When I was a high school kid I didn’t get along with my father. One night, I left my house late at night to go for a walk and clear my head. Perhaps I was even wearing a hoodie. Along the way a white Oldsmobile with a rusty exterior and and old engine started trailing me. I walked faster—and it sped up. I started jogging—and it kept pace. Scared, I cut through some yards to try and lose my pursuer. When I finally reached my street the car was waiting for me there, perhaps 5o meters from my house. I sprinted to the driveway and stopped. Knowing I was safe, I stared down the driver to identify him, who possessed a textbook serial killer look that gave me nightmares for years. The car idled for what seemed like an eternity, and then peeled out down the road. It was an experience I’ll never forget, and the fear I felt that night was probably similar to what Trayvon Martin experienced, if a thorough investigation proves that he was just an innocent kid at the wrong place at the wrong time.
The reason I reference that story is because it’s not uncommon for a high school kid to run when they’re scared, particularly if they feel threatened by an adult. As a teenager I was an avid cross country runner and probably weighed 115 lbs soaking wet. I was fast…but sadly not fast enough to outrun a car. I was cocky, but I knew better than to get into an altercation with a grown man. The point is, behavior that might seem suspicious to a lot of adults wouldn’t be if they put themselves back into the shoes of a teenager.
The case of Trayvon Martin is certainly complex, and perhaps the best thing anyone can do is let the justice system do its job. It seems odd to me that in this day and age people still allow themselves to get riled into a frenzy, as if Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Tumblr and a thousand other social media platforms don’t exist. Information gets out, and it’s not like anyone will be able to put a lid on the proceedings like they could have done a few decades ago.
I think of idiots like Louis Farrakhan tweeting, “Where there is no justice, there will be no peace. Soon the law of retaliation may very well be applied,” and I cringe. And then remember that social media allows guys like me expose him as well…and I feel better. The same goes for MSNBC’s Democratic strategists, who use tragedy as an opportunity to link GOP candidates to murder. Their influence is no longer what it once was because they no longer can spout off unchecked. When Karen Finney completely takes Rush Limbaugh’s “Magic Nego” line out of context—it was a song parody inspired by liberal writer David Ehrenstein from the Los Angeles Times, who used the phrase in a 2007 column—I can breathe a sigh of relief. We should let the racial demagogues do their thing, because as long as the rational right takes to the web and broadcasts it for all the world to see, we’ll be fine. The trick is to be diligent about disseminating the information.
Every few years race baiters latch onto an event that they hope will convince the American people that race relations are static and haven’t changed since 1861. And even though most people don’t have the guts to say it on television, they know in their heart that the only thing holding back able-bodied adults of working age in this country, in 2012, is their own work ethic and attitude.
People are so terrified of being labeled a racist that they can’t even have an honest dialogue anymore. We sound like complete idiots on television because instead of saying the word ‘nigger’ when a suspect is accused of saying it before shooting his victim or assailant, we say ‘n-word.’ We’re so intellectually immature that a word has become off limits in any context; it’s been imbued with power that prevents people from even uttering it. How sick and demented is that? And if you somehow don’t stutter sheepishly before saying ‘n-word’ and opt instead to use the actual word (you know, as if you were an adult) you’re looked at as if you’re an alien.
The United States no longer has a race problem; we have a maturity problem. We are no longer a serious nation, and the effects of it can be seen all around us. The shrinking “serious class” of Americans is about to drop dead from doing all the heavy lifting, and it’s largely a non story with our nation’s mainstream media.
Trayvon Martin’s death is sad, just as any life that is cut short is sad, but it would be nice if media concerned itself with the policies and the people hastening the death of our nation.