Posts Tagged ‘racism in america’

For me to join the masses right now and voice “I am Trayvon Martin” would be presumptuous for an old white guy to say.  I cannot know what it’s like to be under constant surveillance and suspicion just for my skin color.  I have witnessed how some white folks watch black folks with automatic suspicion anticipating violence or stereotypical behaviors.

I’ve also witnessed racial violence, and both personally and historically the worst of it has always been from white folks – from the overt violence of beatings and murders (claiming self-defense) to the institutional discrimination perpetrated by those holding disproportionate power.

We are over forty years removed from the civil rights movement.  We are in a different era, however tragically with similar outcome.  Violence and fear build up on all sides, polarizing and feeding a vicious cycle.

The fact that neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman is still walking free after murdering young, unarmed Trayvon just because he was black is a clear illustration of the persistence of American racism.  This is an outrageous insult especially to African-Americans, but also to anyone who believes in equality and justice.

It has been over 25 days since this incident and I can only hope and pray that after gaining national attention that a thorough investigation is carried out with impartiality and integrity.

“Martin was shot in Sanford, Florida, nearly a month ago after a confrontation in a gated community with a neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman maintains he shot Martin in self-defense, and a Florida self-defense law has so far let Zimmerman remain free.  But Martin’s girlfriend, who was on the phone with him when it happened, says Zimmerman was the aggressor.  Before he shot Martin, Zimmerman called 911 and told an operator an unfamiliar African-American was in the neighborhood. The 911 operator told Zimmerman to stop following him.”  – Source: http://www.cbsnews.com

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By Christopher Linder July 30, 2009 -www.urbanfaith.com

President Obama reads letters from the public, as he sits at his desk in the Treaty Room Office in the Private Residence. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza, 2009.)

Now that we’ve all had a chance to settle down and let this most recent and unfortunate situation fade into the mists of past news cycles, I just wanted to humbly offer a few words of advice. In the future, please refrain from telling the truth about racial situations when asked. Clearly some of us in America aren’t quite ready for it yet. In fact, many are still trying to come to grips with the fact that you got elected in the first place.

Now, between you and me, we both know that the existence of your presidency doesn’t erase the centuries-long tradition of racism in America. Many of us — or our parents and grandparents — can still remember the days when segregation was an institution and a daily fact of life … not just a word waved around in the month of February.

You ran on the promises of hope, change, and a unified America. When I saw you speak at the Democratic Convention in 2004, I thought to myself, there’s the man who should be leading the country … and the thought was so incredibly far-fetched at the time. Even after you announced your candidacy, it seemed impossible to even dream that it would actually result in having you as our President. When Joe Biden uttered those ill-chosen words, “I mean, you got the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy …” we knew what he was trying to say, but it underscored the delicacy of the racial situation these days.

But you have to admit that we’ve certainly come a long way in these past few years, though I know we’re not there yet. However, in these critical early months of your administration, it’s important that you recognize the need for the masses to hold on to their warm, fuzzy feelings about your victory last November — not to mention their need to keep their racial blinders firmly in place. Is the danger of being stopped for “driving while Black” still a reality in 2009? Of course not! And do young Black men and women still get watched more closely in the store than their White counterparts? No! That is all completely behind us! Let’s move on; after all, slavery was a long time ago. We’re equal now!

Sure, we’ll hear the reports of the occasional group of school kids turned away from a swimming pool in the Philly suburbs … but that wasn’t a racial issue, that pool was simply too crowded. And we know that the situation with Professor Gates had nothing to do with race (not in this day and age). If Professor Gates would’ve just taken a deep breath and showed the proper respect to Sergeant Crowley, understanding that police officers seldomly treat people differently based on the color of their skin, there would be no need for your beer summit today.

Let us continue to believe that racism is dead in America, and that racial profiling is no longer an issue in our cities. Be patient with us, Mr. President … perhaps in a few years we’ll be able to engage in open, honest dialogues about race and racism. But for now, let’s just keep it our little secret. Give my best to Michelle and the kids.

Sincerely, Christopher Linder, Color-Blind in Atlanta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, CHRISTOPHER LINDER

Christopher Linder lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife Rozlyn and their two daughters. A graduate of Judson University, he divides his time between writing, computer programming, and procrastinating. He is a professional web developer for churches, small businesses, and individuals. Says Chris, “I am a child of God who realizes that now, 30 years after being born again, I am still just beginning to learn how to walk.” He can be reached at Chris@iLinder.com.