Monday, 15 July 2013

I don't know George Zimmerman

I don't know George Zimmerman..It would be arrogant and presumptuous of me to second guess his heart, mind and soul.

I do know that I never want to own a gun. I never want to injure or kill anyone. I never want to do harm to myself.

I am deeply suspicious about Florida's "Stand your Ground" law.

I do know that the social canon by which many of us assess what is "mainstream and normal" is "white, male, educated, prosperous".  ( I am tired of the political talk shows which to this day usually feature four middle aged white males who pontificate on what they believe is good and bad, or right and wrong in America).

I know that when a white man expresses himself forcefully he is  called "passionate", and that when a black man does the same he is described as "angry".


About nine years ago I was crossing Cambridge Common (MA) on my way to a meeting. I was being followed at very close quarters (six feet away from me) by a tall young man who "seemed" to be trailing me.

I stopped and turned around. He said "are you getting nervous just because a black man is walking behind you?"

I could not give him an honest answer.


On June 4th 2013 on C-SPAN  Neuroscientist Dr. Carl Hart talked about his book, High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know about Drugs and Society, in which he combines a memoir about growing up in a poor Miami neighborhood with his studies of drug use.

Dr. Hart is an Assoiate Professor of Psychology at Columbia University. He delivered a brilliant and enlightening piece of scientific and social knowledge, information and fact.

But my mind kept discounting what he was saying  ...........on account of his dreadlocks.


I met Trayvon Martin at Church yesterday.

He was the Crucifer at the 10:00 a.m. service.  He's not really Trayvon, but he is a 16/17 years old young man of Afro-Caribbean heritage.   He is very shy.  He does well in High School. He lives in a stable family. He serves beautifully in his congregation.

But I got teary eyed when we hugged each other during the "passing of the peace" in the service.


Well, as I said to his mother after the service, "he could be Travon Martin".

She knew exactly what I meant. She expressed her own fears for the safety and well-being of her fine son.

There's the rub. This young man can be utterly admired in his Church; utterly successful in school, a model citizen in every way.

But he will most likely be utterly and unreasonably feared, labeled and disdained as he grows up -  all because of the colour of his skin.

I am tempted to believe that that the Revd. Dr. Martin Luther King and the other martyrs of the 20th Century Civil Rights Movement died in vain.


I end by re-posting something I placed on Facebook earlier this year.

I have to start by examining my own racism. 

I have to continue by examining my own racism. 

There can be no end to my examination of my own racism. 

But there is also repentance and amendment of life.


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