Been wrestling with my conscience all day as to how productive sharing this picture would be. Apparently, some people thought it’d be funny to get in blackface and be Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman for Halloween.
I think it’s vital for people to understand how real institutional racism is when looking at the current disparities that exist in America. But now that I’m looking at this picture, however, I’m realizing that it doesn’t just end there. Yes, the reasons why racism still persist today is in a large part because of structural forces that were unambiguously designed to create inequality, but it is also the product of peoples’ ignorance and a willingness to not only be complicit to the problem, but to contribute to the problem through continually making a mockery of the suffering of marginalized groups of people. In this case, the murder of Trayvon Martin.
As long as people like this continue to remain willfully ignorant, no matter how hard we try, young men like Trayvon will continue to be killed, African American men will still be herded into prisons, police will still function as a terrorist threat to urban communities, along with the continuation of other racist institutions.
We keep expecting to have a serious and productive conversation on race, but we’re forgetting one thing: It’s people in this picture that make up most of this country. People who don’t take the suffering of others who are different seriously, because they don’t take others’ person-hood seriously to begin with. In fact, like this photo tells us, they sometimes might even find their pain amusing.