Racism. A now loose term that we can’t quite define like we used to.
A word we use only to make us MAD. MAD at people, MAD at the law, MAD at someone.
I’m referring to several recent incidents. One involving, a desperate woman with a gun, the others involved a boy with skittles and a lady with too much butter on her hands.
This post stemmed from a furious text I received from my Mother the other night. She stated that she wish she wasn’t still living in a world where her children can walk down the street and get shot. Lets make it clear my Mom is very white and will never have black children. She then asked, “So what did you think about the Zimmerman verdict?”
“I wasn’t there that night….Yes I believe an unarmed person shouldn’t randomly be stalked and then shot. But I don’t know what mix of emotions were going on to provoke the gunshot”
I back my statement. I can’t sit here MAD. Calling something ABSURD. Calling someone RACIST. Much less go out and riot about it.
Where do these people get this time and energy anyway? I barely have enough time to write about my Raisin Bran having no raisins. Maybe the guy on the cereal line was racist and wanted to pick out all the black things in the cereal? I don’t know. I’m not there, nor do I know the person that handled my cereal. I get halfway through the letter and realize it’ll probably take me three days to buy a postage stamp then I give up. Yet these people can go out, buy glue, marker and poster board.
I can’t throw a fit simply because I don’t know. I’ll admit I didn’t watch all of the trial. I watched much of it. I do have other things to do like shower, and wait for the guy at the drugstore to unlock the razors. But from what I saw of the trial, I am 98% percent sure what happened that night shouldn’t have happened. Who is to blame for it? I don’t know. Number 1: George Zimmerman shouldn’t have…or honestly ever have a gun. But that’s as much as I can say. I don’t know George Zimmerman. Neither does 99.9% of America. I don’t know what happened that night. There is only one person alive that does.
I’ve heard reports George Zimmerman is a racist. I’ve heard some reports that say he isn’t. I’ve seen Trayvon Martin described as a “good” kid, I’ve heard reports that he was living with Grandma because his parents sent him away to stay out of trouble. Hmmm.
Back to racism. We’ve heard so much about it lately. I honestly think it’s lost it’s meaning. Paula Deen was fired and let go from many brands she represented. All because she was a “racist”. No that’s not why she was let go. She was let go because now people PERCEIVE her as a “racist”. At the end of the day we still aren’t sure what she did. Did she say the “N” word yesterday or thirty years ago? Is she really the only high profile person to have done this? Even if she is a “racist” what does that even mean? One of my favorite segments is one with her and Al Roker on the Today Show. Al Roker a black man.
We just get so MAD. We get MAD that a kid got shot and no one goes to jail. Then we get even more MAD when we compare it to the case of Marissa Alexander. A Woman who was convicted of 20 years in prison for shooting a gun off while trying to protect herself from her abusive husband. That’s ALL we had to read. Forget the rest. And we were MAD.
All these things make us so MAD. Then we look to our government to change something. Our government with a a bunch of MAD people in front of them all looking for something different to change.
We have a system in this country. Evidence is brought up. And people are charged accordingly. We weren’t there the night Trayvon Martin was killed. We don’t know what happened. Sadly, there wasn’t much evidence to support any claim. The jury listened to what was presented to them in that room. They saw a person that shot another person who was attacking him. They listened to the story from both sides. One story was stronger, so they walked away and were not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt to bring a verdict of Guilty. People tend to forget the “beyond a reasonable doubt” part.
Back to Marissa Alexander. The heartbreaking story of a woman who shot a warning shot in front of her abusive husband and now is spending 20 years in prison under the same Florida state law system Zimmerman was tried under. The Florida Law states that when you fire a gun in the middle of a felony it’s an automatic 20 year sentence. Though Alexander feared for her life, the argument was brought up that she ran OUTSIDE to get the gun then went back in. This was the story presented in court. If she indeed feared for her life she should have just left. Once she left the house and came back in with a gun a whole other situation presented itself. Though, she may not have had any intention of hurting anyone, she could have. If she did accidentally kill someone, the headline would have been different and we would look at this case much differently.
The Alexander case is tough. Even the legislature who wrote the law in 1999, said it was intended for criminals who fired their weapon in the middle of a crime such as a robbery. Not for situations as this.
side note: The sad thing about this case, is if she took the original plea deal she would have gotten a much lesser sentence because she believed her innocence, where most people charged with this crime know their guilty so they take the original plea deal thus will now get out earlier then Alexander
These were cases (Paula Dean, Zimmerman, Alexander) brought before people. Facts were reviewed. Decisions were made.
The only sad thing about these events. Is they just make us MAD. Which makes us divide.
The law is there. Many times it works. Sometimes it fails. Why does it fail? Because sometimes we just can’t prove the whole story. So what are we mad at? What do we want? Less laws? More laws? More leniency on criminals or less leniency?
Back to racism. I keep hearing this word over and over. Even when you google this word, it’s hard to define. The reason is…it’s changed. Racism used to mean “ALL black people are inferior”, “ALL black people are stupid”, “ALL black people can’t sit here”. I can look around me and see in general…it’s not that way anymore. A racist used to tell a black guest to use an outside bathroom. Now a racist is someone who changes directions when he sees a black person in the middle of the night.
As a whole we are well beyond the days of thinking other groups as a whole are inferior. I KNOW that. This is what Martin Luther King intended. The fact that my very WHITE sister and mother are furious with the verdict tell us that we have indeed changed.
So when I keep hearing that word…almost…buzzword..racism. I don’t cringe so much.
The other day. I was walking down a Philly street and a black guy in a hoody was walking towards me. Was I little scared? YES. Am I racist? According to the definition now. I have no idea. If it was a guy BLACK or WHITE in a green sweater and khakis walking down the same street I wouldn’t have even noticed.
Yes, George Zimmerman approached a younger boy in a hoodie in the middle of a neighborhood which had a recent string of robberies by…ehem…blacks, and the boy he was approaching was indeed black. Was that a mistake? Maybe. Was it racist? Maybe. Though NOT against the law.
From what was presented in court. Trayvon Martin was followed by George Zimmerman, they confronted each other, one attacked the other, and a gun shot was fired by George Zimmerman. Whatever happened at that point. I don’t know. But at this point in time, I can assure you Martin could have been Black, White, or Purple and that gun would have still gone off. Was it right? Again. I wasn’t there.
Within Blacks you have many different groups. Some that may make me cross the street, some that may make me cringe, some that I would approach at bar, some that may be my future family.
Whites, have the same groups. There was a guy last night at the bus stop that I had to walk away from. He wore a wifebeater, jeans down to his knees, lots of tattoos and was pacing nervously. My brain sent a warning. A very non-racist warning.
Businesses use stereotypes of different groups to market their messages ALL the time. I can assure you Trayvon Martin fit into a certain demographic that Sneaker companies constantly target. Maybe not target down a dark street, but into their store. Does that make Nike Racist?
Maybe racism is harder to define because it’s harder to find it.
Oh and If you want me to share the street with you, don’t look like the Police Sketch I see on Television.