Platforms For Ignorance
Unfortunately, for all of us, the leader of the free world – given a choice today between leading us closer to healing, and toward a better understanding of each other… or leading us further into social decay and this apparent desire amongst so many of us to deepen the self-made chasm that divides us – chose to highlight what separates us.
It’s stunning to me that, rather than make even an attempt at bringing us closer together toward common ground, he chose, instead, to affirm the ugliness of racism as he laid blame for it at the feet of the ‘White Community’. Despite countless examples of the extent to which ‘racism’ is not only perpetrated, but celebrated and revered, in the ‘Black Community’, our leader insisted on doubling down on the very narrative he wanted us to believe his “Hope and Change” message was going to bring to a long-overdue end.
But make no mistake; there were two victims in the Martin/Zimmerman tragedy and, with every passing day, the hot tempers and ignorant mouthpieces continue their relentless pursuit of Zimmerman’s death – metaphorically and physically – with no desire to be smart about the opportunity they have chosen, instead, to squander. As horrible as it is that a person is dead, it is equally horrible that another person’s life – despite the fact that he is still breathing – is over… and forever ruined.
This isn’t a Bruce Willis movie folks; no person looks in the eyes of another and, in fear for his life, kills that person only to return to his life as he was living it the day before they met. Even serial killers carry that with them for the rest of their lives. And every time Zimmerman’s name is left out of the discussion, in effect de-humanizing him as the President chose to do – again – today, or hyperbolically denigrating him in order to fan the flames of hatred, the ‘Black Community’ and the ‘White Community’ are being robbed of the opportunity to address the realities of what separates them. And they are robbed of the opportunity to do something about it.
And a young man is dead, and a slightly-older one might as well be.
There are several truths about our society that are self-evident… regardless anyone’s willingness or desire to confront them:
‘Black’ people are not under-privileged, but the ‘Black Community’ is. And, ‘White’ people are not privileged, but the ‘White Community’ certainly is. Further, and to solidify the point, both ‘Black’ and ‘White’ people are absolutely not ignorant, but both of these ‘Communities’ are so incredibly ignorant, that they, collectively, give ignorance a bad name.
Now, for what it’s worth, venturing into a socio-political commentary/diatribe here is simply not what I wanted to do; I’m retired from that now, and it’s an anathema to the fundamental precepts of “MyDaveness”. And, observing and opining on a matter that cannot, by the very nature of how it has been presented to us (I don’t think I need to bother mentioning “who” is responsible for doing the “presenting” here), ever result in a peaceful and just resolution.
The thing is, however, that there’s no avoiding the news of the this tragedy in Florida, and there’s no ignoring what our brothers and sisters… of every color… are doing, now, both to themselves and to each other, in its wake. Where we have, on the one hand, Bill Cosby saying that Zimmerman’s acquittal wasn’t about race, and Charles Barkeley saying that he agreed… adding that – on both sides – the main thing he feels bad for is that:
[I]t gives every black and white person who is racist a platform to vent their ignorance.
…at the same time, we have on the other hand a President suggesting that – had Martin been white – there might have been a different outcome for the accused. This is not helpful, and not the sort of leadership our first Black President was expected to provide all of us… especially the members of his own ‘Community’… when he got elected.
And – perhaps worst of all – there’s no denying that far too many of us have become more interested in making the whole situation worse by, selfishly, super-imposing themselves (and their selfish egos) over the bigger picture. Where there could be a new hope for healing old wounds and putting to rest old differences, we face – instead – an escalation in the war that we refuse to stop fighting, regardless how much we all know, way down deep inside, that it can never be won through violent means.
Consider history, and the instruction she provides to people that are NOT too ignorant (or belligerently unwilling) to learn her lessons.
Henry David Thoreau is quoted as having said that “[i]t’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” This begs the question, regarding those of us who are busying ourselves with beating and burning and terrorizing our fellow human beings… total strangers with no connection to the story in Florida except that they aren’t ‘Black’… which is, simply, this:
What do we SEE when we look at ourselves and how we treat each other?
Do we see ‘justice’? Do we see ‘healing’? Do we see ‘righteousness’ or ‘understanding’ or a desire to to ‘stand up for what’s right’?
While I can acknowledge that our brothers and sisters of color might believe they are right to say and do the things they are saying and doing – from the President on down – I am hard-pressed to believe they think they are instilling any trust in, or allaying any fears or concerns of, the ‘White Community’. They certainly aren’t giving folks any reason to believe that their fears and apprehensions about the ‘Black Community’ are unfounded. And even the most aggressive activist member of the ‘Black community’ that I can remember, Malcolm X himself, understood that the most basic and fundamental of principles regarding how people of any color can GET justice: they must GIVE it in return for receiving it. Is there justice anywhere in what the “leaders” in the ‘Black Community’ are GIVING those of us who aren’t ‘Black’? I doubt Malcolm would think so:
“I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.”
If there is ever to be a time when we have all moved on from defining ourselves by how we are different, and begun to embrace the ways in which we are the same… that will be the time when we can handle the truth, and mete out the justice that is blind to everything BUT the truth.