Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My uncomfortable truth

I, like a lot of people are heartsick over the jury decision in the George Zimmerman trial.  It appears that Florida is the place to go to get away with what seems like straight up murder.  Perhaps George and Casey Anthony can laugh about it over a beer.

The law is a complex thing but to me the "stand your ground" rule in Florida is flawed.  It says you can do anything to someone to taunt them, and then when they react you can get scared for your life and then kill them.   Stand your ground seems to mean that the clock doesn't start ticking legally until you say you're afraid, regardless of what you did to provoke the situation. That doesn't seem right to me.

I wonder if that means that Trayvon would have been acquitted if he HAD killed Zimmerman?  I mean, he was being followed and felt threatened, clearly for his life.    I doubt that the wheels of justice would have rolled his way had the night gone a different direction.

I will admit that I am not immune to profiling people.  I do it all day.

  • Moms - safe
  • Grandpas with kids - safe.
  • Teenagers - kinda scary  
  • Dirty homeless guy - unknown, walk wide 
  • Salespeople at Starbucks - friendly 
  • Counter lady at the Post Office - scary
  • Loud, raucous group of people waiting for bus on 2nd & Pike - scary, avoid interaction
  • Person in business suit waiting for bus on 2rd & Pike, not scary, but avoid interaction unless necessary.
  • Person in a hoodie on a dark rainy night - unknown, avoid interaction
  • Two 20 year olds on my door step in blue pants and white shirts - Mormons, be nice but so away.
  • The dudes selling 'steak' door to door - potential robbers, be firm, take picture of car as they leave.
  • The woman selling magazines door to door for points to help inner city kids - be nice, but no.
  • Chris Brown - scary, entitled punk, thug
  • Justin Beiber - scary, entitled punk, wannabe thug

Anyone who thinks that we will be a racially, socially blind society is crazy.  What we can be is aware of the preconceived notions we have about each other and try to be better.  I think it will be hard to be an urban black young man for many years longer than any of us are comfortable with.   But let's be honest, the inner city lawless thug is a person, he is not at all representational of all young black men, but he is real, and one that is glorified by movies, tv and music, and I find him a bit scary.  I may be a racist for having a category for the angry kid with a gun, but so be it.  I certainly don't think or place every young person of color into that category and the ones that do go there aren't all black.

I know people judge me too, I'm a middle aged white lady who drives a 2 year old around in a white mini-van.  I'm harmless right?  But, maybe you see an entitled, racist, elitist snob. I couldn't have anything in common or care about anyone who doesn't live on my block or drive my kind of car.  Surely not.

Profiling happens everywhere and all the time.  In the business world we meet people from all over the globe and interact on a common theme, but we've already created a false society because only the educated and smart people (and for some reason me) are invited to the workplace.   It's a racially diverse group and race isn't an issue, but it is not a socioeconomically diverse group, it is a whole bunch of "haves" and ramen eating future-haves.

"Lucky" for most of us, we get to point fingers at Florida and call them backwards as if it has nothing to do with us.  But, like many other things that are wrong, we owe it to ourselves to let them know we don't support their backwards ways.  Put the pressure on with your wallet, your vacation money and tell the businesses that operate in Florida that the laws are unacceptable.  Sure, Disney doesn't make laws in Florida, but they have influence and by not participating in socially right causes, they are implying approval.

Boycotting companies like Disney isn't my point, but an example of how 'we' can influence 'them'.   We have to do something.  Sitting around saying "shame on them" but not acting or speaking out is doing nothing.

I feel terribly for Trayvon's mom and dad.  I pray that they know that complete strangers care about their pain and that gives them some comfort.

No comments: