Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Racism and the George Zimmerman Trial

Juror B37 has told an interviewer that racism was not a factor at all in the jury's deliberations and decision. Race played no part. When I read that, I was reminded of my teaching a seminary course several years ago on the Church and Modern Culture. One of the sessions was on racism. I began the class of all-white males by saying that racism was a very important topic for us to discuss. I looked out at the students, fewer than twenty of them in 2 tiers of a U-shaped formation. I paused---not another word for at least 30 seconds. I had there attention. Then while looking every student in the eye one after another I said slowly: There is racism in this room. Another pause. I said, I know there is. Another pause. I know there is because I'm here in this room.  They were shocked but that statement forced them to think and discuss matters of race very honestly.

I had lived in a racially integrated neighborhood for 28 years. Carlton graduated from a high school that was 63% minority. If I knew anything I knew that I was not free from racial bias.

We have to be careful whenever we make the claim that race is not a factor or, as I've sometimes heard, I don't have a racist bone in my body. Not true.  A good essay by Richard Gabriel is found here.