Eugene Robinson: Hey, We Need To Talk About Why People Are Scared Of Young Black Men

Eugene is not a happy man….but, then, are Liberals ever happy?


(Washington Post) Justice failed Trayvon Martin the night he was killed. We should be appalled and outraged, but perhaps not surprised, that it failed him again Saturday night, with a verdict setting his killer free.

Except for one problem: we have a system of Law, not justice. There was a tragic series of circumstances that led to Trayvon Martin’s death. But, none of them were against the Law. Except perhaps Trayvon assaulting Zimmerman first. I’d suggest reading this article by William Saletan for a good recap. We cannot base on criminal legal system on feelings and interpretations, but on facts. Zimmerman is guilty of very bad judgement. That’s not against the law as written. And, I bet everyone who enters the legal justice system would like to be held to a standard of hard facts and evidence, not emotions.

Our society considers young black men to be dangerous, interchangeable, expendable, guilty until proven innocent. This is the conversation about race that we desperately need to have – but probably, as in the past, will try our best to avoid.

Yet, that’s a conversation Eugene failed to have during the following thirteen paragraphs, except in terms of saying “it’s racist” and “you’re mean”.

This might be the most contentious thing I’ve ever written. Like most, I stay away from writing on race, because people will immediately brand one a raaaaacist. But, why do people have concerns about young black men? Could it be that many young black men think the “thug life” is cool? That street fighting is cool? That tattooing themselves up is cool? That acting the part of a thug is cool for many? Where are the parents of these kids to set them on the straight path? Oh, that’s right, Liberal policies about the family have led to a massive breakup of the family, particularly for Blacks, who have the highest rate of illegitimate births of any race in the US.

Not all of that applies to Trayvon. He apparently had a loving family, and, let’s face it, not every parent can control a teenager. Probably few can, at least in their secret lives. I can’t say I was a little darling during my teen years, hanging out with a somewhat bad crowd for a few years. But, the suspensions, being caught with empty bags of pot, vandalism, having stolen jewelry in his possession, street fighting, pictures of guns and pot on his social timeline, and an apparent predilection for the drug “Lean” highlight a teen who was out of control.

Bias is a part of life. We look at someone and judge them. Those judgements do not always meet the reality. I look at a young black man with tats and gold teeth wearing his pants low and I think “thug”. I look at a young white teen with a shaved head and hard look and I think “white supremacist”. Are those fair? Perhaps not. But, I bet you, regardless of your race, have preconceived notions. You can lie out-loud, but you can’t lie to your inner self.

Perhaps the race hustlers should be more concerned with changing dynamic for young black men and working to improve their lives, telling them that mimicking the thug life is not OK, even if they aren’t thugs. Perhaps they could change the dynamic where many consider education to be a “white thing” and bad. Perhaps they should consider just what they’re advocating and if that is a problem. Back in the latter half of the 20th Century, whites said “we’re tired of all being though of as racists because of the actions of a minority” and marched with Blacks for racial equality under the law. Whites said enough and pushed through laws like the Civil Rights Act. Perhaps it’s time for the Black community leaders to take care of their own.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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