The Trayvon Martin Case: What America Should Be Talking About

Beyond Race: The Issue IS Skin Color

The Lethal Consequences of Colorism in a Pigmentocracy

The Trayvon Martin case is one people of all ages and cultural backgrounds are connecting strongly with. An awareness somewhere in the subconscious is moving people to sign petitions and participate in marches as a way of expressing overwhelming feelings of sadness and frustration. But as of yet no one is focusing on the real problem. The problem is not as simple as those blaming race would have you believe.

The problem is not black and white because it also affects Latinos, Asians, the Indigenous and every culture in existence today. Stop leaving other cultures out of the conversation because the problem IS about COLOR. The issue of Colorism in America needs to be addressed today because a person's color, hair texture, shape and size are not costumes that can be taken off. Until we begin the discussion of how colonialism is still to this day negatively affecting a color traumatized society we cannot collectively begin to heal. 

When we lost our beloved Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. we failed to continue his work. Americans moved on without dealing with issues stemming from colonialism. An important part of Dr. King's work was changing the negative perception of the word Black. This is the work we must continue today. 

The United States of America's strength comes from its diversity. Corporate-owned mainstream media has erased the fact the United States of America today is a multiculturally diverse country setting the stage for such a tragedy to happen by teaching us to deny reality. American society is exposed to television and movies before being enrolled in an educational institution. The great majority of people are waiting for a brave super hero to swoop in and save the day keeping anyone from having to think or get their hands dirty.  That's what movies teach us, not to worry about anything because one person, usually portrayed by a white male, will rescue us and make things right again. But there goes that pesky denial again because things have never been right. Ask any person of color.

Source: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml

To arrive to the point where an entire society can begin to heal we must dig deeper and deal with America's historical truth. There are people who have become hardened and numb as this is just the latest, one of countless cases where color prejudice ends with the murder of a child. Justice in one case is not enough

Countless others

Aiyana Jones

Wendell Allen

Ramarley Graham

So let us speak intelligently placing emotions aside and discuss the facts. Any idea that equality exists among all Americans in 2012 can be dispelled with statistics. See the following table:

Prison Statistics 2012

            Blacks in Prison: (37.5 %)

            Hispanic in prison: (34.6 %); Citizenship: Mexico (18.4 %)

Top 3 Offenses:

            Drug Offenses (48.7 %)

            Weapons, Explosives, Arson (15.7 %)

            Immigration (12.1 %)

[Source: US Dept. of Justice Federal Bureau of Prisons ]

Government Employment Statistics

Federal Employees: Black (18%)  Hispanic (8%)

[Source: US Office of Personnel Management]

Members of Congress: Black (8.1%) Hispanic (5.7%)

[Source: US Government Statistics]

Education Statistics

Percentage of 16- to 24-year-olds who were high school status dropouts in 2009:

Blacks (9.3%) Hispanic (17.6%) White (5%)

[Source: National Center for Education Statistics]

Percentage of public school students in 9th through 12th grade who had ever been suspended or expelled in 2007: Blacks (49%) Hispanic (26.5%) White (17.7%)

[Source: National Center for Education Statistics]

Poverty Statistics

Number and percentage of people in poverty 15 to 24 years old 2009:

Blacks (31%) Hispanic (26%) White (14%)

[Source: National Center for Education Statistics ]

 
To frame the problem we have today we must revisit history. American history does not begin with Columbus but our problems today stem from his landing. American territories had long been populated with indigenous civilizations with their own history of political, religious and social systems.  European colonization of the Americas begins during the mid 1400's when Columbus lands in the Caribbean. Natives were violently and systematically stripped of their rights, expression of language and religious beliefs.  Along with these atrocities was the enslavement of millions of Africans uprooted and transported to the Americas. It is 600 years of physical and psychological abuse effecting society today.

 

Important words to begin the discussion.

Colonization

a method of absorbing and assimilating foreign peoples into the culture of the imperial country, and thus destroying any remnant of the foreign cultures that might threaten the imperial territory

Genocide

the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group

Oppression

the act of subjugating by cruelty, force, etc. or the state of being subjugated in this way; the use of authority, law, or physical force to prevent others from being free or equal

To have no authority or control is to be oppressed.  A look at statistics is clear proof that people of color are still oppressed in 2012. 

White Privilege

a right, advantage or immunity granted to or enjoyed by white persons beyond the common advantage of all others

The problem is we are not discussing how regardless of race people who look white or have lighter complexions earn privilege. The privilege of having one's personhood and individuality respected, receiving the benefit of the doubt and some human compassion. George Zimmerman, a light-skinned Latino was clearly given the benefit of the doubt when he claimed self-defense even though there are many factors stacked against him such as: he was told not to pursue anyone and had a history of paranoia against people of color. Certainly there are other factors at play here that would allow one human being to kill another.

If you can name it you can change it.

Colorism

prejudice or discrimination in which human beings are accorded differing social treatment based on skin color;  the phenomenon of lighter-skinned people discriminating against darker-skinned people within their own ethnic groups such as idealizing blonde hair and the whitest skin

Shadism

a form of skin tone bias that identifies groups and individuals on the basis of their degree of pigmentation

The phenomenon of Colorism is happening among all ethnicities. It is a product of colonialism endorsing self hatred and self destruction.  

Pigmentocracy

a term adopted recently by social scientists to describe societies in which wealth and social status are determined by skin color. In a Pigmentocracy, the value of skin color is internalized by society as a whole, leading to feelings of low self-worth in people with darker skin and to feelings of superiority in people with lighter skin.

Examples of this can be seen across all media platforms, the more famous a person gets, the lighter they become. (Examples:  Sammy Sosa, Michael Jackson, actors and actresses who dye their hair blond and use color contacts or are edited in media to look a certain way.) 

In this case it is how media blames the victim by suggesting his clothing and general looks were grounds for provocation. Unscientifically associating negative traits to physical qualities creates emotionally abusive situations. Wearing particular clothing, walking in certain places, acting in particular ways are in no way an invitation for violence or justification for murder. 

Terms used incorrectly in this case:

Racism

(1.)the belief that races have distinctive cultural characteristics determined by hereditary factors and that this endows some races with an intrinsic superiority over others which is NOT supported by science. (2.) abusive or aggressive behavior towards members of another race on the basis of such a belief.

Race

the non-scientific classification of a group of people on the basis of common history, nationality, or geographic distribution

Racism and race are old unscientific terms used to create separatism and justify segregation. These terms no longer work in today's America, a culturally diverse society. A great example is the latest Census form. Fifty million American Hispanics have a hard time checking one box because their heritage includes, European, African as well as Indigenous ancestry. Until that is changed there will never be an accurate census.

Terms that should be used in this case:

POC

an abbreviated term for People of Color

Prejudice

an adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts.

Bias

prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.

Prejudice and bias are all of the presumptions made in this case for or against Trayvon Martin.

What we must do is embrace change not hate.

Understand change does not rely on one person but a huge collective of individuals who dare stand up for what is morally right is merely the beginning.

  • Stop supporting products and companies that are toxic to society by perpetuating negative stereotypes referring to any particular color as bad.
  • Demand equal and fair coverage on all media platforms. Do not permit people of color to continue being under-represented, negatively depicted and narrowly portrayed.
  • Stop voting for government officials who do not have your best interest in mind or support the eradication of cultural diversity. 
  • Begin demanding accountability from government officials and everyone in positions of authority. Yes, people can make mistakes but being a better person means being able to correct them. If they cannot, another qualified person should be given the opportunity.

  • Vote them out of government. There are old, out of touch government officials enacting laws that would set this country back to the 1950's and possibly the dark ages.  Write them and let them know your opposition. Even better prepare yourself and run for office.
  • Education. 
  • Parents and children must demand higher standards from our educational institutions. Educational institutions must do better than providing textbooks full of one sided views and incomplete history.

Once we start the conversation we can begin to eliminate the psychological damages of Colorism. We can begin to love our individuality and special qualities to open our eyes to our valid contributions to America. We can begin to heal and build a stronger America.

Are you upset about this case? What will you do with your awareness?

You can find your local government representative here: US Government Representatives

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