African Americans express a clear and strong reaction to the case and its meaning: By an 86% to 5% margin, blacks are dissatisfied with Zimmerman’s acquittal in the death of Trayvon Martin. And nearly eight-in-ten blacks(78%) say the case raises important issues about race that need to be discussed. Among whites, more are satisfied (49%) than dissatisfied (30%) with the outcome of the Zimmerman trial. Just 28% of whites say the case raises important issues about race, while twice as many (60%) say the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves.
A paltry twenty-eight percent understanding that this case raises lingering issues related to race and systematic racism. That’s why President Obama‘s remarks about Trayvon Martin and the plight of Black men who are victims of racial profiling were so important. Even if the timetable and ferocity of statements were not to Tavis Smiley’s liking, they mattered and need to continue. We need real dialogue about race and racism, and hopefully more high profile Blacks with large platforms will continue to speak out.
If you haven’t noticed, in light of the Zimmerman verdict and Obama’s remarks, crotchety old White men like Bill O’Reilly are doing their part to play to the fears of other old, paranoid, and racist White men while ironically bashing “race hustlers” living on the Black hand side of life.
I can’t tell if this White hood, burning cross act is just that–an act. Whatever the case, Bill O’Reilly is a professional provocateur and there are far too many people willing to partake in this buffoon barking fallacies to them. Though I’d like to think those of his ilk will just die off and young people will right their wrongs, that hasn’t worked so well in the past. To that end, as important as it is for Black people to talk about race, it’s just as important for White people not stuck in a perpetuate cocoon of cluelessness to do the same.
That’s why I appreciate MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. I thank him even more for refuting Bill O’Reilly’s incredibly racist rant by noting that maybe White culture is the larger problem at hand.
This sort of commentary matters. It cannot just be us questioning white culture. The more they hear it from their own, the better we all are. I worry in writing this I sound like the kind of naive child featured on an after school special. I’d like to be more hopeful about race, but these stagnant conversations have to be elevated.
Even if it doesn’t do much, there has to be a larger effort.
Asked if they agree with the statement, “America is a nation where people are not judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” respondents in the latest NBC/WSJ poll offered widely varying responses.
A majority, 54 percent, of all adults said that they agree with this statement, while 45 said they did not. Among whites, 59 percent agreed with that statement to some degree while just 40 percent disagreed. 54 percent of Hispanics also agreed with this statement, while 44 percent did onto Among blacks, however, only 19 percent agreed with that statement. 79 percent of African-Americans disagreed with the statement that America society is colorblind.
So despite a modern day Emmett Till in Trayvon Martin, the Supreme Court gutting the Voting Rights Act. Not to mention, states continue pushing the most restrictive voting laws this side of Jim Crow. And let’s not forget the lingering push to do away with affirmative action. If the aforementioned were not enough, we have the likes of Bill O’Reilly ( AKA “The Bigot”) making millions off of trashing Negroes. With all of this, the majority of white people still look at America as colorblind?
I imagine the large sum of those white people don’t talk to Black people outside of those who work in service industries, but someone needs to speak to them. No one should walk around that utterly stupid and blind — even if they’re privileged enough to bypass the burden. The least they could bother to do is learn the rest of us aren’t so lucky.
Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer and blogger. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick