By SUSAN K. SMITH
Crazy Faith Ministries
It hit me as I was listening to an episode about “stand your ground” laws in this country that I have not lost the trauma of having to deal with a society that allows White lawlessness to flourish.
In spite of the cry of politicians who say they want “law and order,” the laws they have made and the judicial decisions that have been part of the legacy of America say that “law and order” is only – or perhaps primarily – used to reference what must be done to keep Black people in particular but anyone who challenges the system in general under control.
In the podcast episode I listened to, Reveal, a clip was played of George Zimmerman calling the police to log a report about a “suspicious” Black person wearing a hoodie.
He was of course talking about Trayvon Martin.
Though he told police he was following Trayvon – who had a right to be in the gated community because his father lived there – and was told not to, he continued. The following made Trayvon nervous, but Zimmerman didn’t care, and we all know the outcome: Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon, claiming self-defense – and was acquitted of the murder.
My blood still boils when I think about the case.
The actions of White police officers and White vigilantes are always condoned when the phrase “I was in fear for my life” is uttered. It doesn’t matter or not if the supposed fear was real or even justified. What does matter is that Black or Brown skin in and of itself is a weapon to many Whites, who either 1) assume they are in danger, or 2) know that they can attack a Brown or Black person and know that they will likely get away with it.
Truth doesn’t matter; manufactured “fear” or the pronouncement of such, is all that matters.
The truth of the matter is that it is White violence that is the bane of this society. White mob violence and police violence against Black people is a part of the American tradition, the American Bar Association’s Human Rights Magazine revealed.
With the “stand your ground” laws being enacted and passed by more states, Black and Brown people are in more danger than ever before of being gunned down and their assailants – be they law enforcement personnel or deputized vigilantes – walking free.
The history of them getting away with murder has created a false sense of security. They don’t expect to be investigated, or if investigated, be found to have been in the wrong. They are genuinely surprised and many times angry if they have to go to trial for shooting or killing a Black person.
In this political system, the innate weakness and corruption of the American infrastructure is being exposed full blast. White lawmakers and judges are making a mockery of the concept of “equal justice for all.” In their quest to preserve White political power, they are making laws that will make it easier for anyone who wants to shoot and kill and Black person, The Washington Post reported.
Those laws seem like a continuation of the lack of justice that White people when they have attacked Black individuals and communities. Many Black residents of Tulsa, Oklahoma, for example, were arrested and jailed after White mobs stormed and destroyed their communities, killing innocent Black people in the process, as documented by History.com.
Too many White people are unconcerned with any of this. It causes me an equal amount of angst when I think of how Kyle Rittenhouse has been elevated to hero status in spite of the murders he committed. Too many White people do not care; they are content to live with the privilege of being able to kill people with whom they do not agree or who they resent for just being alive.
Zimmerman is still walking around, a free man. Far too many others who have shot and killed Black and Brown people are likewise free.
And the American infrastructure, its “justice system” is as impotent as it was created to be.
Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith is the founder and director of Crazy Faith Ministries. She is available for speaking. And she is an award-winning author for her latest book, “With Liberty and Justice for Some: The Bible, the Constitution, and Racism in America,” available through all booksellers. Contact her at email@example.com.