On Obama and Martin

Charles Blow, in a column for the Times, expresses appreciation for the President’s explication of Trayvon Martin’s significance.

I was tempted to leave a comment that, if being discriminated on the basis of superficial optics makes African American males more conscious and self-aware, they’re lucky. Because the discriminators are obviously self-centered, instinct-driven people, who rely on their gut reactions to determine what they are about–a condition that’s good to avoid.

But, that’s probably not a message Blow wants to read, so I thought better of it. Nevertheless, a raised consciousness is good. Moreover, to the extent the instinct-driven are motivated by jealousy, they’ve got reason. The gut, especially when augmented by a gun, is an unreliable guide, as Zimmerman should, but probably doesn’t, now know.

That he was outfitted with not one, but two potentially lethal weapons (a truck and a gun) and that he’s not being taken out of circulation is a societal flaw.

Zimmerman was a disaster waiting to happen. Not a happenstance. Given that there are over 38,000 deaths associated with automotive vehicles a year and 13.8% of those are pedestrians, it seems reasonable to conclude that a whole lot of unconscious people are operating lethal cages on wheels, with disasterous results for themselves and innocents. But, we write them all off as accidents. Why? Because human beings are fungible under the law.

Every person is an other, an isolate in a potentially intimidating situation. So, if their skin color or a foreign place of birth gives them an excuse for both ascribing and discounting their feeling of otherness, they’re lucky. It helps them overcome the sense of insecurity and the impotence it leads to. Otherness that is imposed is easier to deal with than that which arises from one’s sense of self. Of course, people who have no sense of self are saved the bother of dealing with anything. They just follow their gut.