3.29.2012

Reflecting on Trayvon's tragedy and our ongoing need for racial reconciliation

In our national racial dialog, I think we need to distinguish between the systemics of injustice and the facts in any given case.  Yesterday, CNN published some new allegations on the Trayvon tragedy which raised some questions for me. (Note I did not say new facts.  We just don't know what all the facts are.)

In the systemics of prejudice and injustice we have so far to go.  Those that know me, know I am deeply concerned about injustice and prejudice...  individually and collectively.  The reaction to the Trayvon tragedy is completely understandable.  Everyday, children of color go missing, and too often the media doesn't give a damn, something in contrast to when a cheerleaderesq white girl disappears. This time the media did give it some attention, and that is a good thing.

But the fact is, we just don't know exactly what actually happened on the evening of February 26.  And until we do, a rush to judgement doesn't advance our national dialog on race.  Too many black men have been falsely accused for us to forget the consequences of a rush to judgement.

However, what we do know is that typically, the death of a white child is given a significant amount of resources, whereas in this case it appears the police did not give the case the investigative resources it deserved, begging the question, why?

If they did indeed fail to give Trayvon's death the attention it deserved, that is a grave injustice.  And one that ought to be protested vehemently.  Trayvon was not killed because he was wearing a hoodie.

However, acknowledging our collective failure to achieve an equal common good for all.  Acknowledging that we are not doing enough to solve this problem.  Acknowledging that police do not investigate every homicide equally and that racial stereotypes play a role.  None-the-less we have to stop and ask, is that what happened here?  I'm not sure we can know that; yet.

When we do, as the prophet Micah said, may there be justice, mercy, and humility.  And if the facts support the outrage, may there be protests.  May the perpetrators both of the actions and the inactions be brought to justice.  But more importantly, may there be solutions and dialog, honesty and truth telling, forgiveness and efforts toward our ongoing need for racial reconciliation; for reconciliation is not just an event, but an ongoing life-long process.