Case erodes pride, respect

There are several observations to be made on the trial and verdict in the George Zimmerman case.

First, why was the jury made up of women, all white except for one minority, and why were there no men on the jury? I find the composition of the jury suspicious.

Second, why wasn’t there punishment of some sort for George Zimmerman? He should have at least been given probation and community service, and should have been made to apologize to the family of the victim.

Third, why were the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson involved in the situation? Don’t these two have more constructive activities in which to engage than stirring up racial distrust and hatred? Contrary to what these two men believe, many of the injustices to black Americans have been righted, and most of us know how to get along. That includes justice.

There always will be bigots – those who hate others on the basis of color, religion, gender orientation or something imaginary. These two men make a living by stirring up racial distrust and hatred. These are the type of people who prevent the rest of us from getting along. What is in it for them?

Why don’t they encourage young people of all colors to look up to and respect black Americans such as Colin Powell, Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey and others who have made it in the American system despite hardships that we, especially young black Americans, cannot comprehend since they did not live through segregation and Jim Crow laws?

Many young Americans are so ignorant of their history that they cannot appreciate the sacrifices made by people – whites and blacks – to ensure more justice, better educational opportunities and more economic opportunities for our black brothers and sisters. Yes, I have used the words “black brothers and sisters,” even though I am white. I am of the race of mankind; that makes every Jew, every Catholic, every Muslim, every Asian and every black person my brother or sister. Black history is my history, too, because it is part of American history, and I am an American.

We have lost Trayvon Martin, who had the potential to contribute to our society. A man will have to live with the guilt for the rest of his life, and his actions will affect his future and the future of his family. One might remember John Donne’s Meditation XVII; Donne says, “No man is an island.” He ends with, “(A)nd therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

As have other situations, this situation affects all of us. The death of the young man and the lack of penalty for Zimmerman’s actions have caused all of us to lose a little of ourselves, lose pride in being Americans and lose respect and trust for the legal and judicial systems.

We should consider the care we give to our children to keep them out of harm’s way and to one another.

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