If my apology could reverse the bullet of prejudice which took the life of Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012... it would be given in the blink of an eye. If I could atone for the fact that, perhaps due to my race, I was not even aware of the assassination of Trayvon until weeks after it occurred... I would. If I was able to change the historical facts which have lead up to the point where I, a white man, identify with the shooter, a Latino, almost by default... it would be done. But I can't. So I offer these words to a society which is being forced – again – to confront the ugly sore of racial injustice that we have hidden under layers of costly denial: enough empty words and broken promises, enough political correct talk of post-racial societies, we must deal with race realistically and honestly.
I am tired of blacks making up 39% of the American prison population, while representing only 13% of the society. I am tired of living with the knowledge that, while white people like me are more likely to use drugs, black people are more likely to be stopped, searched, arrested, and convicted for drug use. I am tired of being certain that if I was shot dead in the street while carrying skittles and ice tea, it would be a cover story the next day; if one of my black friends was shot in the same way people would say, “he shouldn't have had his pants sagging so low.” Enough with the baggy jeans – stopping the sag won't end racism; ending racism will end racism. I am sick of learning about black men who are taught at a young age how to “behave” around white people – as if white racism is a black problem. No, its a white problem, and we need to deal with it.
I am so over white guilt. I am over privileged whites feeling bad for people of color; its downright demeaning. Stop patronizing and start getting angry. I am so over white people getting offended by “the N-word” It isn't the word that's the problem, its the attitude behind it. Stop pretending the symptoms of racism are the causes of racism. Enough wasted tears and sycophantic sympathy. Enough crying about cycles of violence, cycles of poverty, cycles of ignorance... what about cycles of apathy? I am fed up with white guilt, not because there is nothing to feel guilty about, but because it implies that there is nothing to be done. Stop feeling bad and start doing good. Stop saying that you aren't racist – our society is – fix it!
Its been a month since Trayvon was shot dead in Florida by a zealous neighborhood watch volunteer named George Zimmerman. Its been a month and Zimmerman has yet to be arrested. Justice has yet to be served. Closure has yet to be granted to the family of Trayvon, the 17 year old guilty of nothing but being black. While the assailant was Latino, those committing the travesty of justice allowing Zimmerman to walk free are predominately white. So if my apology would do anything, I would give it. If more words of condolence would end the system which labels blacks as intrinsically more dangerous than whites, I would write them. Instead I join those demanding justice. I offer my outrage. It is far more useful.