It is so puzzling to me that many of my peers truly earnestly believe we now live in a colorblind society. On the one hand, I can understand where they’re coming from: there are far fewer instances of de jure racism than in the past, “racist” has become a dirty word and white privilege tends to be a one-way window — you can only see the truth from one perspective (the one hurt by it). On the other hand, it’s very difficult to understand how someone could look at a situation like the Trayvon Martin shooting and conclude that racial tensions have ended in this country.
This incident wasn’t notable because of its extreme or unprecedented character. There was nothing extreme or unprecedented about it. This incident has taken the country by storm precisely because it is mundane, normal, expected. A black teen is attacked in the street for looking suspicious — because of his skin color and his clothing of choice (a hoodie) — and afterward the police take statements, determine the assailant was telling the truth, conduct no investigation and make no arrest. Add a firearm and a fatality, and it becomes more apparent why racial issues aren’t just a matter of “sensitivity” or looking after people’s feelings. They’re issues with real consequences.
Good thing racism ended when we passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act and elected Obama.
The real reason why this has created such an uproar is because the shooter, George Zimmerman, wasn’t even arrested, even though this would have been standard procedure for anyone discharging a firearm in self-defense. It recalls horrible memories from the very recent past of police departments refusing to investigate hate crimes or press charges on behalf of black victims — of all-white juries refusing to convict lynchers. It reminds us that these are more than just memories. And it suggests that that this is not just a matter of individual prejudice, but institutionalized racism. Anyone who doesn’t “get it” never finished To Kill A Mockingbird.
I’ll give it to the state of Florida: they’ve started an investigation and the state attorney who overruled the chief detective’s request to press charges (Norm Wolfinger) resigned in favor of one who has a “tough on crime” reputation and vast experience dealing with homicide (Angela Corey) — though only in the wake of vast public demand. I’ll also give it to the young people of this country, whose uproar has demonstrated that there are still people in America who “get it.” They’re the ones who recognize that Alexandra Wallace didn’t have to call herself a racist in order to qualify as one. They’re the ones who understand that denialism is not acceptable and that it’s the number one driving factor keeping prejudice and discrimination in place. They’re the ones who realize that when it comes to race issues, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.
Daily Nexus liberal columnist Geoffrey Bell finished To Kill A Mockingbird. Twice.
In Response, Right Said:
My counterpart says that it puzzles him that people earnestly believe that we live in a colorblind society. Count me among the people who is puzzled as to how he cannot see that we do. Jim Crow is long dead, the 1964 Civil Rights Act provides for the prosecution of anyone who practices institutional discrimination to the full extent of the law, the 1965 Voting Rights Act effectively ensures that 10 percent of the seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are held by African Americans at all times (a luxury not extended to non-“underrepresented” minorities such as Asians); one of the most respectable Supreme Court justices in history (Clarence Thomas) is black, as is the Attorney General and President of the United States. Call me crazy, but these are not the markings of a racist country/populace.
The fact of the matter is that individual prejudice is not something that can be completely eliminated. Period. One must ask when liberals will believe racism will be dead — when the entire government is controlled by racial minorities? When minorities secure disproportionately large amounts of spots in colleges through their oh-so-colorblind policy of affirmative action?
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. The solution to the largely illusory problem of race is not by forcing the government to take action in favor of one race over all others. It is for us all to realize that the measure of a person is their individual merit — yellow, brown, white or purple.
This week is the 50 anniversary of To Kill A Mockingbird. Yet, we have learned nothing as a society in 50 years. Trayvon was basically Tom Robinson. George Zimmerman was basically judge, jury and executioner.
I was just thinking about this parallel last night.