I have tried to stay away from controversial issues because I have friends of many opinions. However, this issue grabbed me because I felt that my opinion was valid. We need to stop making everything about race. All races are equal. Yesterday, a letter I sent to my local newspaper appeared on the opinions page at the top with the large headline I have on this post. Here is the article. I hope some of my friends let me know how you feel about it.
First let me begin by saying that I am far from a bigot. I have a bit of Cherokee ancestry myself. I have friends of various races, nationalities and religions. Several of my grandchildren are of mixed race, as neither of my daughters married “whites”.
Now let’s talk about factors which identify race. Is it primarily the color of one’s skin? Certainly not. Mariah Carey, for example, would pass for white anywhere, yet she is identified as “black.” One of my granddaughters, at about age 12, told me adamantly that Michael Jackson was not black!
Is it the origin of their last name? I think not. Jackson, Johnson and Martin were originally European names. Many years ago, African Americans began to identify anyone with “one drop” of black blood as being of the black race. Apparently for others of mixed race this does not apply.
George Zimmerman’s mother, who herself testified in her son’s trial, is Peruvian and she is obviously of Mesoamerican descent—probably Aztec. Her skin is far darker than many “blacks” in the U.S., and the skin of her son, George, is brown, not white. Nevertheless, the news media continue to identify him as “white” adding fuel to the flame of racial prejudice. I even heard it said that the “not guilty” verdict for Zimmerman “set back race relations by fifty years.”
In a letter to the Orlando Sentinel soon after his son’s arrest, Zimmerman’s father noted that George was of a Spanish speaking minority and “would be the last to discriminate for any reason whatsoever.” He also mentioned that some of his relatives are black.
Both sides were careful to select an all woman jury, most of which were mothers, so as not to have prejudiced persons listening to the many grueling days of testimonies by witnesses on both sides. Yet when this jury proclaimed him “not guilty,” cries went up across the nation that justice had not been done. One report was that if the tables had been turned and the killing had been done by a black, the result would have been reversed.
Do they really believe this? O.J. Simpson was tried for killing two whites and was acquitted. Afterward he even wrote a book practically admitting his guilt, and was convicted in a civil suit.
What all this does prove is the fact that the racial divide still exists in a nation in which it should have been erased decades ago. Whichever way this intelligent jury adjudged this case I would have accepted it. Even Trayvon’s parents asked for no violence.
Please, America, let’s keep our wits about us and move on. Yes, a young boy’s life was taken which should still be living. But under Florida law self defense is allowed and the prosecution failed to convince the jury that Zimmerman was guilty of either murder or manslaughter “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Our judicial system isn’t perfect, neither are our laws. But they are still the law, and we must move on.
Stan St. Clair