Today is the sixteenth day of July, the year 2013. In February of 2012, a half-Peruvian, half-white American man shot and killed a black teenager. This past Saturday, a jury reached a verdict: not guilty on the counts of second-degree murder and manslaughter. There are protestors; there are groups up in arms over the verdict. The whole incident was catalyzed by the media, from the beginning. It was never an issue about race, but it was made into a racially-motivated incident by people forwarding a ridiculous political agenda. George Zimmerman, the shooter (who identifies himself as Hispanic), feared for his life. The fact that he was found not guilty on the charges brought against him demonstrated that our justice system does work (on occasion); after watching much of the testimony myself, and gathering as much information as possible, it was clear to me that George Zimmerman acted out of self-defense. He feared for his life. Yet, the media have worked hard to paint Trayvon Martin as some innocent kid, “with potential.” But he wasn’t. He’d been arrested before, he regularly engaged in B&E (breaking and entering), theft, and did drugs. That does not sound like a good model for black kids.
But, there are many people in this country who are upset…no, outraged, by the not guilty verdict. And why? I’ve heard cited that it’s because Trayvon was chased down like a dog, that he was unarmed, that he was only a teenager and Mr. Zimmerman is a thirty year old man, that Mr. Zimmerman profiled Trayvon based on his skin color; nevermind that Trayvon tackled and beat the crap out of the “creepy-ass cracker,” that he had been actively engaging in criminal activity. Nevermind that the prosecution failed to meet burden of proof. Nevermind that the jurors recognized that failure, and put themselves in Mr. Zimmerman’s shoes on that night.
I read an article on Yahoo! that argued this case was ushering in a new kind of civil rights movement. I agree, but not for the reasons outlined in the article. From what I’ve observed, this whole case never should have been made into the mountain it became. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, the NAACP, and other black advocacy groups jumped on this and called it racism; but it wasn’t. They claimed that this white man (who identifies as Hispanic) profiled and “hunted” a black kid, as though it were the Old South; but that’s not what happened. Now, everyone is in an uproar and the Department of Justice has been petitioned to review the case. It’s idiotic. Black racism is responsible for this divide in out society. Here is an article that may give perspective into that sentence:
I grew up in a neighborhood where I was a minority because I am white. That being said, I have, on several occasions, been accused of being racist for ridiculous things like disagreeing with something Obama said; describing a person to someone who was looking for them; or, minding my own business in a public place, when out of the blue a black person starts berating me about thinking I’m better than them because I’m white and I must be privileged and I must never have to work for anything, blah blah blah. In fact, this just happened to me yesterday. I was running, in my neighborhood, and I passed a person on the sidewalk. I nodded and said hello, and she proceeded to become very angry with me; I had no idea what I did to make her mad. I’ve been PROFILED because I’m white. People assume things about me because I’m white. Never mind that we might live in the same neighborhood, do the same thing for a living, we might both use sorts of financial aid to go to college, etc. Never mind all that. I’m white, and therefore I must think I’m better. I’ve been accused of thinking I’m better than people and denied things simply because I’m white. Is that not black racism? I ask the following question in complete curiosity, to gain understanding: how is that different from any other racial profiling? Further, why do people try to spin every crime like this into something racially motivated? There is no evidence to support it. I think that in order for this society to move beyond its not-so-past race issues, ALL of us need to stop perpetuating it. By claiming this crime was racially motivated and then constantly highlighting race it only widens a rift that some of us are struggling to close. We need to come together as Americans, not keep separating ourselves along something as trivial as the color of a person’s skin.
Perhaps tomorrow I will write a history of race and racism. Hint: it was basically a government invention that has no scientific basis.