To Judge A Book By It’s Cover….

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When my son was 5 he was in the midst of a temper tantrum and he called me a nigger. I have no idea where he got that word from. He obviously didn’t know what that word meant. And he sure didn’t understand at first why I reacted with such anger when he said that word. He got a lecture like none he had ever received. Not only did I make sure he knew that THAT word was totally unacceptable to be spoken, but I filled him in on the reason WHY. I sat my kindergartner down and gave him a history lesson in slavery and racism and racial profiling and the origin of that word. I didn’t sugar coat or water things down. Because I firmly believe ignorance is what spurs on so much of the worlds wars and hatred and apathy.
To delve into the reasons WHY racial profiling even exists would take me far longer than I care to write. The simple fact is, it DOES. Every day. Sadly, we are a people who tends to judge by first impressions. We see the surface and all too often that surface stops us from seeing who a person actually is. It’s not even just race that we have a knee-jerk response to. We see the heavy set man and assume he is lazy. We see the slender woman and assume she has an eating disorder. We see the black teenager and assume he has plans to sell us drugs. We see the tall high schooler and assume their future is in basketball. We meet a shy persona nd assume she is a bitch if she isnt an extrovert in the first minute we meet her.
This Zimmerman case is proof in the pudding. He saw a black young man and assumed the worst. And how he handled his assumptions is what really gets me. I understand caution. Especially in light of the fact there had been recent crime in his neighborhood done by a person who fit the description of that 15 year old child. But here’s where my question lies. If his actions were called being a vigilante, if he was simply acting as a protector of justice and doing right……if that’s how we want to paint it….
Well, what if the tables were turned? What if the man who did the shooting was a grown white man and the victim had been a 15 year old white boy? What then? We would have rallied for justice to be served. LOUDLY. We would have automatically assumed gang activity or a bad upbringing on the part of the black man who killed a white boy. The first scenario becomes hero killing suspect. The second scenario twists things up a bit, doesn’t it?
This case has received so much attention not because it was a murder. (Which it WAS) Its received so much attention because race is still a major issue in our culture. How far have we really come since the 50’s? Sure, blacks can go to school with whites now and eat in the same diners, etc… But the taboo is still there. And assumptions get made and stuck to for them. White Americans are still the lucky higher classification. And that statement makes most white Americans vastly uncomfortable. You hear people cry out in indignation “I’m not racist, I have a black friend.” As if that alone can make it right.
Things won’t really start to change in our country until the masses begin to rally up and make noise. Until enough of us can stand and say “This is not okay.” Until the blood of an innocent black child on American sidewalks is in itself enough to make a difference. To sit idly by, is basically just as much the problem as those who pull the trigger. To keep silent speaks just as loudly as those who shout out racial slurs. The saying goes “You’re either part of the solution or part of the problem.”
So, I teach my sons. About love and acceptance. About taking more than 5 seconds to judge a person. (Or how about not judging a person at all?) About our history as a nation, as a people, as a world. About accepting people and seeing them as more than what is on the surface. As parents we hold that power, to pave the way for generations yet to come to know more about peace and far far less about violence in the name of racial profiling. Because in perfect love, there is no room for discrimination. Ever.

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One response »

  1. Pingback: To Judge A Book By It’s Cover…. | ZenPrincess: Ruler Over Controlled Chaos

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