More “facts” are coming out about the Trayvon Martin case and Trayvon Martin himself. It amazes me how many people who questioned the first reports given by the media because the media cannot be trusted have all of the sudden been converted and believe all the second and third reports given by the same media. It seems most people are guilty of only believing what they want to hear and discounting everything else.
Why is the truth so hard to know? As many people have already said, “We don’t know all the facts and we will not know all the facts until it goes to court.” In that regard, nothing has changed, we still do not know all the facts. At first we heard the friends and family of Mr. Martin speak. Now we are hearing the friends and family of Mr. Zimmerman speak. We are also hearing what Mr. Zimmerman told the police. We will never hear from Mr. Martin himself. We will never know his version of the story. Mr. Martin is dead.
However, as we begin to hear stories about how Mr. Martin was not a Boy Scout, and as we start to hear from “eyewitnesses,” do not forget that on the 911 tape Mr. Zimmerman referred to Mr. Martin as a “fu*# coon;” and that was before any altercation! Furthermore, Mr. Zimmerman was told by the 911 operator to stop following Mr. Martin. Maybe Mr. Martin did attack his follower. Maybe Mr. Zimmerman did fear for his life. Maybe it was Mr. Martin who feared for his life. Maybe it was Mr. Martin who acted in self-defense. Again, we do not know all the facts, and we will never know Mr. Martin’s side of the story.
Believe it or not, I have not prejudged Mr. Martin or Mr. Zimmerman. I am in no position to judge, and I doubt I will be asked to serve on the jury when it does go to court. My only reason for blogging about any of this is to speak about the bigger issue of race, racism, and racial profiling.
A couple of months ago my good friend, and fellow pastor, Chris Williamson, wrote a Facebook status update that I copied and saved to use in my sociology classes.
I have known Chris for 20 years. He pastors Strong Tower Bible Church in Franklin, Tennessee. Chris is black. Most of his congregation are not. Chris is an outstanding communicator. In addition to pastoring, he is a successful musician, writer, husband, and father. He is a graduate of Liberty University and just recently started working on a doctorate from Regent University. Chris loves Jesus and he loves people. He is a person of impeccable integrity. When Chris says anything about race, I listen.
Here is what Pastor Chris posted. I am using it with his permission:
“Sometimes I wish my white friends could be a black man for one day. The looks some white people give me range from fear from old white women (“No, I don’t want your purse”), to amazement from white children (“No, I’m not a football player”), and to arrogance from white men (“No, I’m not inferior to you”). Only Jesus can console me in these moments that happen everyday.”
– Posted on facebook (Saturday, January 28, 2012)
It is for friends like Chris that I am so passionate about racial issues. Racism will not go away by us not talking about it. Racism will only go away by us bringing it out of the closet and dealing with it no matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel. Centuries of slavery and oppression and the Jim Crow era, do not go away after only decades of laws and legislation.
In closing, here is a post that I challenge you to read. You are not going to agree with all of it. Some of it will raise your blood pressure. But see if you can place your biases aside and read it objectively. For me personally, I learn the most when I read from people with whom I disagree.