Fri Jul 19, 2013, 08:29 AM
MrScorpio (66,369 posts)
Mea Culpa... [View all]
I'm sorry, but I have to apologize.
During the Zimmerman trial, I made the fatal error of not understanding that a sitting jury could be completely incapable of not relating to people unlike themselves, much less an innocent murder victim. The mere fact that they lacked any empathy at all, for not just a black child, but even for the fact that Trayvon Martin was simply a child... That never entered into my mind, until I watched the interview with Juror B37.
While watching the interview, describing myself as flabbergasted was a gross understatement.
In my own life, I have rarely met people like that face to face. The last person I met who seemed incapable of understanding that there are people in this world unlike herself was a 2Lt that I served with at my last assignment before retiring in Virginia. She was a native of Utah, a young woman in her early twenties, who was quite taken aback by the sheer number of "colored" people in Virginia.
In all my years in the service, I've never met anyone who was surprised about diversity before... And I've had the distinction of serving with colleagues from, not only all over the country, but people who came to serve in the Air Force from other nations as well.
Anyway, when she told me that she was never in close proximity to so many Black people before, at first I didn't know what to say. Now I could have been offended by her use of the term, "colored people." I mean, who uses "colored" in 2004? Was she scared of them?
I have no idea.
But knowing that this woman was from Utah (I didn't ask her if she was a Mormon, BTW, but you can guess), I decided that I should use it as a teaching moment. After all, I was almost twice this woman's age. So, I gave it a chuckle to set her at ease and I politely mentioned to her that "colored" was an archaic term and it's best for her to not use it, especially in mixed company... As I was saying this, I couldn't even think of a person under the age of dirt, whether they're from 'Bama or whatever, who still uses it.
Anyway, I mentioned to her that it's best that she use either the term "Black" or "African-American" instead. Either one of them is perfectly fine.
Now, I had wondered if she actually said that to any old White person that she ran into there, or was I the first person that she made her observation in regards the racial make-up of Virginia. I'm quite sure that just about anyone else, whose been around the block, would advise her the same way that I did. Who knows?
But the thing is, meeting a person who seemed so socially and culturally isolated in this day and age is just too remarkable for words.
So, how in the HELL did they pick six people like that to be on that jury?
I had no idea that it could happen in 2013.
As I said, I apologize for making such a faulty assumption.
And that's the big problem, isn't it? That we have a segment of the population, especially those people who reside in the majority racial demographic and make up the upper socio-economic rung who believes that it's completely unnecessary to empathize with people unlike themselves. Even with the sheer amount of reference materials or opportunities to simply migrate in more diverse circles.
If you are any kind of minority in this country, it's imperative that you understand the make up of racial majority and higher class status. There are TV shows with these people on them. There are movies made about them... They are all over the place. If you want an education and eventually employment, it is required of you to gain some empathy of these people in order to survive in this world.
You would think that these people would have the common courtesy to relate otherwise... But apparently, it seems that there are people walking around on this well-connected planet who can get assigned to juries who have never done such a thing.
After all this talk about a post-racial, colorblind society in the wake of the election of the First Black President, it's quite clear that we still have a long way to go if we're meant to be a caring and knowledgeable nation.
A very long way.
In the future, I will strive to be more opened minded about jurors who are picked for murder trials where the victims are innocent young Black males... Of course, it would be expected of me to empathize with young WHITE male or female victims, were I to be called to serve on a jury... And I have to say that with my somewhat limited exposure to all things caucasian in this country, I could reasonably expect myself to achieve that form of understanding.
But, I just don't know what to say about White jurors like B37 on the other hand.
Maybe you guys can give me a hug and talk me down.
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Mea Culpa... [View all]
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