Friday, March 30, 2012

The Race Game – When is Enough Just Enough – Trayvon Martin - Politicizing and Capitalizing on the Death of a Child – Opinion and Confusion

It is not that teenagers across this nation do not die or suffer brutal violence every day in this nation, some of which is propulgated by gang fighting, or hazing, or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is the society and specifically politicians who have taken the breakthroughs evidenced in the late 1960’s – 1980’s and turned the nation into separate states – camps if one will – where racial and ethnic groups having been pigeonhold by the govenrnment and the media are at odds with one another. One has to ask how on earth did this happen and how did we, as U.S. Citizens, allow this to occur? Whether one is Hispanic, or African American, or White or Purple or Green, it should matter not – there are laws in place that define all of us as one under one national flag. Therefore, one asks why there are separate neighborhoods, and why there is a poverty about that hangs over certain communities, not a cloud that is defined as financial poverty but poverty of the soul – where one feels the need to become a part of a violent society, rather than to drag oneself out of poverty and move up in the world. It is not as if we are all not given the opportunity so lacking in other nations, where one is born to a class, and one stays in that class for life – moving neither up, down or sideways.

What has happened in Florida is a tragedy of imaginable sorrow for the parents of this child, all parents who have lost a child, or who watch their child leave with a group of friends, who appear at best dubious, are always fearful that perhaps there will be a knock-on the door before the dawn comes. This is happening across the nation and it is irrespective of race, religion, or ethnicity. We have lost our youth to violence and most importantly apathy.

In schools across the nation, the drop-out rate is unacceptable - once upon a time it was a rarity for a student to drop out of high school, or for that matter, to suffer an expulsion. Criminal acts were defined by the mundane – stealing a hub cap could mean a sentence in a Juvenile Dentition Center. Somehow, during that time, (the 1950’s to 1960’s) there was less of everything: teen pregnancies, teen dropouts, and teen deaths.
One can blame the music, with its anti-feminist rhetoric that paints all women in the most degradable forms, and makes a clear celebration of the joys of shooting and killing someone – anyone, and retaliating in kind. Is that fair, however, as artists are imitating life as they see it?

One can blame the parents, many of which are from single family homes, work several jobs, and have little to no communication with the child, let alone the schools. Is that fair? Hardly, parents, no matter the socio-economic background, no matter the race, creed or religion, do their utmost to protect their children and yet, when a child reaches a certain age, they are bound to become independent of the family unit, and it matters not that parents instill curfews, or suspend privileges, or move across the country (not something that can be done in this economy. – No matter where a parent goes to protect their child, that child will choose his or her own friends, and those friends, and the society that glorifies violence, through movies, and muses, is not match for the sound advice of a mother or father.

What of the schools? They are not in place to babysit, this is certain, but the curriculum, in many cases, focuses on separatism, and the object is to move students along, without disciplining in fear of lawsuits, or laws in place that bind the hands of the teachers as to the rights they may have even to protect themselves from a violent student.
Then a traded occurs, and in a day and age, where mobs of youth are running rampant in areas as diverse as Wisconsin and Philadelphia, breaking into stores, using racial epithets to terrify those sitting in a coffee shop or at a fair a picture is painted in the minds of two groups - and it is not as if these occurrences are not known, or not available in the media – what happens is there is a fear about the entire nation, a fear of each other – the youth are counting on that fear to show independence, while those adults, are afraid for their home, families, and their very lives – is it no wonder then that every day, there are more occurrences? Yet for one family, their grief has been compounded, by public statements from politicians, and by the “support” of certain celebrities, who feel they are somehow doing a service.

What is heartbreaking is that there are no answers for the moment, and unless and until we all start teaching our children that it race matters not, that ethnicity matters not, that we are all in this tighter – from the parent, to the teacher, to the politician to the entertainer, then we will get nowhere. Is there racism, absolutely, however, what are we doing, as nation, as a people to eradicate produce? Do we feel that it’s the “other” person’s responsibility? Perhaps it is naiveté that longs for a nation that ran in what appeared to be the beginnings of a “utopia” – where the civil rights legislation that was passed and signed into law by President Johnson (screaming and kicking all the way there), was that not the beginning of the end of the separation of the nation? Even though a sensible and reasonable person understood that there would be ignorance and bigotry still, would not the majority overrule that perception and with time eradicate the notion that we are separate because we are so “different”.

There is a difference one might note, between celebrating one’s heritage, and using one’s heritage as a means to separate oneself from society as a whole – and that occurs through the auspices of Federal and State Governments – we are, as a nation, categorized – and have been for years – minority groups are categorized for funding, to define demographics, and yet, the information and the funding apparently have done nothing more than to exacerbate this growing trend of separatism that festers violence and suspicion against one another.
Yet this one family is now the focus of the nation, as well as the family of the man who pulled the trigger – Politician’s are on the floor on the Congers crying “race”! as the reason the young man was killed, has-been actresses such as Rosie O’Donnell use social media to release the address of the parents of the man who pulled the trigger. This type of act is not to help the family by any means but to incite further violence and to get another fifteen minutes of fame. The politicians of course - one can chalk that up to pandering rather than any true sense of outrage. If it were real outrage, they’d start at the beginning, and roll up their sleeves to fix the problem, rather than rant from the almighty Washington Pulpit, that continues to “define” each and every one of us as “separate” – and “separate” in any way, shape or form, translates into “not equal”.

Women are a minority, and yet are “not equal” obviously needing the government to “protect” the largest demographic in the nation. African American’s are “not equal”, needing the government to know where they live, identify areas that are blighted, and then – doing nothing about it. Native American’s are not “equal” (actually the reservations are under treaty, therefore, they are separate nations), yet, it allows for the Government to categorize a people, a people that lives in some cases in abject poverty.

Gangs – how do gangs fit into the picture, for all the money spent by the Federal, State and Local law enforcements to eradicate gangs, the situation continues to worsen. Of course, that is given a helping hand by popular culture, and the notion that if one is categorized into a specific group, one has no hope of ever getting out of that “group” – it is a cast system that is based on nothing more than the need to drive elections. If tomorrow, the categories disappeared, and individuals were given the choice to be an American first, with all the advantages that implies, what would be the result? Until then, those who are supposed to know better, the politicians and the government, (who are hired by these same American’s categorized and pigeonholed), continue to look the other way, on all issues, or use those issues as a means to an end – reelection. It’s time to start helping parents – parents whose hearts are being broken every day by the outrage in this nation, by the violence against students, whether it be gang-related or bullying or hazing or some stupid right of “passage” designed not to inspire but to degrade, all with the unintended consequences that someone might end up with a life cut short. Someone who may have been a great doctor, or teacher, or business developer, or philosopher, or saint – one will never know, they were categorized, they were defiant in the face of no consequences to their actions, and they had no hope in a future – because they have been told there is no hope by the aforementioned.

From the Springfield, MA Republican: today’s top stories:
Springfield Man Stabbed while trying to break up fighting teens
Suspected gang members shoot off mouths, details of Vermont teacher's death stuns communities and more”
Suspected gang members shoot of mouths following Springfield Gun Arrest
Miami CBS Local, Dade Teen Shot While Fleeing Police”

And the beat goes on – the above are just a few examples of what is taking place daily in our nation – the challenge is – making our children understand that there is hope, that they are equal, and that there are no limits to who they can become, with an emphasis coming across from all mediums, the family, the church, the federal, state and local governments, (which includes the schools), and from the media – instead of more than half of the former, either glorifying or exacerbating the problem for political gain.

Kids will be Kids, whatever happened to that meaning they might grab a neighbor’s hubcap, or tip a cow in a field, or spray-paint their name on a building? Is it no one's fault or is it all of our faults.

Videos worth watching – Google teens shootings, gang shootings, and it’s just frightening

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