A columnist of heart and mind

A columnist of heart and mind
Interviewing the animals at Children's Fairyland in Oakland. L-R: Bobo the sheep, Gideon the miniature donkey, me, Tumbleweed Tommy the miniature donkey, Juan the alpaca, Coco the pony

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Miscarriage Of Justice

To the great disappointment of right wing fear mongers everywhere, the African American community did not explode in violence after the Zimmerman verdict was announced Saturday night.
Such forbearance speaks volumes about their dignity and patriotism. But how long must a people endure outrage after outrage before they finally give up? Is the answer still blowing in the wind?
The most telling quote came from Trayvon Martin's aunt, who was asked by a reporter if she still believes in the fairness of the American justice system.
She thought for a while and finally replied, "No comment."
My heart sank when I heard that because she's right. It's now clear, if it wasn't already, that it's open season on young black men. And what's more, it always has been.
Look at the recent record:
2009: 23-year-old Oscar Grant is shot in the back in Oakland while lying face down, arms tied behind his back, by a BART policeman who serves only 11 months for the crime.
2012: 18-year-old Ramarley Graham shot and killed in the bathroom of his grandmother's home in New York City while attempting to flush a bag of marijuana down the toilet. He had no weapon, and police did not have a warrant to enter the house. A grand jury charges the officer with manslaughter, but a judge throws out the indictment.
2012: Unarmed 19-year-old college student Kendrick McDade shot by Pasadena police officers and left on the street for a prolonged period without receiving first aid. His last words are "Why did they shoot me?" The officers are initially placed on paid administrative leave but later returned to duty.
2013: Unarmed 16-year-old Kimani Gray is shot four times in the front and side of his body and three times in the back by New York City police officers as he leaves a friend's birthday party. The officers are never charged.
And now this latest miscarriage of justice, which seems to stand for the proposition that an armed citizen is free to stalk other citizens, as long as the stalker is white and the victim is black. If their roles had been reversed, do you think the result would have been the same?
Would the police have failed to investigate? Would the prosecutors have failed to aggressively prosecute the case? For that matter, would Zimmerman have been racially profiled in the first place?
There's a lot of blame to go around:
The police, who gave Zimmerman a pass.
The prosecutors, who never challeged the defense's narrative that Zimmerman was the real victim.
The right wing blogs, who demonized the victim and raised almost a half million dollars so Zimmerman could have the best "expert" witnesses money could buy.
The NRA, which puts guns in the hands of vigilantes and then passes "stand your ground" laws that make it as easy as possible for them to get away with murder.
Our craven and cowardly politicians, who lack the backbone to resist these pressures.
And Hollywood, which reinforces white paranoia by casting people of color over and over as the villains in crime shows.
Thomas Jefferson was no friend of African Americans, but at least he was smart enough to realize that the racial situation in this country is wrong. He wrote, "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

An eloquent reminder that Trayvon Martin isn't the only victim, and that what went down in Florida is far from an isolated incident. Thank you for this important perspective.