Zimmerman, Martin, and Our Unexamined Prejudices
Anderson Cooper’s CNN interview with Juror #B37 had some nuggets which I have not heard a lot of comment upon. When discussing Rachel Jeantel and Rachel’s descriptions of her conversations with Trayvon, #B37 kept referring to the way “they talk” and how “they live”. Such deeply ingrained racism has not gotten much notice. Referring to people with such a colorization of otherness in the tone and voice of the description can only come from a racism that is unconscious, unexamined, and comfortable.
Also, many people have commented on her referring to Zimmerman as “George” repeatedly during the interview. As though he were a dear “friend of a friend.” In my opinion, the case was lost in jury selection. Another aspect of the incompetence of the DAs in this whole thing. May God help us all and save us from deep-in-the-closet Klan mentality like that shown by #B37.
So, who is a racist? Probably everyone walking around inside human skin. I know that I am a racist, because I recognize that I have unconscious attitudes towards people of color that I do not already know personally. This quote from Charles Barkley says it well … he implies that the media is “playing” all of us and I agree completely with everything he says here:
“There are very few people who have a pure heart when it comes to race. Racism is wrong in any shape [or] form — there are a lot of black people who are racist, too. I think sometimes when people talk about race, they act like only white people are racist. There are a lot of black people who are racist. And I don’t like when it gets out there in the media because I don’t think the media has clean hands.”
Jesus suggested that we do these two things to our utmost …
“Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind … And love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
If we continually categorize people based on superficial judgments of them, we can never follow the commandment to love them as either our neighbors or as much as we love ourselves and our families. And, do I really need to quote biblical references to strangers, foreigners, etc? They are quite numerous.
Judging people as being “other” and categorizing them into classifications upon first glance is unversal and deeply ingrained into our history of social evolution (at least) … if not also into the history of the evolution of our species. Once again, may God help us all.