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Archive for July, 2013

“My heart is broken, my faith is not.” 

~attributed to Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s Dad

On Saturday 13 July 2013, George Zimmerman was found not guilty here and here of the murder charges against him for ultimately terrorizing and shooting Trayvon Benjamin Martin in the heart, an innocent, unarmed teenager simply trying to get home from the local store. Reasonable Americans everywhere were shocked and rightly troubled by the blatant miscarriage of justice in the  State of Florida that evening, while some wept openly in despair.

Reminiscent of the 60s Civil Rights era, with peaceful resolve thousands marched in New York City along with marchers in other major cities across our nation. Some marched way into the night. More of a tribute to the fallen teenager and the dignity of his grieving parents during their very public ordeal, such honor spoke volumes. And “the people say guilty” stated a pointed sign held by San Francisco activists.

So, What of the Elephant in the Room?

Having watched many of the trial proceedings and closing arguments for my own edification, I have come to one conclusion about the elephant in the room, a metaphor for the obvious, which, of course, was the ever looming specter of American Racism during the trial.

Sadly, America’s Legacy of Racism continues to haunt our daily lives and will unless and until it is truly seen for what it really is, an illusion created by greedy opportunists at the inception of our country to further their own self-interest, not ours.

Thus, American Racism has never been about us (“we the people”) but more about them, the corrupt power brokers who seek to exploit the rest of us for their own financial gain: first by manipulating our laws in plain view, and then by usurping our democracy in general.

Of course, there are good and noble Americans who are diligently striving towards a better quality of life for all Americans, and always have been, which has kept our country strong and prosperous. Yet, how long can this good fortune continue before exploited Americans (of all races) reach a boiling point and self-implode, thus taking America back to its foundation?

Has this happened before in advanced societies such as ours? Of course it has. Yet, some civilizations have managed to survive while others completely vanished into the abyss, leaving only remnants of a once powerful people behind. What made the difference? Do we dare inquire before reaching the proverbial precipice?

The Ongoing Denial of American Racism

Sadly, the trial and acquittal of George Zimmerman is but another glaring example of the denial of American Racism. Had the truth about racial profiling been allowed into this trial, things might have taken a better turn for us all.

Many legal analysts believe that the prosecution did not prove its case. That it did not present its own theory of the crime as did the defense, that it missed opportunities to object to the defense’s cross-examination tactics, that it should have better prepared its star-witness, that Florida’s law was much too convoluted, and so on. And, they are probably right!

Yet, given the ethnicity of the victim who was African American, the defendant passing for white, the largely all-white jury, law-enforcement’s strong resistance to arrest and charge the defendant, and nearly four centuries of racial profiling in this country, did the prosecution really stand a chance even if they had done everything right? I think not and here is why:

Binding the Elephant in the Room

First, the truth about “racial profiling” is virtually barred from trial discussion, which does not make sense and therefore seems that it should be against somebody’s rule of law.

Central to the prosecution’s case, the judge bars the use of the term “racial profiling”. Such occurs just days before opening remarks are to begin, which avows that Zimmerman targeted Trayvon Martin precisely because of his race and ultimately shot and killed him.

Defense attorney Mark O’Mara had moved to bar certain words stating that the term racial profiling would “infect” the jury, which is exactly what he would attempt to do during his closing arguments, and likely succeeded.

Rachel Jeantel, Witness for the Prosecution

A proud young woman, barely out of her teens, ultimately becomes a reluctant witness to her friend, Trayvon Martin’s last thoughts and feelings. For those of us who looked past her nervousness and saw her integrity and strength of character, she is our victor. For those blinded by their unbridled fears and bigotry, she would be their excuse to deny Trayvon’s story.

Detective Chris Serino

Hobbling along nonetheless, by affirming that he believed the defendant when asked by the defense attorney during his cross-examination, the state’s former lead detective on the case would ultimately blow another hole in the prosecution’s case, later verified by Juror B37 in an exclusive interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Monday July15.

Of course, Det. Serino had initially recommended that Zimmerman be arrested and charged with manslaughter but politics (or something like that) intervened. Thus, no charges were filed until public outrage demanded a trial and got it some forty-four days later. By then, heads had rolled. The chief of Police was fired and a black top-cop replaced him. Sadly Det. Serino, a veteran detective on the force who had diligently worked this case, was mysteriously demoted to street patrol in the process. How strange is that?

Zimmerman Never Reveals His True Identify to Trayvon

Until reading the transcript of Serino’s interview, Zimmerman’s failure to tell Trayvon who he was and why he was following him always troubled me. As secrecy was not his job!

During his initial arrest interview, both Det. Serino and Officer Singleton repeatedly asked Zimmerman why he never told Trayvon that he was the Neighborhood Watch Captain, thus there to help him. That he had two opportunities to identify himself as somebody who was actually not meaning to do him harm. But he didn’t.

Claiming it was not his job to reveal his identity, Zimmerman eventually admits to the inquiring officers that he was afraid, which, of course, always lies at the heart of terrorism. And likely why George Zimmerman terrorized Trayvon Martin, by mysteriously following him on a dark and rainy night, and ultimately shoots him in his heart, and kills him.

Did Defense Attorney Mark O’Mara Play the Fear Card?

Knowing that self-preservation is usually our strongest emotion, did Mark O’Mara attempt to “infect” the jury with fear in the form of a black intruder and thus make his half-white defendant their hero by default? I hope not.

Nonetheless, during his closing argument, whether intentional or unintentional, a women’s worst fear is likely revived in the minds of the all-female jury.

Two of Mark’s illustrations come to mind: A picture of Trayvon Martin bare to the waist, suggesting male sexuality. And a picture of Olivia Bertalan, whose compelling testimony of being burglarized by two black males while home is chilling despite their race; glad the police came in time, though her story is unrelated as Trayvon had nothing to do with it!

Given the history of racism in our country with all of its sneaky innuendos, together in the minds of the largely white all-female jury O’Mara’s illustrations could well have become reminiscent of DW Griffith’s 1915 racist-based film, Birth of a Nation, where the stereotypical black man is after the stereotypical damsel in distress. Farfetched? I doubt it.

Fear is a powerful force and seems O’Mara used it to his advantage, much like many fear-mongers today who seek to gain political control through subliminal fear which is gradually destroying the civility of our society. How scary is that!

Faith Trumps Fear Every Time

Fear knocked, faith answered…a Christian proverb.

Sadly, I held out hope for justice in this case until Saturday morning when it occurred to me that without faith, self-preservation usually trumps empathy for another. As the evidence pointed toward Zimmerman’s guilt, I had felt that it would be very difficult for any juror to deny Trayvon justice particularly after looking daily into the faces of his grieving parents all that time. But, it did not happen.

Sadly, with all the behind-the-scenes nepotism and such, and I believe there was plenty of that, George Zimmerman was also denied justice.

Had he stood his ground and told the truth, George Zimmerman likely would have gotten a year or so on manslaughter charges and nearly be out by now. Free to find respectful employment, free to walk his old neighborhood, free to make recompense to Trayvon’s family and free to move forward. But he didn’t.

Now poor Georgie is in hiding and his spiritual life is likely in a mess. How sad is that? Yet redemption is always near, but it can only be found in the Truth.

Meanwhile, Justice is still waiting in the wings. Peace to all.

Keep the Faith!

© 2012-2013 by Delores L Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post. All rights reserved.

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For what shall it profit a man or a woman, if we shall gain the whole world and lose the truth (Mark 8:36, restated)?

My apologies for daring to paraphrase Jesus in the above Scripture; yet, I don’t think my Jesus would mind given that the truth is our soul’s natural domain. In fact, it has been my spiritual experience that the Truth and God are synonymous.

Sadly, at this time in our public discourse, the truth seems nearly abandoned in favor of winning the debate du jour whether political, judicial or otherwise. Thus, it seems our modern culture has become so caught up in winning the argument that we have lost sight of the truth, which should be the main objective in any key debate.

Yet, there was a time in advanced societies where a consensus, based on the truth, was valued far above winning the argument, particularly in crucial matters. Hence, there is your side, my side and then there is the truth! Of course, in seeking the truth one must first be truthful.

Walking While Black

Today, I hope and pray, along with most everyone that justice will soon be served regarding Trayvon Martin, an unarmed youth who was tragically shot in the heart while walking home from the local store, and George Zimmerman, the man who admittedly shot and killed him. As this tragic event continues to unfold, I can’t help but reflect on my own experiences as a youth walking while black, a spinoff of driving while black; an acerbic metaphor, coined by my people that aptly characterizes the insanity of racial profiling.

Two of such events come to mind. Actually, my first story is not a classic tale of racial profiling per se, yet it is relevant to our story.

First Story

I was about six then and living with our parents on the historic Southside of Chicago, a few blocks from Cottage Grove Boulevard. In those days children generally walked to school, usually with an older sibling, which, to most parents, seemed not that scary then. As for this spindly-leg kid, I was okay as long as I did not have to pass a sleeping drunk near the corner bar. Seems Chicago had a bar on every corner back then. Usually harmless yet scary nonetheless, I clearly remember my sister and me routinely crisscrossing the street to avoid the corner bar and any comatose drunk that might be there. Finally, we reach the intersection, alive with moving cars and my special friend. Though much too young to understand the blessings a true friend always brings, I am relieved nonetheless.

As soon as I clear the corner and as sure as the rising sun he would be there busy blowing his whistle, and with one sweep of his mighty hand making everything either stop or go at his command. Little did I suspect that my first love, beside my father, would be one of Chicago’s finest, a police officer committed to “protect and serve”. For some reason he truly liked me though, much to my chagrin, his way of showing it would surly embarrass me every time.

Whether I was out front or hidden behind a throng of other people waiting to cross the busy intersection, he would spot me immediately, hold up his hand, blow his whistle, stop everything it seemed, and say more than once in the loudest yet richest voice ever: “Hey, there is my girlfriend”. Then, he would beckon his hand for me to cross while smiling the warmest smile ever. Boy, was I embarrassed but happy just the same. I can still see his brilliant smile, his very handsome brown-skinned face, and remember the quality of his resonant voice. I would recall these amazing moments many times and be glad.

Second Story

My second story of walking while back is a classic example of racial profiling in my opinion. Barley a teenager, I was in Jr. High (middle school) and pretty much a well-adjusted kid. By then we had moved to a small town outside of Chicago. While ours was a middle class, multicultural neighborhood, each group generally kept to themselves. So we socialized with our own having several African American churches and small business that sustained our community. Our family was below the poverty line but we never knew it, thus we were okay.

One day, my girlfriend and I decide to visit one of our teachers. The thing is, our teacher lived in the “white folks’ neighborhood”! Though not exactly restricted to us, particularly since our school was in the same neighborhood, still we had not a clue about de facto segregation or the white folk’s unnatural fear of us. Much too young to know of the insanity of racism, we called it the white folk’s neighborhood simply because most of them lived there. Hello!

And so with the purest of intentions, we venture into a collective mindset and ultimately cause quite a stir. After all, it was a Saturday and we were not supposed to be there, at least according to their prejudiced mindset. As we went about walking and laughing while enjoying the trees and such, always a lover of nature, soon the vibration changes. Though I had no language for it then, I did have my instincts. So I look up and spot curtains being slightly pulled apart and see a woman trying to see us without being seen, as I vividly recall.

Soon, our instincts kick in and we decide to leave. But not soon enough! A police car appears and the police officer politely makes his usual inquires, though hardly warm and fuzzy like my brown-skin, Chicago police officer. We tell him we are looking for our teacher but not sure of the address. Given this being a most unpleasant memory, I am not sure of what happened next. Seems he tried calling our teacher but not sure. Eventually the police officer takes us back to our community, drops us off and leaves. Though still very young, we are very embarrassed by the entire event and try to laugh it off. So we giggled and laughed a good while, much like the silly school girls we were, and moved on.

In retrospect, the embarrassment we both shared was not so much from a sense of guilt as we did nothing wrong, but rather from an embarrassment of being so naive as to think our teacher actually liked us and would invite us for tea much like the women at our church (still remember those great tea cakes).

The Insanity of Fear

Compared to the Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman tragedy, the similarities in the above stories are stunning while the contrasts are sublime.

Above all, my first story is one of respect and love for humanity which illustrates the way in which we are to care for our fellow human beings from the smallest to the greatest.

While the second story is one of fear, which engenders hate not love. Sadly, most hate driven-people live in fear and are haunted by it, which can drive one mad if left untreated. Thus such victims of their own insanity seek to target and blame others often ending in tragedy.

The woman behind the curtain in my second story had a choice, either to choose love or fear. Had she chosen love she would have approached us and started the right conversation, which would have alleviated her uneasiness and the need for calling the police.

But she didn’t. Having chosen fear instead she wanted her targets of hate and resentfulness out of her community.

Thus, the real issue is one of fear and resentment not suspicion which, of course, is no defense for stalking and ultimate murder.

As the George Zimmerman trial is still ongoing, we watch and listen. Meanwhile, Justice is waiting in the wings.

© 2012-2013 by Delores L Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post. All rights reserved.

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You’ve come a long way America, yet still a baby compared to the ancient societies with whom we share the planet. Lest we not forget!

On July 5, 1852 in Rochester, New York, a stately gentleman stands speaking before a crowd of Fourth of July celebrants and righteously laments: “What, to the slave, is the Fourth of July?” Though, he, himself, had risen far above his unhappy beginnings, most of his people were not yet free. In conclusion he notes, “A change has now come over the affairs of mankind…intelligence is penetrating the darkest corners of the globe.” And so it has, in ways unimaginable in his time. Still we remember the speaker. Today, a statute honoring the intrepid Frederick Douglass was recently erected this year in our nation’s capitol in Emancipation Hall.

Today, I give thanks to Frederick Douglass and all the other great souls who stood up and called for freedom and justice for all, which is inherent in our U.S. Constitution. Though America is still reeling from its legacy of racism left by our founding fathers, today we celebrate its freedoms, also left by our founders.

Freedom of Religion, the Jewel in America’s Crown

Of all of our cherished freedoms, my favorite is our freedom of religion, which I like to think of as the jewel in America’s crown.

Today, I can rightly state that I am a happy American, an African American and proud of it. While most of the original immigrants came to America seeking their fortune for a better life, most of my ancestors were brought here as slaves. Yet, I do not lament, knowing that America would not be here today but for the hard labors of my ancestors.

All things considered, I owe my happy life to two earthly sources, my mom and our freedom of religion. My mom took good care of us and thus I made it safely through childhood and on to adulthood with the care and values she gave us. So I am truly glad I was born to her.

Later on when things got tough, as life often does, I turned to my childhood religion. And when I felt the need to study and practice other religious beliefs, particularly the so-called “New Age” teachings, I was able to do so without being shunned or placed in a mental institution as in the not too distant past. So I am truly glad I was born in America.

Thus, with the support of God, my family and our religious community that is truly free, thanks be to the jewel in America’s crown, I have grown spiritually by leaps and bounds, so to speak, and I am truly blessed. Though I do not have fame and fortune, I am rich nonetheless and so glad to truly know what that really means.

So Happy Birthday America and Many Happy Returns!

© 2012-2013 by Delores L Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post. All rights reserved.

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