Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Why we all owe Trayvon an apology

I tried to not talk about the case this week, but as I tried to type my fingers went that direction. My apologies. The issue isn't that Zimmerman is guilty its that America is guilty. We all have some small role to play in the way things went down.  America is full of racism and issues beyond stand your ground or self defense. For those who think the case has nothing to do with race, shut the hell up. It does. If you don't see it involving race at all, then you live in a much better America than I do. See this video for a little bit of truth.


I think to overcome racial issues and profiling, we must first admit it.  I think Zimmerman profiled Martin as a criminal and decided to pursue him. Not the right thing to do. I also think Martin profiled Zimmerman. I think he saw a lighter skinned guy following him with a very low haircut. Almost like a skin-head, and feared this guy wanted to start a fight. Martin might have gotten aggressive. Not the right thing to do. 

I do think that profiling, while at the surface is wrong, serves a purpose.  When used defensively, I think it is fully acceptable. Now before you crucify me for saying profiling is OK, hear me out. Think about a dear friend of yours, preferably a female with a race that differs from yours (for extreme purposes). Imagine she is walking down the street and a group of rough looking dudes of your OWN race is approaching her on the same side walk. She's alone. Would you tell her not to profile the group and not cross the street to be safe? Ten times out of ten, I'm going to tell her to be smart. Who cares if you offend them? Its not worth the risk. Many a times I have walked down the street and seen a woman cross over or clutch her purse. I don't get upset because there are dudes who look like me that are doing dirt. You are not responsible for your entire race. All you can do is be a good example of what you represent and lead by example.

My issue is when the profiling becomes offensive or aggressive

Zimmerman. He profiled and became the aggressor and pursued Martin. Martin in turn was most likely offended and afraid. He profiled a light skinned man with a buzzed head in the dark as a racist wanting to start trouble. He most likely got aggressive. Where Zimmerman is wrong and why he should have been found guilty of SOMETHING was the original pursuit of Martin. One plus one is two, and Zimmerman put that initial one and one together and the result was a dead teenager. Martin is also wrong for getting aggressive. But this article isn't being written to convince you of guilty or not guilty. Your opinion won't change. We all know this.

Rather, this is written to say that America is the problem. As a black man in America, I can see the case in a view that six suburban jurors can not. They, in turn, can see it in a way that I can not.  I don't fault the jurors. They weren't raised black in America. They don't know we are raised to be on our toes because our parents and grandparents had to be. They don't understand why we can be so aggressive or so easily offended. They can't see why Trayvon couldn't just talk to Zimmerman in a calm manner to clarify why he was following him and why he felt like he had to fight Zimmerman from the jump. America was built on slavery and racism, and even though I am usually full of optimism I'm extremely pessimistic about significantly reducing race issues in our lifetime.  Our best bet is the next generation. 

We are the direct descendents of parents of the 1960s and Civil Rights era. That says it all. Had roles and colors been reversed, the result would have been exactly the same, and that's the sad truth. Six black women jurors would have found a black man not guilty if he shot and killed a white kid in the exact same situation. Lord knows we would have wanted to protect our own, and black people would have reacted just like white people now. Some black people would see injustice and some would chalk it up to the game. And to make things worse, the result of the Zimmerman case makes it even more likely.  The next white kid killed wrongfully by a black man, will get less sympathy from us. So damn wrong, but true. America as a whole is the problem. We all have our biases.

Our next generation actually stands a chance. Let's not ruin it by living, expressing, teaching, creating, speaking, tweeting, intstagramming, blogging and Facebook-status-posting ill-advised examples to those who are the long-term solution. The youth.

(One last thing. People stop calling for Obama to do/say something miraculous. His hands are tied. He is the President of black people and white people. For him to speak out how he probably truly feels would cause more issues than solutions. Wait until he's out of office to ask him to be that guy.)

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