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Racism is not Bull Connor and firehoses.
The Menace of Racism Pervades Sanford, FL
That young black man was not Trayvon Benjamin Martin, his name was Jack Roosevelt Robinson.
Present day Sanford is no different than 1946 when Jackie Robinson was shamefully chased out of town for the sole reason he was a black man that had the audacity to not only play baseball, but play it better than at least one white man.
Sanford should be ashamed. The city and its people have not displayed any evidence of change in 67 years. Segregation, prejudice and hatred still rule the day. A white man followed a black child carrying a bag of skittles and a bottle of tea, confronted and killed that child. This verdict of not guilty shows that the South is still a bastion of hatred and that a white man can get away with murder as long as the black victim is effectively demagogued. Ask yourself this: if George Zimmerman was a black man and Trayvon Martin was a white kid and no other circumstance changed, would the outcome of this trial be the same? I, as a white man, respectfully submit that George Zimmerman would be found guilty not of 2nd degree murder and 2nd degree manslaughter, but of capital murder.
Racism is alive, racism is well nourished thanks to Sanford, FL. Racists, profilers and gun-toting members of the Fourth Reich (America's many condo association and neighborhood watch busybodies) have received license to follow innocent black children and gun them down in cold blood. We are a lesser country because five white women and one Hispanic woman cast aside these incontrovertible facts: Trayvon Martin would be alive if George Zimmerman followed the non-emergency operator's instructions and did not follow the child, Trayvon Martin would be alive if George Zimmerman did not possess a firearm, Trayvon Martin would be alive if he was a white child wearing a hoodie.
The race baiters have been stoking a fire that black America would take to the streets and riot. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Alex Jones and the rest of Fox News harped the last few days that hordes of black Americans would assault white America. This is America today. Racism is not Bull Connor and firehoses. Racism is white children going to school wearing Confederate belt buckles and then claiming that 'it's history, not racism.' Racism is pulling over black men because they are driving BMWs. Racism is cautioning against race riots all the while ignoring the most deadly race riots were perpetrated by white Americans, such as Rosewood. Racism is saying that Trayvon Martin's death is not regrettable, rather it's 'God's will' as George Zimmerman opined to Sean Hannity.
Facebook and twitter have showcased the worst of American society. Neo-Bull Connors hide behind avatars and assail the character of a dead child while exalting George Zimmerman for 'standing his ground.' There are great swaths of America, and in particular the South, who see Zimmerman as a hero, a white man striking back. Rush Limbaugh refers to the George Zimmerman trial as a show trial, and that Zimmerman is a victim. How can Zimmerman be a victim when he unmercifully snuffed out the life of a child? Moreover, how can Zimmerman claim self-defense for wounds that didn't require even a band-aid? This is the problem with America ' jackbooted vigilantes walk through our communities armed and looking for a fight. Make no mistake, Zimmerman wanted that fight, he yearned for that fight, and once it presented itself he glorified in that fight.
There is little comfort that a white man like myself can offer a black Americans. The police and people like George Zimmerman create a world in which I have a greater presumption of innocence than a black man of the same stature as myself. That is tragic and wrong on every level.
The little comfort I can offer is to remember Bobby Kennedy's speech delivered on April 5, 1968 titled 'On the Mindless Menace of Violence.' The whole speech is worth reading, but here are the quotes that can hopefully provide a shred of comfort, 'Whenever any American's life is taken by another American unnecessarily - whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence - whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded.' Another important quote is, 'Violence breeds violence, repression breeds retaliation, and only a cleansing of our society can remove this sickness from our soul.'
The night before, the night Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated by a white man, Bobby Kennedy implored us to 'make gentle the life of this world... and say a prayer for our country and our people.'
America is a lesser country because 6 people allowed a white man to gun down a black child without affixing any punishment. As Bobby Kennedy asked so many years ago I will say a prayer for our country and our people, because God knows we need it.
Dan Tria, 14th Amendment Advocate: Dan Tria is a full time political junkie who pines for the days of soundbite free discourse. After growing up in the Hamptons he graduated from Boston University with a BA in English. Mr. Tria enjoys teaching and coaching He's in awe of James Madison's brilliance and believes the 14th Amendment to be the greatest part of the Constitution. Mr. Tria is a high school teacher and coaches two sports. In his spare time Mr. Tria can be found in his Man Cave exhorting his beloved Boston Red Sox to... (more...)