How significant to our country is the outcome of the Zimmerman trial?
At a point in time when we would like to think that the nation has long since put racial differences behind us, this case and those who feel justice was not served are causing us to do some head scratching and soul searching.
African Americans have made great strides is our society. One has even reached the highest pinnacle of our nation serving as our President, yet it would seem many still do not feel they are treated equally in our society, especially in the judicial and law enforcement systems in our nation.
This trail was not supposed to be about race, but from the president, the media and many others it seems hard to see how it’s been about anything but race. How can we remove race from this and other watershed moments that appear as flashpoints?
Let’s look at this situation from several viewpoints and see if changing the facts would change your thoughts on the outcome.
- Zimmerman shoots and kills Martin but Zimmerman has no bloodied skull or broken nose?
- Martin shoots and kills Zimmerman and Zimmerman has a bloodied skull and broken nose?
- Martin shoots and kills Zimmerman and Martin has a broken nose and bloodied skull?
- Martin shoots and kills Zimmerman and Martin has a broken nose and bloodied skull but Zimmerman was a woman?
I think no matter how you change the facts in the examples above the African American community that is outraged over the case believes Zimmerman would have been acquitted regardless of how those facts were altered. The sense I get from the recent, mostly peaceful, demonstrations are that many in the African American community feel justified over the emotional response to the Zimmerman acquittal, but is it overshadowing a much deeper problem?
The statistics of the high homicide rates in black communities are well publicized, and it’s well known that black males, specifically young black males in urban settings, are at a high risk of dying by gun violence. The problem is the never-ending violence that young black males inflict against each other daily across America. Black America is murdering itself over drug turf, bruised egos, minor altercations and petty insults, but the violence also affects white Americans, especially when they find themselves caught in the crossfire.
So is this a black problem, a white problem or a national problem? I think the president was wrong to inject himself, his perspective and the federal government into the case, unless he intends to do more than commentary. I think the mainstream media has incorrectly energized the emotions of those who feel justice was not served, strictly for ratings. I also find fault with those same parties for not addressing the violence in the black community. Where is the outrage over black-on-black violence, and why has our national media and leaders from both parties largely ignored it?
By all the legal authorities that I have read and listened to, justice was served in this case. The prosecution was unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman murdered Martin. The death of Martin, while tragic, was not a miscarriage of justice. Americans of all skin color and race must come to terms with all forms of violence, not just those in the high-profile cases the media chooses to spotlight.
As a nation, we can’t glorify crime, gang activity, guns, gangster rap music, and in general the black iconic image on one hand then lament the results this creates. Young black men must recognize they will not change how they are perceived until they change how they behave. The path to racial equality in America lies within our grasp, but it must become a national priority. Our government must also recognize its role in changing the policies that have not provided solutions but instead further stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination among the less fortunate urban population.
Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press and publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.