Saturday, July 13, 2013

Will There Be Blood?

It seems that a lot of people, including a lot of African Americans are fearful that should George Zimmerman be acquitted there'll be riots, death, and destruction.

Why? Why is it assumed that blacks will riot? Would the same assumption be made about whites or Asians or Hispanics? I doubt it, so one wonders if lurking in the hearts of many of those who expect riots is the further unspoken assumption that blacks just can't be held to the same standard as others, that they can't be expected to behave as well as others.

I don't see how this cannot be what is tacitly behind all the talk of race riots in the event that George Zimmerman is found not guilty of murder or manslaughter in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, so that raises a question: Is it racist for these people to fear that blacks will do what no other racial community would be expected to do? In other words, is it racist to think that blacks do not hold themselves to the same standards of civilized behavior as do others?

The answer seems obviously to be yes, given the contemporary understanding of what racism is, but if so then there are a considerable number of black leaders who are racists, who hold their own people to rather low expectations. That seems very odd.

It leaves us with a perplexing pair of alternatives. Either racism - i.e. thinking large segments of one race are in some way inferior - is justified or there's something very wrong with our contemporary understanding and use of the word racism.

UPDATE: CNN is reporting that the jury has found Zimmerman not guilty. I guess now we'll find out whether the assumption of violence in the black community is justified or not.