Tuesday, April 20, 2010
DOES ANYONE ELSE FIND THIS OFFENSIVE?
From the start of Eddie Perez's journey down the path to potential prison time, it seems that it is all about Eddie being a victim of racism.
From the day of his first arrest Eddie was singled out because of his race. From the mouth of his taxpayer funded attorney it was pure and simple racism. The Office of the State's Attorney was trying to take down a strong Hispanic Mayor. Not because he was corrupt and committing criminal activities, but because he was a strong Hispanic.
All throughout the journey it has been based on race.
Throughout history ethnic groups have supported "their own". Irish-Catholics have always supported Irish Catholic politicians, hence the Kennedy dynasty so this is nothing new. Hispanic voters at one time took pride in seeing the first Hispanic Mayor elected in Hartford almost 10 years ago. Due largely to the Hispanic vote Perez was re-elected to a third term as Mayor even when it was known that the dark cloud of corruption was looming over his head.
But where do we draw the line. I find it offensive that the racism, or reverse racism, continues right into the courtroom. Would it be tolerated if a defense attorney stated that his white client needed a "white jury" or his black client needed a "black jury". And do white jurors have a different view of what's acceptable in society. Do black juries turn a blind eye to crime? I seriously doubt it, and this is more of the "divide and conquer" mentality that continues to split our society along racial lines.
I seriously wonder if Hispanics, in particular Puerto Ricans, take offense with the way this jury selection is being handled. We keep hearing that Perez can only get a fair trial if the jury were to be stacked with minorities. As a "non-Hispanic" watching this posturing by Perez's defense, it seems that the message appears pretty clear. Do "hispanic" jurors look at corruption and crime differently than the rest of us?
I seriously don't think so and it would seem that potentially it could be the total opposite. I would think that Hispanics, in particular Puerto Ricans, would want to send a clear message of strong punishment to Perez if convicted.
Eddie entered his first term as someone that his community could be proud of. A Puerto Rican former gang member who had seemed to have left his life of crime and changed his life. The "Professor" (his gang street name) could now be a role-model for his community and show that anything was possible for inner-city youth.
If anything, Eddie Perez has been a huge let down to that same community, as well as all of us, that saw him as potential role-model for their youth. Eddie Perez is potentially sending the message to Hartford's youth that jail is inevitable. If Perez as Mayor couldn't avoid crime and jail time, how is a kid growing up in Hartford's neighborhoods supposed to avoid it.
Eddie had so much potential and has apparently chosen to squander it all for counter tops and a steam shower.
It's sad, but to continue the process cloaked in racism is even worse.
Shouldn't the uproar over the "Cuban" juror be directed at the juror who potentially lied, without it being about her ethnicity?