The acquittal of George Zimmerman of murder and manslaughter charges in the shooting of Trayvon Martin has created hours of sound bites for TV and radio news media, generated thousands of inches of print space in newspapers, given TV talk shows a stage to spew more hate and sparked volumes of “dialogue” (constructive and destructive) on social media.
This isn’t about the verdict. It’s about the hate that was generated outside of the courtroom before, during and after the trial. A fever that was perpetuated by the press and, more importantly, the unfettered comments shared across the Internet on social media, posted by haters who won’t be held accountable for their words.
Blacks proclaim that racism is worse than ever. Whites assert that a double-standard exists that causes reverse discrimination. The arguments go on and on. Both sides have no problem saying the cause is the election of a president of African-American descent. I say look no further than the comments posted on the Internet via social media to see how rumors and hate spread quickly across our web-based country. He said, she said and finger-pointing without facts are alive and well on man’s most stunning invention over the last few decades – the information superhighway.
Looking back at the growth of the United States, there were times when many different immigrants were discriminated against. The Irish, Germans, Asians and many others. They rose above the discrimination and became proud and industrious contributors to this great country. They had little time to organize and march. Hard work and sacrifice were their protest signs. Satisfaction in a job well done was their reward. Many weren’t welcomed in the United States. Hoping they were entitled to a place in society when they stepped off the boat wasn’t good enough; they earned it. You have to look beyond the educational system and the history books to get a full understanding of the hardships they endured.
Many African-Americans came to the United States as slaves. It took a Civil War to alter the sin of slavery. But, that didn’t automatically elevate former slaves into equal citizens in the eyes of some. For over a century, it has been a work in process; way too long and way too slow.
We owe all people the opportunity to do the same and we owe everyone the benefit of a handshake and a pat on the back as we step up and do what we can to point them in the right direction and help them on their way. Sometimes the opportunities may not be exactly what a person wants, but it’s a start, a step towards a new or improved life for them and their families. No matter what race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation, this is everyone’s responsibility.
Racism is not running rampant in the United States. It boils down to the few and the most vocal on all sides of the issue. It’s fed by mainstream media and social bloggers who feel the need to keep the fire burning, lest they have nothing to say or write about. There is no help coming from either of them because pointing the finger of blame generates more followers than opening your hand to make a friend.
It seems like everyone is saying that we need to have a “dialogue” about current racial issues. With whom? It’s easy to call for meetings and discussions but nobody says who should be at the table and when the time comes for honest conversation, the only ones who show up are the ones who have already bought into the idea of ending discrimination once and for all. Where is everybody else? Where are the few and most vocal when it comes time to sit at the table?
Let’s stop fixing blame and fix the problem.