How does an armed neighborhood watch volunteer with an arrest record disregard a police dispatcher’s orders get into a scuffle with a 17 year old kid who he bigger than kill him and not be sitting to a jail cell? To some this may be a hard question to answer. To a group of people who have been marginalized for as long as them can remember that question is easy to answer: racism, fear, and ignorance. I wont bore you with the details surrounding the death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. I know what it is liked to be judged on appearance. I am a physically imposing African-American male. So I have had my share of being followed by people who felt like they operated under the guise of law enforcement. I am aware of people out there who believe otherwise. I ask those people this. Has the following ever happened to you?
- Followed around by Security guards to every store you went to in a suburban mall
- Asked if the car that you owned belonged to you
- Soon as you walk into a store you quickly directed to the clearance section
- When an alarm goes off in a department store everyone looks at you
Well all of these things have happened to me and someone I know. This is why this travesty resonates with people. Most of us probably know what was going through that kid’s mind when George Zimmerman approached him. He was probably thinking, “Here we go again.” That is what most people who are singled out for race and religion say to themselves when something like this comes up. Talking about race in a polarizing issue. You can read other Chicago Now blogs to see that racism or at least fear and ignorance is alive and well. That is a sad thing to say in this day age. Like everyone else, I want to be judged only by my merits not by someone’s preconceived notions.