a thousand words

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


In The Aftermath Of The Controversial Case, We Find That The Dangerous Notion Which Killed A Boy And Holds Us All Captive Still Lives. 

 I tried. I really did. I wanted to let George Zimmerman's arrest be the end of it for me, but in the wake of the case, a very disturbing thing has happened. Pundits have been discussing the case and many journalists, including Piers Morgan and the great Bob Schieffer have shown a remarkable ignorance when it comes to understanding why people are so upset about the death of this boy. 

And then Acura, making a car commercial with Jerry Seinfeld, calls for a black man but "not too dark." Then I realized that I couldn't do it-- Because of the idea. A notion has been planted in the brain of America, just like they did in the film Inception. It's an old idea, one that has been nurtured and supported by everything from ancient writings to Twitter. This idea that black people are inferior is at the heart of every other bigoted notion about us. 

 This lie was created to justify sin and fortified over the years. It is ingrained within the basic imagery of color, that anything dark is bad and everything light is good, which is sadly one of the basic building blocks of our mind's perception. In children's stories, no black knight ever wins and no white knight ever loses. 

The Trayvon Martin and O.J. Simpson cases show what a deep divide still remains in our culture and how under all of our civilized behavior, the inception lives and flourishes as we push ever forward to our future.

O.J. Simpson was a black man who was famous and was exalted by all races. Then he was charged with killing two white people. And the notion was that this violent tendency was always in him, dormant and born of natural causes.

George Zimmerman is a man with violence, recklessness and insecurity in his past. But when he killed a black man, the perception by many is he did this not because of his natural tendencies but because of his perception of the victim's natural tendencies. And his perception comes from the inception of the idea that black men are inherently inferior, violent and dangerous. In both cases, you have black men, one accused of murder, the other dead by murder but both held in contempt based on preconceived notions that have been supported by all of society (and yes, that includes us black folk). And just as dangerous as "the black man is always guilty" inception is the one that says all black men are somewhow or in some way, wrongly accused. 

In the end, we are left to our morality for these judgments and I must say we are sorely lacking in this area. To me at least, the field is in clear vision: Zimmerman is as guilty as O.J. and Trayvon was as innocent as Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman. 

So to all the people out there who don't understand why people are upset, think just a moment before you embarrass yourself like Piers Morgan and Bob Schieffer did. Think about the fact that no man has a right to feel so threatened by the mere presence of another that murder is justified. And understand also that the racism and mistreatment of our people is never an excuse for criminal behavior. 

I don't know if we can ever undo this inception, even as you read this, people are fortifying it in the media and pop culture and feeding it to their children. But we are the governor's of our hearts and minds and in this, we can do anything. In closing, let me plant the only idea that really matters: 

We are all just human. 

Copyright 2012