A Letter to George Zimmerman from the Dissenting Editor
It has been over a month since your life went into a tailspin because of the death of Trayvon Martin at your hands. George, this is your opportunity to change the face of America. You can take this tragic incident and help make all of us aware so that this will not happen again.
I am not arguing that you did not feel the need to defend yourself, I was not there, I don’t know what happened but what you can change for yourself and for all of us is what got you to that moment when you pulled the trigger.
What were you thinking? How did you get to the place where a young black teenager could not or should not be walking through your neighborhood? You must be going over this in your mind again and again. Why did you think this was a dangerous situation? What alarmed you so much about a black teenager that would make you follow him?
You know now, you were wrong, the boy had some candy and a soft drink, he was returning home from the store. So when did you start thinking that a black person walking through the neighborhood was a threat. Tell us so we can start questioning ourselves.
How do we feel when we see teenage boys with hip slung pants walking down the street? I know I felt insecure, a little uneasy whether white, black, Hispanic didn’t matter, were these boys up to no good I would wonder. But then I saw my grandsons walking down the street with friends. Fine, upstanding, good grades, polite young men and I thought “oh my goodness, are other people afraid of my grandchildren” and I made myself change my thinking and smile and nod and acknowledge anyone who I used to react too in a negative way.
Another telling incident for me was when a few years ago I went to a basketball game with my grandson. We had good seats lower level, just above the very good seats. As I watched the people walk past us down to the very expensive best seats, I checked off professions in my head, maybe a doctor, an attorney, financial manager and then a very well dressed couple passed down and I wondered a rapper, maybe a drug dealer… what was the difference? The color of their skin. I shocked myself. I couldn’t believe what I was thinking, after all I am a bleeding heart, liberal Democrat, How could I think in such a bigoted way. I immediately told my grandson what I had done.
I wanted him to know you are not safe from being a bigot because you think you are not a bigot, you need to work on it, be conscious of your actions and thoughts because if you don’t something terrible could happen just because of the way you think. But you know that, don’t you George. Please tell us and help everyone understand how you get to such a place that you could shoot a teenage boy because of the way he looks. Help us to change.