Being black in America

Trayvon Martin shooting

Trayvon Martin shooting (Photo credit: ChrisWaldeck)

Most or many people of color are saying that the George Zimmerman acquittal defines the state of racial treatment in the US by police and the judicial system. Not being black myself, I have never experienced what they claim to experience, but I believe that so many with the same complaints must be taken seriously. Even if our system of justice were perfect and the complaints raised were false, we would still need to address the complaints. And I believe them and I believe that those who complain have merit on their side. What shall we do?

I think that the most effective way to change minds is to change perspectives, to walk a mile in the other person’s shoes. Since I am not black and cannot become black, we must find another approach. Perhaps a role-playing game, played in the schools or available electronically for home use might begin to change existing stereotypes. It’s a huge problem to which I don’t have all of the answers. It is mandatory that it be discussed.

6 thoughts on “Being black in America

  1. I was arrested and taken from emergency room once when I hit a telephone pole. the back seat person, blue eyes and blond, was passed out drunk and told police I didn’t drink and it was he who smelled of liquor, but they let him go and put handcuffs on me, and took me to jail. even after being told by ER doc I had no alcohol in blood and semi unconscious.

  2. It takes courage to start that dialogue. And while the heart may believe in empathy and justice and unity, the mind often indulges in fear and insecurity. It takes courage to act with your heart in the lead. I remember feeling so shocked the first few times I experienced racism as a white person. I naively assumed that being a progressive person, someone open to other cultures, someone who strongly supports equal rights for all people, that people of color would not view me the same way as they view other white people. I was wrong. And I will never forget the sting of being looked upon with complete contempt by strangers, for no reason that I could discern. Being on the receiving end of racism hasn’t turned me into a racist, however. I am not so naive anymore but I acknowledge that there are fears, stereotypes and walls between us that need to be cracked and dismantled. Our cultural differences need to be accepted and we need to all relax a little bit. It’s quite like the cavernous gap between Conservatives and Progressives these days: we’re all so attached to our identities that we forget we are all HUMAN. Thanks for having the courage to open a dialogue on this.

    • Thanks for your thoughts. We stereotype each other in so many ways, by our clothing, the cars we drive, our jobs, education levels, accents, religion, sexual orientation, not just the color of our skins.

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