“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Sickened, heartbroken, disgusted.
These are the emotions I am feeling about the injustice served to Trayvon Martin’s legacy and his family. This African American young man was shot to death by “neighborhood watch” vigilante George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was armed, Martin was not. Zimmerman shot Martin, who died at the scene, saying he did so in self-defense.
As the jury entered deliberations, I naively thought justice could be served. Part of me had a touch of doubt, thinking that a lesser charge would be issued based on some of the evidence shown, but never did I think he would be found not guilty.
He was found not guilty.
This is a horrible moment in our nation’s history. And it’s a culmination recent events that show just how alive and pervasive racism is in our country. This verdict, the Supreme Court’s implications that racism does not exist as it once did (by its rulings on Voting Rights Act and Affirmative Action), and by Paula Deen’s admissions and subsequent support.
For those who believe racism does not exist anymore, then you are the exact reason racism still prevails. Racism has now become so pervasive and subtle in our culture that it is easy for some people to pretend it isn’t there.
Think about it. Most of America can agree that the use of the N-Word denotes racism, especially when used by white people. That is a clear, solid indication of racism (although some will still debate this, saying that the use of the word is not racist at all).
Yet, there are many MANY more forms of racist behaviors and statements that may not present themselves as overtly racist. Especially to those who have been exposed to this type of subtle, infused racism for long periods of time. There are some sections of our culture that are dripping in subtle racism and are virtually unaware of it. It’s become part of who they are, and it’s not overt, so it’s easy to say “oh, that’s not a racist comment!” But if it were to be said among African Americans, it would be received as nothing short of racist. Just watch all of Paula Deen’s interview on The Today Show. If you don’t find this racist, watch with someone of color. They will point out the MANY racist comments, sayings, and gestures that she exhibited.
As hard as it is to do so, we must find some hope in this situation. For me, the hope exists in the enormous outrage that has resulted in this verdict. Many Americans, of all colors, feel a strong sense of injustice and disgust at this verdict. The NAACP also vowed to bring a civil suit against Zimmerman with the US Department of Justice.
This is an incredibly challenging time in our culture. I hope that we can get through this and be more united.
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.