Lindsay Lohan And LA's Nameless, Faceless Black and Tan Dots

See that picture to the left? Don't you wonder what those little black and tan dots are?

I'll give you a hint: It's part of a map of Los Angeles.

Before you get all excited, let me be clear: those dots aren't locations of celebrity homes. And don't worry, they also aren't places where Lindsay Lohan's been arrested for DUI.

In fact, despite another booking for DUI and cocaine possession, I have a hard time picturing Lindsay spending any time in the neighborhoods highlighted in this section of the map. She doesn't really strike me as a South-Central type of ride-or-die chick, you know? She probably hasn't even seen "Baby Boy" before. And, Lindsay has money for bail and the umpteenth shot at rehab.

Indeed, Lindsay's train-wreck existence has felt like the biggest story on the internet and TV, even bigger than the Bulgarian medics who injected 438 kids in Libya with HIV being set free.

And now it's 12:13 at night and I'm watching Rob Schneider, dressed up and pretending to be Lindsay Lohan on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Schneider is pretty funny, and normally, I'd probably laugh. But I can't. I'm sitting here with tears running down my cheeks. And no, Lindsay's plight hasn't affected me that much.

No, I've been simultaneously reading the Los Angeles Times' Homicide Report. You see, those black and tan dots in the picture, well those are people. 460 mostly black and Latino people. Mostly males, mostly late teens, early twenties in know, around Lindsay Lohan's age. And they've been murdered in Los Angeles this year.

The Report, in existence since January, is written in blog form by a journalist named Jill Leovy. This isn't the first time I've read it, but it's been awhile since I clicked on the link and read the heartbreaking stories about the circumstances and lives of those who have been murdered. Truly, I have nothing but respect for Jill who, in one article, answers the question about why the homicide report exists:

"Selective news coverage is a practical necessity for most news organizations operating in a county where nearly 1,100 people die from homicide yearly. The Los Angeles Times, for example, is limited by the number of pages it prints, and in a recent year, found room for stories on fewer than 10% of L.A. County homicides, according to an analysis by a Times researcher. Such selectivity ensures that the people and places most affected by homicides are least likely to be seen, while the safest people are inundated with information about crimes unlikely to ever touch their lives."

Don't be shy. Go ahead and click on that link and read more about why Jill does the Report. Rereading it just now reminded of me of why I wish the best for Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears and all the rest of them...but I honestly don't give a damn about them. They aren't living somewhere where they can get shot sitting on their front porch. They aren't parents who have to grieve for their eighteen year old son murdered in front of their house. Oh, and these same parents have a daughter who's nine and survived being shot in a drive-by four years ago.

Yeah, you start reading that Homicide Report, and suddenly, those black and tan dots have a name, and have a face. You start reading it and you're accountable for what you know about the countless young people gunned down in this city... and they aren't even drunk and in possession of cocaine.

So forgive me for not thinking Lindsay's situation deserves all the press it's received. Forgive me for hoping she gets the book thrown at her and gets locked up for awhile, as she deserves.

After all, in prison, at least she'd still be alive.


Anonymous said…
Maybe I'm being an ostrich in the sand when I say, why do we keep thinking that mainstream media is going to continue to publish information about dead black or latinos in the newspapers. Hey lets be honest here...we barely hear about dead soldiers who've died in the IRAQ WAR...or mangled soldiers who'se potential has been altered.
In Indy, we have a black principal whose population of student reside mostly in the hood. He's out there trying to produce a positive school, but on a given day only 60% of the teachers show up. At least 4 classrooms have no teachers b/c they could not find subs. Kids get raped while waiting for the bus or walking home from the bus stop. In all this is being recorded by our city newspaper

As long as this article has ran in the newspaper, I have yet to see a major BLACK ORGANIZATION step up and help this young principal out. I haven't seen the 100 Black Men of Indianapolis, or the Urban League or hell NAACP step in and say "WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP YOU??" So why do we think mainstream media is suppose to help?!

**oh and as a side note...can we say BET and Hot Ghetto Mess??!!! Yeah there doing a whole hell of alot for the black community!!!!
Anonymous said…
i don't have cable and so don't have occassion to see the 24 news channels too often. but, when i find myself in a hotel room i just can't understand why so much money is going into them when all they do is bring us ONE story for 24 hours straight. rather than called CNN or FOX they should just be called the OCD channels, they get completely obsessed with one life at a time or one crime at a time.

then i leave that hotel room and turn off the OCD channels and realize other things have happened in the world while i was sucked into their vortex.

Ian Lidster said…
Hear-hear! Poor Lindsay,she's suffered so.

Jameil said…
1,100 people die from homicide yearly. that is a crazy stat. in pittsburgh, we report every death and sometimes the families give us a closer look. in the last 2 weeks there's been a teen visiting his grandmother and a kid who was taking his girlfriend's sister's kids to a baseball game.
Tafari said…
I am so sick of hear about LL & BS. Just let me know when they die from an OD etc. We need to know about what is going on n the real world so that we can take action as a community & as a country at large because eventually our problems affect other communities eventually one way or the other!!!


PS Rob looked crazy as hell in that wig LOL
none said…
Are most of thse deaths due to them being members of drug gangs and similar criminal involvement?

I blame it on the war on drugs, take the crime out of cocaine and the kids won't be killing each other over it.
This grievous wrong will not be righted until our society cares as much about Black and Latino lives as it does about Caucasians.

Young people who spend every day
in the wrong place at the wrong time because their homes are in such neighborhoods are not making a choice to live dangerously.

Lindsay, Paris, Britney and the rest of those immensely pampered young people have been given every benefit of our affluent society, yet they choose to endanger themselves and others.

It's disgusting that the media places more importance on them than on those who want nothing more than to grow up and do some good in the world.

It's too facile to say that they're "all gang members anyway." That's a giant cop-out employed by those who want to preserve the status quo, and in most cases, it isn't true.
Chas said…
With a 24 hour news cycle you'd think we could find a way to work real issues into the mix but instead we find ways to dig deeper into the muck. Lets pray that one day we stop wallowing in the dirt and finally start to clean up the mess we've made.
Anonymous said…
No Hammer...its no longer about drugs...not like when I was a kid and most of it can be blamed on drugs...No...Now people shoot each other over some stupid thing called "RESPECT"!! You looked at me the wrong your not "RESPECTING ME" so I'm going to shoot you. You called me out during a I'm going to shoot you! You talked to my girl but you didn't know that was my girl...You DIS-RESPECTED ME, so I'm going to shoot you. YOu cut me off on the I'm going to shoot you...

Earlier this week some crazy man pulled a gun out on my husband ex-wife and her boyfried at a gas station because supposedly they looked at him response to my step-son was..."Son, I'm sorry that happened to your mom, but that person, that crazy man that your now angry at, was who you were aspiring to be! When you walk into a classroom or a program and have that "I'm a tough nigga" attitude, when you get mad because you THINK that someone is talking ill of are aspiring to be that dumb ass nigga that pulled the gun out on YOUR MOTHER!
Liz Dwyer said…
Maybe I'm wrong to think this but I believe that the "mainstream" media has the responsibility to actually be journalists and tell the whole story, not just parts of stories or selected stories. Sadly enough, newspapers are controlled by media conglomerates and they are money-making entities. Salacious gossip sells so we see a whole lot of that in our "news".

I think there's an element of hopelessness/powerlessness to our culture so we feel like even if we see the images of the soldiers, we can't do anything about it...and so we just go back to the comfort of our materialistic existences.

And of course, there needs to be someone stepping up to do something about the things the journalists are reporting. That principal should fire the teachers and hire whoever he wants to. And those parents of the kids should find someone they can sue or start rallying parents from all over.

The NAACP doesn't now see themselves as an activist organization and I firmly believe that we have to recognize that we need to reach out to all of our allies for help. I think the changes we need to see should be made with the help of other people. Not because black people can't accomplish great things, but because our society needs to understand that we have a collective responsibility to children and people of all colors.

That's such a good point about the 24 hour news channels. They can make it seem like one event is the end all/be all of life. Plus, living here in LA, they're reporting on Lindsay non-stop. On other things, not so much. It makes the concept of getting information and being able to investigate the truth even more difficult.

Well, now Lindsay wants us to know that she's innocent and those weren't her drugs after all. I guess some coke just fell into her if that would even be believed at all if it were being said by someone who isn't a celebrity.

Isn't that number crazy? But we become so desensitized to it and I'm convinced that this keeps us from asking tough questions of ourselves and our social order. Plus, if we know what's going on, then we have to act. Instead, I think a media culture is created where we're taught to assume they're all gang members and so they somehow got what was coming to them. It's just wrong.

I'll admit, Schneider did look crazy funny in that wig! And then why is Barbara Walters complaining yesterday and saying the impersonation went too far, feeling so sorry for LL...whatever. I feel like we sometimes get to real talk in this country, and then we step back from it because it would require us to fundamentally change the way we live and, as a whole, we're not yet willing to do that. In that sense, I suppose we all have a lot more in common with addicts that we know. We haven't realized we've hit rock-bottom as a society.

Nope. When you read the homicide report, you realize how few of the folks are involved in gang activity. And, I wouldn't take the crime out of cocaine. I have nothing good to say about drug use and am against recreational drug use as a whole. When you've taught babies who were born addicted to coke and when you've talked with grandparents who are raising those grandkids, and seen the dead soul in the users eyes, then you definitely want the dealers put away for a long time. Wouldn't it be interesting if we used our military might to keep drugs out of communities? Then again, there's the stories on the CIA's involvement in putting crack into communities so maybe that's not the way to go.

You said it much better than I could. You know, when I read the story about that family's daughter being shot and thankfully surviving, and now they've lost their son, it's just sad because they're just living in their neighborhood. If that happened in Bel Air or Brentwood then it'd be a huge story. But yeah, because it's poor black and Latino kids, we don't have to think about it and we tell ourselves they somehow have earned that fate.

Agreed. I wonder what it is that has to happen to really fundamentally change things. Maybe I just want the revolution and real change happens more slowly.

Respect... click on that link I have for Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome. The author, Joy Degruy-Leary, talks about that kind of stuff in her book. It's interesting that we want respect so much but we don't demand it from society as a whole. There's so much internalized oppression.

I'm so sorry to hear about what went down with your step-son's mom and her boyfriend. That's so scary and I'm glad they are physically okay, although I'm sure psychologically that's hard to deal with.

I don't know if using the n-word with your stepson is going to really help him. There are such powerful forces out there that want to make it seem like he's got to behave a certain way and yeah, who wants to be a buster when it's more fun to get girls and attention by adopting a cool pose. I don't know how old he is, but if he's a teenager, gosh, there's such a psychological assault on young black males and females to be someone or something that they're not, and they are so immature even though they think they're grown. What did his dad say about it all? Lots more thoughts on this but I have to go. Wishing you the best though.
Miz JJ said…
Do you think those medics injected those childrenin Libya? The way you phrased it makes it seem like they "got away" with it. Just curious as to your opinion.

Those murder stats are crazy. So many different causes and all of them lead to black and latino men dying too soon.
Anonymous said…
Damn good article Liz. There are alot of things that deserve our attention than some silly stupid spoiled brat celebrity.

And the Libyans were bogus for how they scapegoated those Bulgarians (and the Palestinian doctor).
Liz Dwyer said…
Miz JJ,
Good question. I honestly don't know what to believe with that situation. I just saw "The Good Shepherd" (the set-up of the CIA) and I've been talking with some folks about the Tuskeegee Experiments and how pharmaceutical companies have done experiments on poor children in Harlem and the Bronx, so I'm probably a little extra skeptical of the whole thing. It's so easy to say that those crazy Libyans are making the whole thing up but maybe they did. What I do find even more interesting/sickening is how the whole thing turned into this weird political bargaining situation with Libya having this list of political demands and the EU wanting other things. Both sides played those kids to get what they wanted. It's a shame.

I can think of a laundry list of things that are more important than Lindsay Lohan. And I'll admit, I enjoy a copy of US Weekly now and then, but she is not the end all, be all of anything.

As far as the Libyans and the Bulgarians, see my comments to Miz JJ...that whole situation just reads like a CIA/spy movie.
Ms Angela said…
All of these so-called news stories are just distractions. The mass media can claim they would not publicize the antics of these young ladies if the public didn't show interest. And regrettably, they are right. I have no idea why people are so preoccupied with the lives of those young ladies. I don't watch much television, so I never seem to what's going on. I think as long as people are so intent on having a vicarious thrill through Ms. Lohan and Ms. Spears experiences, we will be exposed to their antics. As long as we continue the lives of celebrities and not regard the lives of people who die in the streets everywhere as significant, we will continue toraise up dramatically.
the last noel said…
There's a reason I don't have a TV--so I don't have get upset having Lindsay, Paris, Britney flashed across my screen. Watching that kind of shit reporting taking years from my life.
Ian Lidster said…
You put it so thoroughly in perspective. Thank you for that. Too bad our lame news services cannot devote themselves to the 'real' news. It shames me to be a journalist sometimes.
Unknown said…
Madame Angela,
I agree, but I wonder what it'll take for folks to be willing to give up the thrill? I go through spurts where I'm wondering if Eddie Murphy is the father of Scary Spice's baby and I'll admit, I was pretty interested in the Brad & Angelina hook-up...but if all that went the way of the milkman, I wouldn't really care. And I clearly don't think celebrity drama deserves the reporting that it does over real issues and real people. It is a distraction indeed.

Good for you that you don't have a TV at all at home. I have had a few periods of life where I've been in the same...and even now, I'm only into Heroes and the History Channel...oh and Project Runway when it's on. The interesting thing about our lives now is that if I went to any news site like CNN, BBC or MSNBC, they will have news on Paris, Lindsay, Britney and the rest. It's absolutely permeated our society... who would have thought the National Enquirer or Star would still be around selling as much as they do?

Folks are just scared that they'll lose money if they do real news. But be proud to be a journalist. I'm sure you do a whole lot of good in your neck of the woods.
Anonymous said…
Bless you Liz, you always stir my emotions-
Sorry if this following viewpoint offends anybody which i am sure it will but i am going to say it anyway! Think about it, pray about it, be proactive about the possible solutions. Reset and programme your own mind regardless of what the system purpetrates, do not be sucked in, do not self harm, enlighten yourselves. I am an Englishman, i have a different perspective, i watch America like i am watching a soap opera. I, like a lot of "black" Britons look to "black" Americans for social, psychological, political and spiritual guidance.

Have "we" all gone crazy have we all gone mad? Can we not see? Can we not hear?

The media which is run by the system continues its propoganda, its mind control, its hidden agenda message, its misinformation, its dis-education its mis-education, its distortion of the truth and of the facts.
We all know this but what worries me terribly is our collective inabilty to react, our inability to percieve or concieve a rational workable response, a reaction, a revolt at the preposterous reality of our lives!

There are thousands of people locked up in mental hospitals for thinking and saying these types of things!
Are we all just having a secret revolution in our own minds too scared to say what we feel, too scared to react, too scared to do anything about it?
Is that not a lot like slavery?

Some of us are comfortable, we own a good home, have a nice car, live in a nice neighbourhood, go to church every sunday, we are doing quite well arent we? Why rock the boat, what can we do about it? Its not our problem? Why should i care? I'm alright Jack!

Leave it to the politicians, who's that new guy you've all pinned your hopes on Barrack, Bhama or somebody? The new Martin Luther King, the new Malcom X, the new age messiah of the "blacks" indeed. Theres gotta be somebody, theres gotta be hope! There must be somebody coming through?
Even Hip Hop is dead, no more Tupacs, Roots, etc.

Whats happened to "Black" America? Its a sad sad sad shame. Where are all the Great "black" people gone? The revolutionists, the people of vision, the political visionaries?
Where are our world leaders? Where are they? What type of people are we producing? Where are the great men of faith, the leaders, the Kings, the natural successors, the social commentators, the life changers?
From my view here in little old England, it looks like this, the black resistance in the USA is washed up, it is beaten, defeated. It has sold out, it is now all about the Dollar, the dollar is King, the new God!

I never thought i would see the day that "black" Americans would sell out in such large masses. I was brought up in the 70's and 80's, sold on the dreams of so many socially conscious "black" people, the future looked so rosy late 1970's , we were cooking!

Admittedly, the system reacted to our advancement and development by putting drugs on our streets, heroin, cocaine, etc, but they should just have been a mild distraction. Fast forward to now we still got the same old problems with drugs but they're getting worse!

Although the drugs trap was bad,our biggest problem was our wholesale sellout to money and the system! We bought into the politics of greed and the selfishness. Diminished, was our collective history and response to oppression and inequality!

It was so bad that even ghetto hip hopsters bought into it, Can you imagine it? Poor guys coming into money through chatting a load of baloney on wax? I will say anything Massa, if you pay me enough money! What happened to politically concious rap etc?

Rapping inspirational lyrics was a no no! 'Get rich or die tryin' was the new mantra, 'bitches and hoes' was the term of endearment of the day, people were lovingly calling each other "Nigga", women were publicly sodomised and sexualised, lyrically, and in DVD's, the new wave hotentots!

"The darker the berry the sweeter the juice"
Not anymore, black women were running to their parlours by the thousands to have their skins lightened- how dare they? I thought black was beautiful? Please God tell me this desecration is not happening, tell me, its not true!

Even our spiritual Gurus are succumbing, they tell us to be enlightened and then go and get lightened- oh thats what you mean? Money money money, whats the world coming to?
Great world icons were doing it, movie stars, celebrities, sports stars, Michael Jackson, Oprah, Angela Bassett etc, etc. People who you thought would never sell out, (who would have thought back then that Jesse Jackson would turn out to be such a wimp!
"We have to do it otherwise we wont get work in big movies", "its a career choice" were the lame excuses but in most case there was always denial. !I have vitligo"!

Why can't we grow old gracefully like we used to, through eating our African groundfood?

I look at Brandy on that talent show and think she looks hideous, shes had it all done. The destruction of her "blackness" but she just like any other system loving African American person, get to the plastic surgeon and remove my big nose, i want a cute european one! I though Eddie Murphys old nose was cute, this new one doesnt quite suit him!

Why why do black people do that destroy their lovely noses, its a bit like the nose removal from Egyptian pyramids, is it not? I love women with the genotype nose of certain regions of Africa, its so attractive, as is a dark pigmentation, dark skinned African men and women look so beautiful! Naomi Campbell and others should be ashamed of themselves. Is Denzil Washington still the same pigmentation, beautiful ebony black? Or is my screen colour and definition slightly eskew?

It further just goes to highlight what we are doing to ourselelves in the pursuit of money and all for Massa!

Conversley, "white" folk do the opposite, they acquire dark tans, curl their hair, have buttock implants etc.

"Education is the key" or is it too late? Its never too late! Some of us know whats happening and some of us are doing our bit! I have read some inspirational books, such as the spirit of a man, there is a spiritual solution to every problem, the Tal of health, heal thy self, acts of faith etc etc, wow they help stop me from going insane, they ground me and help me.

Willian Lynch must be laughing is proverbials off! Have you ever read Lets make a slave by him, that scoundrel?
I am going to read that post traumatic slave syndrome book asap.

As i type there is a helicopter over head looking for gang members, there was a fatal shooting last night and tit for tat retribution will follow all day today, the sunshine and good weather exacerbates the gang situatio. Where i live Manchester, England, resembles South Central LA at times, there have been 3000 shootings already this year, MOSTLY BLACK ON BLACK we also have bloods and crips like you do not the real ones just copy cats, children as young as 10 are members! - I told you that we watch your soap opera and copy it!

Organisations in the US sort yourselves out, parents sort yourselves out, all you rich black Americans come clean, invest some of your ill begotten gains back into your communities, Russell Symmons and others get together, help people, come on its not too late.

Black America wake up, this soap opera that i am watching is getting a bit scary cos England has copied your drama, black on black homicides, gangs, hatred, backwardness, desecration, genocide, self hate, its so American and i no longer like what i am watching but i cant switch it off cos its now here in England- PCP, sherm, crack, skunkweed, crystal meth,gangs, drive-byes etc etc.

Am i dreaming, am i going mad?

Please, please don't be offended, i point these things out wondering whether other people see what i see, feel what i feel, i know i'm not alone.

Let us all pray, let us all try and do our bit, let us help one another, let us help the young, let's say 'enough is enough', my journey to helping the situation begins today, personally and professionally i will do all i can to help my community! Then go do it!

I know it's not as simple as that but we have gotta do what we have gotta do!
Have we not we?

Peace and love to one and all.
Humiliation television, which is much of what TV has become is like people in ancient times watching gladiators or slaves being eaten be lions or public executions. There is a sick fascination with pathology of all kinds and ironically if there was more coverage about the homicides, people would probably pervert it into a kind of entertainment rather than a chance for deep reflection. People would be talking about all the blacks and latinos who recently got shot instead of Paris, but for the same reasons they talk about her, in order feel a false sense of superiority or to glamorize deviant behavior like it's "cool".
Liz Dwyer said…
Thanks for sharing your'll see your comment has inspired an entire post.

You are probably right and I wouldn't want that humiliation television. I want people to know because I hope their souls will be moved and they'll care and want to do something positive about what they're seeing. But I totally see what you're saying.
Anonymous said…
I feel you. I don't have cable but I was in a hotel when the Lindsay story broke and CNN beat it to death. I was amazed that people pay monthly bills for that kind of over the top coverage.

Driving through DC last week I heard a radio station that said 11 people there had been shot (injured or killed) in one hour. Our communities of color have to stop this nonsense.
Liz Dwyer said…
Eleven murders in an hour...that's horrible. And in the meantime, I they think were even talking about Lindsay on Hardball with Chris Matthews.
Anonymous said…
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You have to take a stand one way or another. I am for legalizing this profession
Liz Dwyer said…
Pain Killer Mary,
Not sure what that link was supposed to be but I'm 100% against prostitution and any legalization of it.
Ndelible said…

It took a while, but the LA Times finally did a follow up. You trail blazer!

Homicide Map
Liz Dwyer said…
I saw both the regional map with the total number of murders as well as the article that's in the online LAT today. I'm glad this is getting more attention here in the city. Maybe it'll change things.
Liz Dwyer said…

I really don't need any escorts but thanks for asking.

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