We live in difficult times. The murder of Trayvon Martin in Florida has refocused our Nation’s conscience on racism. After a month of media review it appears that the murderer, George Zimmerman, was an over zealous wannabee-police-officer neighborhood watchman. Zimmerman was looking for his chance to be a hero. He saw a young black man walking in a gated community and made some flawed assumptions. He acted on his assumptions. A boy was murdered. The media aftermath clearly demonstrates that racism and profiling are dominant narratives in our country.
Clearly, as stated in the opening paragraph, this writer believes Trayvon was a victim of racial profiling, or racial stereotyping, or generalizing about others. It seems ironic that the same logic is being applied in reverse. Zimmerman has been profiled in this post as an overzealous police officer wannabee looking for a chance to be a hero. Is that statement a form of profiling, of generalizing?
There are media reports that Zimmerman is Latino or Hispanic or some other designated minority and thus cannot possibly be racist – he can not possibly hold inappropriate views of other minorities because he must surely sympathize with the plight of minorities. What a foolish generality.
The media has fallen all over itself to find young black men to interview. It is Saturday morning and I have been listening to MSNBC as I do my morning internet routine. Young black boys are being paraded through the interview cycles, each of them stating the talking points of racism as a function of white-on-black degradation.
The whole conversation is maddening. A wacko, insecure, night watchman carrying a gun for his own ego gratification shot and killed a person out walking after dark. His insecurities were granted affirmation by a dangerous Florida Stand Your Ground law. The local Police Department were called and, according to media reports, made a judgement at the scene of the crime that Zimmerman was withing the limits of the Florida law. The police were wrong in not doing an investigation warranted by the death of a person. SOMEONE DIED! WHEN SOMEONE DIES, WHITE, BLACK, HISPANIC, VANILLA, OR WHATEVER – A THOROUGH INVESTIGATION IS NECESSARY! Without a thorough investigation we are left with a confounding Hodge-podge of media investigators with overriding agendas.
We venture here that most of the media coverage has strongly suggested that all white people, and particularly white police officers, are prejudiced and continue to discriminate against black people.
None of the generalities or stereotypes presented are accurate. The message to all black youths in America is simple – you have drawn the short straw and are destined to a life of being abused because of your skin color. You have no choice in the matter and your destiny is sealed. No matter what you do you will always come up short because the oppressive white people will never give you a chance.
There is some truth to everything being reported. There is some truth to every message presented. There is some truth to every agenda promoted. But we must be careful not to promote irresponsible behavior as a function of being social victims. Is every black person arrested a victim of social prejudice?
The reality is that the Trayvon Martin murder stands alone. It is an individual case that must be measured on the individual merits of the case. Clearly, I believe the death of Trayvon was unjustified. I believe Zimmerman to be a racist. I believe the Police failed to do their jobs. But I do not believe that we can extrapolate these misdeeds and apply them to all non-black people and all police officers. Clearly racism exists. Clearly there are daily injustices as a result of racism. My point is that the generalization of racism is equally discriminatory – and equally wrong.