Friday, July 19, 2013

It's Not A Black/White thing It's a Yellow Thing

Given the social outrage after the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case was announced, I felt that I should say something... it would be odd for me to stay completely silent and although I posted a very brief post on my Facebook page after the verdict was announced, there is more I want to say after seeing some of the banter out there, so here it goes.

Being that I have an audience that expects me to lend more, I decided to dig a bit deeper into the thoughts dancing around in my head. It is something I want to do after seeing the social media aftermath of this verdict online. It solidifies my reason for NEVER watching news... quite frankly the media makes me want to barf.  

So,  here is where my head is now...

As all of this media circulates, I remember moving to South Carolina at the age of 8 not even knowing what racism was... never really being exposed to it as a child growing up in Massachusetts. Since values, morals and ways of life are typically branded into our heads as children, I was culture shocked once I moved to the south and experienced racism for the first time. I went to a high school that happily hoisted the confederate flag and whose mascot was a confederate soldier. Many who attended would say even today that it "wasn't a racial thing" they would swear it was a "being proud of the southern heritage thing". I have a different opinion on that based on what I saw and heard as a student. Either way, it was quite a difference from the private Christian academy I attended back home, and I felt really out of place. I remember being confused at the things that would happen, about the negative slurs and names that were being used that I had never even heard in the form of hate and ridicule. Girls who chose to date young black men were called "nigger lovers" on a daily basis, they were bullied and shamed for doing such a thing. It was AWFUL, and "black against white" was forced into my everyday life at that school. Although many join the crowd when surrounded by it, I chose to stand out and it simply made me despise racism... a word I was unfamiliar with once upon a time.

Even though at that time in my life; after my sister was killed, I had given up on faith in something I could not see... aka God, I had still been brought up with morals and values of treating people equally, to treat others with kindness in  my heart and had the mindset to offer the benefit of the doubt to everyone. However I know now that I am still part of a minority group, and it breaks my heart that these vicious circles continue. I am only one voice... only one person, but the power of the internet has given me a bigger platform which I choose to stand upon today. I hope to make others see that the only way any of this will ever end is if we teach the children of today the values and morals I learned as a child. TREAT OTHERS (that means everyone) WITH WHAT YOU WOULD WANT AND ACCEPT.

The death of Trayvon Martin is tragic, and NONE of us will ever know all the details of what REALLY happened that night because simply put, we were not there. We rely on what the media tells us, and we all know that they were not there either. Was Trayvon freaked out by this man in the car watching him? Was he doing anything wrong or just walking home in the rain? Did Zimmerman have ill intentions as he watched Treyvon that evening? Was he upset that the last boys he saw scoping homes got away when the police took too long, therefore taking this matter into his own hands? We will never know, but we frequently assume. Ask yourself how you would feel if you were being followed, watched and then confronted by a stranger? Would you defend yourself? Would you strike a blow if you felt you were being cornered for no reason? I know I would. On the flip side, if you knew there were break-ins in the neighborhood and you saw what media has made the "stereotypical black man" walking around in the rain, would you suspect he was up to something? If you confronted him and he swung at you would that make you pull a gun out and kill him if he had no weapon? I wouldn't. It's not a question of black, white or Hispanic, it's a question of human nature, a question of action vs. reaction; what is normal and what crosses the line. The line between self defense against and unarmed young man who hits you and using a gun to kill him is NOT a fine one regardless of skin tone. 

Unfortunately in this day and age, this scenario is way too easy and we are often left with no choice but to back up a "self defense" plea unless we can prove the motives were different. Without strong evidence of that ulterior motive a jury cannot do that without a doubt. I don't know what I would have chosen had I been a juror...but after reading the Wikipedia explanation of the case  in it's entirety, I sway towards manslaughter at minimum, he DID kill this boy when he could have just walked away from the brawl and waited for the police; that is fact enough for me. He was a wanna-be-a-cop that took matters into his own hands and a life was taken. The fact that he gets to walk away is tragic because a family has to live with a failing system AND a broken heart as they look at pictures of their son. 

The man who was responsible for killing my sister was a drunk driver... he did not set out to kill someone that night, I know that, so I forgive him. I even contacted him to tell him that earlier this year after finding him and told him about my book... the good that came out of our shared tragedy. However, because the laws against his drunken actions were so slack back then , he walked away with a broken nose; so I understand a failing system. Thank God that my mom and others rallied for a change and MADD changed the laws to fight for what is right and just. It's not each other we must fight against, it's our system and its flaws.

The publicity this verdict has gained has only further divided us as a nation. My feeling is that this is EXACTLY what the media and the government wants. We are weakened by events such as this, that are publicized and spun in a direction that will cause us to divide, they know that we are strengthened by pulling together and fighting for what is right despite the color of skin, social background or sexual orientation. We PULL TOGETHER? We become strong... and we might actually win as we stand up for what is right and just. If they make it a black/white thing, they force us into the memories of slavery and segregation, hatred and disgust, our heritage and what our ancestors taught and told us. It angers us, stagnates us and keeps us from evolving. Two steps forward, three steps back. Why do our victories always have to be followed by defeat in this country? EVERY case deserves the same justice, the same treatment and fairness, but it's not what happens much of the time unfortunately without a fight.

To me... it's not a black/white thing, it's a yellow thing; my favorite color which has an interesting psychological meaning behind it that I JUST looked up, and oddly enough it describes me to a tee!

The color yellow relates to acquired knowledge. It is the color which resonates with the logic side of the brain stimulating our mental faculties and creating mental agility and perception. Being the lightest hue of the spectrum, the color psychology of yellow is uplifting and illuminating, offering hope, happiness, cheerfulness and fun. In the meaning of colors, yellow inspires original thought and inquisitiveness.
Yellow is creative from a mental aspect, the color of new ideas, helping us to find new ways of doing things. It is the practical thinker, not the dreamer. Yellow is the best color to create enthusiasm for life and can awaken greater confidence and optimism.The color yellow loves a challenge, particularly a mental challenge.

With the meaning of colors, yellow is the great communicator and loves to talk. Yellow is the color of the networker and the journalist all working and communicating on a mental level. Yellow is the scientist, constantly analyzing and looking at both sides before making a decision; methodical and decisive. Yellow is the entertainer, the comic, the clown.

I will stand my ground in this case and in any other case that I feel is unfair and unjust... 

I WILL TREAT EVERYONE WITH EQUALITY AND LOVE. Focusing on religion, race, social classes, sexual orientation and the past will only keep us in the past and prevent a future filled with hope and growth as a HUMAN RACE... I don't know about you, but THAT is the race I belong to. I will now repeat my initial response that was shared on my social media because it is MY bottom line.

There is but one man in control, only one opinion that truly counts and I know that as long as HIS is the one I keep in my heart and allow to guide me through each day, what happens around me does not matter. Call me crazy, pass judgement upon me but THIS is MY opinion. To worry is to not have faith and I am VERY happy that by faith I am strengthened. 


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