By Alberto Pupo
Racism is dead! The words have been declared for a while in America. Nobody wants to talk about race or face the issue. Anyone who feels discriminated is playing the race card and trying to gain some sort of sociological edge. Racism seemed to have been dead and gone until a tragedy in Florida.A White Man taking the life of a young African American Male. Once again the two races collide in a town in Central Florida. Clouding the situation further is a gun law which smacks of poorly crafted legislation. Once again down south the country that has vanquished racism is encountering a phantom from the past. This situation has left many confused and puzzled is racism still alive?
Trayvon Martin his death has now become symbolic of Southern failure. The gunman has yet to be arrested or charged with any such crime. The police of a little enclave known as Sanford Florida washed their hands much like Pilate and have unleashed a firestorm. The young man seemed dangerous and threatening to the life of 28 year old Zimmerman. Clad in a hoodie and brandishing skittles and an iced tea, Zimmerman, twice his age, size and height decided that the boy was a threat and followed him shooting and killing him. Then in an act of hypocrisy cited the Right to Kill Law. This beautiful piece of Conservative legislation creates a Wild West type of scenario. The basics are if one feels scared for their life they can use excessive force. Naturally the police from racially integrated Sanford bought the story hook line and sinker and felt that the skittles really were a weapon of mass destruction. Then the ugly remarks were made and the race card was played? In order to quash allegations of “racism”, Zimmerman’s father wrote a letter stating his son is a minority (Hispanic) and furthermore he has black friends and other minority friends. Magically with the touch of a wand the question of racism vanishes.
Yet it is curious if race is not an issue then why even bring this up? The issue of race seemed clear on one side you have a White Hispanic Killer, hiding behind a law created by White Men to justify their macho Rambo episodes.. or fears of shady minorities. Racism even finds its way to other commentators. Mustachioed Wonder Geraldo Rivera commented about the hoodie even bringing about insinuations of looking “gangsta”. Clearly this comment has no racial implications even though it clearly reinforces a stereotype about young African American Males and let us not forget the skittles he hurled could have taken Zimmerman’s eye out.
While racism is already playing a role in this tragedy now we have the second actor. Yes the Stand and Kill Law. This piece of legislation is crafted in such a way that it justifies anyone who even has irrational fears. Essentially if you hate someone and would like to see them dead all one must do in Florida is pretend that your life is in danger. Meeting this legal requirement now allows you to get your Gun and like Janie take revenge. Naturally the law is an object of lust for the gun toting conservative brigands in Florida. However as a piece of legislation in a secular society it fails to address the loopholes and abuses. In a surprising move thanks to the Nationwide protests and the fact that this is a grave embarrassment to the state, Governor Skeletor is going to have a task force look into the law. Naturally the over-broad language and scope of this law is tailor-made for vengeance games and in a place like Florida where the Second Amendment is right next to God in a level of worship the law is dangerous because of the way it can be abused by individuals who want to use it to satisfy their blood lust.
Once again Racism is alive and well in the south. Irrational hatred still finds itself all over the place in America in 2012, the old racial stereotypes are still at large. Now to add fuel to the fire a state like Florida has a law which allows one to kill wantonly under a broad definition. The combination of these two factors is deadly. And it is something that needs to be addressed if something positive can come out of this terrible tragedy.