Hypocrisy and Race

sms toonWas George Zimmerman  afraid?

The call for more legal actin against George Zimmerman is based on the idea that his actions were motivated by his fear of a young black man.  If so, George Zimmerman is the wrong target.  I  suspect that  Mr. Zimmerman would be a very unusual man if he was not afraid. In our society, people not just white people, are very afraid of young Black men.

My wife and I lived for a few years in an African American neighborhood.  Out of that time and later experiences, have come the following stories:

  • When we lived in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, our relatives refused to visit our home.  These good people were afraid of our neighbors.
  • We chose this development not because of race but because of money.  I was in medical school at BU, a school in the midst of the Black neighborhood.  None of my classmates made this choice.  As I remember now, I am fairly sure that none of my classmates were Black. One classmate was murdered while walking to her car after clinic.
  • A white family living in the development, the only non Blacks other than us, refused to involve itself in community affairs .. again out of fear.
  • My sister urged us to only drive with out doors locked because we might get mugged at a stop light.
  • My sweet grandmother told me to be very careful.  The thought of our having her visit us would have horrified the rest of the family.
  • This reaction to Black folks was not only by white folks in Boston.
  • One night in Cleveland I tried to exit my hotel and take a walk.  A security guard tried to block me,  saying it was to dangerous for a non Black to walk Cleveland’s streets.  When I insisted, the nice cop accompanied me.  I do not remember the guard’s concern was all to real.
  • When we moved into our neighborhood in Seattle, the local middle school was largely black.  We were warned not to let our kids go there.
  • The Shabat after the assassination of Dr. King, my wife and I attended services … seeking solace for our loss.  There was no mention of the assassination. Later, when we tried to urge other members of the synagogue to pone their homes to UW students during Passover, we were met with hostile looks.  These folks were not just afraid of Blacks, they were afraid of people like us!
  • We discovered an awesome barbecue joint near our home, Hill’s Brothers it was called.  If we were with friends, they would not accompany us to pick up food.
  • One day I was taking photographs in an African American neighborhood, a friendly Black guy came up to me and warned me to leave .. telling me there were tough people there.
  • Another time I took my daughter to visit DC.  Not being well off, I looked for a convenient B&B in downtown and found one a few blocks from the White House.  The place was fine.  I wanted to visit with the parents of a student of mine.  My friend’s Dad, an African American, was a recently retired career diplomat.  When I called , they were horrified to hear where we were staying.  Mr. G  rushed into town and took us to stay with them.
  • Visiting the same, now former student, in Michigan, I wanted to see Detroit. Again I was urged by my host, close friend who is now a Dean at the University, not to go into Detroit without a Black companion.  When I did visit the devastated city, I repeatedly was told by peole I met.. do not go here or there.  Do not be here after dark …..
  • When our kids were in the Seattle Public Schools, they witnessed some of their Black school mates hazing Cambodian students.  I went to the principle to urge him to use this as an example for ALL kids.  the principle, a White man, refused … telling me that this was normal behavior for Black kids.
  • One night at the same school, we attended a music night.  There was an excellent jazz band .. all its members were non Blacks.  The Black kids pout on a hard rock dance with a tough looking Black kid as the leader and a troop of black girls following his rather sex loaded orders.  The image of a pimp was all to clear.
  • Our kids were on an outstanding Seattle elite program … called IPP.   I organized our parent groups to seek more  African American kids as students by going to churches to tell parents abut the opportunity.   The District shut us down,  The Head of Curriculum brought me into her office and explained t me that there were no Black kids capable of IPP.  She too was Black.
  • As a professor, I have had the privilege of visiting and teaching at two famous African American colleges.  The world on these campuses is wonderful, a revelation more Black faculty should see.  My efforts to encourage such intercourse have been met with my colleagues tolerance of me asd an odd ball.
  • At he UW, I served on the faculty council for minority affairs.  The council was almost entirely made up of everyone BUT African Americans.  When the one African American member expressed his concern that the athletic teams created an adverse image of young African American students he and I got the committee e to pass a motion asking the University President, then Mark Emmert, to look into the Athletic Department.  The Council was disbanded and theadmministration now claims the  motion never happened.

So, I would bet that George Zimmerman was afraid.  Was that his fault?

MSNBC has played a pivotal role in this debacle.  Terribly bright Black spokesman on the cable channel like Melissa Harris-Perry and  Toure,  and have expressed anger at Mr. Zimmerman, not because they see him as a special bigot but because they themselves feel threatened by the society that creates the fears Mr. Zimmerman must have had.  In contrast Al Sharpton has made Zimmerman the issue.   It is all to easy for white liberals to celebrate Sharpton’s demagoguery rather than addressing their own problems.

readmore about the Zimmerman affair.





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