This past week I have been thinking a great deal about the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case. And I have so many thoughts about it. And because they are in my head sometimes it is hard to articulate to others how I really feel. And at the end of the day they are just feelings. But feelings matter.
I am the type of person that feels like when there are two sides of a story the truth lies in the middle. In regards to this story I feel that while people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson highlight these events for their own benefit that every other person who is outraged can't just be wrong. Don't all feelings have validity? While I can't believe that George Zimmerman is telling the complete truth I can't deny that there is probably some truth to his story. And while I have to say that the justice system did its part as there was a jury and a verdict, all it leaves you wondering is where is the justice for a young unarmed boy who was shot to death while walking home? And what is his family to do?
While I can say that I agree that it isn't fair to George Zimmerman that the country's race problems all land on him, it also isn't fair that we ignore everyone who feels that the justice system works in favor of people who are not the minority and people who have money.
But all of these thoughts are just my feelings. And where does that leave anyone where our country is made up of billions of people who all have different feelings? Who is right and who is wrong? Or all we all right and all wrong? And would we all do well to respect eachother's feelings?
And all of this is to say that I wish I could say what I am feeling so that it made more sense. Not so that everyone would agree with me but just so that all my thoughts came out in a logical way.
And then I wonder why I spend so much time thinking about how I can best express my feelings when there are other people who do it so much better than me.
These are some of the blog posts, articles, and thoughts of other people that I have read over the past week that have made a lot of sense to me.
"I am not Trayvon Martin"
I also like what President Obama said on the subject.
"And when you think about why, in the African- American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African- American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that -- that doesn’t go away. There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me."
This last blog post really spoke to me- mostly about inaction and the way one feels that they can't make a difference. About how when things were simpler things were simple- black and white. And no pun intended but this issue clearly isn't black and white. But should it be? And is it okay for people to pretend that this case doesn't speak to race and privilege? And even if it's not right that this case evokes those feelings- shouldn't we discuss that those feelings are real and just? How long can we as a society pretend that race isn't an issue. Maybe the first step is to admit that it is an issue and not just sweep it under a rug. And I never think this is more necessary then when I read comments that people put on the internet. I know that these comments get dismissed because "they are only said under anonymity" but isn't that the scary part? People truly feel this way and only say it when they aren't accountable.
These are just some of my thoughts about this whole situation. They are no more important than anyone else's thoughts. And God knows I could be wrong- I could be completely wrong about all of this. Maybe this case got blown way out of proportion- maybe it had nothing to do with race. But the fact is it has been made about race and the fact is a child is dead. And wouldn't it be even more of a shame not to have a dialogue about all of this and just dismiss it?
On a personal level how can we change any of it? I really don't know but I will end this post with a quote from the last blog I linked in this post from "Belle Jar"
"Bravery is not a single decision. It’s the overall effect of every brave decision you make: every time you do something because it’s right, or kind, or honest, rather than because it’s convenient or because it’s less hard. So do the needful, kind, honest, things, one thing at a time. Then, when something really hard comes up, you’ll have the practice you need, and you’ll do the needful thing."
And I will also keep in mind that when people talk about being discriminated against for their race that I will whole-heartedly accept and understand those feelings just as I would want others to accept and understand me even if they have never walked in my shoes.
And I will pray that we some day won't live in a world where a child feels they have to defend themselves from a neighborhood watch man carrying a load weapon. Where a child of any race can walk home as slow as he wants because he is has just as much right to as anyone else.