Race Relations: Have We Progressed at All?

Member Group : Lincoln Institute

To say that I am confused with the multiple reactions to the Zimmerman verdict would be an understatement.

In the wake of the Zimmerman court case, the disparity in their reactions from the press, the President, the Attorney General and the families of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman have baffled many Americans, particularly me.

I would have expected that the Martin family, both his mom and dad, would have been deeply hurt, saddened, and vocally demanded retribution. Concurrently, I would have expected to Zimmerman family to have reacted with an outburst of joy at the vindication of their son.

On the other hand, great leaders, one would expect, would be seeking the calm the population of both the black community and the Hispanic community to ensure tranquility.

In reality, however, the Martin family and the Zimmerman family, have reacted with great grace, dignity, restraint, and tremendous leadership.

The loss of a child must be a horrific feeling. Having lost three children due to miscarriages, I know somewhat of the pain the Martin family is going through but it is certainly nothing in comparison with losing a child of 17 years so unexpectedly. My heart and my prayers go out to the family of Trayvon Martin. I am certain he was a wonderful young man.

The Zimmerman family likewise showed great restraint by not emotionally reacting with joy at the vindication of their son George. The great angst and trauma of awaiting verdict for something that one did not feel was wrong must be extremely stressful.

But then, the press, the President, and the Attorney General all acted in such a way as to foster the very racial tension that they said they were concerned about as it relates to this case from the beginning.

The President, for his part, made this very sad case a racial issue the moment he spoke at the very beginning that Trayvon would have looked like him. The irresponsibility of such an action on the part of the President of the United States is unheard of. To inflame racial tensions without knowing any facts would get most corporate CEOs fired.

One would think that the President would have learned his lesson in the case of the Harvard professor and the police officer early in his first term which led to a beer summit. But apparently this President has a very short and a very biased memory.

President Obama actions and words have convinced me that he is representing only certain Americans and not all.

Likewise, the Attorney General has convinced me, by his public statements of the outrage of the verdict, that he believes that justice is biased and prejudiced despite an obviously impartial jury in the Zimmerman trial. His perception of bias and prejudice is directed at anyone other than those causes the Attorney General supports. I failed to see where Eric Holder’s comments are anything other than the very bigotry he decries. He needs to step down immediately.

I am offended that this President, this Attorney General, and this administration would characterize anyone who is Caucasian as being a bigot. It is absolutely disingenuous to paint all people of one race as being perpetrators of crimes against another race just because of their race. People are prejudiced, not races.

The actions of this administration will do nothing more than cause more racial tension among people who never felt that there was ever any difference between the races. It will serve to divide rather than unite our people.

Finally the press whose actions have been nothing short of yellow journalism at its finest.

I’m a retired Marine Colonel. Very few things scare me. But after seeing the headlines in USA Today and watching liberal media news broadcasts, as well as some of the conservative broadcasts, I became extraordinarily concerned that perhaps minorities would riot because they did not get the verdict that they expected.

Yet in all of my dealings with minorities in particular with the black community in Baltimore Maryland, I did not see the same type of stereotypical behavior that the press was expecting.

My experiences with the black community are very similar to the experiences that the Martin family showed our nation with their grace and dignity.

The absolutely irresponsible reporting by the press about the purported actions of very few citizens who decided to take to the street reinforced the very stereotypical attitude towards blacks that that same press was decrying of George Zimmerman. People rioted not blacks. How bigoted.

For all of us not to see that this reporting to be irresponsible and reinforcing stereotypes perhaps causes me the greatest concern of all.

All the press has done in concert with this President and the Attorney General is to reinforce racial tension and divide.

Martin Luther King would be ashamed of all of them. President Obama should return his Nobel Peace Prize!

Col. Frank Ryan, CPA, USMCR (Ret) and served in Iraq and briefly in Afghanistan and specializes in corporate restructuring and lectures on ethics for the state CPA societies. He has served on numerous boards of publicly traded and non-profit organizations. He can be reached at [email protected] and twitter at @fryan1951.