JOHNNY C. TAYLOR JR.
(NNPA)—As I spent Sunday listening to everyone pontificate their theories about how White racism led to George Zimmerman’s acquittal, it struck me how yesterday’s and today’s protests are—a dollar short and a day late.
Saturday night after the verdict was read, hundreds of Black people gathered in the front of the Florida governor’s mansion to protest the outcome. Several of our best-known “leaders and pundits” hit the media outlets to express their outrage; and many of us Tweeted/Facebooked/Instagrammed ourselves to sleep—seething in disbelief. Even our dear president decided to proffer an official statement safely expressing his concern at the outcome. But why all the protests now?
Why weren’t these people standing in the front of the Governor’s Mansion raising hell when the state of Florida educated a young woman for 12 years in its public school system who admitted she couldn’t read cursive? She was the prosecutor’s main witness. And we wonder what led to the verdict? It’d be tough for even an all-Black jury to give her testimony any credence.
Why wasn’t there a crowd on the steps of the Miami-Dade School Board building protesting the fact that Black and Latino boys are nearly four times more likely than their White counterparts to be suspended from school for the same infraction? After all, if Trayvon hadn’t been suspended from school, he wouldn’t have been in Sanford, and therefore couldn’t have been killed there that night.
Why didn’t our anointed “leaders and pundits” use their media platforms to protest the disparity in funding to HBCU law schools —the very institutions that have historically ensured the country a robust supply of African-American lawyers to fight the very injustices we complain about?
I heard countless commentators point out that a White judge presided over the case and the team of lawyers trying the case were all White. But they failed to call-out the historical and continued funding cuts to schools, such as the Florida A&M University School of Law, that are responsible for creating diversity in the justice system. No Black lawyers equal no Black judges, which means the continued disparate treatment our “leaders and pundits” all described in the media the last several days shouldn’t be a surprise.