's, or Whitlow's or Mr. Agnew's. It's not someone's fault for leaving a CD on their car seat while they went jogging nor the young family's for parking at the Chuckie Cheese on the I55 frontage for little Billy's birthday party. It's not the mom's fault for not having committed to memory every "friendly" car in her Fondren neighborhood. It's not the Belhaven senior citizen couple's fault for not driving around the block 5 times to make sure not a single, solitary car was behind their own before pulling into the driveway that weekday afternoon. Its not the fault of the good citizens in Precincts 1, 2 and 3 who have been living with higher than national average, or similar-sized city average, crime rates for years. The criminals are responsible and at fault for the crime they commit, not the citizens. A citizen doesn't become a party to a property crime because they failed to keep their valuables 100% out of sight within their locked vehicle. A citizen isn't partially responsible for their own victimization because they got mugged while shopping at a local retail center that wasn't employing their own armed private militia for protection.
Author
Reader
Date
2003-05-28T10:17:40-06:00
ID
76980
Comment
Part 2/2 The Mayor is responsible for pulling out all of the stops to get the short term problem addressed and long term solutions in place, to make sure that JPD is not woefully understaffed and inadequately equipped, and to make sure that the citizens know he has heard and is moving on their calls for help and action. And the voters will shortly be responsible for delivering change to City Hall if change is what it will take. Call it a black or white view, two party approach, conservative bent, hard line position -- call it whatever you need to in order to discount the concerns and beliefs of what I am pretty sure is at least a 2/3rds majority of our citizens, black and white, here in Jackson so that you can explain away their opinions within the confines of your "progressive" construction(s). Just keep in mind that (more) guns and ammunition are being bought, the number of citizens carrying loaded weapons on their person or in their cars increases daily and new handguns stand at the ready next to more bedsides every night. It won't be long now until the real fireworks start. Our citizens are not de-escalating, we're escalating and our leaders are either ignoring the groundswell or hopelessly ambivalent. Nobody in a position of authority is out there visibly leading and somebody is going to get hurt, probably needlessly, because of it. I reject many of the half-baked conclusions and almost all of the ongoing pollyannic apologia of many, not all, in this thread but that shouldn't come as a surprise. You think you are occupying some type of higher (and better) position of informed reasonableness on this crime discussion spectrum. I would agree if you were demanding that the short term needs be addressed as aggressively by the City -- in addition to your plentiful exhortations that the citizenry change their perfectly legal behaviours -- as the more far reaching and enlightened solutions we all agree are a critical need for the long term. Problem is that you're not there. Oh, and you disagree. I already guessed. [btw, 4300+/- words. thanks in advance for the web inches. ;)]
Author
Reader
Date
2003-05-28T10:18:37-06:00
ID
76981
Comment
Reader, I'm not going to take the "pollyannic" bait here; other readers here see the level of discussion we're trying to have on this site and in this community. We have not ONCE said that the criminals should not be held responsible for their crimes, and the evidence of that is all over this site and the JFP. And we sure as heck are not saying that the citizens are to "blame" -- that word again -- for crimes that happen to them. That is a ridiculous assertion to make. As usual, there are points buried in your 4,300 words that I think are very important -- the gun issue, for instance -- but I sure don't understand why you have to hide them in these angry "blame" tirades. I am not trying to "blame" the media for the crimes that are out there--I am trying to encourage them to focus on more than the sensationalist story, so we can find viable solutions, to be a responsible member of the community. Sure, let the citizens judge the mayor on this and other issues; that's not my concern; I don't have a horse in that race. My desire is to get people to talk to each other and figure out how to prevent crime *before* people are victimized, even as the black boys in Fondren and the white men at Brent's Drugs are rounded up. I believe we can, must, do both, and all this blame is just getting in the way of a safer community. Sure, don't leave your wallet in your car, but also find a kid to mentor, write a letter to the city demanding open records, call your precinct commander to report bad policing, keep an eye for your neighbors, and so on. The "progressive" approach you chide so angrily is not to be either the proverbial sing-song liberal who wants no punishment or the short-sighted conservative who doesn't believe in prevention. I've long discovered that people don't like it when you refuse to choose one horse or the other, so to speak, but I'm just not going to play that game and blindly serve one side or the other's political agenda. I want a stronger, safer, more compassionate, more prosperous city, and I'm going to do what I can to make it happen, despite folks who make fun of our efforts. So keep on. So will we. And, again, you're welcome for the forum to state your views.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-28T10:56:26-06:00
ID
76982
Comment
New York Times Sunday: "DAVID BANNER A great hip-hop album from Mississippi, called ó just to be clear ó 'Mississippi: The Album' (SRC/Universal). The rapper and producer David Banner (he borrowed his name from the Incredible Hulk) collapses the history of Mississippi music, putting bluesy laments side-by-side with wild-eyed scream-alongs. 'Bush' turns civic pride into sociopolitical criticism: 'This for Mississippi, and every place y'all treat like Mississippi.' Nearly everything works, from the synthesizer-driven club tracks to the slow-motion love songs, but nothing tops "Cadillac on 22's," an extraordinary ballad of faith and self-doubt. Accompanied by a strummed acoustic guitar, David Banner moans, 'Lord, please just tell me something . . . My music bumping/ But I feel nothing.'" Wow. ;-) Just in case y'all think the JFP is just trying to make David Banner sound bigger than he is: The guy doesn't need us to be a star, it seems. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/25/arts/music/25PLAY.html By the way, no one has posted here--under the Banner story, for goodness sake!--about how amazing his show was at Jubilee! JAM. He was backed by Ezra Brown's jazz musicians and they did a fusion of rap, rock, punk and jazz that just deleted the racially and age-mixed crowd. Prisoner-rights attorney Ron Welch was in the crowd shaping his finger's into Banner's Mississippi M. It was a simply phenomenal show. Todd is not a rap fan, and proclaimed afterward that Banner is his favorite rapper, bar none (a rather major proclamation from him). He then set up the VCR to tape his video on the MTV countdown.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-05-28T12:51:57-06:00
ID
76983
Comment
I LIKE WHAT DAVID BANNER IS ALL ABOUT AND HIS RAPS , I FEEL HIM AND HIS MUSIC , SOME DAY I WOULD LIKE TO BE A DAVID BANNER.
Author
JOHN RADNEY JR.
Date
2003-05-30T09:59:28-06:00
ID
76984
Comment
What David Banner is saying is nothing new. Jackson and the rest of the state of Mississippi is in an utter MESS. another well-known rapper that's about to shine even more light on Mississippi and it's issues is The One JP. can you see the movement taking place here? these young Men are SICK AND TIRED of how Mississippi's kangaroo courts and racist policies coupled with Police misconduct towards blacks has treated them and their peers and now, with their backs against the wall and nothing to lose but everything to gain, they are screaming at the tops of their lungs for change. if you don't feel EXACTLY what these guys are saying in their music then you are indeed a CORPSE!! and I don't bite my tongue on that. WE DON'T NEED MORE POLICE!! what we need is guys like these who speak up and offer SOLUTIONS while venting their problems and pain through their music. Mississippi politicians SHOULD be first in speaking out and making decisions on progress and change, but once again the music community shows how they are way more in touch with the people of this state than any politician living here, period. Mississippi needs David Banner and The One JP and I'm so glad GOD answered my prayers for things to change in Mississippi. and these guys are the answers to those tear-filled prayers. and guess what...with David Banner and The One JP leading this massive wave of change in Mississippi, you can bet I will support their messages all the way to my grave. GOOD DAY!
Author
Kate Jones
Date
2003-06-13T12:19:05-06:00
ID
76985
Comment
Kate, can you identify some SPECIFIC solutions that David Banner has offered up, and to WHOM in our STATE, or CITY, government he has personally spoken and lobbied to MAKE these solutions a reality? I would also be interested to LEARN what Banner is doing to stay INVOLVED in the process to make sure that LEGISLATION and PROGRAMS become a REALITY. Hey, if he is working in some type of concerted manner through some local churches that would be great to learn also. Based on some posts I read from TC Stein earlier in this thread, can you share if there is any specific efforts Banner is making in the areas of spousal abuse, battered women, fatherless children, teen pregnancy prevention or domestic violence? You know the old saying, talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words. I see a lot of broad stroke waves of the proverbial hand going on here relative to Banner's "message" (and its supposed meanings) but nothing very long, or short for that matter, on specifics. Yes, Banner is speaking to school children but we know (I hope we know) that it takes a great, great deal more actual leg work to bring about the real change we need for the long term. I'm willing to be educated and would truly like to hear how Banner's words are being translated into bonafide plans for action that will make Mississippi future more bright. I'll take a link and read for myself if you can provide one. Thanks. Looking forward to your response. [btw, feel free to send me an email if you would like to go into greater detail offline.]
Author
Reader
Date
2003-06-13T12:46:26-06:00
ID
76986
Comment
"p.s.- Harvey Johnson is a steppinfetchit that has GOT TO GO!!!!!" Almost forgot, while I myself wouldn't call the Mayor that, I am in agreement with you that his leadership of our city leaves much to be desired. In our strong Mayor form of city government, where Harvey is effectively the CEO of Jackson, the Mayor is our Agent of Change. Unfortunately, the only changes that have taken place during his tenure -- aside from some civic infrastructure changes that should have taken a back seat to more pressing priorities -- have been changes for the worse. Can you share with us what you concerns about the Mayor are Kate? Thanks.
Author
Reader
Date
2003-06-13T12:57:18-06:00
ID
76987
Comment
Kate, thanks for joining the dialogue, and I hope you'll keep posting about any news or cultural story that makes you want to speak up. The most valuable effect of any art, no matter how controversial, is to get us to think and talk, as this forum well shows. We're almost at 100 postings on it! Thanks all.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-06-13T13:04:14-06:00
ID
76988
Comment
OK, let's get one thing clear first. David Banner and The One JP are ENTERTAINERS, not politicians. you can't expect those guys to stop touring, performing and devote all their soul to the issues which are SUPPOSE to be handled by those clowns in the City council and Mayor's office. their just the eyes and ears of the streets. stop pointing fingers!..example: if you hear these rappers talk about how bad the drugs and crime are, what do you think these politicians reaction should be?..stop selling drugs? WRONG!..how can you tell a kid that who is living in squaller in west Jackson while his mother is sick with Cancer and his father left the state? YOU CAN'T He won't listen you what SHOULD happen is.. create alternative things for these kids to get into LIKE THE BOYS & GIRLS CLUB that Banner spoke at...or maybe the Mayor can persuade Disney to come to town and build a minature theme park or something...ANYTHING but allowing drug lords(non-black I might add) to infiltrate the poor areas and reek havoc on the people who live there... Jackson has become a GIANT ghetto which stemmed from Dale Danks pro-drug pushing administration all the way down to Kirk Fordice and Frank Melton's tongue and cheek reactions to the results of the drug infestation...Quality of Life is something that ALL MISSISSIPIANS deserve... AND we don't need another 12,000 Cops to do that! THAT'S A POLICE STATE...and I don't agree with the Gustapo way of doing things. if our state leaders can't get the job done then maybe we need to vote David Banner as Mayor and The One JP as Governor because those 2 guys got their fingers on the pulse of what's WRONG and what's RIGHT in Mississippi. and forcing economic slavery upon the people to satisfy a small few at the top is definitely WRONG! listen to these 2 songs and YOU tell me if these guys are offering "solutions": David Banner's song "Mississippi" or The One JP's song "Black Wall Street" I got more insite from those 2 songs than ANY "solutions" these greedy politicians have. look around you, Jackson has become a violent wasteland with NOTHING for these kids to do that's POSITIVE. there's not even ONE movie theater in side the city limits, NOT ONE. politicians in Mississippi always say our state is the best in terms of Quality of life, but I challenge that with the question: WHOSE QUALITY OF LIFE?
Author
Kate Jones
Date
2003-06-13T16:37:30-06:00
ID
76989
Comment
Read a good piece about David Banner in today's Clarion-Ledger: http://www.clarionledger.com/news/0306/16/o01.html
Author
ladd
Date
2003-06-16T11:48:07-06:00
ID
76990
Comment
I HAVE NEW SONG AND THE TITLE OF THIS SONG IS: BLACK , YELLOW , WHITE , THERE IS NO MAGIC COLOR IM TRYING TO FIND SOME ONE LIKE DAVID BANNER TO SING THIS GREAT SONG , PLEASE HOW CAN I GET IN CONTACT WITH DAVID BANNER MY EMAIL IS: [email]TTTDAV@COMCAST.NET[/email] THANK YOU I HOPE I WILL HEAR FROM YOU SOON
Author
bouchta tajjiou
Date
2003-06-18T02:37:37-06:00
ID
76991
Comment
I agree with Kate on a few things. first, she's right, there is NOT ONE movie theater inside the city limits. I doubted her comment until I took it upon myself to ride around the city for an entire Saturday and I could not find ONE...shame. secondly, I've heard "Black Wall Street" by that guy JP and he hits the nail on the head with his message. he notes how hard it is to make a change when drugs are literally being dumped on the sides of roads in the poorer communities. It's sounds almost like he's witnessed this happen before the way he vividly paints the picture. very good song. third, Kate was correct in pointing out how we don't need more police to have peace. and I agree. peace comes from within and communicated outword, NOT forced upon you by the Gustapo JPD. fourth, she was correct again on the point she made about "things to do" for the kids. if the kids have nothing to do, they'll do the closest thing they can, which most times is negative. our children need positive outlets to curb their curiosity towards negatives ones like selling drugs. have a wonderful day all.
Author
Jimmy
Date
2003-06-18T10:00:27-06:00
ID
76992
Comment
With regard to redeeming, message positive lyrics: Exposure to Violent Media: The Effects of Songs with Violent Lyrics on Aggressive Thoughts and Feelings
Author
Reader
Date
2003-06-19T12:56:22-06:00
ID
76993
Comment
21 YEAR OLD MALE IN TEXAS BY WAY JACKSON, MS 39213. PRESIDENTIAL HILLS. MANY TIMES IN THAT NEIGHBORHOOD ME AND MY FAMILY HAVE BEEN HARRASSED FOR MERELY SITTING ON THE PORCH. IS THE ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY NOT SUPPOSED TO TOLERATE TOGETHERNESS OF FAMILIES? COULD IT ALL BE DIRECTED AT SEPARATING US FROM OUR LOVED ONES AND FORCE PEOPLE TO DO THINGS THEY'LL REGRET IN THIER ABSCENCE. GROWING UP IN THAT COMMUNITY MADE ME A BETTER PERSON SEEING THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS THAT POOR PEOPLE GO THROUGH. BEING A COLLEGE STUDENT AT JACKSON STATE AND CURRENTLY A SOLDIER IN THE ARMY, I'VE BEEN TOLD BY MANY OF MY NIGGAS I MADE SOMETHING OF MYSELF. THERE ARE MANY OPPORTUNITIES FOR JACKSON'S YOUTH TO BECOME PRODUCTIVE CITIZENS. WHILE JOINING THE ARMY SEEMS LIKE A SELL OUT, MY COLLEGE LOANS, PAID OFF; MY CHECK ON TIME; MY HOUSE BILL FREE. SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO PLAY THEIR GAMES TO WIN. YOU BECOME SUCCESSFUL GET YOUR BUSINESS AND ALMOST LITERALLY START PRINTING YOUR OWN MONEY. TAKE IT FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH. GOD'S ALMIGHTY AND KNOWS ALL THINGS.
Author
JERMAINE V. WATKINS
Date
2003-06-24T11:58:37-06:00
ID
76994
Comment
What old school artist would you do a calbration with?
Author
john
Date
2003-06-27T11:30:50-06:00
ID
76995
Comment
I just wanted to say that I agree and disagree with Banner's comments. I agree with his statements about staying in school, voting, and having a good relationship with your parents. These three topics are all ways to better yourself as a person. Staying in school gives a chance to be more than just a Mississippi statistic. Voting gives you a chance to voice your opinions. A good relationship with your parents will provide you with support, leadership, and advice, not to mention love. I also agree that the justice system and the state of Mississippi still has alot of flaws. However, I do not agree with his feelings of hatred toward white people and the Mississippi state flag. There are many racist people still in Mississippe, don't get me wrong, but we have made a lot of progress in this area. Black people are offered the same opportunities as white people if they are willing to work hard. I would like to ask Banner if he has ever seen a lynching in the past twenty or thirty years? Many times I think that black people bring the negative image on themselves because they seem to be proud of doing drugs, stealing, murdering, sleeping with a different woman every night,and being thugs all in the name of "gangsta pimpin." If you don't wan't to be portrayed as criminals tell your boys in the rap business to quit bragging about it. The key to be looked at as a respectful human being is to respect yourself. Quit sagging and wearing the three sizes to big ghetto clothes and talking in the for shizzle my nizzle ghetto slang and maybe you will be treated as a citizen instead of a thug. The whole flag issue is merely another way to cause controversy in our state. I am a white guy and I don't take offense in the Malcolmb X t shirts. The problem in Mississippi is that we are so busy arguing over the flag the we don't realize that the flag is not racist, the people are. I grew up in Lumberton,Mississippi and I graduated in a class that was fifty percent white and fifty percent black. We had the racist rednecks, the blacks who thought all white people were racist, and those of us who just loved to watch the two sides argue. For the most part, we all got along and some of my truest friends today are black. This proves that you choose clothes by their color and friends by their character and personality.
Author
P Diddy Lee
Date
2003-07-16T09:44:45-06:00
ID
76996
Comment
Compelling comments, P Diddy. One question: Why would you take offense at a Malcolm X t-shirt? And, for purposes of the state flag discussion you bring up: Would you take offense if the image of Malcolm X, or a raised "By All Means Necessary" fist, was adopted as the symbol of the state government? That would be more of a parallel to the Mississippi state flag issue. The discussion isn't over whether someone takes offense at the Confederate flag as a symbol on a t-shirt or other private space -- that's constitutionally protected -- it's over whether it should be the taxpayer-supported symbol of all Mississippians.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-07-16T10:35:22-06:00
ID
76997
Comment
Then if your only concern is whether or not the flag should be the taxpayer-supported symbol of the state then you should also be fully accepting of the vote where nearly two-thirds of all voting Mississippians said Yes.
Author
JimmyJack
Date
2003-07-16T11:17:02-06:00
ID
76998
Comment
JimmyJack, one doesn't ever have to be "fully accepting" of anything the electorate does: ask Clinton opponents during his era and Bush opponents now. Nothing would ever change in the country or the state if that were the case. That's not the point I'm getting at here. P Diddy seemed to be drawing a parallel between not being offended at a symbol on a t-shirt and at not offended at a government emblem. They're not the same thing. Regardless of where you ultimately fall on the state flag issue itself, it should be judged on its own merits as a government emblem. P Diddy got me thinking, though: It is certainly compelling to consider what many white Mississippians would say if a majority of Mississippians did someday select a symbol such as Malcolm X or a black-power fist to go on the state flag or, say, changed it to the African colors (after all, when the Confederate flag originally flew here, a majority of Mississippians were of African descent so one could try to make a historical "heritage" argument). Or, perhaps the Choctaws would want their emblem on there some day. Don't get me wrong: I wouldn't support those symbols on the state flag, either! It belongs to all of us. But that's the point.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-07-16T11:39:40-06:00
ID
76999
Comment
SEND ME a CD MISSISSIPPI THE CD THANK YOU KEVIN M HAVIES [601]9694043 BIG FANE
Author
KEVIN HAVIES
Date
2003-08-18T15:50:40-06:00
ID
77000
Comment
I'm from laurel MISSISSIPPI but i moved to escape jail.I have been to va,nc,and now GA but it's nothing like MS.What i want to say is what about L-town jones co. am from a place where most of my homeboys are in the pin by16 ,dead,can't read good because the school first thing is to put you out.police get away with any and everything because no one care about the young ones.We learn more on the streets then school.We are little LA. Mr.MOON BRICKYARD/SOUTHSIDE BOS
Author
Moon Walker
Date
2003-09-03T13:03:23-06:00
ID
77001
Comment
i love the jackson free press cause of all the press it gives david banner. it would be cool if you'd just do stories on him, his life, his meaningful and heartfelt songs, and the like. no one in jackson cares about the white people. we just want more david banner, and the free press could be his personal soap box. keep up the good work!
Author
a little birdie
Date
2003-09-06T16:06:13-06:00
ID
77002
Comment
Thanks, Little Birdie. Actually, we haven't given Banner as much coverage as you imply, but we were ahead of other media on him. We ran a short feature back in April, I think, predicting that he was about to blow up; then, I did the above interview in early May, which mostly focused on growing up in the inner city, just before his album came out and became a mega-hit. A lot of other media around town have followed our stories about himóprobably because he's the biggest star from here nationally at the moment. But people do like to talk about him as you can see from the popularity of this particular forum--his lyrics are controversial and offensive to many, and a lot of young people are inspired by his success. No matter what you think of him, he makes for good dialogue; it'll be interesting to see how his career plays out. We've been surprised to see a number of readers get defensive simply because we covered Banner as he hit it big. It's silly and incorrect to imply that because we saw his fame coming, and covered him ahead of most other local publications, that we don't cover white artists. We've been in front of a lot of stories, we're happy to say. I simply don't understand where such race-defensive observations come from, but that's not in my control. Que sera sera.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-09-07T10:48:47-06:00
ID
77003
Comment
well, by reading your magazine one would imply that david banner is the only significant news-worthy music coming out of jackson/mississippi. it would be interesting to note how many issues since april you have discussed him, wrote about him, q&a, talked about his proteges, etc. it seems to me that you believe his music is all that is important at this time. it would be nice to talk about music white people like, too. but your rag is so far to the left it has lost sight of normal, working-class, white joe blows.
Author
disillusioned
Date
2003-09-08T13:51:43-06:00
ID
77004
Comment
Disillusioned, accusing the JFP of "thinking (Banner's) music is all that is important at this time" is simply an unfounded exaggeration. And it sounds like you're trying to turn it into a race argument, which is unfortunate. As I've said, we've run two stories about Banner, and make no apologies for those (certainly this one has been VERY popular). He's been mentioned in other storiesóespecially that are about Jackson hip-hopóbut so have numerous other local artists in other stories. You and anyone else are welcome to suggest artists to cover. I see that you posted the URL I assume is for the band Saliva; if you're with that band or are a fan of them, why not just say that if you're looking for coverage of them? I suggest a more positive approach.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-09-08T14:19:56-06:00
ID
77005
Comment
hello
Author
deanna hicks
Date
2003-09-18T12:46:10-06:00
ID
77006
Comment
I'm just glad you made it, so that maybe we can get looked at and noticed. We are more than what people think.
Author
Douglas Owens
Date
2003-09-24T19:58:51-06:00
ID
77007
Comment
what my nigga? send me something to my email.Cadilac on 22's is my favorite song. i like how you took it back to the hood and helped everyone.
Author
tracyw webster
Date
2003-10-01T15:39:46-06:00
ID
77008
Comment
Yeah, well here's a question for David Banner: Did your mama teach you that two wrongs make a right? Because in real life, David Banner carries himself as a racist. He can spin a pretty story and give good quote for the journalists, but in his everyday attitudes and behaviors, he's just as bad as the white people he blames. He mentions hate groups, but he's part of one. He talks of things being wrong with Mississippi, but where does reverse racism make things right? He's not above discounting or discrediting a person simply because they're white. But he wouldn't admit that in an interview, I'm sure.
Author
kimber
Date
2003-10-09T17:48:00-06:00
ID
77009
Comment
Kimber, would you share specific examples of how "Banner carries himself as a racist"? What hate group is he part of? At this moment, this sounds like unsubstanitated allegations, but actual examples could convince us otherwise.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-09T19:12:53-06:00
ID
77010
Comment
What exactly is "reverse racism?" Do white people so misunderstand the meaning of the word "racism" and its nature that they need to invent a whole new term for occassions when they're the victim of it? And why do nonwhite people accept the use of such a term? Racism either is or it isn't. There's no such thing as reverse racism.
Author
Nia
Date
2003-10-10T08:11:56-06:00
ID
77011
Comment
Nia, I'm glad you asked that question. And, yes, I would say that too many misunderstand the word immensely. "Racism" is probably the most misunderstood word in the U.S. (OK, there are probably others.) It absolutely amazes me that people (politicians, etc.) can assert that they are not "racist" because they (1) know people of color, (2) hire them, (3) have some non-white friends, (4) care about some individual people of color intensely, (5) have done something nice for a nonwhite, and so on. All those things were true for many of the country's (and state's) most adamant racists throughout our history. White Mississippians routinely excused Jim Crow by saying one or more of the above statements, or something very similar (such as the horribly insulting "blacks like it this way, too"). Much of the rebel flag rhetoric falls into this trap as well. To my thinking, the word "racism" is about the "ism" part, not about how lovely a member of the majority culture treats some individuals. That is, do you routinely support policies and practices that hurt non-whites as a group? Do you employ racial stereotypes that affect your decisions -- about everything from public schools to crime? Do you cry "reverse racism" about policies such as affirmative action meant to help level a playing field that has never been near level in the country for nonwhites? Are you more quick to criticize a person of color for the same thing a white person does? Do you reject efforts to rebuild neighborhoods, and create jobs in order that people have the bootstraps to participate in the American dream? If a political operative or candidate, do you use coded phrases like "welfare queens" and "super-predators" and "wild tigers (animals) and, these days, even "Democrats" (in this state) to perpetuate racial stereotypes? Do you pander to blatantly racist groups for votes, all the while pretending you don't know what they're about? Do you ridicule people who bring up the need to get rid of racist symbols (such as the Confederate flag) while not-so-subtly wearing one on your lapel while campaigning? Someone, who might not be, er, "racist" in his or her heart, as they like to say they're not, is being blatantly racist when they employ such race-based techniques -- and it's even more despicable to do such things just to get votes from bigots. That strikes as the worst kind of racism.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-10T11:32:56-06:00
ID
77012
Comment
Normally I don't post in forums, I'm a lurker, but in this case I felt compelled. First off to reader you say talk is cheap and that Banner, speaking to kids isn't enough, then you ask what beyond that is he doing, well I happen to know Banner personally, we grew up in different neighborhoods and attended different schools,(Banner Provine, myself St. Andrews) but Jackson isn't a huge spread out metropolis, so people, if they run in the same circles tend to know each other. I happen to know he is very commited and very involved in the upliftment of youth and the betterment of society as a whole with an emphasis on black youth. His speaking to young kids is merely a first step, as with all things an intial step must be taken , by the way what, if anything,have YOU done. To a little birdy and disillusioned, an article and review on ONE black local, nationally famous artist is now proof that the JFP, doesn't cater to the interest of white readers, lol, well all local artists deserve coverage and since when don't white kids listen to rap music? And to P Diddy I'm sure you did " all get along" in your high school days but geesh that sounds a lot like that tired cliche, "I'm not racist some of my best friends are black" (or insert any object of an ism be gender ethnicity, sexual preference etc...) Also, there are more young white kids wearing "sagging ghetto clothes" ( that's a racist stereotypical statement ) than the black youths they are attempting to imitate/emulate. Also what's gangsta pimpin? And to restate Dladds question why would an X t-shirt offend you, your tax dollars don't support someone elses preference of clothes, and yes there have been lynchings in the past 30 years. There just happened to a little bitty social upheaval called the Civil Rights Movement, that was still very active in the late 60's and 70's. Well tha's my rant :)
Author
pharoah
Date
2003-10-23T13:18:04-06:00
ID
77013
Comment
I think David Banner is confused and is only after that almighty dollar. I just learned that he graudated from college but he acts like a damn fool all the time. what mask is he wearing today/tomorrow/next week?...we'll never know because he(David Banner) is a damn joke. and he doesn't represent me as a Black Man in Mississippi. Are there any other rappers around Jackson that have something of substance to say?
Author
Black Man
Date
2004-03-04T15:52:01-06:00
ID
77014
Comment
Black Man, I know few people that aren't after the almight dollar. In the poorest state in the Union, it makes sense our people are grasping for whatever C-notes they can find. While Banner does not represent you, specifically, he has inspired many to new heights... Understanding their are alternatives to street life and drugs such as college, business, and so forth. It is fair for you not to like or respect him... And your right. If you find a rapper (especially a local one) that represents your quota for "substance," please post it here. I have a fetish for rhymes with substance...
Author
kaust
Date
2004-03-04T16:22:41-06:00
ID
77015
Comment
Knol Aust: the few kids he's inspired to do well are nothing compared to the hundreds he's inspired to be knuckleheads. I can see right through this guy. he's about money. and that comment you made about 'blacks needing to grab every c-note we can" is stupid. at what cost do we need to grab every dollar? the future of our kids who look up to rappers more than they do to teachers? give me a break. and Knol Aust, I will see if I can find an aritist with more to say that David Banner. I'm sure there's got to be quite a few around town.
Author
Black Man
Date
2004-03-04T18:58:44-06:00
ID
77016
Comment
Black Man, you took my words out of context... Actually, you made up an entire statement I never made ("blacks needing to grab every c-note we can"). I see a pattern.
Author
kaust
Date
2004-03-05T09:18:56-06:00
ID
77017
Comment
Black Man, like most people, David Banner is complex. Personally, he does some things I think are really cool, and some I don't. So why not turn this into a positive exchange: Share with us your positive role-model suggestions, especially local ones for young black Jacksonians. Let's talk about what you think makes a good role model, rather than putting words into other people's mouths, and posting blanket insults. I'm serious: Who are your role models? And why?
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2004-03-05T11:36:45-06:00
ID
77018
Comment
ladd: I didn't put any words into anyone's mouth. Knol Aust said it himself, and I quote: "it makes sense our people are grasping for whatever C-notes they can find.". Not to me it doesn't. I was told as a child by my grandfather that all money ain't good money and I truly believe that. Personally, I can't see why a college graduate such as David Banner needs to record ignorant songs to make a fast buck. Hell, if it's that easy to doop people out of money, I got a River to sell that doesn't have any water in it and it's called the Pearl. Bids starting at $200-up When I first heard of David Banner I thought he was some down and out thug that grew up the rough side of Jackson and he made songs that reflected his pain and suffering. But this guy is a college graduate who was also the Student Body President of his college. But he's making songs called "might getcha' fucked up", "Cadillacs on 22's" and "Like a Pimp" like he's some street thug. This guy is squeaky clean and he's totally sending the wrong message to kids who even remotely look up to him. I know these streets. I grew up rough and I fight everyday to make sure my son doesn't grow up like I did or worse die out here over some nonsense. Imagine a kid who wants to be a docter but hears David's story and realize that instead of being a doctor, I think I'll be a paper thug like David Banner. My son even thinks this guy is beyond stupid. Why rap about stuff you were never subjected to like pimping and kicking in peoples doors if you're really some school nerd trying to convince people you're a gangster? This ain't Hollywood. There's some real thugs out hear that will take David's songs to heart and start kicking in peoples doors for real. But will he take the heat if they blame his songs for their actions? I doubt it. It just doesn't make sense to me. I'm not an avid Rap music listener so I can't put my finger on any local rappers that have real things to say coming from real experinces. but I'll get my son to compile a list for me and I'll put them on here at that time. I have plenty of role models but that's not the issue here. the issue is our kids and their role models. Jackson is a great city to live in. A great city to grow in. and a Great city full of talent. But one thing Jackson is definitely not and that's a town full of gimmicks. and David Banner is a gimmick. If his style of songs change maybe I'll change my tune but as of right now, I don't see what all the hype is about over a Erkle turned Tupac.
Author
Black Man
Date
2004-03-05T12:18:58-06:00
ID
77019
Comment
B.M., I'll let you and Knol quibble over what Knol said. One important difference, though: He said "our people," which being that he isn't black, I take to mean Mississippians. You turned that into "blacks needing to grab every c-note we can"; that's a *very* different statement, and I can understand why Knol wouldn't want you to twist what he was saying into that. It's simply inaccurate. Beyond that, I'll let him address the nuance of what he was saying if he wants. I'm not passing judgment on either his comment or your interpretation of it; just clarifying the difference. Other than that, you make some interesting comments, although I suspect you'd get further (meaning reach more people) without simply calling Banner names like "paper thug" and "Erkle turned Tupac." The fact is, a lot of young people do consider him a role model and your insults will probably just endear them to him further. Your insults turn me off, and I'm probably more ready to agree with you than a lot of younger folks. Probably the only thing you said I disagree with directly, though, is lumping "Cadillacs on 22s" in with "like a Pimp." They're two very different songs and, I believe, reflect two sides of Banner, one I personally like better than the other, and it's a side that I've experienced first-hand. You can disagree with him about his methods, and you should if you want, but I do believe that he wants to use the mega-rap corporate business to also get positive messages out to young people. Whether or not you should "work through the system" as he's trying to do is certainly a legitimate point of contention. Does it do more harm than good to record the pimp and ho songs, so you can also do other stuff? To make the big bucks doing the commercial crap and then use some of that money to do good? This is an age-old dilemma that takes new forms as the generations go back; I doubt we'll answer today, but it's worth talking about. Certainly, people like Russell Simmons see no problem with doing it this way, and he does a lot of important work and consciousness raising. Also, I'd add an aside: I certainly would consider David Banner at least as good of a role model as Bernie Ebbers and his ilk. I'd still like to hear your role models, though; that's one of my favorite topics. One more thing: We're planning to do a public panel discussion abouts the pros and cons of rap music. Let me know if you'd like to get involved as a parent.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2004-03-05T12:57:08-06:00
ID
77020
Comment
ladd: If Knol Aust meant 'us people as a whole(all colors) he would have said Mississippians and not "our people". when I hear or see "our people" it usually refers to Black people. I'm no fool. I know better than that. Truth be told, White people in Mississippi have no need to 'grasp at every dollar they possibly can' because they got all of Mississippi's money to begin with. Don't wizz down my neck and tell me it's raining. and for reference, look at these comments by little birdie. obviously one of David's ignorant supporters: "i love the jackson free press cause of all the press it gives david banner. it would be cool if you'd just do stories on him, his life, his meaningful and heartfelt songs, and the like. no one in jackson cares about the white people. we just want more david banner, and the free press could be his personal soap box. keep up the good work!" Now you tell me how the hell Black people are suppose to get a leg up if we're shooting ourselves in the foot at every turn?
Author
Black Man
Date
2004-03-05T13:18:33-06:00
ID
77021
Comment
If Knol Aust meant 'us people as a whole(all colors) he would have said Mississippians and not "our people". when I hear or see "our people" it usually refers to Black people. I'm no fool. I know better than that. Again, B.M., your logic fails me. If I as a white woman say "our people," I clearly am not talking about just "black people." That in no way makes sense to me. Why don't you just ask Knol to clarify what he meant? Otherwise, please don't call other posters "ignorant" because you disagree with their opinion. That is an ad hominem attack and violates our user agreement. You're welcome to discuss the issues here, but please refrain from personal attacks when posting here. That said for the record, I should probably point out that the comments from Little Birdie were meant sarcastically, and are clearly from someone miffed because the Free Press covered Banner at all. There are some folks in town who would prefer that we didn't cover black artists, certainly rappers, at all.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2004-03-05T13:50:13-06:00
ID
77022
Comment
BM--If Knol Aust meant 'us people as a whole(all colors) he would have said Mississippians and not "our people". when I hear or see "our people" it usually refers to Black people. I'm no fool. I know better than that. BM, I'll reply once and I'm done conversing with you on this topic. When I said "our" I was speaking of Mississippi's people. Black, white, yellow... I try every day to think of our community first without racial lines or boundaries. Sorry I wasn't clear by your definition and should have included some racial comment that neutralized anyone's chance of misunderstanding. I just don't think like that and most around me don't either. To further explain my comment (though I feel you may be the only one misinterpreting it): we (all skin tones of Mississippi) are struggling financially and statistically in general. To knock a (wo)man of any color for seeking a career, following a dream and achieving financial stability (at no one's forced expense but his own) is unjustified and sounds more like envy or greed than true concern for the societal impact of words like ho and pimp. He's getting paid well to do what he enjoys and is sharing that wealth via scholarships and various community activities with the state and his fans nationwide. Now, to say that white Mississippians have no need to grasp at every dollar is ABSURD! Plain and simple! I would even go so far as to bet that statistics would prove poverty among whites in Mississippi exceeds poverty among all other races combined. After all, Mississippi is almost 70% white. Where's PHilip when I need him?
Author
kaust
Date
2004-03-05T13:59:32-06:00
ID
77023
Comment
Knol Aust: If you truly meant what you said, then I apologize. but don't act as if the racial lines in Mississippi are completely blotted out. They are very clear and drawn out. Whites in Mississippi make it well known that they hate Blacks. It's no secret. Don't force me to cite countless times I've been discrimnated against or called the N word in Jackson, Mississippi in 2004 for crying out loud. Now, if you don't hate Blacks then you are making positive strides towards a healthy mind and that's a beautiful thing, I commend you, but don't try and tell me that saying vague comments like 'our people' is speaking of ALL people in general, especially in Mississippi. Any Black person that reads that will automatically think you are either talking about Blacks(if you are Black) or Whites(if you are white). Maybe you should start spelling out exactly what you mean because I'm sure I'm not the only one that felt a weird feeling from your words. Those that know you may not have, but I don't know you. But don't get me wrong, I agree with anybody who wants to change this "improper" thinking that whites have for Blacks in Mississippi. It's the cancer that makes Blacks not want to deal with whites in Mississippi, period. Not to mention the sorry stigma Mississippi has on it for being the most racist state in the union. Did I miss something here? Hell, there was something recently signed by the US Congress that Mississippi finally signed on from being a slave state. HOW CRASS IS THAT?. I'm not going to sit here and play "Oooh, don't say that, it's too touchy" with you people. that's the problem in Mississippi. All the ethnic groups(Whites, Blacks, Indians and now Mexicans) aren't willing to hash these issues out verbally and hold hands in this struggle for equality. Too much racial pride by Whites and too much sit and do nothing by Blacks. All people want to do is skate over the real issues just to get by and not step on any toes. Times have changed. ladd: There's no envy for David Banner on my part, I got a good job. my family eats. I'm happy and that's all I care about. I wish him lots of success however he gets it because it's obvious that the Black community(as a whole) doesn't care what his subject matter is just as long as they can shake their butts to his music in the clubs. But now I must ponder that maybe there's some truth to what I'm saying that rubs you the wrong way to make you even suggest that someone is envious. that's ridiculous. If you find agreement in some of my statements, then agree but don't say I'm being envious. that's a cop out. Black people want change inMississippi but don't want to take the responsiblity to do it. They want to continue on this 'let's blame the whites for our suffering and slack' trip until magically white people say "Ok, I'm done dogging you out, let's be friends now". NO. White people aren't going to do it for us. their definition of 'change' is to see us all back in slavery as the solution. And that's the truth. I allow my son to listen to whoever he wants to listen to because I enstilled values in him to make good choices in life. By him stating that he doesn't like David Banner's music led me to inquire and listen. Once I listened, I realized that I've been raising my son well. I'm done with this topic. have a nice day.
Author
Black Man
Date
2004-03-05T15:48:49-06:00
ID
77024
Comment
But now I must ponder that maybe there's some truth to what I'm saying that rubs you the wrong way to make you even suggest that someone is envious. B.M., Please re-read the comments above. I have not *once* used the word "envy" or "envious" here, and have not even implied that you're envious of Banner or anyone else. I believe you have a lot to offer this forum, but I implore you to read people's comments closer before putting words in their mouth. That prevents any kind of useful dialogue.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2004-03-05T15:56:02-06:00
ID
77025
Comment
ladd: I apologize for the 'envius' comments. those were meant for Knol Aust.
Author
Black Man
Date
2004-03-05T15:56:38-06:00
ID
77026
Comment
No problem. Apology accepted.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2004-03-05T16:01:21-06:00
ID
77027
Comment
since you haven't responded Knol Aust, I'll take it as you agreed with my position and moved on. I appreciate that. have a nice day
Author
Black Man
Date
2004-03-11T10:41:48-06:00
ID
77028
Comment
BM, I actually do not agree with much of what you said about my statements or my race in general... I did not appreciate your generalizations and felt there was no conversation happening. But this is a dead horse, if you actually believe "Whites in Mississippi make it well known that they hate Blacks" and that justifies your twist on my comments. Already, you are prejudiced against me and my opinions because of my race (of which you have no actual evidence). This forces me to recognize that there are no arguments or debate regarding David Banner that will lead you to respect anything I have to say. So, why say it? When most want to have an intelligent conversation, they leave the name-calling out until there are no alternatives but slinging mud. You started yours with accusations and assumptions about my beliefs, standards, racial background, etc. Prejudice is a two-sided street and it would appear we are on opposite sidewalks. I'm not about to start yelling to communicate with you through the traffic of pre-judgements already made. You can re-count your instances of prejudice all you want. I've experienced the same from the black community too many times to list -- for being white and for being gay, as well as both combined. But, I WON'T generalize about your race or make sweeping comments because the same ignorance has been experienced with my own race and many other races and religions by myself... I know ignorance is ignorance and it has no color, gender, or religion. In other words, I'm not playing your game with you. You can generalize about whites and blacks all you want... But, I'm not listening. I don't live in a generalized world because there are more variables in the human equation than black and white. And I'm sorry I didn't get the memo that "our" had been strictly regulated to racial inclusion. If you'd like, feel free to forward that memo. If you don't have a memo dictated by Merriam Webster, I'd prefer that you not assume that a loose term representing the State's citizens ("our") not be restricted to one particular race, gender, religion or belief... Now, you can consider me "moved on."
Author
kaust
Date
2004-03-11T11:21:59-06:00
ID
77029
Comment
Knol Aust: Wearing rose colored glasses was the trend with hippies of the 60's. Today, those glasses have been stomped on and crushed. Generalizations my arse, sir. pardon my french. And although my statements did indeed strike a nerve with you I won't engage into any mudslinging either. I came in to state what I felt about this guy's music. period. if my words rub you the wrong way, then great! maybe it can wake people like you up to what's really happening to our children in these Mississippi streets. I could care less if you don't believe that words, when said in certain ways, can help or hinder a situation. Just because you're gay and you've somehow come to the twisted conclusion that we are all equal now doesn't mean the rest of the populous is up to speed with your bandwagon of "Our means All". give me a break. that's the only issue I had with your entire rant. "Our People" has never meant "All People" in no form of the English language. "Our" personalizes any statement made. example: If I say "this is Our Car" that means it's my family's. personalized. that doesn't mean that YOU can come and get my keys and go to the Casino whenever you feel like it. You're a stranger. now, if I say "this car is for all Mississippians" then the way I worded it makes it clear and understandable. I learned this in my 7th grade english class. YOU SIR, just slipped up made a vague commet and thought it would fly over but I caught it and you're probably just trying to save face right now..but whatever. And furthermore, don't try to paint some skewed perception that I'm a racist. I'm Black and this entire topic is about a Black person. So you can squash that nonsense of trying to make this into a racist fingerpointing parade. And, I feel the main reason why you can't agree with my statements is simply because you're out of touch with reality. ladd: If I'm not making any sense to you either, I would appreciate your comments as well.
Author
Black Man
Date
2004-03-11T13:35:43-06:00
ID
77030
Comment
Black man, as I've said already, you or anyone else is welcome to post here, and state your opinions about issues, as long as you do not engage in personal insults or try to bait readers into an ugly argument. But it also is up to anyone whether they want to post or respond to you, and it is a stretch in reasoning to allege that not responding equals agreement in some way, although it could. But it also might be that someone doesn't want join in the tone of a certain poster who seems to be trolling for a fight. Your tone seems that way, whether you mean it to. I'm sure you have interesting points to make, but to me they're too buried the "this is our Car" fight to interest meóI happen to think that it is obvious on its face that when a white man writes "our" that he is not referring only to black people, as you keep trying to assert on his behalf. That's, frankly, a nonsensical argument to me. And you're beating of that particular horse is hindering dialogue here. One thing that will quickly turn off other bloggers, as well as people in real-life conversation, is someone continually telling you what you're saying, or trying to mischaracterize your words fr you. That just doesn't make for good discussion--in fact, it's a classic argument fallacy--and the fact that someone doesn't take your bait on it does not mean that they agree with you, or don't have an opinion themselves. Otherwise, I just don't have anything else to add to my comments to you, so please don't continue to try to bait me. I will join into a discussion as I'm inspired to by what's being written. In this case, I'm not inspired.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2004-03-11T14:05:59-06:00
ID
77031
Comment
When I read Knol's original post with the "our people" comment, I assumed he meant "Mississippians." I am African American, and I did not interpret his comment to mean "black people." Black people don't own the term "our people." And this being a free country (for now), anyone is free to use the term. For the record, "our" is a possessive pronoun used to define a group of which the speaker is a member. Obviously, the group could be defined countless ways: familial, national, ethnic, religious, hair color, six-fingered, sock-wearing, barefoot-going, ad infinitum. Some friends and I have been discussing this same issue: defining the social value of an artist and how that valuation is affected by race and class. I don't think an artist has to have direct experience with a particular thing to talk about it. Shakespeare never ruled a country, and Martin Carter has never left the planet Earth. Even if Banner is the clean-cut wannabe thug that Black Man says he is--and we haven't established that assertion is true--why shouldn't he be able to talk about, describe the world around him? And if that's street violence, then it is what it is. Crime rates are dropping in Jackson, but violence is still a problem. While making an unexpected trip to a Jackson hospital ER with a relative this past Christmas, I was the unfortunate witness to a teenager dying of a gunshot wound in the entryway of the ER. He was shot by another teen. But for all we know, both teens could have been avid Aerosmith fans or as JimJam pointed out a few months ago, Johnny Cash devotees.
Author
Nia
Date
2004-03-11T14:57:51-06:00
ID
77032
Comment
ladd: I'm not here to bait any arguments with anyone. I just see/hear things/words differently than others, sometimes clearer. but just for example: Do you remember when George Bush Sr. said in one of his many misleading speeches "You people..yada, yada". why did so many Black people get offended by his words? He was speaking to the entire country, not just one demographic when he said that but Black people got into an uproar over that speech. but whatever...words don't mean anything I guess. Does anybody here know what a "Spin Doctor" is? but back to the topic: David Banner is a talented artist, true. But aren't black people the first ones to get all bent out of shape when some other race depicts us in a messed up light? My concern is: Why do Black people allow other Black people to depict us in the same messed up lighting? Did I miss something here? Black people can't get on their proverbial soapbox when they themselves are the contributiong to our recession in progress as a people, but then turn around and get mad at Ted Danson for wearing blackface to a party with Whoopi. just my opinion. Nia: there's this thing that my son says a lot...he calls it "keeping it real". now if I hold up one of David's CD and then hold up his college degree next to it...I would say that he's not keeping it real. I would say that he's trying to be something he's not. but again, that's just my opinion. carry on
Author
Black Man
Date
2004-03-11T15:35:22-06:00
ID
77033
Comment
Black Man, you seem to be confusing two very different terms. "You people" is often used to demean black people as well as lots of other groups of people. But to my knowledge, "our people" has never been used commonly in a deragatory fashion. Why would anyone demean a group of people to which they belong? Then again, you seem to be doing that with your generalizations about what black people think and get bent out of shape about. Perhaps you have missed something. There are black people who demean and belittle black culture (Pimp Juice comes to mind), but then again, you could make that complaint about just about any group of people. Is ir worse when black people do it than when Russian people do ti? If so, why? I've never been clear on what "keepin' it real" means, but why are you so sure Banner isn't keeping it real? If he were a high-school dropout rapping about street violence, would his work be more authentic? Would his art be better? Would it be more real? Do you hold all artists to that same standard or just black artists--or just rappers? Would you insist that John Lee Hooker have experienced everything he wrote about in his music?
Author
Nia
Date
2004-03-11T17:04:47-06:00
ID
77034
Comment
Nia: When George Bush Sr. said "You people" he didn't point to any one demographic at all. not once. but Black people found it offensive. no other race gave a hoot. It's no different than when the KKK was shouting "Our people, Our pure white people" back in the day. I grew up in the 60's in Mississippi, so you might not understand this type of play on words as well as I do. that's the reason I tore into Knol Aust's rear end because he knew exactly what he was saying. and I already apologize to him IF what he meant was not what I thought. but did he even retract his on slip of the lip? nope. He insisted on trying to belittle me with unleveled retorts. "If he were a high-school dropout rapping about street violence, would his work be more authentic? Would his art be better? Would it be more real? Do you hold all artists to that same standard or just black artists--or just rappers? Would you insist that John Lee Hooker have experienced everything he wrote about in his music?" BINGO. ALL ARTISTS. Music of any kind is always more authentic when it comes from real life experiences. I grew up on John Lee Hooker and let me tell you, that man had it hard, real hard. Everyone who grew up during that time had it hard so his music touched you deep. It hit home. You younger kids think it's cute to shout "shoot em' up, kick ya' doors in!" but let me tell something, that mess ain't cute, it's ignorant. plain and simple.
Author
Black Man
Date
2004-03-11T17:30:07-06:00
ID
77035
Comment
"Our people, Our pure white people" and "In the poorest state in the Union, it makes sense our people are grasping for whatever C-notes they can find" are two completely different statements with two completely different tones and subjects. One is basic inclusion of a race and the other is basic inclusion of people int he poorest state in the union. No race was mentioned. Actually, after re-reading and re-reading my sentence, there is absolutely no excuse for taking it out of context or misunderstanding it by anyone. In the beginning of the sentence, I referenced Mississippi (the poorest state") and followed with "our people". There's little opportunity to mistake which people I was talking about -- Mississippi's people. Sorry about your hang-ups and issues with the word "our"... As noted, I've moved on and this time, I mean it. Keep talking if you will about the infinite ways in which the word "our" can be utilized. I won't discuss it further.
Author
kaust
Date
2004-03-11T17:42:26-06:00
ID
77036
Comment
"You younger kids"??? B.M., you're assuming and stereotyping again. Just who exactly are you talking to here? You're not making a whole lot of sense to me.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2004-03-11T17:43:55-06:00
ID
77037
Comment
One more thing: "tore into Knol Aust's rear end because he knew exactly what he was saying." I'll say that one more time, B.M.: Stop telling other people what they're saying, or I will ask you to leave. Discuss the issues or move on.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2004-03-11T17:47:45-06:00
ID
77038
Comment
Knol Aust: I apologized to you already didn't I? You only just now decided to clarify yourself after you felt the need to get your rocks off and snap back at me. and yes, your comment has Mississippi in it, but I'll have you know that Mississippi has been an utter Utopia for White people since slavery days and when you said "Our" the only group of people I could think of that are 'grasping at every dollar they can" is Black people. which was insulting to say the least. and don't come back with "white people have the highest rate of people on welfare", because that's a twisted statistic, especially since the majority of poor blacks can't even get that much. ladd: I'm referring to everyone in here that's younger than 21 years of age. If you're not in that category then why get upset? case in point: I say "You younger kids" as a blanket statement for the youth and I'm not making any sense. but Knol says "Our people" and his comments are as clear as a whistle. what's wrong with this picture?
Author
Black Man
Date
2004-03-11T17:58:41-06:00
ID
77039
Comment
and I just noticed something: Is the majority of people in here in favor of more crooked cops on our streets? MY GOD!
Author
Black Man
Date
2004-03-11T18:00:00-06:00
ID
77040
Comment
"You younger kids"?! That's f****** hilarious! I'm probably your age, or certainly close to it if you grew up during the 60s. Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy acted out a lot of their real life experiences, many of which weren't pretty. Are you arguing that they shouldn't talk about those things because they cast an unfavorable light? Are you saying that artists should only talk about nice things? Or should only black artists be that constricted? Not all great art is based on the real-life experiences of the artist. And certainly there are truly bad artists who write, sing, and act out their real life experiences. Think "Glitter" with Mariah Carey. Great artists are those who are able to identify with, find humanity in, and kinship with people from different life experiences, perhaps like Banner. Maybe he's never lead a thug lifestyle, but who passed a law saying he can't rap or write eloquently about it? Again, why are you so sure he isn't writing about what he knows? Who says that Banner can't write about what he saw other people doing? Curious: Have you ever listened to one of Banner's CDs in its entirety? It's a little silly to have this discussion if you've only heard one song.
Author
Nia
Date
2004-03-11T18:06:46-06:00
ID
77041
Comment
Apparently, there are two pictures: the one Black Man is looking at and the one everyone else is looking at. Stop backpedaling, Black Man. If you weren't calling me, Knol, and Ladd "younger kids," then who the heck were you talking to? There's no one else here right now! And stop trying to confuse the issue by pulling shit outta thin air: No one here has mentioned anything about cops, crooked or otherwise! You make yourself look bad--excuse me, worse.
Author
Nia
Date
2004-03-11T18:14:13-06:00
ID
77042
Comment
Nia: "Curious: Have you ever listened to one of Banner's CDs in its entirety? It's a little silly to have this discussion if you've only heard one song." yes, I have in fact. and he seems to force his tales of gunplay and kicking in doors. my son let me hear an older copy of an album he came out with and on that record he tried to come across like he was intelligent. what happend on this record? now, he's the biggest thug walking. I'm not at all impressed by it. "Are you saying that artists should only talk about nice things? Or should only black artists be that constricted?" no. I'm saying that artists should talk about what they know about and not just saying things for the sake of entertainment. I got a real close relationship with my son(unlike most parents) and he's always telling me how his peers are big on "be who you are, not what somebody wants you to be" and I can respect that because that's how it was in the 60's. Nowadays you got kids out here rapping about killing 12 cops in one night and laying up having sex with 8 girls and it's all lies. It's misleading the youth to aspire to an ignorant lifestyle. they're just living a lie. Is that ok with you? if so, then I have no more to say about the topic.
Author
Black Man
Date
2004-03-11T18:27:52-06:00
ID
77043
Comment
Nia: are you trying to insult me? try again. go back and read some of the other replies and you'll see where I grabbed the 'gun' comment then come back and talk to me. and I'll be cool with my backpeddaling and generalizations and confusion as long as you all are cool with the possibility that some young impressionable kid goes off and kicks in your door and robs you blind, maybe even kill you because he was jamming to David Banner's "might get your doors kicked in" I really don't think ANY of you know how literal these kids take these rappers out here. I got a son and 2 daughters so I know how impressionable they are. So all this "aww let him sing his songs, he's just an entertainer" is crap to me. I'll leave you all with this: No responsibility = No complaints ^which means... if you're not going to take any responsibility don't complain when the mess hits the fan. And please don't come back to JFP condeming other Jackson rappers who are just "entertainers" as well when their songs get these kids going. It'll be too late to cry foul. and trust me, there are some more out here that are more vivid than David Banner. have a nice day people.
Author
Black Man
Date
2004-03-11T18:52:03-06:00
ID
77044
Comment
I know all those make-up wearing, hot pink bandanas and big hair sporting rock bands of the 80s turned me into a devout follower of Satanism and made me commit to outrageous drugs and orgies with women. For all that know me, they know it's the farthest thing from the truth. Beavis and Butthead has never cause a fire in my house. Nor have I had mad rock 'n' roll orgies with women... But I did have a neon pink, tiger striped bandana. For most music is an outlet. For some, it's literal. For those few that take it literally and allow it influence their morals rather than as an art and entertainment, they'll fall victim to most anything. Music is probably the least of their worries with drug dealers and gangs on the streets looking for just that type of mind.
Author
kaust
Date
2004-03-11T19:02:00-06:00
ID
77045
Comment
Here, here, Knol. People who kick in doors and commit robbery at gunpoint aren't doing it because they heard a David Banner CD. Their problems started long before they were big enough to kick somebody's door in. I was fascinated by Gil Scott-Heron in my teenage years (I've got everything he ever recorded), but I've never so much as smoked a cigarette let alone tried heroine or any of the other drugs Scott-Heron is addicted to. (It's really sad the state he's fallen into.) Like any other art medium, rap music covers a wide range of attitudes, experiences, talent (or lack thereof), and influences. And like a lot of other types of music in their beginnings, it's a conveninet scapegoat for people who like to point fingers. Black Man, you sure do have a lot of insight to know that most parents don't have close relationships with their children. Do you know all these people and their children personally?
Author
Nia
Date
2004-03-11T22:04:53-06:00
ID
77046
Comment
Nia: I don't have to know every family to know that a great majority of these kids out here are misguided. and I blame the parents 110%. your comments are terribly uniformed. Maybe in the white communities of Jackson, where the Father and mother both inhabit the home, you don't see it. but take a trip to West Jackson or Downtown and maybe, just maybe, you'll understand what I'm trying to explain to you all. I can understand why the white people of Mississippi don't care about what's going on in the ghettos because it's not affecting their kids in their gated communities and hidden neighborhoods in and around Brandon and Madison, etc.. that's a given. But I'm Black. and in most Black areas like Jackson it's not a pretty existence. you got cops framing up young black men with drugs, trumping up outrageous charges, etc... IT'S SICKENING! and for some of you to say you've never been heavily influenced by the music you listen to are struggling with the truth. and to say their problems existed before they listened to certain songs is a cop out. people can snap. just because YOU didn't snap doesn't mean the next person isn't capable of it. I makes me sick to my stomach when 1 person out of millions says stuff like "well I never had that problem so why should they?". every person on this planet is different in their own way. some have stronger mental capacities than others. I can't stand uppity people.
Author
Black Man
Date
2004-03-12T11:06:59-06:00
ID
77047
Comment
"For those few that take it literally and allow it influence their morals rather than as an art and entertainment, they'll fall victim to most anything. Music is probably the least of their worries with drug dealers and gangs on the streets looking for just that type of mind." ^that's the most disgusting generalization I ever read. you should be ashamed of yourself.
Author
Black Man
Date
2004-03-12T11:09:42-06:00
ID
77048
Comment
Black Man, take a pill. Once again, you're makin' up shit. No one here has said that they weren't influenced by the music they listen to. What I said (Knol can speak for himself), is that listening to my favorite musician didn't negatively influence my moral character. You claim that kids who listen to David Banner will necessarily have their morals negatively affected--as if every word that comes out of his mouoth is negative and as if kids can't think for themselves. All I said was that I listened to Gil Scott-Heron and learned from his positive messages but not the negative ones. Again, stop making shit up because you need to make yourself look good by trying to make somone else look bad. As for generalizations, you need to check yourself. You're the one making sweeping generalizations about other people's moral character and other people's parenting abilities. You're the one who claims that most parents aren't close to their children and there is no way in hell for you to make that kind of a judgement reasonably. And to generalize that parents are always to blame for their children's mistakes is equally inane. Neither I nor Knol claimed that because we didn't have a problem no one else should. You're mischararcterizing what we said. What we were pointing out is that you can't blame a song for someone's character or lack of it. I can't stand people who make shit up and misquote what other people say to try to make themselves look good. I think that's called "self-righteous." It's a shame you didn't start off talking about whether the thug life and street violence that SOME musicians write about is based in current reality, the past, or is entirely fictitious. That would have been a good starting point for a worthy discussion. Instead, you start railing abouy why David Banner is to blame for violent crime in Jackson's black youth. Silly.
Author
Nia
Date
2004-03-12T11:45:58-06:00
ID
77049
Comment
Nia: Since it seems you haven't lived on this planet for very long, I would like to point out to you that when Tupac(remember him?) had a song about killing cops and some kid in Texas listened to that song,internalized it and ended up killing an officer and blamed it on Tupac's song. now, since you don't believe that some David Banner's songs can do the same then I suggest a labotomy. I never said that 'as if every word he says is negative'...that's some generalized fiction on your part. And since you learned from the positive messages from Gil Scott-Heron, do you not think that someone else can also equally internalize his negative messages? And more often than not, the reason a child goes wayward is because they lacked good home training. you disagree? And my claim that most parents aren't close to their kids is a fact, especially in Mississippi. you disagree? How can you sit there and suggest that a song can't influence a person's character or lack of it? shame on you! I never once that David Banner is the blame for Jackson's crime and violence. you're a liar. I stated that stupid songs like "might get your doors kicked in" could influence kids to want to try that and being that it's coming from a college graduate is just sad and in poor taste. And why do I need to make myself look good in this topic? I'm not a rapper, I'm a parent. I have no earthly need to compete with David Banner in no form or fashion. I'm just dealing with the facts, as should you. ladd: Will you hit Nia with your ruler like you did me? looks like she's being insulting and offensive. fair is fair.
Author
Black Man
Date
2004-03-12T13:27:48-06:00
ID
77050
Comment
BM, do you let your child read the Bible?
Author
kaust
Date
2004-03-12T13:32:09-06:00
ID
77051
Comment
Will you hit Nia with your ruler like you did me? looks like she's being insulting and offensive. fair is fair. Hmmm, "Black Man," this is starting to sound like deja vu all over again. I think we'll close this particular sandbox; it's too long and taking too long to load anyway. And nothing much is being said at this point. B.M., if you join us on a different thread, please stick to the issues and don't bait other bloggers as you have on this one.It's really immature to pick fights with insults and mischaracterizations and then get na-na-na-boo-boo when people respond in kind. We've all seen it all before here, and we won't be going down that same road again, I assure you. Stick to the issues or find a different forum.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2004-03-12T13:50:39-06:00
ID
77052
Comment
I just found this... it really ties into the discussion of the day. This really stood out to me: JFP: You are the only national celebrity I know of right now promoting Mississippi in such an aggressively positive way as you’re doing. Yet, you burn Mississippi flags on stage, and you have angry Klansmen in your video on MTV and BET. Are you dwelling on the negative? Banner: A flag is something that is supposed to embrace all cultures and represent us all. If Mississippi’s state flag is supposed to represent Mississippi, it isn’t supposed to be specifically depicting one group’s lineage. I don’t have a problem with the rebel flag itself; amongst your community do whatever you want. But it doesn’t represent us all; especially a state that’s so heavily black; it’s a spit in the face. If you support the state’s black culture, you have to embrace it holistically. That flag is a slap in the face every time I see it. I love Mississippi, but there are still problems I have with it. We’re getting down to the point of right or wrong where there is no middle ground. The fact that people with that much influence would even push that [flag vote] off on us is really like a slap in the face. That goes back to what I was telling you about voting. I was told that in the Delta that kids who get in trouble in school don’t go straight to detention hall. They go to jail. And a lot of kids think it’s cool. What they’re slowly doing is taking away our rights so they can do things like keep the flag. My grandparents (ancestors) died so that they could be free. That flag embraced things like slavery when (white) people of those times believed my people were one-third human. For us to be a nation that embraces all cultures and for that flag to fly means that they really don’t support us. Mississippi is supposed to represent all of us.
Author
for_the_people
Date
2006-11-30T08:58:00-06:00

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