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Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016

Playing race card is the wrong maneuver

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wesley Snipes is an amazing actor. Count me as a fan. I find him believable, funny and thoroughly entertaining.

But the actor is in a little hot water these days with the Internal Revenue Service. The feds claim Snipes evaded his tax bill to the tune of millions of dollars. And if found guilty, Snipes won't be so hot at the box office because he'll be behind bars for real.

Well, Snipes is finally reaching the point where the courts will begin their actions to prove his guilt for evading taxes. And since Snipes was a resident of Florida when the charges were filed, the case is being heard in the U.S. District Court in Ocala, Fla. But that isn't working for Snipes.

The actor - who is black is if you've not paid attention or watched a movie in the past decade - thinks that Florida, especially the Ocala area, is a hotbed of Klan activity and he wants his trial moved to a more friendly atmosphere namely New York City.

Snipes says the government lawyers want an "all-white Southern jury" to hear his case. He says the area is home to the Confederate flag and he says he will face a "judicial lynching" if the trial is held in Florida.

To bolster his case, Snipes commissioned a study to compare the racial attitudes of Florida and New York City. And sure enough, when it comes to the Confederate flag and cross burnings or interracial marriage - New York is more racially "tolerant" than Ocala, Fla. Thus, Snipes plays the race card like countless others before him.

By way of background, Snipes earlier tried to get the trial moved but his motion was rejected by a federal judge. So the actor fired his entire legal team for "incompetence" and refiled his motion for a change of venue. Another judge will soon decide the location once again.

I'm disappointed. From his movie persona, I assumed Snipes was a stand-up guy. But no longer. I think he's just another rich guy who got caught doing something wrong and instead of facing the music, he wants to point the finger of blame elsewhere.

Unless I'm incorrect, this case is about owing tax money. It's not about race. But if you want to make it about race and ignore the tax bill, then just follow the game Snipes is playing in Florida.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen