Average white America doesn’t understand meaning behind Zimmerman verdict

Saturday, July 27, 2013
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Average white America doesn’t understand meaning behind Zimmerman verdict

America is a beautiful woman with an ugly wart at the tip of her nose and she can’t see it. The wart is racism, mostly white but also I must add black racism.

A number of quite decent white friends refuse to admit that racism exists in our country. They say it’s not there. Why? They have never faced it, suffered from it. I have lived “while black” 50-plus years in America. I know it’s there.

After half a century, I still can’t comprehend the American obsession with skin colors. I was brought up believing that ability, honesty, character were the cornerstones by which members of the human race were judged. And then I came to America.

With the explosion of technology and knowledge, the advances in the computer fields — Google, Yahoo, etc. — I was under the impression that Americans had learned that skin color and other physical attributes of humans were due to evolutionary processes over thousands of years.

Melanin is a pigment meant to protect our fragile internal structures from the effects of damaging sun rays and their ultraviolet components. Of course, if you lived in a cave in Iceland, you did not need as much skin melanin as humans living on the hot bright plains of Africa. But I guess that’s too simple and direct an explanation for racist Homo Sapiens.

As any knowledgeable racist will tell you, God created the black man black, and the white man white. And the white man is better than the black man. End of discussion. They have never seen the skin color of a dead man after a few days in the sun.

Having lived in this country 50 years “while black,” I can say without anger but with much sadness that if Mr. [Trayvon] Martin had been white and Mr. [George] Zimmerman black, the wheels of justice would have grinded in a different way. Being white in our country bestows perks and privileges that the average white doesn’t even think about, so granted they take them for.

1) A white person can enter any fancy hotel or place of entertainment without being gazed at “unlovingly.” Of course, he/she has to be decently garbed. Easily done little condition.

2) Whites can drive unreasonably fast on our highways without being automatically pulled for search.

3) A white male can enter elevators without having a group of cowering old ladies clutching their purses with fear and apprehension. I blame black criminals and purse snatchers for that one, but there are white criminals and purse snatchers too. Statistically much more of them.

4) Whites can approach a police officer any place, any hour and ask questions without having him or her reflexively place a hand near the butt of their gun.

5) Any white person can decide to move south and retire in a nice neighborhood in Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, North or South Carolina, even Florida, and not have to look for a spot in the local ghetto where darker folks are relegated. That white American will never have problems of that sort. They are the masters, supposed to be received with open arms.

6) White Americans can travel the breadth of the land, stop anywhere, knowing they belong. That’s their country and they are at ease anywhere they go.

7) And the biggest slap to the black face: foreign whites from far away lands, once they move here, are automatically entitled to all those niceties, those birthrights privy to native-born white Americans. The black is a foreigner in the land of his/her ancestors. The Russian is the native son or daughter.

That said, I am placing a great deal of the blame for our racial landscape on the shoulders of divisive and gutless politicians. The American politician rarely does what’s right. He/she does what’s convenient for being re-elected, what’s necessary to keep him/her on the gravy train, holding to power. They are not cast in the images of Adams, Lincoln, Truman. They are copies of Nixon and Reagan. Often without being themselves racists, they would happily don a Ku Klux Klan outfit if that’s going to bring winning votes.

I have many decent, caring white politicians who see the problem and understand the solution but refuse to step forward and lead the country to the right path. They are scared to lose the racist and conservative votes. Racial harmony is fading in America. Decency be darned.

Trayvon Martin did not have a jury of his peers. Zimmerman did, and we have seen the results.

The unidentified white juror who lamely commented that skin color had nothing to do with that travesty of justice should bow her head in shame. Of course it did. In America everything has to do with skin color. As you can see, I did not use the word race.

I am a law-abiding professional who happens to be black. I am generally well dressed, polite and don’t own a hoodie. I can’t tell you how many times over the years I have been stopped without reason for walking in a white neighborhood visiting white friends, stopped on the highways, stared at in luxury establishments, refused service under pretense of the place being full, made to feel invisible in fancy restaurants etc.

Many times when I used to travel, friends would beg me to avoid some ethnic neighborhoods, telling me to stay in the car and lay on the carpet in the event of unforeseen car failure.

Please don’t insult my intelligence telling me skin color had nothing to do with that verdict. Skin color has everything to do with it.

The actual facts are straightforward, even simplistic. Young, unarmed black man walking home from the store. That home happens to be in a predominantly white neighborhood. He is minding his own business. A wannabe cop sees him, decides he doesn’t belong. Why? That question was never properly answered. Zimmerman notifies the authorities who tell him not to follow the young man. He does anyway. After all, he has a gun, and a gun makes cowards feel powerful, in control. He stalks the young man and a confrontation ensues. We’ll never know the actual facts. Martin is dead and Zimmerman will say anything he feels will get him of the hook. That confrontation was 100 percent of his making. He shoots the youngster dead. Judge and jury conclusion? The dead young man was asking for it. The white stalker is blameless.

Trayvon Martin was killed for walking a Floridas street while black and Zimmerman did not even get a slap on the wrist. Those are the facts, the way things happened.

Forget about skin color. What about plain human decency ? What about morals, justice?

We can hide all we want behind legal jargons, procedural res ipsa loquitor, amicus curiae and all that judicial Latin rote. We can twist constitutional meanings, pass simplistic and dangerous laws like “stand your ground,” but facts are facts. Nothing will change them. If Trayvon Martin had been white, he would be alive today even if he smoked an occasional marijuana cigarette. That young man was slain because his skin was black, and that will be from this day on a daily nightmare for every black young man on the streets and every black father and mother in America.

The Martin/Zimmerman travesty of justice, this tragedy of epic proportions, is a stain on our legal system, a stain on our cowardly politicians, a stain on America. Where is Mr. Carl Strock when we need one of his superbly written columns?

It’s time for our political leaders to start healing this country, time to remove the word “race” from our lexicon. We are all Americans. We are all humans. I never heard of a black race of dogs, a white race of cats, a yellow race of horses. We have canines, felines and equines. When will our political leaders start leading, encouraging us to start seeing each other as members of a same human race. Perhaps future Zimmerman wannabes would be reluctant to pull the trigger on not race, but just a different skin shade.

There is work to do for every white, black, brown, yellow etc... member of our American human race. We can’t afford another Martin/Zimmerman tragedy.

Roger Malebranche


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July 27, 2013
5:26 a.m.
janesjoys says...

Dr. Malbranche – Thank you so much for your thoughtful and insightful letter. I have no idea how the jury selection was done in the case of Trayvon Martin’s murder case. I guess that being judged by a “jury of your peers” was certainly the case here, the rights of the victim be damned. Apparently, Trayvon Martin’s right to stand his ground was trumped by Zimmerman’s!

When we elected President Obama, I was so proud to be an American. I naively believed that this country had moved into the 21st Century and that the color of one’s skin no longer mattered. Sadly, it seems that there was a great deal of racism roiling just under the surface and the President’s election brought it to a full boil. From the first day of his Presidency, there were, not just thinly veiled actions and words, but outright racist actions by members of Congress, by our Courts in their rulings, and of course, by many in the media.

I am truly frightened for the future of this country. The discriminatory stand your ground laws, the Supreme Court’s elimination of a critical section of the Voting Rights Law, and the redistricting of Congressional districts to reduce voting rights of minorities certainly don’t ensure equality for all citizens.

Maybe, some good will come from this tragedy. There is certainly much more talking regarding race. It is impossible for us white Americans to ever feel the intimidation and fear that black and brown skinned Americans have faced and continue to experience, but we surely can take a stand and fight for what is right. We must encourage our political leaders to do the same with our votes since minorities soon may not have that option.

July 27, 2013
5:42 a.m.
justapto says...

You guys appear to be fostering 'race' by promoting that this was a 'hate' crime perpetrated by Zimmerman.
The jury said NOT!
Accept it and move on.

July 27, 2013
7:14 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Having lived in the Vale neighborhood in Schenectady for almost 20 years I found that the biggest racists were the blacks not whites. I was pushed out of my home because of the constant violence, drug dealing and black on white racism. I'm so sick of hearing that whites are racist, I find that all of my friends are color blind so you idiots just keep dividing the country with your phony racism Roger Malebranchee and janesjoy. You people believe the doctored NBC tapes that this was a crime of race, what is a white Hispanic? Zimmerman was attack and beat so badly he thought he would die, unfortunately for Martin, the guy he attacked was armed. Maybe you mensa members should check the statistics in Florida, blacks have used the stand your ground law more than whites.

July 27, 2013
11:09 a.m.
catherine9966 says...

Yes there is discrimination in this country. Discrimination from all races towards all races. I have been subjected to discrimination from black people several times over the years. I have not reciprocated. But it angers me to be lumped into a category of "white" and therefore racist. This statement is so not true: "White Americans can travel the breadth of the land, stop anywhere, knowing they belong. That’s their country and they are at ease anywhere they go." Try walking or driving through a predominantly black neighborhood if you are white. Try working in a predominantly black environment, or living in one, and you will know you are different and not welcome. All races discriminate, not all people.

July 27, 2013
5:30 p.m.
justapto says...

Be white and walk the streets of Harlem NY any time of the day.
Tell me you feel safe; if you make it more than 4 blocks with out being attacked. Try this in any Predominately black section of any major US city.
Been there; done That.
NO; I won't do it again!

July 27, 2013
6:29 p.m.
reader1 says...

Not much point in debating it anymore - jury has spoken, like it or not.

Not going to gain or learn much from rehashing the issue, except some of the posters would have us believe that blacks are more racist than whites.

These discussions are not about the Zimmerman trial anymore , they are a head count -which side are you on?

July 28, 2013
12:49 a.m.
ChuckD says...

87% of registered Republicans are white.
Most law enforcement officers are white.
Every Tea party rally I've seen is a sea of white.
Every gun nut rally I've seen is a sea of white.
Every Town Hall I've seen is overwhelmed by angry white people.
If that and the history of how brown skinned people have been treated in this country doesn't give you a clue why there's a hatred in black culture for whites, you're way overdue for some lessons in introspection.

July 28, 2013
5:59 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Chuckd that is so much BS. Watch a Hannity program some night and look at the dozens of Black Conservatives on his panel. People like you try to cause racial problems where none exist. Most Police departments are always looking for minorities, it is not the departments fault, its those who don't take the tests. There are many more black NRA and Tea Party members than you know so stop you're lies.

July 28, 2013
7:41 a.m.
reader1 says...

Hate for white people? I don't know many black people who hate white people. Based on history and high profile events like this, I think that there is suspicion and mistrust. And the same is true of whites, not necessarily for all the same reasons. And, I think that is what is at the heart of this and many issues of race relations.

Interestingly, while I disagree with many of ChuckD's points, I think his percentages might be somewhat accurate. This is interesting, because if you speak with many black people on many of the major issues - I don't think their personal attitudes are congruent with party affiliation.

NRA and Tea party are a different issue, in my opinion.

July 28, 2013
8:03 a.m.
muggy says...

Here's the message from the Zimmermann trial to White America: "We race haters/baiters want to have a conversation; a ONE-WAY conversation. We get to tell you how racist you are, and you have to accept it as truth. PERIOD. Now shut up!"

July 28, 2013
5:08 p.m.
jdar777 says...

Whine, whine, whine..

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