It is very hard to say in a few words what many have experienced as a result of the Zimmerman acquittal that occurred on July 13, 2013. That day will hopefully go down in history as one of the days that changed America for the better. Essentially, what the verdict said to “Black America” and other Americans who understood, is that it is now “open season” on black young men; black young men “have no rights.”
It seemed that with each passing year after the landmark Civil Rights legistlation of the 1960s there were attempts to get things to go back to “the way they were.” There seems to be a movement in America that keeps trying to inch back to a time when you could kill a black man or any person of color and you just didn’t have to answer to anyone! You had the all white jury. You had the klansman as the judge and you had the laws that backed you up. If any black person ever dared to take a case to court against a white person, the court procedings were a matter of “formality.” The white defendant knew with certainty that he or she would not be “betrayed” by the system already put in place and he would not be betrayed by his “peers.”
There are people in America who are nostalgic about such an attrocity. They long for the days when they could “take matters into their own hands.” When they did in the past, they were held in high regard by the white majority. These days, these same people are doing their best to “cloak” their motives in ways that are being communicated in somewhat “politically correct” language even though they have the same goals and motives on their hearts as the people of the past did. So you will here things like “victim’s rights.” You will here the emphasis on “the right to bear arms.” You will hear about “the urban problem.” You will hear about the “crime” and the “drug problem.” You will hear words like “thugs,” “felons,” and “welfare recipients.” All those terms have have been carefully and strategically “placed” on the black the community and other people of color. They have become “code words” that say “We don’t like blacks but we have to deal with them in a ‘smart’ way.”
As a black man who is a man of God, I know that God made us all. He made us all so very interesting. He has allowed us to have all kinds of skin, hair and eye color. God loves diversity. If He didn’t, He would have made all of us into one color (you pick one); eyes and hair the same color as well. God would have made it so that we all have the same hair texture, the same length capacity and so on. But, because we are so caught up in our pride of wanting to be better than the other, we would have found another way to discriminate. He made us all human and we found a way to discriminate about color. If we couldn’t discrimiate about color, we would probably discriminate about ear size and shape, or maybe tone of voice, feet length, height, torso height; you get the point.
This whole racism issue in America is “silly” but it is also hurtful and deadly at the same time. Many American laws were crafted to oppress and control blacks and other people of color. There was never a decision by the majority in the United States of America to voluntarily give equal rights to blacks or anyone similar. Remember, blacks came from being treated as animals and property to demanding that they be treated as EQUAL! To many whites of those days it was a preposterous demand. “How dare they think that they could now be considered equal to us?” That was the ringing and repeated question and the recurring protest, even in the present day. Yes, many whites are still thinking, “How dare they ask to be equal, after all, we don’t lynch them anymore. We don’t enslave them. We even let them use the same facilities (for the most part) with us. We have let our kids go to school with them. In some cases, we have not killed them for mixing their blood with our blood (eventhough that has happened since the days of slavery when white men raped female slaves), something that certainly required death in the past.” So I kind of get it. Most white Americans never wanted the EQUALITY, they just went along with the laws that were put in place by “force.” Then, they just had to live with it until they could find a way to undo those laws.
You see, America as a nation has never embraced the idea of EQUALITY. It never said “You know, we were wrong for enslaving these people and treating them like animals and our property. They are our equals and we need to do right by them.” America has not said that and until America says that and learns to have a change of heart, there will always be Trayvon Martins, Amadou Diallos, Sean Bells, Jordan Davis, and many others who will get killed because their lives are “not equal” in the eyes of White America. Until we do campaigns, laws and other activities that address racism, we will have Superior America versus Inferior America. You will always have “two Americas.”
After the Trayvon Martin verdict, as a Christian, I know what God wants. I know His standard. I also know that this body that I have, that has the outer covering of color, the color brown; this body is really just a tent (2 Peter 1:12-14) that houses the Spirit of God. We impose various characteristics to the “tent” that we have and others have. We attribute “like” to some tents, “hate” to others and to some tents we say “stay away from those tents because…” The fact is, however, we all are just spiritual beings living in a “tent.” We have made the “tent” more important then what God intended it to be. As a Christian, I know that when I die, like everybody else, I will put this tent away and God will give me an eternal body.
So, as a Christian, I also know I serve a God who is just. I would not have known what justice is if it was not for what God has shown me in His word, the Bible. I know He hates injustice (2 Chronicles 19:7) and oppression (Isaiah 58:6). It bothers me that some who are “Chritians” can “miss” the injustice that occurred in the Trayvon Martin case. The young man was profiled by an average citizen, not a law officer (still illegal to do so). The citizen, George Zimmerman, pursued Trayvon and eventually shot him in the heart and killed him with that one shot. All the “code words” that I mentioned above were applied to Trayvon to criminalize him because he, after all, belonged to the “inferior America.” By the time the case was done, those who just looked at the so-called “facts” seemed to feel justified in acquitting George Zimmerman while dishonoring and devaluing the life of Trayvon Martin.
The American criminal justice system is set up to look at the “facts” for the most part. There are a lot of biases that are inherint in the system. Here are some: Most judges are white, most jurors are white, most laws were written by whites, most police officers are white and the list goes on. The bias in this system is simple; a white judge, police officer, or juror is readily “connected” with a a white defendant or plaintiff. They can relate because they could say, “Wow, he could be my father, my brother or my son.” When both the defendant and plaintiff are white, perhaps a greater emphasis is on the facts of the case, however other biases (economic status, nationality, etc.) can be at play. When faced with a black defendant or plaintiff, the connectivity (translated here as bias) is nonexistent. The white judge, police officer, or juror can’t picture this black defendant or plaintiff (black youth, in the case of Trayvon) as a possible father, brother, or son. That is too much to ask. The only thing these people tend to do in the case of a black defendant or plaintiff is “apply the law of the land.” Just the “facts” and only the “facts” are looked at. The idea of a human life being taken, the hurting parent, wife, husband, the future, the pains, none of that comes into play because there is no connection and there is no relatability. It is hard to understand motive and the implications of the crime in question when there is no connection or empathy. If a case is not made to “humanize” the black defendant or plaintiff, then, the so-called “facts” and statutes will inevitably “do him in.” I am almost certain that the mostly white jury that acquitted Zimmerman did not say to themselves: “Wow, this could happen to my son if I don’t convict Zimmerman.” They could not say such a thing because this does not happen to white young men. The empathy was so far removed from this case but that’s “normal” in America. This issue must be addressed if we are to have somewhat of a fair justice system.
Regardless of the “laws of the land,” we are all human beings. It is unfair to have a sytem designed to empathize with whites while it serves to alienate and disenfranchise blacks and other people of color. That is simply unjust by any real sense of the word. Anyone who does not understand what I have said so far should approach (preferrably during the day in an open environment – they may thing you are behaving like Zimmerman?) any black person and ask them: “What has it been like for you living in America as a black person?” The older the person, the more they can tell you. If you feel brave enough and you really want to understand, then ask them this question: “What did the acquittal of George Zimmerman mean to you?” Don’t try to tell them how to think or look at the facts, just use this to get a glimpse of the “world” that a black person lives in.
As a Christian, I don’t think it is enough to say to other Christians, “Hey the world is evil and that’s just how it is.” That is a very true statement and I absolutely agree with it and believe it. But, as the light of the world (Mathew 5:14-16) Christians have to try to empathize with those who are hurting like God empathizes. Christians must validate people’s pain and see how they can relieve those pains. There were many “Christians” in the time of slavery, lynchings and state-sponsored terrorism against blacks. Some of those “Christians” made it worst for the oppressed when they should have stood up and said “This is wrong!” God’s standards are not limited to a church gathering. He wants the whole world to know His standards. If I could say a few things to shed some “light” on how the world is treating innocent people then I see it as my duty to shed light.
We feel so great when a popular and well-liked celebrity takes on a good cause and speaks up on behalf of an oppressed group. It means something to us. If God parted the heavens and said, “This injustice has to stop and everyone must do their part to stop it!” We would be impressed. He essentially did that when He sent Moses to free the Jews (Exodus 3:1-10) from the Egyptians. If all of us look hard enough, we will all see that our American system, as it is, is very flawed, biased and deadly. It is time for all of us to do our part to redo this system and remove the “perks” for some but serve as a death trap for others. Americans have not decided to be EQUAL. We must effectively tackle this issue and help as many Americans as possible to see that EQUALITY is the reality…anything else is a myth. God did create all men equal in His sight. Our diversity is there to experience the various qualities of God, that is all.
Every man and woman with a conscience should do something to keep this discussion going and expect significant change. Everyone who believes in EQUALITY must step up and lend a hand to create a movement in America that will not be stopped. Pressure must be applied to this dysfunctional system that is full of bias. Federal standards need to be put in place to protect all citizens in every State of the United States of America. It should not be left up to individual states to decide the value of the life of American citizens or that of the aliens who live among us. Let Trayvon’s tragic death serve as the catalyst that gets us, in America, to discuss and tackle this issue of race openly, from the White House to the alleyways of Bronx, NY. Every corner of this country needs to be free for every American and denial or dismassal of this issue cannot be accepted anymore.