I believe racism is alive and well in America. I also believe it's thriving in EVERY race against another and back. There are other elements that are just as evil, but tend to go unnoticed because so many people would rather focus on race, rather than on character. Those elements are prejudice and discrimination.
To be clear – here is the definition of all three:
- Racism – a belief that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement
- Prejudice – an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.
- Discrimination – the treatment of or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit
I live in a very rural area where we generally act in a prejudicial way against those who choose to look or act like rednecks and plain white trash. Much like areas of larger cities where the locals may act prejudicial against those who choose to act or look like thugs and gangsters. There is no doubt, it would not matter if the person was white, black or rainbow striped, if it were dark and someone was hanging around where I live, I would be nervous – I would be hyper-suspicious with my phone in one hand and ball bat in the other.
Zimmerman’s First Mistake
I have to admit – it wasn’t until I saw Zimmerman’s father testify that I realized Zimmerman was not Hispanic. The race of the case never ONCE occurred to me.
Now, George Zimmerman DID act in a prejudicial way, he took discrimination to the extreme and he made a HUGE mistake by disobeying the commands of the dispatch officer – that WAS the fatal first-step in a tragic situation.
Trayvon was the victim of prejudice and discrimination. Instead of fueling a war of racial divide in his name – Do something to honor his memory.
Just Avoid Suspicion Already!
My boys are white! Still, I have taught them that NO ONE has ANY reason to be wondering around the streets after dark. It's dangerous AND it's risky! And if they MUST be out – make an obvious effort to NOT appear threatening to anyone who may be feeding their own suspicions while peeking through a closed blind.
I’ve explained that if people were to see them hanging around town, there are some people who would naturally assume they were up to no good. If any type of criminal incident were to happen – those same people could easily respond by pointing the finger at what/who they saw. It could easily spin out of control. It’s likely those people would describe them as white – not because they are racist – but because THAT’s what they ARE!
Now, think, for just a minute here — if a white kid went into a neighborhood that was predominately black and was involved in suspicious activity, and let’s say they were wearing a flannel, a Mossy Oak hat, driving a raised 4×4 that had a Dixie decal of some sort – then someone decided to call the police because they would assume that kid was up to no good. How would they describe the kid? They would say he's WHITE. Naturally, that detail alone would make him easier to spot – simply because he would stand out among the locals.
Absolutely there are people who are racist. BUT, to me – the fact that Zimmerman described the kid as being black does not make that case one that's about race. Had he used the N word – then yes, I would agree 110% it was about race. I wasn’t there – so I don’t know – so I’m not going to assume either way and since the “obvious” racial slurs were NOT used, no one should assume it was racially motivated. To assume it was prejudicial or discriminating, yes, that’s an easy conclusion to draw.
What We See and Hear
It does not matter WHO you are. It does not matter what color your skin is or where you live. When you are asked to describe anyone – you will automatically state a race description first. IF the person spoke with an accent, that might be the first description, but that doesn’t mean you are profiling based on nationality – it’s just an obvious part of who that person is!
We are programmed to identify by race – whether it's on a job application, school admission form, medical history form, on our driver's license or when reporting a crime. We live in a colorful world that is filled with many languages and dialects. It’s who we are. It’s how we are seen and heard. Period! One could argue that people should be described as African-American, but Really?!?! Is it really that big of a deal to be described as black? I know people describe me as white, but should I be offended if I am not called Caucasian?
It's time to stop being whiny little bitches when it comes to the obvious identifying factors of people. How your drivers license describes you is probably how I would describe you. It's when we get into using racial slurs that people SHOULD be offended.
ALL people, black-white, African-American-Caucasian-Whatever – should focus more on education and character than on color! In the end, it’s character that matters most!
White Kids Like Black Stars Too!
And while I'm on the subject here – there are plenty of white people who listen to hip-hop and rap music. When Lil' Wayne uses the N word in his "cool music" you can bet his fans are going to use his "cool lyrics" when interacting with people or out in public.
In order to put a big dent in racism, people need to draw the line on the use of racial slurs, period! If blacks don't want white people calling them the N word, then start by shamming the blacks that do it too.
To encourage change in the world, we HAVE to BE the change we wish to see, FIRST!