Out the outset, profiling is not a cultural phenomenon; it’s a human one. Our species has been doing it since the first human-like cave dwellers began gathering into social clans.
It continues today; we all do it. It’s not an evil thing in itself. And speaking for ONLY myself, I have no intentions of stopping. Profiling circumstantially-specific BEHAVIOR has probably saved me from some pretty unpleasant stuff. It may even have saved my life a time or two.
Even those who live in the most physically dangerous sections of our cities profile people. Blacks, Hispanics, and myriad other non-white races profile each other and whites, while whites constantly return the favor, including profiling other “suspicious” whites.
And contrary to what’s usually reported, the police assigned to these same sections of our cities profile EVERYONE.
I’ve read other blogs and forum accounts where some people arbitrarily categorized Trayvon Martin as a thug who deserved what he got. And he may have been a thug!
But we’ll never know because only two people knew for sure what ACTUALLY instigated and elevated the circumstances to the point of a deadly physical confrontation between the late Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman at precisely 7:09 PM on February 26, 2012. One of them is dead and the other one never testified under oath.
But why do these people so cavalierly assume that Martin was the instigating thug and not Zimmerman?
Neither party was any stranger to racial or social controversy. Martin’s Facebook posts showed him as no stranger to racial characterizations. And Zimmerman was a cop wannabe whose own psychological profile made such a feat a virtual impossibility.
And we can add to this that at least twice before, Zimmerman had been charged with felony assault—one of them being against a police officer. Both charges were later reduced to harmless misdemeanors.
So it is certainly far from inconceivable that Zimmerman may have inflamed a headstrong teenager, who was minding his own business, into a fit of outrage that was driven by fear and vulnerability.
I don’t know that any of this is the way it happened and neither does anyone else. But as speculation goes, it’s as valid as Trayvon Martin being declared a thug.
And the jury in the case didn’t acquit George Zimmerman because they WERE convinced that Trayvon Martin WAS a thug; they did so because they WEREN’T convinced that GEORGE ZIMMERMAN was a thug.
Regardless, like most people I know, I’ve grown tired of hearing about the Trayvon Martin case on virtually every issue-oriented radio station on my local dial (aka Windbag Radio).
CNN needs to let it go, as well; Anderson Cooper needs to move on to his next social obsession. I’m sure that Jeffrey (OFTEN wrong, ALWAYS certain) Toobin will still be there for him.
It’s not that I don’t believe America needs to have an open and honest talk about race relations; we most certainly do. It’s just that it’s not going to happen over the Zimmerman/Martin episode.
In fact, it’s NOT going to happen in MY remaining lifetime under ANY circumstances; it’s simply too short a period of time for humans—of ALL races—to develop and actually express THAT degree of honesty.
Legitimate polls show—and I mean ALL of them—that a majority of white America thinks the country is color blind, while 80% of black America—maybe even more—disagrees. But, as in all matters emotional, the truth perpetually wobbles about its magnetic center.
Before anything meaningful can come out of all the radio/TV windbaggery about race relations in America, white America has to concede that pockets of racism DO exist and that black America does, INDEED, have some real bonafide reasons for their mistrust of the system.
And black America has to concede that, in the aggregate, white America is nowhere near as racist as a cadre of black extremists contends and that in as many as an estimated 35% of reported instances of racial profiling to date, modest to extreme exaggeration—for whatever reason—was the modus operandi.
And ALL of America has to stop listening—and the media has to stop giving it so much press—to a small cadre of braying absolutist morons who have proclaimed that racism is no longer a problem here in America, as evidenced by their citing of legitimate statistics showing that black-on-black crime is a far more serious issue.
It IS a more serious issue, but these idiots don’t care a hoot about why there is so much black-on-black crime; they use it only because it detracts from legitimate claims that pockets of racism are alive and well in America.
And we also have to stop listening to the likes of Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson Sr., and a slew of other self-anointed black paragons of social justice that “whitey” is out to kill all the young blacks in this country.
And as for those who think that racism is a MAJOR problem in America—WHITE, BLACK, or otherwise—they need to get help in dealing with their “VICTIM COMPLEXES!”
The truth is somewhere in between. Generally speaking, white people are NOT EVEN CLOSE to being as racist as people like Al Sharpton would have everyone believe. But at the same time, there ARE elements of the system that disproportionately affect black and brown people in negative ways.
Reasonable people—regardless of politics and race—have to start searching for the middle ground. Until then, empathy dictates that white America and black America consider each side’s perception of reality as more than just side-specific conjured-up BS!