Average white America doesn’t understand meaning behind Zimmerman verdict
America is a beautiful woman with an ugly wart at the tip of her nose and she can’t see it. The wart is racism, mostly white but also I must add black racism.
A number of quite decent white friends refuse to admit that racism exists in our country. They say it’s not there. Why? They have never faced it, suffered from it. I have lived “while black” 50-plus years in America. I know it’s there.
After half a century, I still can’t comprehend the American obsession with skin colors. I was brought up believing that ability, honesty, character were the cornerstones by which members of the human race were judged. And then I came to America.
With the explosion of technology and knowledge, the advances in the computer fields — Google, Yahoo, etc. — I was under the impression that Americans had learned that skin color and other physical attributes of humans were due to evolutionary processes over thousands of years.
Melanin is a pigment meant to protect our fragile internal structures from the effects of damaging sun rays and their ultraviolet components. Of course, if you lived in a cave in Iceland, you did not need as much skin melanin as humans living on the hot bright plains of Africa. But I guess that’s too simple and direct an explanation for racist Homo Sapiens.
As any knowledgeable racist will tell you, God created the black man black, and the white man white. And the white man is better than the black man. End of discussion. They have never seen the skin color of a dead man after a few days in the sun.
Having lived in this country 50 years “while black,” I can say without anger but with much sadness that if Mr. [Trayvon] Martin had been white and Mr. [George] Zimmerman black, the wheels of justice would have grinded in a different way. Being white in our country bestows perks and privileges that the average white doesn’t even think about, so granted they take them for.
1) A white person can enter any fancy hotel or place of entertainment without being gazed at “unlovingly.” Of course, he/she has to be decently garbed. Easily done little condition.
2) Whites can drive unreasonably fast on our highways without being automatically pulled for search.
3) A white male can enter elevators without having a group of cowering old ladies clutching their purses with fear and apprehension. I blame black criminals and purse snatchers for that one, but there are white criminals and purse snatchers too. Statistically much more of them.
4) Whites can approach a police officer any place, any hour and ask questions without having him or her reflexively place a hand near the butt of their gun.
5) Any white person can decide to move south and retire in a nice neighborhood in Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, North or South Carolina, even Florida, and not have to look for a spot in the local ghetto where darker folks are relegated. That white American will never have problems of that sort. They are the masters, supposed to be received with open arms.
6) White Americans can travel the breadth of the land, stop anywhere, knowing they belong. That’s their country and they are at ease anywhere they go.
7) And the biggest slap to the black face: foreign whites from far away lands, once they move here, are automatically entitled to all those niceties, those birthrights privy to native-born white Americans. The black is a foreigner in the land of his/her ancestors. The Russian is the native son or daughter.
That said, I am placing a great deal of the blame for our racial landscape on the shoulders of divisive and gutless politicians. The American politician rarely does what’s right. He/she does what’s convenient for being re-elected, what’s necessary to keep him/her on the gravy train, holding to power. They are not cast in the images of Adams, Lincoln, Truman. They are copies of Nixon and Reagan. Often without being themselves racists, they would happily don a Ku Klux Klan outfit if that’s going to bring winning votes.
I have many decent, caring white politicians who see the problem and understand the solution but refuse to step forward and lead the country to the right path. They are scared to lose the racist and conservative votes. Racial harmony is fading in America. Decency be darned.
Trayvon Martin did not have a jury of his peers. Zimmerman did, and we have seen the results.
The unidentified white juror who lamely commented that skin color had nothing to do with that travesty of justice should bow her head in shame. Of course it did. In America everything has to do with skin color. As you can see, I did not use the word race.
I am a law-abiding professional who happens to be black. I am generally well dressed, polite and don’t own a hoodie. I can’t tell you how many times over the years I have been stopped without reason for walking in a white neighborhood visiting white friends, stopped on the highways, stared at in luxury establishments, refused service under pretense of the place being full, made to feel invisible in fancy restaurants etc.
Many times when I used to travel, friends would beg me to avoid some ethnic neighborhoods, telling me to stay in the car and lay on the carpet in the event of unforeseen car failure.
Please don’t insult my intelligence telling me skin color had nothing to do with that verdict. Skin color has everything to do with it.
The actual facts are straightforward, even simplistic. Young, unarmed black man walking home from the store. That home happens to be in a predominantly white neighborhood. He is minding his own business. A wannabe cop sees him, decides he doesn’t belong. Why? That question was never properly answered. Zimmerman notifies the authorities who tell him not to follow the young man. He does anyway. After all, he has a gun, and a gun makes cowards feel powerful, in control. He stalks the young man and a confrontation ensues. We’ll never know the actual facts. Martin is dead and Zimmerman will say anything he feels will get him of the hook. That confrontation was 100 percent of his making. He shoots the youngster dead. Judge and jury conclusion? The dead young man was asking for it. The white stalker is blameless.
Trayvon Martin was killed for walking a Floridas street while black and Zimmerman did not even get a slap on the wrist. Those are the facts, the way things happened.
Forget about skin color. What about plain human decency ? What about morals, justice?
We can hide all we want behind legal jargons, procedural res ipsa loquitor, amicus curiae and all that judicial Latin rote. We can twist constitutional meanings, pass simplistic and dangerous laws like “stand your ground,” but facts are facts. Nothing will change them. If Trayvon Martin had been white, he would be alive today even if he smoked an occasional marijuana cigarette. That young man was slain because his skin was black, and that will be from this day on a daily nightmare for every black young man on the streets and every black father and mother in America.
The Martin/Zimmerman travesty of justice, this tragedy of epic proportions, is a stain on our legal system, a stain on our cowardly politicians, a stain on America. Where is Mr. Carl Strock when we need one of his superbly written columns?
It’s time for our political leaders to start healing this country, time to remove the word “race” from our lexicon. We are all Americans. We are all humans. I never heard of a black race of dogs, a white race of cats, a yellow race of horses. We have canines, felines and equines. When will our political leaders start leading, encouraging us to start seeing each other as members of a same human race. Perhaps future Zimmerman wannabes would be reluctant to pull the trigger on not race, but just a different skin shade.
There is work to do for every white, black, brown, yellow etc... member of our American human race. We can’t afford another Martin/Zimmerman tragedy.