Two separate incidents in Florida and St. Louis seem to indicate that racism is still prevalent in American society. Should the president sound off on racial incidents? Are his comments one sided? What does racism tell a person about himself?
Those Americans who have been able to pry themselves away from their video games, their satellite television and their sports obsessions have probably heard the tragic story Trayvon Martin’s death. This young African-American was allegedly unarmed when he was shot by Hispanic, George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman. An FBI investigation is currently being conducted to determine the facts regarding the case. God-fearing Americans pray that justice will prevail for all parties involved.
A primary focus of the investigation is the 911 call made by George Zimmerman. The call will be diagnosed by special technicians to determine if George mumbled any racial slurs before the shooting. If it can be proven that he did then his claim of self-defense will crumble under the weight of a hate-crime accusation.
During Obama’s presidential campaign he portrayed himself as the great racial unifier. He said, “…we may not look the same and may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction.” (Political Intelligence, March, 2008) The president seems to contradict himself when he fails to constrain from weighing in on the racial issues that surface from time to time. This shouldn’t be surprising considering his tutelage under the likes of Jeremiah Wright, Derrick Bell, William Ayers and a multitude of other extremists.
Obama finally entered the fray in response to strong criticism from the likes of Al Sharpton, the perpetrator of the Tawana Brawley hoax, and Louis Farrakhan, who spews his hatred for Jewish people by exalting Hitler as a “very great man” and Jews as being “satanic” and their place of worship as “satanic synagogues”. (DefendingtheTruth.net, March 19, 2012) Instead of falling back on his previous theme of “we may not all look the same”, he emphasized that he and the victim have certain similarities. “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.”
Many are question the President’s motive behind such a statement? Was he trying to comfort a hurting family or was he using his words to stir racial tension and mobilize African-Americans to support him? He has been losing the political backing of many African-Americans who are not satisfied with his performance as president over the last three years. Many are offended by the idea that their vote can be earned by handing out more candy (welfare) instead of providing them with more jobs in order to make a respectable living for their families.
Newt Gingrich climbed up on his stump to declare without hesitation that President Obama intended to spawn racial tension with his comment: “What the President said, in a sense, is disgraceful. It’s not a question of who that young man looked like. Any young American of any ethnic background should be safe, period.” Gingrich went on to say, “Is the president suggesting that if it had been a white who had been shot, that would be OK because it didn’t look like him? That’s just nonsense dividing this country up?” (The Hill, 3/21/12) Questioning Obama’s intentions seems to be a legitimate quest but in all fairness, only Obama knows the motive behind his words. He may be calling a beer summit again on the White House lawn to explain himself to the nation.
Trayvon’s tragic death occurred after the NBA All-Star game in February. About one week later the Coon family from Kansas City was struggling with their own tragedy. Melissa Coon’s son, Allen, was targeted in the school he attended, East High School. During a discussion regarding Black History Month, Allen, who is white, tried to answer a question when his teacher, Ms. Karla Dorsey, who is black said to him, “What would you know about it? You’re not our race.” (The Moral Liberal, March 25, 2012)
Probably far less people know about what happened to Allen Coon than what happened to Trayvon Martin. There is no justification for comparing the two incidents. One boy is dead while the other still lives. But both incidents reveal that racial hatred is still a cancer that affects our culture. Allen Coon, 13, was approached by two older black males who doused him with gasoline and set him on fire. An investigation into the incident indicates it was a hate crime because of what was said as they set Coon aflame, “This is what you deserve. You get what you deserve, white boy.” (Katie Pavlich, News Editor, Townhall, March 5, 2012)
Certain Americans are questioning why they didn’t hear President Obama’s voice when Allen Coon was set aflame. Why didn’t Attorney General Eric Holder condemn this horrendous crime? Why didn’t MSNBC’s Al Sharpton and Rainbow Coalition’s Jesse Jackson and Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan mount their steeds and ride into St. Louis declaring all hate crime, whether perpetrated by blacks or whites, wrong and unacceptable?
We so often vehemently rise up against the sin we see in others, a reflection of a sin that may be prevalent in our own lives. Rather than confess our own sins to God we try to justify them by discovering and magnifying them in others. We feel so much better about ourselves if we can find someone worse than we are. We feel a measure of self-hatred when we see our ugly reflection in the humanity of others. Racial hatred exists and always will because the hearts of men are depraved. Laws and courts and attorneys may be useful in limiting the effects of racial hatred in our society but only the grace of God can eliminate the stain of racial hatred from the soul. Shouldn’t that be the message of the ‘Reverends’ Jackson and Sharpton?
Kevin Probst - Teaches History, Government and Apologetics at the high school level in Columbus Georgia.