It was pretty obvious the morning after to read what's on people's minds just by a simple glance, in the close aftermath of the George Zimmerman "Not Guilty" verdict. And I ain't just talking about reading what's on most black people's minds, which was obvious, especially that of many black men. The non-black folks as well -- some of 'em -- seem just as devastated.
We, after all, are human. For some others, reading their faces of guilt, sympathy and empathy passing by in reflection of mine, were just as clear. But then there are those who feel unafraid to even look you in the face. Even others, they just give that, "don't you start with that Trayvon mess" look of denial or disdain. So, what really happened here? To me, it's what's been happening throughout this country ever since I set foot on its soil to live. In fact, before I even set foot on its soil and even before any of you'll reading this were even born. I don't need to explain, or give examples of USA's progression in the many facets of life over its decades gone past -- including race relations -- but must we continue to hide behind America's material curtain of opportunity, to justify that racism still doesn't exist? You ask whoever said that? You'll be surprised! Ladies and gentlemen, we have a special "guest" tonight for our show... it does exist! It's real. People feel it DAILY. And the result of this trial's freeing of an armed neighborhood watchman who murdered an unarmed African-American child minding his own business on his way home, has fueled a public outcry partially based on this very injustice. I say partially 'cause the other part of this emotionally frustrating feeling has been a long time coming because racism - even assuming this Trayvon/Zimmerman incident never occurred -- for millions of people TODAY, directly and indirectly affects Americans. The trial's outcome was yet another opportunity to peacefully let fly their outcry. I don't think the country will listen for that long, but they're listening. Still, as usual, some are just hearing. And of course, the further South you go in this country, they're pretty deaf.
Race, ironically seemingly even less intimate or less personal than the topic of sex, is that one thing that makes Americans afraid to venture into any conversation of significance -- unless a case like this arises. Blacks amongst themselves do this (even outside the bounds of this trial) in raging comfort more frequently of course. But blacks discussing race amongst their white peers, or vice versa? Chances are slim. The problems of race in this country cannot be worked out seriously in a vacuum amongst our own -- either in raging, emotional and passionate fury at church preaching to the choir, OR in casual, intellectual and justificated denial, behind closed doors. Let's be real first of all. Racism affects a certain group even within a certain race that's already disadvantaged (historically + currently), even more than others. Hint: Trayvon Martin. It directly affects whites far less - though still indirectly -- so it's natural for whites to seem more distant. By reading or listening to this discussion of race (w/all the disparities they do NOT have to endure) on TV, online or quietly with whom they're comfortable with - usually not black males -- there's a disconnect to really achieve any real progress. No, just going to see Fruitvale Station doesn't cut it. Usually if you're not gay, but still care about gay rights or equality, your involvement or fight for marriage equality may not be as passionate to that of an actual gay person. So I get it. But racism, or the lack of being involved in the fight against it, is quite different. I always say, when it comes to race relations in the USA, it's #1 amongst the few MAJOR flaws where I consider American society very "Third World," "backward" or "underdeveloped." In other words -- when it comes to race -- it's the USA who needs foreign aid, outside military intervention or police consultation, IMF funding, and the list of international help goes on.
See, racism is a disease. It's a strange one. If one carries it, it actually affects those that the diseased-carrier encounters, perceives, interacts with, ignores n' makes decisions for. My point is, it affects everyone - directly or indirectly. However, the diseased-carriers are usually in denial, unaware and in fact some claim they don't have the disease. See, they're not as affected by it as others are. This disease is indeed strange. Follow me now. And it's a scornful one to have too. You don't wanna be tagged with it, oh no... it's like having a plague or still carries the same weight of alarm the AIDS virus did in the early-to-mid 1990s. It's a heavy word to be labeled RACIST. But maybe we need to redefine it for the 21st century. After all, I think most are still harboring on its definition from a post-slavery era with depictions of nooses, white sheets n' burning crosses, or water-fountain signs exclusively for Blacks ONLY and Whites ONLY.
Today's racists are carrying this disease into another definition, one of a more Kool Klux Klan disguised meaning. More sophisticated and hidden than yesteryear, today its definition through the enforcing of laws by lawmakers, major corporations' agendas, media spin, the higher forces filmmakers answer to, and even decision-makers amongst your so-called hipsters masked in stylish trends, ALL consciously or subconsciously practice racism routinely. Being a culprit of using the "N-word" is a media cycle distraction. It's the least of black people's worries in enjoying some form of equality in society today. Maybe we could also define racism, or part of it as, NOT doing anything about it too? Especially when one knows or has a stake in nullifying equality. Kind of like one seeing a crime, or being an accomplice, yet not reporting it or turning too much of a blind eye to it. However, far too long a great part of this divided country just carries on like it's the common flu. The attitude is more like, oh that disease. It'll pass. So when occurrences like this Trayvon/Zimmerman case come up -- where I guess one DIES from the disease -- the ones affected by racism rise up, shout out and wanna holler as much as possible to outcry on how this disease affects them! But the diseased tho? Well, some rejoice, or like Juror B-37, just deny it through the "ways of the law" and in Zimmerman's case, claims self defense. Or worse yet, justify death as "God's plan." Let's face it - this disease ain't going anywhere off these shores for anytime soon.
This case has brought out once again, the least, best and the craziest out of us all. The conversation, stirred by a morally unfair verdict with two opposing different races involved, also has blinded us to other critical factors regarding gun laws, how the law is unfairly applied when it comes to race, and well... Florida. There's something about this state that should be a case study in stupidity, backwardness and just straight up bewilderment. Racism -- again that disease -- is intertwined all through it all too. But I think the shine, glitz and cool breeziness of Miami (South Beach in particular) as a legitimate tourist/hot spot, makes us forget about Florida. Our expectations somehow become hopeful compared to that of our beloved Southern counterparts, with Gov. Rick Perry still leading the pack.
There's so much MORE to explore, but especially when it comes to race woven into almost everything in this American society. And let's not just start or save the conversation towards action for when a tragic death and a made-for-TV episode of crime becomes the media's main cycle for the masses. There's many more positive differences amongst our races, that we should be talking about that bond us as humans in this society too. And can you stop "marinating" on what race I am too while reading this? That's part of the "travesty" right there.
The other part, is to do your part. RIP Trayvon.