The Long Walk to Justice -- and Compassion Fatigue
Reflecting on the death of Trayvon Martin, blogger and activist Farai Chideya asks in a blog entry, "Where do we go from here?" She says it's easy to work up ire about individual cases, but harder to work on systemic change.
The family and scores of people across the nation have been hammering the Sanford, Florida, authorities for failing to arrest Zimmerman. But now it’s spiraling into a media circus, with the grieving family caught in the middle. The audio of their son’s death is heard on news reports and available on the internet. A little known black militia is claiming they’ll make a citizen’s arrest of Zimmerman, which the family doesn’t want.
The lives of young black men are treated with suspicion and casual indifference by too many. For every case like this that makes headlines, an untold number more pass as par for the course. So while many people are asking for justice for Trayvon Martin, I have to ask myself, as a reporter and an American, how we can leverage the anger over individual incidents into a larger restructuring of perceptions and justice. There’s a well-documented bias against black boys and men, ranging from schools to jobs to the criminal justice system. (It’s worth reading each of the linked studies).
So, where do we go from here? It’s easy to work up ire about individual cases, but harder to work on systemic change. Systemic change is a long process, often tedious, with reversals in both the judicial courts and the court of public opinion. (Remember the exoneration of the five young men wrongly convicted in the Central Park jogger rape case? How many times did their faces flash across tv when they were arrested and convicted, and how many of us today even remember their names?)
Read the entire blog entry at Farai.com.