Sunday, July 21, 2013

Six White Women

Six White women. That's as much as you need to know about the Trayvon Martin decision. Of course there was the Stand Your Ground law in Florida that apparently allows someone with a gun to shoot anybody who scares them. The case was always going to be hard to try, because Florida does everything it can to protect gun owners.
But the jury was made up of six White women. At first Trayvon's mother thought it was hopeful that it was an all woman jury because she thought they'd see their child in Trayvon.
And as smart a woman as she was, she was giving more credit to white Southern women than they deserved.
A few years ago one of my students came to my office. She was the all-American girl. Her father was a minister and she was someone with a lot of empathy. She told me she was pulled over by the Inglewood police, and when asked what the problem was, the officer said, "it's a new car and you're Black."
Los Angeles is not the South, but it is in America, an America that views African-Americans differently than it does White people.
I called the Inglewood Police Department. I also talked to a member of the police advisory committee. She was African-American and not surprised at the story.
One day the young woman came to my office and asked me to stop trying to get justice from the Inglewood Police Department. Her father was afraid of what might happen to her if I kept on causing a ruckus.
As a father, I understood his concerns and shut up. I've also had many of my students picked up for DWB (driving while Black). I love America, but I know that things are frequently unfair. It's been a long time since I walked out of a George Wallace speech at Syracuse University, and while things have gotten better, deep down this country is still filled with hatred.

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