racism and an old white guy’s opinions (as of today)


Well.opinion bellybutton

Having received a number of emails asking for my opinion on the Zimmerman/Martin trial and the protests in the aftermath I figured … aw … what the heck. I may as well show how unenlightened I am, how old & white I am and share some of my thoughts <opinions> in the aftermath of the Zimmerman-Martin trial.



Let me cover my butt with a couple of overriding thoughts.

–          I am an older white guy. I will never know what it feels like to be an African American or any minority in this predominately white majority world of ours. I may empathize … even sympathize … but I cannot ever walk one minute in the shoes of a minority.

–          To me … the president of the united states was on target with regard to several things but I will choose but one … he said “each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race. It doesn’t mean that we’re in a post racial society. It doesn’t mean that racism is eliminated. But when I listen <to the younger generation> they’re better than we are.” 

We are a work in progress. While we would all like to measure ourselves off the ‘end game’ <a totally non-racial enlightened society> it is probably more realistic to measure ourselves against progress.



I began with racial topics & overtones and in many ways I believe it is a good thing we continue a public dialogue with regard to race and continue to progress in the work of ‘getting and being better.’

Public dialogue can be contentious … lots of conflict … but sometimes the hardest discussions will create friction. And from that friction comes a spark of change.


But … moving on.

Secondly, I believe the two topics which we should be truly discussing are cynicism <of the system> and as a byproduct of that … well … fear … or possibly ‘fear for me.’

This is a non-race discussion but rather an all-race discussion. This is a cultural full population discussion.


Let me explain how I got to those topics by highlighting the two things I want to tell people from the case itself:


opinions and facts–          Innocent until proven guilty.

The verdict was the verdict. People can bitch & moan & gnash their teeth over some perception that justice was not served.

But justice in America is defined “innocent until proven guilty” until someone tells me otherwise.


Would the verdict have been different if it was “guilty until proven innocent”? Probably. But move elsewhere if that is the justice system you desire.

I am not a law guy but in a trial like this one <not a civil suit> even if a jury believes someone is 75% guilty … that 25% doubt makes someone still ‘innocent.’

Can it make you crazy? Sure. But our country and culture is built upon ‘eliminating reasonable doubt’ and until you do so we presume you are innocent.

Eliminate that and … well … heck … I will move to a different country.

The justice system and lawyers in cases like this, works pretty well. Lawyers do their job and present the information in the best possible way. Judges guide … and juries discuss, debate and reflect what is hopefully a cross stitching of what general public would conclude.

All I could judge from the case <personally> was a tragedy of errors <in judgment and actions> with both participants. I imagine both would like to go back in time if they were given the opportunity. That said … I can see exactly how a jury would have reasonable doubt.

“Innocent until proven guilty.”



A lot of the response to the trial says to me, that concern me, in general …

(a)     … people do not understand the system.

Innocent until proven guilty is just that. Just because you don’t like the outcome of some judiciary process doesn’t mean that the process didn’t work.

This is simply my opinion … I do not have facts to support my feeling … but my gut tells me that a shitload of people do not understand ‘innocent until proven guilty’ and how important that belief is to the underpinnings of who we are as a country.


(b)    … people do not trust the system.

They are cynical of a HUGE issue & question … does the system work?

And I mean any governmental or bureaucratic system … although when it reaches the judiciary system you have to become really concerned. People feel it is rigged or broken or however they want to define their cynicism. It doesn’t really matter how they define it … they are just cynical.

Trust me on this one … if Zimmerman had received a guilty charge the world would have gone just as berserk … just different folk protesting and screaming and writing absurd editorials in what are supposed to be insightful thoughtful news delivery systems.


That cynicism feeds into a concerning cultural aspect in combination with another uncomfortable truth not being discussed from the trial & verdict ….


–          Here is an uncomfortable truth … we all profile.opinion deception


Culturally this profiling behavior can span from innocuous ‘assessing with a real purpose in mind’ to a more concerning ‘a fear that if I do not do it the system certainly will not help me.”

It all feeds into a ‘protecting myself at all times’ mentality <or ‘if I don’t think about me no one else will’>.



The whole ‘we all profile’ thought. We profile in a variety of situations crisscrossing our everyday lives. Yup. On a variety of things and ‘criteria’ we all profile people.

I did it when I was a bouncer in college bars.

I did it when I was a 20something entering into a bar <socially>.

I did it with neighborhoods when I was house hunting in adulthood.

I do it when an interviewee walks through the door.

And, yes, I do it when walking the streets.

Excusable? Whew. Probably not … but it is what it is. I do the best I can and I imagine most people do the best they can to overcome negative/ignorant/stupid profiling.


Assuming you have any self-awareness at all … you know you will be profiled. You change your wardrobe depending on how you want to be profiled. You change what you say … and even how you act sometimes. As a corollary … you purposefully do not change to make a point.

Regardless of whatever in your self-awareness you do, or don’t do … you are managing how you are being profiled.

I would argue that we have reached an enlightened enough stage in our racial awareness that skin color by itself doesn’t drive our profile image … but rather it is a combination of cues that drive the profile.

I, just as our president, could have been negatively profiled on any given day depending on what I was wearing and how I carried myself as a 17 year old punk … and I am white.

We all profile. Sad but true.



The personal fear factor.

If the system is rigged or broken … you have only yourself you can trust to protect your own interests. Cynicism leads to personal cocooning.

Even the most enlightened person will profile with survival in mind. If your personal survival radar is even pinged slightly your attitudes & behavior go into overdrive.

I won’t drag us into a ‘what does survival mean’ discussion but rather instead suggest that an “I mentality” is a very very important cultural issue.

It translates into a country, or civilization, with a bunch of “I’s” and small “I groups” with such fear that they will focus on ‘what is the right thing to do for me’ significantly overriding the moral imperative of ‘what is the best thing for we.’

I could be tilting windmills in thinking this … but as I watched and heard the aftermath of the verdict I saw a bunch of scared people discussing “I” things.


That’s it.

That’s what I think. My opinion and no one else’s so take it with a grain of salt.


One final thought about race.


Jason Whitlock writes some iffy thoughts … but this one caught my eye.

While I am not sure I buy everything he is selling … I do believe the black community can do many things to affect, positively or negatively, to impact cultural progress … within the black communty.

opinions strong on know nothingHow do I feel qualified saying that <as a white guy>?

Because I believe I, and the white community, can do many things to affect, positively or negatively, to impact cultural progress in the white community.

I want to tear my hair out when I hear older white people dissing young blacks’ wardrobe, demeanor and attitudes.


Holy shit. Have you checked out some of the young whites checkering our streets? Have you even checked out all the older white guys in blue shirts & red ties <with anchors on them> and their demeanor & attitudes?


In the end. My opinion.

We diminish the true issues by making this whole discussion about racial issues. There are some massive underlying cultural issues which are being ignored.

And we need to fix ‘em before they break us all.



Here is Jason Whitlock’s article. Interesting read.





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Written by Bruce