That’s good, but what about mandatory training for everyone, not just law enforcement, regarding racial profiling? Afterall, Zimmerman was a wannabe cop. Zimmerman’s racial profiling of Martin ultimately lead to the young teen’s death.
In a deeply personal speech, President Obama laid out the historical and personal experiences that make Martin’s death so painful for African Americans. It’s not that African Americans don’t realize that a disproportionate number of young black males are in the criminal justice system. And that the same disproportionate rate is reflected in the victims and perpetrators of crime.
Still, Obama established that we live in a country in which there is an accepted irrational fear of black males. He shared that he knows what it feels like to be followed in a department store by security, to hear car doors lock when he crosses the street and to see a female clutch her purse and hold her breath when he walks into an elevator.
It is this irrational fear that ultimately lead Zimmerman to follow Martin. As we’ve heard countless times, “F***ing punks, these a**holes always get away.’ ”
I agree, with President Obama, we do need racial profiling training for law enforcement. We also need to examine sentencing guidelines that disproportionately incarcerate young black men. And yes the black church and communities must do more to bolster young black men.
But let’s do some racial profile training for everyday white, Hispanic, Asian, other non-black people and even some brainwashed black people.
In Charlotte, we see this type of training in the executive world with organizations such as Community Building Initiative. Throughout the years, CBI and other organizations have offered a variety of programs to build a more inclusive Charlotte-Mecklenburg. But programs like these often draw people who are already open-minded.
If we are serious about changing attitudes and preventing another Trayvon Martin tragedy, we need to find ways to stop preaching to the diversity choir. We must find ways to preach to the George Zimmermans who’ve closed their ears and their hearts.
President Obama closed his remarks by saying we are building a more perfect union. These days, I’m not sure if we’re building any kind of union at all.