Thursday, July 18, 2013

Racism Cannot Be Allowed to Control Us

One of the things alive and well in America is racism. We saw that recently in the case of the Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman trial (July 2013). And, interestingly, one can see racism differently looking at the same case.

How so?

Many protestors came out to supposedly give support for Martin and to his family, because they felt they were disrespected by the “not guilty” verdict granted Zimmerman and that Zimmerman profiled Martin – because of race rather than Martin’s actions and apparel, which Zimmerman claims to have associated with gangs of previous crimes in the area – with the intent to do him harm.

In the article here, it is claimed by Imani Henry, “We want to show love and respect to them,” but look at what some of these supporters and protestors did:

  •  threw rocks at police
  •  acted with disorderly conduct
  • said “the whole system is racist”
  • vandalized numerous buildings and cars
  • set random fires

I understand being upset and wanting to voice it, but I don't understand how these things show love and respect. How is the whole system racist? Can we honestly believe that the judge, jury, and defense are all racist? Hardly.

If we go back to the call Trayvon Martin had with Rachel Jeantel at the time if the incident, it has apparently been recorded that Trayvon Martin called George Zimmerman a “creepy a– cracka.” Is that racist? It seems that ““cracka” is a common term used to describe whites.” Could it be that when Martin noticed Zimmerman he became racist against Zimmerman, and thus wanted to do him harm? I am not suggesting he did or didn’t, but merely showing that “possible signs” of racism can be concluded from anyone on either side of the issue.

Kevin A. Thompson’s article “What if Trayvon Martin was My Son?” shows how we can easily see things short-sighted, one-sided, our-sided. He makes a great observation:
“It’s a funny thing about truth: we are so biased by our experiences it is nearly impossible for us to know the whole truth. Yet we are unaware of these biases so we are deceived into thinking we know it all. So when someone disagrees with us we claim they are either ignorant or evil. But often they are neither. Often when people disagree with us, they simply see a different part of the story which we don’t fully see.”

Jesse Lee Peterson’s article “Black Racism Killed Trayvon” shows racism is not contained to one race, but rather every ethnic group battles the inward churning of racism. Also, that there are those who live and are empowered merely because they keep racism alive and well for their gain. He makes the valid point:
“If Jackson, Sharpton and the NAACP hadn’t jumped on the Trayvon Martin case and made it into a racial matter, nobody would have heard of it. His death would have gone unnoticed, just like the more than 500 black youths that were murdered in Chicago in black-on-black violence last year. The attention on the Zimmerman trial is not about justice for Trayvon; it’s about intimidation and dividing the American people along race.”

Racism will govern us as long as we allow it to. In the words of Jesse Lee Peterson: “Whites have to overcome the fear of being called “racist.” Blacks have to be on the side of good and stand for what is right, regardless of race.”

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