Before, during, and after I began this study, I thought long and hard. I entered a period of reflection. I read and I spoke to different people. I take my writing very seriously so I wanted to make sure I created something that was responsible. I did not want to place blame or point fingers, but I was going to be bluntly honest. I ended up with something that I can stand firmly behind.
The issues we deal with today are not issues that have appeared out of thin air. They are not a result of a black search of a “free ride.” They stem from hundreds of years of racism and bondage. It truly runs deep. Segregation is fairly recent history. Desegregation was still in process in the 1970s, and people were still fighting it then. Is it so unrealistic to assume that only 40 years later, traces of injustice remain? I think not. The divide has affected all aspects of American life throughout the years. Many schools and neighborhoods remain segregated today. I love my country, but I am well aware of its shortcomings. There is still much work to be done. That is why I took a stand.
As an admirer of history, I have learned to look at life objectively. There is discrimination against people of all backgrounds, correct. The forum is wide open for them to take up their cause, if they feel the need to. Those rallying for Trayvon cannot and should not feel guilty for marching because others are not. Discrimination will always and can never be wiped away; however, it must never be accepted nor tolerated. Justice for Trayvon Martin and the equality of the life of the black man.
George Zimmerman is finally behind bars. He has been charged with second-degree murder by Special prosecutor Angela Corey, in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The death of Trayvon has sparked widespread outrage, being publicized worldwide. Many have taken to the streets in protest, as the hoodie has become a national symbol. Social networking has played its part in spreading awareness. Those who have taken a stand have been scrutinized, but what they have done is force the hands of justice. The public has been scrutinized for its emotional response. I believe, however, that there is no progression without emotion. Public awareness has put the wheels of justice in motion.
This tragedy should force us not only to assess the perception of blacks in America by others, but also how we perceive ourselves. The conversation will make most cringe. Some will lash out in anger. Despite the reluctance and avoidance, the conversation must and will take place. We owe that much to Trayvon and ourselves.
After writing part one of this study, I was called a race baiter, a troublemaker, and a racist. One individual proclaimed that slavery ended a long time ago, insinuating that I was whining about a long dead issue. “Post-racial” America seems to be defined by a sense of denial of racial issues rather than the nonexistence of them. Bill Maher fittingly stated, “The new racism is denying racism.” Threats to this delusion are met with opposition. We cannot live in a true Post-racial America without acknowledging the correlation between past and present.
The mistrust between law enforcement and black Americans runs deep historically. Citizens were much more likely to interact with the police rather than law enforcement. Police came to represent the oppressive power structure. Police brutality has furthered the divide.
The condition of inner city and the black on black violence has been mentioned by individuals seeking to dismiss talk of race. While these issues should be addressed, we must address the issue in entirety. The modern ghetto was government sanctioned. Neighborhood color lines were fiercely defended by whites who used mob violence to preserve the homogeny of their neighborhoods. Businessmen and landlords exploited blacks, overcharging them for slum housing. This exploitation led to the stereotype that wherever blacks went deterioration followed. As overcrowding broke neighborhood barriers, whites fled to the suburbs, assisted by the government. The solution for overcrowded black neighborhoods was massive developments which packed residents in as tightly as possible. These conditions have led to a culture of poverty.
We live in a country in which we are playing catch-up, yet it is demanded that we function as if we are caught up. We are closely scrutinized, and it appears that our every move can affect the perception of us. However, we must take this opportunity to look into ourselves. The brunt of the work has to be done by us. We cannot accept what history has created. We must not be what history molded us to be. We can be better. I almost feel guilty discussing this as I do not want to detract from the injustices inflicted upon blacks in this nation. It would be a disservice if I did not do so.
We have become complacent, and complacency is a dangerous thing. The life of blacks has been devalued and many of us have come to accept and embrace this. We are killing one another. We are poisoning one another. The adults in these communities must stand. Parents must strive to provide stability. Children need love and boundaries just as much as they need food and shelter. Education must be a priority. There is a cancerous perception in some of our black communities which depict doing well in school and speaking proper as “acting white.” The common notion in reference to the inner city is getting rich and moving away. It should be about improving the inner city.
Inner city gangs claim to provide lost individuals with a familial environment, whilst robbing other families of its members through murder. At the root they boast to be in opposition of the oppressor and mouthpieces of their communities, yet it is their very communities which they terrorize. People are killed over the colors they wear. This type of behavior is a racist’s wet dream. A child should not have to fear for his life while walking down the street, whether it be in the suburbs or the inner city.
History has devalued you. History has set you back. Present does not want you to demand change. Present wants you to be accommodating. Not only does the racist place little value on your life, he has convinced you of your lack of worth. We have been far too accommodating and far too satisfied with our condition. The sight of black athletes and musicians on television screens has created the illusion that we have made it. It is time that we as a nation take a deep look at ourselves and open the blinds of delusion.