The course of events that have followed the Trayvon Martin murder and acquittal of George Zimmerman have exposed America for the silent bigot that she is.
The acquittal of George Zimmerman was meant to be business as usual for the justice system. Media buzzed with talks of possible riots from the Black community long before the jury gave their verdict. White Americans criticized Black leaders for calling for peace from their people and snickered remembering that, historically, most riots from the Black community only end up affecting those same communities as Black people lose themselves in rage and attack anything around them (because most of those reckless souls barely leave their communities). So the prevailing thought was that there was nothing to fear. Black people would be upset and revolutionary for a week or two, the standard Black activists would rally, protest, and preach and then the country would return to normal.
They were wrong.
Once justice had been denied in the trial and a not guilty verdict was rendered, a woman from the jury known only as Juror B37, sought –as all good capitalistic Americans do — to make a name for herself and a little money too. Her greed led her to make blatant her ignorance and the jury’s biases and blunders. The conversations surrounding the case raged on. It was then that the people began to rally and protest more fervently picking up recently covered incidents such as Marissa Alexander and others who were facing or being denied justice for that unspoken reason.
The coup de grace came when the president, our commander-in-chief weighed in on the subject in a surprise press conference. Check mate. The presidents comments,though viewed by many in the Black community as not being strong enough, was more than enough for many in the White community (imagine right wing conservatives mostly).
Now Obama is being accused of race baiting (a ploy to get the Black community to think that he doesn’t care about their issues as many have commented throughout his presidency) and that he is only trying to advance his administrations agenda — which no one has ever really stated what particular benefits his administration would receive by turning Whites against Blacks. Conservatives are swearing that there is Black hatred against America (because President Obama spoke about the contemptuous treatment of Black men in America). And these conservatives and White American who hold racial prejudices are claiming that the country is being dragged back into the civil rights era. I actually read that somewhere; I laughed. Black Americans were not able to leave the civil rights era as our civil rights have never been secured and equality has never been achieved. So while that may seem scary to them, it has always been our reality and, thankfully, now the rest of the world has to join us in reality.
Historically speaking, America achieved its greatness by its ability to take risks and its commitment to challenging even its own principles in search for a more perfect justice. It is those values that formed democracy. It is those principles that made us world leaders and a country the world once sought to follow and respect. This is our moment to get escape the bubble we have been living in and get back to that.
I understand that for the privileged of this country it is scary. I know that it now seems dangerous to have a president that can so intimately relate to the plight of the disenfranchised. What they need to understand is that Black Americans do not seek the demise of White people. hate has never been inherent to our cultural values — that is evidenced in how many slaves never hated, raped, or enslaved their captors even when they had the opportunity. We have only wanted equality, respect, and liberty (things this country promised ). This movement is not a battle that will divide this country; it is the struggle that will unify this country.
“Try to imagine how you would feel if you woke up one morning to find the sun shivering and all the stars aflame. You would be frightened because it is out of the order of nature. Any upheaval in the universe is terrifying because it so profoundly attacks one’s sense of one’s own reality. Well, the black man has functioned in the white man’s world as a fixed star, as an immovable pillar, and as he moves out of his place, heaven and earth are shaken to their foundations.” – James Baldwin
It is only at the point where the truth cannot be denied that change can occur. It is okay for us to disagree on the details if the problem. It is okay for us to disagree on the solution to the problem. The thing we cannot do is continue to pretend there is no problem and not address the problem. The time for ignorance and denial in America is over.
This recent series of events have set in motion what could be the movement we have been waiting for. This could be the moment for America to be great again. This could be the moment for America to live up to its own hype. This could be the change we have been waiting for.
What will make the difference is whether we capitalize upon this opportunity. We as a people, especially the youth of this country have to stand up and speak up like never before. Now is not the time to let things work themselves out. Now is not the time to think only of ourselves. Now is not the time to leave things in the hands of politicians and activists. This country belongs to all of us and we all have a right, no an obligation, to see it progress in the right direction. We need to be strategic, careful, and calculating to pull this off. This movement cannot turn into another moment of wanton violence and ignorant debate. We need change. And what better time than now; what better person than you (all of us). It only takes one person to make a difference; we all have to be that one person. That is how revolutions are achieved.
I’m not sayin’; I’m just sayin’,
An Angry Black Man