In this third component, I will deal with racism, to the best of my ability in these short paragraphs.
Can I begin to say that I'm not going to start this post on some prideful, bleeding-heart, self aggrandizing claim that "I love black people." I will, however, say that I love humans, a large number of which happen to have black features. And to me, the greatest tragedy of this case is that both white and black feel alienated and misunderstood. This flys in the face of the abolitionists, the civil rights leaders, the men who died fighting for the Union in the Civil War, and peaceful protesters whose dream was for whites and blacks to INTEGRATE. The dictionary definition of integrate is: to combine parts together so that they become whole. We find ourselves once again, divided.
And unnecessarily so.
So let us start with the race politics the media has played with this case.
- George Zimmerman is "white." (He is half latino, half jewish)
- This has something to do with how ALL whites as a whole see blacks. (I hear plenty of stupidity from the hard right. They represent the fringe of angry, out of touch caucasians. Each individual's personal opinion and or prejudices are his or her responsibility.)
- The jury was racist (if you read the law, there is absolutely no possible way you could say the evidence was compelling enough to convict without ignoring reasonable doubt in light of the stand your ground law. No compelling evidence of the jurors' personal opinion)
- George Zimmerman is a racist/ is not a racist (there is not enough evidence to prove or disprove this claim. I assert that we couldn't possibly know.)
- Trayvon Martin is or is not a racist/ thug/ innocent little boy (His personal expressions are irrelevant. What's relevant is what actually happened that night. Although his personal leanings could have played a part, there's no way of knowing what went through his mind that evening).
- There weren't enough black people on the jury caused the verdict. ( The prosecution had to approve each juror.)
America is built upon individual liberty, individual rights, and individual responsibility. This has been made into an issue involving large cultural groups of people who feel they need to fight for themselves as if they are in a war.
But there is no war.
Only distance. Only negativity, and insults, and misunderstanding, and indifference.
A wise friend of mine once said that the foundation of all racism is ignorance. I hear bellows of ignorance from every direction. Some white. Some black. All foolish.
So let's start with my favorite target. The antiquated, bloated, suburbanite, out of touch right wing media. Rush Limbaugh, who said "It's preposterous that whites are blamed for slavery when they've done more to end slavery than any other race." Once again, he panders to a demographic of frustrated, out of touch middle class white men with a steady stream of adrenaline infused bullcrap. What suffers here are honest white men, who are lumped in with sensationalist opinions designed by an attention starved, overgrown baby.
Or Sean Hannity, who has used the tragic death of an individual to blame Obama and Trayvon for smoking pot, perpetuating racial stereotypes...as if never smoking pot automatically makes you a good person.
I will not, however, allow the lies on the left a free pass because of my skin color.
"The Reverend" Jesse Jackson, a buzzard of a man looking to swoop in front of any catastrophe and make it all about him and his opinions, is at it again. Predictably turning everything into a race issue, Jackson has stated that blacks are under attack, that this is backlash for an Obama presidential victory, that this somehow has something to do with blacks having high unemployment rates and home foreclosures. EARTH TO REVEREND...IT'S A DEPRESSION WE'RE ALL BROKE. Unemployment rates and home foreclosures are high for everyone. It's life, Jesse, and it may be easy money for you but we're all under attack. We're under attack by the insidiousness and divisiveness people like you have sown into our thinking. I really wish you and Al Sharpton would come out and admit that without racism, you wouldn't have careers. Pay attention people: these men have a vested interest in making a scene. They show up at every tragedy: with Michael Vick's dogfights (although I'm happy Mr. Vick has found some redemption), with the painful saga of the Jena 6, and there you were backing OJ Simpson every step of the way (a man who is believed to be guilty by almost every black person I've heard speak on the subject). I'm not actually sure what either of these men actually DO for careers, either. You're both "Reverends" but where are your churches? Where is the forgiveness? Where are the actual teachings of Jesus Christ, you know, the ones that said that those who believe are now of one body?
This is profiteering off of tragedy. It's using Trayvon's dead body as an ATM, which enlightened people understand is dirty business. This includes prominent members of the black community, including a former head of the NAACP and occasional black activist (he often advocates for minority hiring in sports) NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley.
Furthermore, black and white, conservative and liberal have been trading harsh blows over social media. This case has become a festering wound in race relations, with insanity to go around. Prominent members of the sports and hip-hop (Prodigy of Mobb Deep, Victor Cruz of the New York Giants) communities have expressed the need for "street justice" on George Zimmerman.
There was a word for racially driven, vigilante executions exercised outside of the court of law in American history.
It was called lynching. It was one of the worst atrocities ever committed in American history.
Guilty or not, the courts exist for a reason. We cannot be the judge, jury, and executioner or civilization breaks into injustice through individual passion and bias.
It was evil then. It's evil now. And no informed, kind hearted American should ever allow such horror.
The tragedy is that this epidemic, this rage, drives a stake between races. I define racism as this: evaluating and treating a person as a member of a culture or group when they are, in fact, a unique individual with a unique soul, passions, character, and identity that cannot be contained in a genre or generalization.
It's time we stopped being black and white and latino and asian and whatever other box you check on the standardized form.
It's time we became human.
It's time we became brothers, sisters, and mentors.
It's time we became great friends, as it should have been from the beginning, if not for the greed and arrogance of men. Let us not allow the same greedy men to tear asunder our bonds of affection ever again.
Many compassionate, brave men and women were beaten, killed, and disgraced so that we could enjoy the company of one another. So we could EVEN BE in the same building. So we could marry who we loved instead of who we looked like. So we could share art, and music, and dance. So we could watch all of the greatest athletes in the world competing at once. So we could laugh, and play, and work together, and defend our nation side by side. That was the vision.
"It is a time for martyrs now, and if I am to be one, it will be for the cause of brotherhood. That's the only thing that can save this country."