From his 2006 “Barely Legal” Exhibition
Photo Courtesy of NYTimes.com
A pertinent and apparent truth, to which everyone present is aware of but which is not discussed, such discussion is considered to be uncomfortable: elephant in the room. Racism has become or has been the obvious issue for some time now however, such has transmuted into not existing at all. We have elephants in the room. America has elephants.
I have heard this metaphorical idiom tossed about when conversing about the Trayvon Martin trial/tragedy. This drives me to believe that we have ignored the elephant for so long, endured it and become so complacent, that we can no longer see the elephant. A male elephant can weigh up to 15,000 pounds. A baby elephant weighs 250 pounds upon birth. We are blind. Racism will continue to choke us as long as we keep the foot on our throats.
Prejudice has become so innate, so inbred, native, congenital and inherent. It’s a practice that is no longer taught through experience, it now originates in the mind. Yes, I know everyone believes and preached that racism is taught but at this point in history; it’s reality. Thus children pick up on it implicitly and explicitly as the way of life. “Somebody told a lie one day. They couched it in language. They made everything black ugly and evil. Look in your dictionary and see the synonyms for the word black. It’s always something degrading, low, and sinister.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. added “look up the word white. It’s always something pure, high, and clean.” Zimmerman is not so much a racist as he is American.
The elucidations that King speak of made way for racial profiling, and mostly likely have Zimmerman confused as to what exactly he did wrong. The nature of this country also gives him reason not to worry. Generalizations of any kind are crimes against humanity. This case has the world in such an uproar because the world hates to face the fruits of its labor. Man’s need for dominance has sullied humanity. The power construct has made is so that right and wrong has become battles of wits.
“The Purge” has it all wrong. One day of excused savagery will not bring forth total peace in the world. If you change the socio-economic makeup of society the crime rate will decrease. Currently, many African Americans live below poverty lines. The framework of these communities is survival. One must desensitize early in order to subsist. These communities are the brothels of oppression: poor education, meager healthcare, no mental health facilities, no love, few resources and barely any employment. Such a structure creates a no way in, no way out; kill or be killed mentality. Our children grow up in these broken homes and rarely develop respect for life and often view kindness as a sign of weakness. There are many aware of these harsh realities, who manage to dream beyond the despair and go on to accomplish much more. Success is the best type of redemption.
Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict has many fathers, mothers, black men, women, and children feeling more hopeless and valueless than yesterday. We all hope for the day, Martin Luther Kings and Malcolm Xs are not needed to prove we rightfully deserve humanity. Sadly, today is not that day. Jay Smooth, founder of New York’s longest running Hip Hop radio program, WBAI’s “Underground Railroad” has declared that “the fundamental danger of an acquittal is not more riots, it’s more George Zimmermans.” Changing the flow of money is a hard pill to swallow but it’s feasible. But how do you change hardened souls and encrypted minds to love? With practicality, you make the lives of children priceless. You guard the innocence of children like the Holy Grail. Children are our most prized possessions. Man has completely miscalculated the value of human life.
If you do the crime, do the time is clearly an outdated slogan considering the number of innocent men and women in prison versus the guilty running free. In moments like these, the value of spiritual retribution versus distinguishable consequences is hard to measure. When are we going to get the language right? I question.