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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Op/Ed- An American and personal teaching moment, with the loss of Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin case (picture above) should
make us all reflect back on our racial & ethnic
beliefs in America. 
A ROJS News Op/Ed

In today’s society a young African-American male can be shot to death on a sidewalk because he’s deemed to appear suspicious in nature. Today somewhere in America, an inter-racial crime has occurred by individuals who have a belief deep down that no matter how hard they try, their pursuit of our “American Dream” must be attached to easy money ventures of committing crimes and selling drugs.

Today in America, we judge individuals by their outward skin color than what might be inside their heart. We can’t take our precious time to understand those who we perceive are not ‘like us’ because of what we read and/or hear by our media resources, family conversations and inside jokes only told among those with look "like us”.

Today in America we are quick to assign blame to international countries that murder, rape and hurt their citizenry due to ethnic, racial or class genocide but, believe we are above such behaviors because we’re deemed, “The land of the free and home of the brave”.

Americans need to start by looking into a mirror. If a large number of teens of a different race are walking on a sidewalk, how quickly does one perceive danger by either crossing the street, grabbing a purse or taking a quick trip into an open retail location to avoid professed trouble ahead? How many times those teens walk by, continuing their conversation without any incident? Do we reflect back on the errors within our thought process this day?

In our neighborhoods, schools and religious institutions, how uncomfortable do we become if many people of another race or ethnic background different from our own attend, move into or join our within our superficial closed social circles? The rights to buy a home, receive quality education and practice our faith openly are principles that separate America as the “free society” we’re so proud to boast to foreign visitors. Or is it just the illusion of our so-called principles, we hold dear.

Why are we so quick to say that “Americans believe in tying up our bootstraps” thus, working hard to receive financial stability we all treasure but, then when our least of these fall on hard times caused by no fault of their own, we’re quick to demonize them of “living off of our hard earned tax dollars”? Do we as society really believe in assisting individuals to be self-sufficient or, really practice making it impossible to break glass ceilings of our economic classification guidelines?

What about in our workplaces were its’ said that individuals are paid via the quality of work proved yet, over the past ten years median wages have decreased, economies of scale have increased and wealth has flowed to America’s top food chain; unwilling to share fair pay for fair work with subordinates who by the fruit of labor, allow financial security to be thrust upon them? Is there really a difference between us in America and the People Republic of China that employ workers to labor 20 hours a day at .50 cents per hour or, do we feel good by saying it is?

When I listen to reported facts in Trayvon Martin’s unfortunate tragedy, thoughts as written above fall into mind. As a Mother of two African-American children, one son and one daughter, my goal in life is to ensure knowledge is given to them about the true realities of our American society. This is a society a 17-year old teenager can be shot and killed on a sidewalk –public or private- due to perceived beliefs one wrongly justify are true, as evidence continues to appear clearly prove the actions taken by Zimmerman were wrong.

For my son, since he was three years old and he’s now a 21-year old man dealing daily with our American society thoughts that he’s harmful due to his outward skin color and/or clothing choices, I have warned him of his realities. Don’t ever run from law enforcement authorities or show any type of aggressive behavior. Don’t visit communities at night and sometimes during the daylight hours, were others who are different racially from him hold majorities. Do your job over and above the duties described and still, if your terminated wrongful, don’t argue with a supervisor of a different color on your way out the door.

This is just a touch of real conversations African-American Mothers have with our sons at an early age and beyond, in this generation. And yes, I’m looking in the mirror at the reflection steering back at me, that’s described in detail above.

For the family of Trayvon Martin, I personally send my deepest condolences for the loss of your son. For those who believe Zimmerman was “standing his ground” the question must be asked if Trayvon was your decreased son by actions of another, regardless of your own skin color or ethnic background, would you have those same thoughts? For our society, when will we really have a frank discussion nationwide town halls about our problems in America with race, ethnic and class divisional lines?

Let’s pray that Trayvon’s death will teach us all a lesson on respecting human beings as individuals, regardless to what makes them different from us.

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