Perception

This video shows a great little experiment that would be a good discussion starter with a group looking at the issue of racism. Some people fool themselves or maybe try to fool themselves and others that racial prejudice does not exist or is not a big problem. But it is a problem. People, black and white, have a negative perception of black people, particularly young black men. This perception leads to black people being judged as less worthy than black people and being treated as morally, socially and intellectually inferior. This perception and treatment affect the self perception of black people and some can conform to the stereotype which reinforces it.

This week George Zimmerman was acquitted for the murder of Trayvon Martin. I wrote in a FB post that:

Maybe Zimmerman is not racist in the ‘classic sense’ but racism is inherent in America is a way that is more visceral and institutionalised that in the UK. See http://bit.ly/18kJoGB and http://bit.ly/13uWk7h. Zimmerman was advised to stop following Trayvon, he rejected that advice and there was a confrontation. True we don’t know the facts of that confrontation but it was Z’s responsibility to keep it from escalating and to keep himself and T safe, calling for backup if necessary. I would say that he was negligent/incompetent at best and the system that puts him out on the streets with a gun needs to be reviewed. This hasn’t come out. Also there is a need to look at the context in which this is happening, the context of inherent racism and that of a police state in the US as discussed here: http://youtu.be/01nSGb6waE8.

It was Zimmerman’s perception of Trayvon that led to the shooting. Trayvon Martin was effectively guilty of being black. The video of the ‘bike stealers’ shows how people reacted differently to the three actors. It is not a stretch to suggest that Zimmerman might have acted differently if a white boy were acting in exactly the same way as Trayvon. I think, too, that the jury that tried Zimmerman would have come back with a different verson if he had killed a white boy