24 March . Comment
The pain I feel as I listen to the various discussions following the murder of Trayvon Martin has kept me from doing much of anything other than linking to eloquent essays in my facebook stream. But I fear that my silence here could be misinterpreted. I think that those of us who carry white skin privilege can not remain silent. Silence is complicity, as the bumper sticker says.
Racism killed Trayvon Martin.
Yes, an individual Florida man held up his gun and pulled the trigger. But that man’s life was shaped and formed by a country founded upon and developed through racist beliefs. Until we begin to examine, understand, and seek forgiveness for these elements of who we are, can we ever heal? When will we begin to understand that racism is not simply about interpersonal language or bigotry, but about the institutionalization of such prejudice, inscribed via the power of fear?
Some essays worth pondering in the light of Trayvon’s death:
- “an open letter to my unborn, Black son” by Ajani Husbands
- “how does it feel to be a problem?” by Joyce B.
- “Walking while Black” by Marion Wright Edelman
- the social sin of white denial explored by Tim Wise
- “when you can’t find your words” by Eunuma Okora
- “you will never be him, please don’t be them” by Arwyn
- “white silence and the pain it imposes” by Mia McKenzie
- how Disney teaches racism by “I will pull this blog over”
The Florida Council of Churches has issued a statement. It’s worth recalling the statement on racism our own local Catholic bishop made, many years ago.