When I was in corporate, I did a lot of traveling for my company. Attending a conference in Chicago, I checked into my favorite downtown hotel, and because I was in a hurry to meet someone for dinner, I didn’t do what I normally do and what everyone should always do in a hotel: I didn’t flip the security latch on the door. As I sat on the bed, changing my shoes, I heard a card key going into the slot and saw the door opening. A man, tall white male who apparently worked for this hotel but did not know the English language came barging through the door. I picked up the house phone as I yelled “get out” repeatedly because he kept coming and talking. He finally turned and left, but I was already on the phone to the front desk. Why am I sharing this story you ask? Here’s how this played out. While they apologized profusely, gave me a free stay etc, etc., what really stayed in the back of my mind all these years? It was the the second call I received from the manager. I was told that I had scared the tall white man who couldn’t speak English, walking unannounced into my hotel room. Me, being chastised by the hotel manager because my yelling “get out” at a stranger coming into my hotel room shook him up.
I used to watch MTV’s Real World, one of the earlier non-reality reality shows. Invariably, the black person on every show became the antagonist, the bad guy who the white girl “didn’t feel safe” around or “was afraid of” or “felt threatened by.” I can’t tell you how many times I have entered a hotel and as I am checking in, the man next to me, also checking in, will give me a meaningful look and pull his briefcase closer. Which I found humorous, given that my laptop was stolen in the lobby of a high-end hotel by someone who looked like them.
Racism is ”the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination.” Racism is, in the most simplistic definition, a perceived power welded to demean, abuse, terminate economically, socially, politically, emotionally, and/or physically, based solely upon color of skin or known origins; all justified by the notion of racial superiority. There are those who want to believe, want me to believe, that racism in the USA is all in the heads of the minorities, specifically African Americans. We are dismissively advised to “not be so sensitive” and should “just get over it.” The same people complain that they are “tired of being politically corrected” when told that creating bumper stickers , posting racist rants on You Tube, or the nonstop use of racial stereotypes by politicians to garner favor among their constituents is definitely not okay with us. What is crystal clear to me is that none of the many mea culpas proffered in the last three years — or certain to come within the next four years — are sincere; they simply follow the same tired pattern: they say, write, create an obviously egregious, blatantly racist remark, realize it’s not acceptable, apologize for/attempt to justify (depending on the degree of outrage), then take up the “I’m the victim here, ergo, it’s really you who has the problem” meme.
And here we are. A child, Trayvon Martin, is murdered. Not because he was robbing anyone, or killing anyone, or harming anyone. This honor student was chased, attacked and shot by a policeman wannabe who made sure he created the perception of potential victimization by calling 911, then, ignoring their directions, he stalked and killed a child.
A boy with Skittles and an ice tea was stalked by a white man who decided in advance he should die. The law that Zimmerman is hiding behind, called “Stand Your Ground” was pushed through by the Second Amendment NRA and is law in the states listed below. Five DAs stated that this law is dangerous. If Zimmerman is not prosecuted, how many extremists will see this as license to declare open season on your son, your daughter, your husband, your wife? Where is the safety net? Because this law will become a new age version of lynching. Minorities won’t get to use this law; it wasn’t written for us. This is the key reason why we should not only demand justice for this child, we need to pay more attention and get involved in deciding what laws we allow to pass in the states we live in. Folks best start paying less attention to NeNe, Snooki and the rest of the non-reality shows, and more attention to what they’re doing about and to you in your communities before it’s too late. They’ve always counted on your not showing up for midterm elections you know. They’re hoping, even planning, you won’t show up this year, even though your life literally depends on it. Whatever happens, your action or inaction contribute to the outcome.
“Stand Your Ground” states:
Alabama, Alaska – Passed, but not yet signed., Arizona, Colorado, South Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Virginia.