Since the slaying of Trayvon Martin hit the main stream air waves, the conversation about race in America has erupted in a maelstrom of heated commentary, misguided angst and cowardice. So many people are quick to label George Zimmerman a racist murderer, call Martin a deserving street thug, and deny the role race has played in the entire matter. Even seemingly honest conversations about the killing of Trayvon Martin get mired in this toxic cloud of politeness – political correctness.
But a shroud of dishonesty does not change the facts. George Zimmerman suspected Trayvon Marin of nefarious behavior in large part because of the color of his skin. But while Zimmerman is entirely guilty of taking the life of a promising young man, he is not solely to blame for his mistaking a Black teen for a troublemaker. The tendency to suspect Black male teenagers of illegal behavior is deeply engrained in our sociological fabric in the United States. And the fact that Zimmerman is hispanic does not make him immune to this tendency.
So when we are talking about race and the Zimmerman trial, to deny that race had anything to do with Martin’s death or the outcome of the trial is a bankrupt notion. Race played a part in both events.
Some media personalities see fit to stick it to those incensed by Zimmerman’s acquittal (and the Black community at large) by trying to diminish the significance of Martin’s killing. In response to outcry about Trayvon Martin’s death, they ask why no one is getting mad about Black-on-Black crime – which is COMPLETE bullshit. (This non-sequitur question even happened to me at work!) People ARE mad about Black-on-Black crime. We talk about Black-on-Black crime a lot. But before the Trayvon Martin’s death, you didn’t feel the need to make yourself a part of that conversation!
I was impressed by at least one tv aired conversation on race recently thanks to my number 2 tv crush – Don Lemon.
Don’s simple advice: 5 – dress respectfully, 4 – quit using the ‘n’ word, 3 – don’t trash your home, 2 – quit stigmatizing education, 1 – reduce the number of children born out of wedlock. Don Lemon is being honest. And he is right.