I’ve been blogging a lot about racial reconciliation over the past couple of weeks. Due to timing of this, I thought I would give some of my thoughts on the recent Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman case.
Mostly via Facebook, I have read white friends who are defending that Zimmerman didn’t break any laws and that the manufactured race issue is the problem, not Zimmerman or any actual racist views on his behalf. I’ve also read black friends who fear for their children’s safety to be on the street as black males and about the system’s preferential treatment toward whites and against blacks. Some have even written about how Zimmerman is going to get killed via a form of street justice.
Some are convinced this case is all about race, others are convinced it has nothing to do with race. Some are convinced Martin was killed because of his race, others are convinced Zimmerman is being targeted because of his race.
Both write from places of emotion.
Both show the palpable racial divide in our country.
A divide that doesn’t need to be there and that most of us perpetuate, thinking there are no consequences to it.
The purpose of this blog post is not to argue if Zimmerman was at fault or not, it is to show that each of us are at fault for perpetuating a racially divided country. A racially divided country which creates the environment for such volatile situations as the Martin / Zimmerman case.
Let me ask you, if our country wasn’t so divided along black and white lines, would the Trayvon Martin case have made national news? If racial profiling, caused by racial divide, wasn’t so prevalent in our culture, would this case be called (rightfully or wrongfully) by so many to be yet another racial profiling instance? Of course not.
If whites and blacks shared neighborhoods and churches and social groups and hang out spots and leadership structures on a more systematic and societal level, the questions of “Did this happen to me because I’m black?” or “Did he do that because he’s white?” would eventually go away. Because we’d live together and our “in-group” would begin to include other people than those who look like us.
We need to realize that the history of what caused the white/black divide in our country (slavery, lack of rights for blacks, and Jim Crows Laws of the 60’s) leaves a residue of division long after the laws themselves are changed (which was only a few short years ago). And that our task needs to be the reconciliation of this residue, not pretending like this residue doesn’t exist and doesn’t need to be addressed.
A racially divided country will only continue to perpetuate “us” vs. “them” thinking.
Is/was your school mostly white or mostly black?
Is your town mostly white or mostly black? Your hometown?
Is your neighborhood mostly white or mostly black? The neighborhood you grew up in?
Is your church mostly white or mostly black?
If you are white, how many black friends do you have? Chances are good, if you’re honest, not very many.
If you are black, how many whites friends do you have? On average, you probably have more white friends than a white person has black friends, due to the simple fact that there are so many more whites than blacks in America, but still a valid question to be challenged with.
I’m not saying the solution to our race problem is for white people to simply go find a black friend. I am saying that one of the solutions to our race problem is for our society to move to a place of togetherness in all social spheres.
I used to be completely unaware of the racial division in our country, growing up in a rather sheltered white community. Then when I began to realize it, I thought it was no big deal. But cases like Martin / Zimmerman are yet another reminder to us that this division is a big deal.
This blog post is not to create yet another avenue for you to give your views about who’s right and who’s wrong in the Trayvon case and any comments giving such arguments will be deleted. This post is meant to give attention to the bigger issue at hand: the racial division of our country, and more importantly, to show that we need to intentionally be a part of the solution of overlapping the white America with the black America, with the hopes of simply having an America someday.
This is much easier said than done and I don’t have all the answers. But I see the problem and will continue to try to move and lead in the direction of the solution.
By doing nothing, we only keep the division that is there and perpetuate the problem.
- Psalm 32 Devotional – Walking in the Freedom of the Light - April 18, 2021
- Psalm 31 Devotional – When Darkness Comes - April 11, 2021
- Psalm 30 Devotional – Taking Time to Remember - April 8, 2021