Though overt racism is no longer condoned in American society, it has been demonstrated that implicit or unconscious racism is still at work today. Whether known to the individual or not, racist beliefs and attitudes could greatly affect one’s behavior toward a member of another race. The case of Trayvon Martin screams explicit racism with a capital “E” letting me know that explicit/overt racism is alive and well in American society. A young black man is shot dead because he was in a hoodie and in a gated community. The shooter has yet to be brought to justice. The father of the shooter ( who is white), wrote a letter stating that his son George Zimmerman is not racist because he is Hispanic and grew up in a multicultural family. This leads me to the readings I have done on a different kind of racism, that kind of racism is horizontal racism. Horizontal racism is defined as the results of people of targeted racial groups (Blacks, Latinos/Hispanics, Asians, Native) believing, acting on or enforcing the dominant (White) system of racist discrimination and oppression. Horizontal racism can occur between members of the same racial group or between members of different, targeted racial groups. Why then can we suppose that the Florida authorities are not charging Mr. Zimmerman with murder? He clearly has an extensive history of targeting blacks. A news article stated “At the very least, a series of 46 emergency calls made by Zimmerman over the past six years document a man vigilant about keeping his neighborhood safe and orderly. The calls include complaints about unruly people at the pool, potholes, dumped trash, and kids playing in the street. In recent months, as the neighborhood saw an uptick in crime, including burglaries and a shooting, Zimmerman’s calls had focused on specific suspects, the majority of them young black men”
This leads me to several questions:
- Would the outcome be different is the shooter was a black man that shot a teenage white male in a hoodie holding a bag of skittles?
- Would the “stand your ground law” be so freely applied to a black male of biracial decent shooting a white teen?
- Would there have been any press at all if this was a black on black crime?
- Is there some privilege being extended because George Zimmerman’s father is white?
- What do you think?