Offended, Ashamed, or Angry???

The Broward County Florida Sheriff’s Office released this video Monday as an attempt to get people not to riot over the outcome of the Zimmerman trial.  Their heart may have been in the right place, but I don’t know how to respond to this attempted outreach.  I’m trying to figure out what my response to this video should be.  Should I be offended, ashamed, or angry?

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/10/us-usa-florida-shooting-police-idUSBRE9690VZ20130710?feedType=RSS&virtualBrandChannel=11563

For starters, the Chief of Police for the Sanford Police Department has been out walking the streets and talking to the community.  He’s instructed his officers to get out of their cars and interact with the community they protect.  If you remember, this is where the actual shooting took place, so they’re going to be ground zero for whatever reaction happens.  If the community actually feels connected to law enforcement, I think they’re less likely to fly off the rails as opposed to a community that feels as though they live in a police state.

If anybody asked for my advice, I would have told them to leave it alone once he was indicted.  Our criminal system has less to do with pointing out actual innocence or guilt.  Our system is geared towards a verdict based on who can best prove their case.  That’s why you have innocent people being released from death row while guilty people are still walking the streets.

Back to the video…

Although it was not directly addressing me, my first reaction was to be offended by that video.  For starters, don’t patronize me with some cheesy rap as an attempt to “reach me” as a Black American.  Most of us are educated, many with post secondary degrees in every field in which you can get a degree (mine is in Mathematics).  If you want to message me, then address me as an American citizen who’s capable of understanding English.  Treating me as though I’m some simple-minded person will piss me off more than anything else, including whatever verdict comes down from the court.

After thinking about that video for a day (I saw it on Tuesday I think), my reaction turned to shame.  Here we are standing 50 years removed from Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech during the March on Washington, and our fellow citizens still think that all we do is break things and burn things down when we don’t get our way.  I’m not one to stereotype an entire group based on the actions of a few because I know firsthand what it feels like when the stereotype is painted on you.  There will undoubtedly be a few knuckleheads that will react in that manner, but I sincerely hope and pray that I’m wrong about that.

Finally, my reaction turned to anger.  If you don’t want that kind of reaction, then don’t have the media hyping that crap up.  There are all kinds of stories on the internet about police fearing mob violence as a result of the verdict.  Black America, don’t feed into the narrative of the stereotype.  Don’t fall into the trap that’s being laid out right before your very eyes.  Look at the links below and notice the slight difference in headlines to see what I’m referring to.  If Zimmerman is acquitted and you riot, all you will here is “I told you so” and “That’s how they always act”.  Turn the tables on those who try to paint you with the stereotype and give them the middle finger.  If Zimmerman is acquitted, do not respond as they THINK you will.  Respond in the complete opposite way.

In my personal opinion, this trial was doomed from the start because of the laws in the State of Florida.  Instead of rioting, register voters in honor of Trayvon Martin.  Help voters get the necessary ID’s to vote in honor of Mr. Martin.  Finally, when election time comes around, ensure that every single voter that can register a vote gets to the poll to voice their frustration at the outcome of this trial by removing the legislators who passed these laws in the first place.  To quote Parliament Funkadelic, “you don’t need the bullet when you got the ballot.”

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3 thoughts on “Offended, Ashamed, or Angry???

  1. I understand what you’re saying, but I don’t think you should be offended by the cheesy rap presentation. You’re not the target audience, nor are most members of the black community. Black, white, brown, yellow, purple, it’s nearly always the kids in their teens and twenties who do the rioting. It’s possible the rap format was chosen with race foremost in mind, but it’s more likely it was chosen with youth foremost in mind, considering rap is the dominant form of music today. Think Psy.

    Your idea of voter registration in memoriam for Trayvon Martin is excellent.

    Like

    • I thought about that aspect for a minute, and I’m still offended if that was indeed their idea. I’m from the school of thought where you treat people as you want to be treated. If you want the teen and twenty year old kids to act mature, then treat them as though you think they can act mature. When my parents, teachers, or coaches had to tell me something important, they didn’t rap their message to me, and I’m part of the generation that grew up with rap.

      I think they would have been better served with rap artists delivering a serious-toned, spoken message if that’s the route they wanted to go. Why not have Jay-Z tell them not to riot if they felt they had to incorporate the urban music scene somehow?

      Like

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