The Premier Lifestyle Magazine of Florida's Black Communities
On July 13, 2013 a jury of six women acquitted a man who admitted to stalking and killing an unarmed child.
While in the past 50 years racism has gone from overt to latent, the reality of the consequences accompanying being born Black in America remains unchanged. A quick litmus test is simply to reverse the roles and ask yourself: Is there any scenario in which a Black man could kill a white child and be acquitted under the auspices of self-defense?
Perhaps a civil rights case conviction can bring some closure to this atrocity; and a conviction in Federal court may set a precedent that could better protect Black children from similar scenarios in the future. Our Grandparents and Parents fought so that we wouldn’t have to have these fights on behalf of our children. But this is a blatant reminder that we have to remain vigilant and we can’t be lulled to sleep under the auspices of equality under the law.
A great portion of our country is outraged by this verdict, as they should be. Most of the protest and discontent is being manifested through social media, which perhaps is an appropriate forum for the 21st-century. Being a product of the civil rights movement however, I was expecting a more fundamental form of public discourse. There has been some, but not nearly at the level of similar ‘70s events. Perhaps that’s old school, and time will tell if the new social media vehicles are as effective.
In reflecting on the other portion of the country – the group of people who are somehow not outraged – I’ve been searching for a commonality in point of view. What I see is this: With a focus on the state of Florida, for some time now it’s been very clear that gun sales are at an all-time high in the white community while drug sales in the Black & Latino communities is the only commodity on the increase. In short, while Black youth are busy getting high, white kids are buying firearms. Look at the wave of recent school shootings just over the past two years.
I was at the Y several months ago and engaged in a conversation with the extrovert Caucasian man who was so proud that his son had purchased a high-capacity rifle with his own money, and he was so excited for them to go to the target range together. It dawned on me that I had nothing in common with this man and his enthusiasm was indicative of the problem that could eventually result in the death of another Black child on his way home or an even worse scenario at a school. Racial profiling and the infatuation with firearms is a deadly combination that is continually on the increase.
It is clear that we’ve all been on the sidelines for too long. We must expand support to organizations and initiatives that can directly affect meaningful and immediate change in our community- from lobbying for legislation to voter registration. The time for all of us to be involved is right now!
If complacency continues we will undoubtedly be mourning other sons and grandsons.
Manatee/Sarasota Democratic Black Caucus