The Trayvon Martin Case Isn’t Just About Black & White

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A Pensive Reflection On Trayvon Martin

The liberty that the founding fathers secured for the people has caused some to speak incautiously and act wretchedly. Some are more prone to communicate with guns, the language of destruction, than with words, the voice of reason. This fundamental rite of American society often inflates racial attitudes and creates division in cultures. None more so than the death of young Trayvon Martin, who was shot by George Zimmerman.

Trayvon Martin

The nation was incredulous at the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who has now become infamous.

People are sad and angry, with a countenance of pain, mingled with hatred, frowning at the criminal justice system. Attitudes are charged with tension and demands are being made for justice, if not revenge. As we ponder this ghastly situation we instinctively encounter thoughts of OJ Simpson and, Nicole Brown. It was on June 12th, 1994 that OJ’s wife and friend Ronald Goldman were found dead outside Nicole’s condo, in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles, in which the nation was repulsed.

OJ’s acquittal threatened to derail the healing that had taken place in America between black and white. Vivid images of pain ran through the nation, because innocent lives were lost. And it must not be forgotten that Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman were robbed of their lives, by someone who does not respect the sanctity of life. They also had parents and siblings, who may never get over the tragedy that brought America in racial conflict. They, like Trayvon, had anticipated their best years ahead until tragedy struck.

Whether it is experienced by black or white families, pain is pain and a loss is a loss. While it is important to protest injustice, it does our race relations no good when we become consumed in bitterness without the will to reconcile. At a time when our society is armed by a battalion of smart lawyers, gifted politicians, and impartial judges, justice still eludes us.

Nicole Brown Simpson, left, and her friend Ron Goldman, both of whom were murdered and found dead in Los Angeles on June 12, 1994

The more sinister among us might even be inclined to argue that Trayvon slaying is no less painful than Nicole and Ronald. Yet, one cannot compare brutality with brutality and believe it represents justice. At only seventeen years old Trayvon Martin had just started living. Perhaps George Zimmerman at twenty-nine will live the rest of his life in the solitary confinement of his conscience. Yet, the legacy of the gun culture continues in the work of the movies, television and music industries, where violence is routinely advertised, and people pay to go and see it.

Understanding the nature of the relationship between Black America and White America is essential for all of us. It is perceived that each is exercising some degree of influence on the development of the other, and yet, the two cultures are distinct entities. Evidently, yesterday’s definition of America, with its Jim Crow law’s is not nearly the same as today’s application of it. Nevertheless, we will never attain unity by way of laws, but only by the heart, conversion.

One of the truisms of our time is that there exists extreme economic inequality between blacks and whites. An over-dependence of the political system has served only to compound the plight of black people. Like Trayvon Martin, young black men are often perceived as criminals and are kept under the surveilance of the nation’s sinister eyes. Evidently, our society has fallen into a condition far worse than it is reputed to be. For observers like myself, injustice in America should have passed its most detrimental season, but the shooting of Trayvon Martin shows that we are still in the spring season of equality for all.

Therefore, we are simply mistaken when we conceive that America has gotten over the suspicions that were a part of the diet of resentment dished out during the earlier years of distrust. This distrust runs deep, a carryover from the days of slavery. It was an era in which the black man was considered no more than a brute beast by his colonial masters. A time in which disrespectful men relied upon the influence of its Protestant past, while the slaves were grimacing at their plight.

This happened because the slave masters had invented their own moral code, which defined and sanctioned their conduct. Too many people were opening their mouths while being asked to shut their minds. And those, like Marcus Garvey, W.E. B Dubois, Malcolm X and Dr. King, with a voice against this inhumanity, were hounded like cattle on a farm. Realizing that black and white people are part of each other should not remain the study of change it used to be. In truth, the quarrel is not between black and white, but between good and evil.

Corporate America should understand that human life is sacred. The development of human life is the premier objective of a free and civilized society, and education is the sure way of achieving it. In this, we must all share the noble obligations of recognizing that character is more important than color. The church should provide direction, create synergy and encourage hope in people’s consciousness. No analysis of the OJ Simpson or Trayvon Martin tragedies can be complete without the factor of sin. We cannot legislate unity, it comes from conversion.

We are well aware of the errors that prevail in politics, the judicial system, the church and in the educational institutions. Contemporary America with its profound skepticism has divided into two contradictory parts the issue of black and white. It has negated the Word of God, and consigned some people to being less than human. There is a tendency by some to remove the foundational principles of God that characterize black people as having the same inalienable rights as others.

In our society, we seek to embrace diversity and difference of opinion; however, th bon between black and white is too shallow. Contrary to the popular belief, freedom cannot be reduced to a mere Bill of Rights. Unless we come to understand that each life is sacred, we will continue to offer our sons and daughters as sacrifices on the battle fields of racial divide. Ghastly and repugnant was the tragedy, and poignant is the message for the future: America is still a nation divided by race.

Sanford, the hometown of the Martin family has become a much lonelier place today. An aching void is the sad remains of this community, gripped with unspeakable grief and tension. It seems that feelings of anguish will pervade the town until some semblance of justice is seen. It is a time of distress, in which the future for race relations is quite somber. Tears, embraces, and a fractured community spirit cannot find any purpose in grief. The blood stained street where Martin was shot tell of the irrepressible horror that took place on that fateful evening when his life was so horribly taken from him. Still, I hope forgiveness will take place.

Who can deny that above the great roar of the “American Dream” often is heard the wailing of a people, most of whom are distraught, consumed with fear, plagued by distrust and never able to find that inner reach of justice. The soundtrack of our cultural anthem has gone from “all men are equal” to “some men are more equal than others.” In this, we see the disrespect for the respectable and the honoring of the dishonorable. Almost everything the society does and say falls outside the proximity of what is sacred and morally good. The problem is not economics, it’s one of character. If the people would pledge their alliance to the Lamb, only then will the country stand in unity.

Finally, He, who sits high and looks low, the Judge of all the earth, (Genesis 18:25), and King of the universe sees the actions of men. He knows the guilty and the innocent, He is never caught out in surprises, and each, man will be rewarded for his work, be it good or evil. Therefore, to the families of Ronald Goldman and Nicole Brown, and to the Martins, I say, learn to accept finite disappointment but never lose sight of infinite hope. With Almighty God, death is never a tragedy; He has promised to raise up those, who have fallen asleep in His name.

Had the framers of the American Constitution chosen to encase in the Second Amendment the right of the people to “keep and bear Bibles” than to take up arms, America’s moral history would have been written differently. The nation might have been in a less cantankerous state today. Hearts would have been set toward our neighbors and not against them. Perhaps the French philosopher Albert Camus was right when he said, “Life is the sum of all our choices.”

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