After Zimmerman: What the world needs now
By Lisa Fritsch
Justice is a lot like beauty. What one sees depends on their perspective.
Where race is concerned in America, true justice is beside the point.
Whites cried foul at the O.J. Simpson verdict. Now, Blacks fume over George Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict.
As both sides become inflamed to a boiling point, regardless of verdict, racial division is guaranteed.
Those who feel denied or betrayed rarely leave the courtroom in peace. With Simpson, the grieving Goldman family fought back in civil court to receive financial justice. Trayvon Martin’s family and a supportive Black community vow to find justice through civil suits and marches. Others chose violence.
It’s about how justice is defined in the Black community. Cases such as the Zimmerman trial become less about the circumstances and more about a desire for “racial justice.”
This is a perverted sense of justice where the victim (always Black) is immortalized to perfection and beyond reproach. The bad guy (in this case, “white Hispanic”) must accept complete responsibility for the outcome despite any actions or fault by the victim.
Justice is only served by punishing the “racist,” creating a harmonious path to racial justice.
Why so one-sided? Despite professional, political and artistic progress, the Black community remains insecure about our equality. It applies not only to opportunity and freedom, but also actions and character. Unfortunately, too many still feel there is part of the meal not getting while we are somehow paying more of the bill.
Our faith fails to alleviate this insecurity of being shortchanged and left out, even though God is the one true judge of all things earthly and eternal, in and outside of race. The affirmation we crave, in terms of complete acceptance and unconditional love, can only come from God.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. understood this well:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
When Dr. King said this during one of America’s most racially-divided times, he was not debating the cruelty and injustice of hate and racism. Nor was he denying its power. He was instead speaking of the only way to overcome the stain of discrimination and hate.
The Black community has the power to heal our country with love and light.
An olive branch of love and forgiveness towards both sides in the Zimmerman case is what our country needs most.
If we respond in love, we teach young people to reach for something higher than courtroom justice: moral justice.
This peace is better than justice. This is security in equality.
Moments like these present an opportunity to let love overcome what is unfair, common and lowly and turn it into a mass of light where ugliness is washed away.
An instinct to fight back and seek revenge is natural and strong. But this proves that the fear has outwitted us and enslaved us once again to a limited sense of power, respect and equality.
Not only do we hold within ourselves the power to change and grow stronger in love so that our community benefits and prospers, but we can also disarm and confuse darkness so that it walks alone with no place to settle.
To achieve peace, let us first be peace.
The most powerful and noble way to seek justice is to pray for peace, love and understanding on all sides. If it is true justice we seek, we must trust in God’s equality and his right to judge above all. We must rest in faith that in being love, we can receive and create love.
This is what the world needs right now.