I have watched with great interest the reactions to the jury’s verdict that George Zimmerman was “not guilty” for the death of Trayvon Martin. I believe that everyone agrees that a great tragedy took place when Zimmerman exercised his God-given right to defend his own life by using deadly force. I also believe that everyone wishes that Trayvon had not died that night.
I have noticed, however, that there are great differences in opinion about whether or not the jury came to the right decision. I am very interested in the varying opinions within the black community itself.
Leonard Pitts, black columnist for the Miami Herald, wrote in his column that he hoped the Zimmerman verdict would be a “wake up call” for African-Americans. “We are living in a perilous era for African-American freedom. The parallels to other eras have become too stark to ignore.
“Every period of African-American advance has always been met by a crushing period of push back, the crafting of laws and the use of violence with the intent of eroding the new freedoms…. [He used the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution and the “push back” from whites as examples.]
“Our history is a litany: two steps forward, one step back.
“The Civil Rights Movement was the greatest step forward since emancipation. So we ought not to be surprised to see voting rights eroded again, the Civil rights Act attacked, the so-called `War on Drugs’ used for the mas incarceration of black men. Or to see the killing of an unarmed child deliver a message as old as the Constitution itself: black life is worth less.
“We are in another period of push back. And worse, we don’t even seem to know.
“It feels as if we have taken the great advances of the last half century – the protective laws, the rise of the black middle class, the winning of the ballot, the flowering of options once considered unthinkable – for granted. It feels as if we have come to regard progress as somehow inevitable, preordained, carved in stone, and irrevocable as a birthright.
“So yes, we need to wake … up.”
Legendary Charles Barkley of NBA fame said that he “agrees” with the verdict in the Zimmerman trial because there was not “enough evidence to charge him.” Barkley blamed the media for fanning the flames of racism by giving a “platform to vent their ignorance” to both black and white racists.
“Just looking at the evidence, I agree with the verdict. I just feel bad because I don’t like when race gets out in the media because I don’t think the media has a pure heart…. Racism is wrong in any shape or form. A lot of black people are racist too. I think sometimes when people talk about racism, they say only white people are racist, but I think black people are too. I don’t think the media has clean hands.”
According to another article at The Blaze, Dr. James David Manning, a black pastor at the ATLAH World Missionary Church in New York City, urged members of “his mostly black congregation to stop viewing the world through their `black eyes’ and start looking at it through the `blood of Jesus.’” The pastor explained that his congregation would stop “denying that the verdict in the Zimmerman [trial] was the correct one. He also told those who are convinced that Zimmerman is guilty that they only believe that because they are black.” Manning “is a colorful and controversial character” who has been “an outspoken critic of President Barack Obama,” but his words following the Zimmerman verdict will probably “cause a stir.”
Conservative personality Larry Elder, another African-American, debated race relations with CNN host Piers Morgan in a “confrontational and explosive” encounter. Elder told Morgan that interview with Rachel Jeantel, a witness at the Zimmerman trial, “was terrible as he `condescendingly’ tried to convince her that she was a `victim.’”
“`This is a young lady who didn’t apply herself, a 19-year-old who is still in high school. Instead of saying “Young lady, take this as an opportunity to take stock of your life,” you treated her like she was a victim. And that’s how you’re doing this whole thing about race and racism.’”
The debate continued by Elder pointing out that “there were 7,000 murders last year of black people, almost all of which were committed by blacks. Elder also said there have been 480 blacks killed in Chicago alone and 75 percent of the cases have gone unsolved.
“`Where are the cameras, where are the shows?’ Elder asked Morgan. `It’s outrageous to act as if black America should fear some non-black guy stalking some black kid at night. The likelihood of a black person being killed by a non-black person is extremely remote, which is why this became a big national issue in the first place.’”
When Morgan agreed with Elder that the levels of violence in Chicago are “unacceptable”, Elder said, “Half of the murders in this country are committed by black people, even though black people are 12 percent of the population. This is why commonsensical people profile.”
Instead of calming down as Morgan asked, Elder said, “I’m just bothered by how you are handling all this. You think you are doing something for black people but you’re not. You’re making black people feel as if they are under siege and it’s not true, it’s an outrage!” Elder added that he felt Morgan was “stupid” for “trying to convince black people that racism is still a huge issue in present day America.”
Former U.S. Representative Allen West – one of two black Republications in the 112th Congress – noted the following on his Facebook page: “Yes, Trayvon Martin shooting was a tragedy which the usual suspect race baiters and progressive media are using for political gain. Where is the outrage for the recent killings in Chicago of a 6-month-old black baby, 16-year-old black honor student or 17-year-old black teenager who refused to join a gang? The focus is on the symptoms which promote political gain, not the disease which now afflicts the black community. And I am tired of white liberals invoking the heinous memory of lynchings.”
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is pressuring the Department of Justice to pursue civil rights charges against Zimmerman even though he has been found “not guilty” by a jury. The organization does not seem to be concerned about the hundreds of young men who are killed in Chicago in any recent year. Conservative radio and television host Sean Hannity told Hilary Shelton, NAACP Washington Bureau Director, that to him it “sounds like people that disagree with the verdict are being sore losers and now want to make this guy’s life a living hell.”
It appears to me that liberal/progressive politicians and members of the mainstream media are milking the Zimmerman trial for all the political gain they can get – without any regard to the damage being done to our society. No one enjoys seeing people killed, especially the rising generation. African-Americans need to open their eyes - in the words of Leonard Pitts, they need to “wake up” – and recognize that most conservatives are fighting for their rights while most liberals and progressives simply what to keep blacks on the “government plantation.” Our nation elected and re-elected our first African-American president. We have our first African-American attorney general. We have previously had two African-American secretaries of state. Conservatives are not racist. We recognize that members of every race have much to give to our nation, and we know that we need every American – black, brown, yellow, or white. We simply want “justice for all” based on law; we want everyone to be judged by the same laws because we are – or at least used to be – a nation of laws.