Monday, July 15

Black and White

Today's post isn't about writing. It isn't about any of my books. It isn't (directly) about any of the things I usually blog about.
Today, I'm just going to vent and probably ramble.
The Trayvon Martin case and its verdict has received national--even international--attention. I'll be honest, I didn't actually follow it that closely; I live in Detroit and I'm sad to say people are shot and killed here all the time. Some are Black, some are White, some are Latino, some are Asian, some are guilty, some are innocent, some are young, some are old. Sometimes the good guys lose and sometimes the bad guys get away with murder. And once in a while the justice system works the way it's supposed to. I in no way mean to make light of the situation, but while the Martin case is tragic on just about every level, it's hardly unique.
Maybe I'm cynical.
But in the wake of Zimmerman's "not guilty" verdict, there has been (as I'm sure you're all well aware) a wave of stunned outrage and sadness across the country and therefore the Internet. I understand it. I even tend to agree that if Zimmerman were Black and Martin White, we may well have seen a different outcome. If the shooting had occurred in a different state, we may well have seen a different outcome. And frankly, as a suburban White woman, I know I'm not qualified to even begin judging what life must be like for a young African American male. How could I be? I know "racism" exists. I see it all the time.
I am so frustrated by Black and White.

It doesn't help that my husband works with a number of Black men who frequently play the "race card" at work to get away with things White employees would never be allowed to get away with. One of these men went so far as to say--probably accurately--that he got the promotion because he's Black. He certainly wasn't more qualified than the other candidates going for the job. He doesn't have a college degree, he lacks seniority at the company, and last year this particular man was fired from the company for excessive call-ins, but managed to get himself re-hired. I don't care if you're black or white or purple, this doesn't sound like a candidate for manager to me. This particular man has been overheard advising new Black employees on how to play the "race card" at work as well (and any number men just like him have been overheard telling supervisors "you can't write me up, I'm Black"). Clearly "racism" is a two way street.
And obviously this is just one bad example; I am NOT saying that there aren't White people--and Latin people and Asian people--who are just as bad. I'm just venting.
I think what happened in Florida is a tragedy. I think it is very likely that a White man got away with murder. I KNOW that there is a woman out there not only grieving the loss of her son, but grieving because she feels that the justice system failed her. I know she's not the only parent/sibling/boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/grandparent who feels that way. I have no doubt that many of them are correct: the justice system fails a lot of people.
I also know that I'm sick of Black and White. I'm sick of the "race card"--and believe me, I know that it's not just one minority or another who plays it. I don't pretend to understand the difficulties of being a minority because even though I am one (I'm bisexual), most people don't realize it. All they see when they look at me is "suburban white woman".
What I wish they'd see is simply: Human Being.
Because there is only one race. The human race. We all belong to it.
But as long as there are people like (some) of the guys my husband works with, as long as there are people who join groups like the KKK, as long as there are people who protest at funerals (Westboro Baptist Church), and spew hatred from the pulpit, as long as there are people who see the world as "Us vs. Them", there will always be tragedies like the one so many people have been focused on in Florida--because no matter what you believe about the case, the fact remains that a young man lost his life and that is a tragedy.
Image credit: soupstock / 123RF Stock Photo

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