The Race is not WonBy: Jeff Spector
Based on the controversy surrounding the Trayvon Martin case, it seems clear that we have not achieved a color blind society here in the US and we have a long way to go in race relations in this country. And as we approach Easter this coming weekend, it is a shame the simple lessons of the Prince of Peace still elude us.
The case is an archetype for the on-going problems of race in this country on both sides.
First of all, there are still plenty of people in this country that are prejudiced against people not of the same race, origin or ethnic background as they are. There is no denying that. Those who are parents are still teaching vile things to their children, who pass it along to the next generation. There is a study conducted by CNN which shows that children as young as 6 years old seem to echo the prejudices of their parents in playing and associating with kids of a different races or backgrounds. It is very sad. Yet, on the other hand, there is encouraging signs that kids who are older, 12 years of age, seem to be more open to peers that are different.
We’ve come a long way, but still have a long way to go.
Secondly, there are some who see a race issue in every confrontation between people of different races. Again the Martin/Zimmerman case has illustrated that. Just because the alleged gunman is white/Hispanic and the victim black, does not automatically mean it was a racial thing. In fact, we know so little about the real facts in the case; it is hard to draw any conclusion at all. Yet, the race card has been played, the drumbeat is loud and those who make their living on fanning the flames of racial injustice are out in force. We even see a divide between the 24 hour cable news channels, with MSNBC siding with the Martins and FOX News aligned with the Zimmerman side.
They are also part of the problem. Not restricted to these two networks but to the 24 hour news cycle in general. It thrives on minute by minute reporting of hot topics in spite of whether the information is true, relevant or beneficial to tell the story. So any little tidbit of information is happily announced regardless of the outcome of that report. In some cases, it does nothing more than fan the flames of tense situations and does not add to the known or relevant facts. And, in many case is misinformation.
And thirdly, it points out once again, the danger of guns in America. Over the past few weeks, scores of people have been killed by guns, which if less available, may not have happened. But, this is a story about race, not guns, so I‘ll leave it at that.
There are a lot of problems with the Trayvon Martin case. We really don’t know much about what really happened. We’ve heard all the narratives, the speculation, the charges and counter charges, but we still do not know under what circumstances this young man needlessly died.
But I do think this case, is a setback for race relations in this country just due to the fact that no matter what the ultimate outcome, one side or the other will not be satisfied. And while this case is a tragedy for the perpetrator as well as the victim and their families, it probably did not need to reach the outcome it did.
But, I am pretty convinced it is less about race and more about justice.