Let’s have the conversation – not so much about the George Zimmerman trial – but a real conversation about race in America. I know it’s hard for many to swallow the ‘not guilty’ verdict. It reminded me of a criminal trial of which I was jury foreman. Neither I nor other members of the jury agreed with the jury instructions. We challenged them, but were told to stick with the instructions, and so we did and came up with the most appropriate verdict based on what we had to work with. We followed the law as it was presented to us.
During a panel discussion today on MSNBC, political journalist David Corn may have hit the proverbial nail on the head while addressing the need to get past the trial and talk about policy elements that we can fight about going forward to effect change. When he said “We can have conversations [about the trial] ‘til we’re blue in the face,” that’s when the light bulb flashed…that’s it! Let all Americans talk about race until we’re blue in the face – until we’ve wrung out our biases as our leader President Obama so humbly appealed to us while jump-starting the conversation in his unprecedented speech.
Let’s talk about why fellow Americans who happen to be black are disproportionately prone to violence (black on black crime); caught up in the penal system; prejudged as threats and menaces to society; and are overall viewed as second-class citizens. There is a reason why blacks – more than any other ethnicity in this country – are negatively affected by systemic barriers like employment. Why is it that the struggle for acceptance seems to continue generation after generation?
Let’s talk about it! The only way to fight bigotry is to become educated. We fear the unknown. Racism is the big bully that we all try to avoid. So if we all stood our ground and talked about it until we’re blue in the face, [guess what?] we’d eventually begin seeing each other the same on the outside and would only be able to judge by what’s on the inside – the content of our character. To borrow the Los Angeles Dodgers slogan, let’s “Think Blue” people!
Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” (Amazon) www.larrybuford.com