America is returning to what it once was. Unfortunately, I’m not referring to its dominance as the world’s only super power or its economic peak, but rather its racist roots. How can I say that when we have a (half) black president? Just check out this week’s news.
The Supreme Court just undid 48 years of racial progress by dismantling the 1965 Voting Rights Act. It took the great state of Texas less than two hours to enact the most stringent voter ID law in the country. And now they are working furiously at redistricting their voting maps to further disenfranchise minorities. These measures were previously considered in violation of the now defunct Voting Rights Act.
Turn the page of your newspaper (or nook) and you can read about the George Zimmerman trial. Unless you are one of the 6 women jurors in the case, you’ll recall that an armed man (Zimmerman) told 911 that he was pursuing an unarmed teenager (Trayvon Martin) who happened to have wound up dead by Zimmerman’s gun. He also happened to be black. Incredulously, the police did not hold Zimmerman or even take his gun until a month of public outrage embarrassed them into arresting him. Now the prosecution is claiming self defense and trying to paint the 17-year-old victim as a dangerously aggressive drugged out hoodlum. I admit that I’ve been accused of painting the situation too far in the other direction in my piece “A Tale Of Two Hoodies.” But then I’m an artist visually representing the overall problem of racism, not a lawyer in a court of law distorting facts to misrepresent the actual events.
The fact that Zimmerman called Martin “a suspicious person” with nothing more to go on other than he was a black youth wearing a hood suggests racial profiling by an individual. The fact that the police initially chose not to even charge Zimmerman suggests racism in the police force. The fact that the Supreme Court made it possible for Texas, along with many other states, to create voting restrictions aimed to suppress minorities from voting suggests a racist government. Sadly, it seems America is becoming a shining example of backwards progress in social and racial justice.
-Michael D’Antuono www.ArtandResponse.com.