Speaking & Teaching

Jul. 17, 2022
Jul. 13, 2022

I remember growing up in the early 1960s and having watched a movie named KNOCK ON ANY DOOR, with Sal Mineo as the accused and Humphery Bogart as the Defense Attorney. The book actually was written by an African American columnist who worked at the Chicago Defender, Willard Motley. The movie told a story of the decrepit nature of growing up in an urban slum situation that revolved around violence. To me watching the movie as a teenager was a story that implied that by the grace of God there goes anyone of my African American friends at that time could've been in the situation accused of the crime that Sal Mineo eventually the ultimate price for, his life in the electric chair. Yes. knock on any door in America's ghettos and urban pits of hell called slums and the guilty, or innocent could be accused and convicted of a crime that they either were or weren't responsible for committing. 

 

As the Trayvon Martin jury in Sanford, Florida decides the fate of George Zimmerman I ask myself could I, or any one of us in the same situation could have been either party, George or Trayvon. In many of our urban neighborhoods that are filled with crimes against people and property, do we protect ourselves and others against those who commit crimes against us? I see hopeful signs with the murder rate of young black males decreasing over the past decade. Yet, each day in the major urban newspapers across this country way too many young African American males are either laying dead on city streets or facing inordinate jail time for the crime of murder. Is the rate of murderous crimes decreasing or is it just the fact the medical trauma procedures have improved to the extent are saved that once weren't? 

 

I know my sons liked Skittles and Ice Tea, could either have been a victim like Trayvon Martin? Oh yes, they could have but could I have been the accused like George Zimmerman? I don't think so. You see I was born with a moral compass that disavowed that streak of violence, and racial bigotry that George Zimmerman was born with. You see every black boy or man young or old that George Zimmerman saw was Sal Mineo, a threat, purposely intending to do harm to him or his neighbors. I do believe that the movie, Knock On Any Door is still relevant today. Yes, knock on any door in inner-city Chicago, inner-city Detroit, hell suburban Buckhead County, Georgia, Washington DC, Baltimore City, Compton, California, Oakland California, Philadelphia, or New York's Brooklyn communities and you can meet a possible victim as Trayvon Martin caught in the right place at the wrong time. Or knock on any suburban caucasian door in this nation and you can find another George Zimmerman. We need to understand that George Zimmerman is not the enemy, he is simply America's symptom of a far greater problem. The human perception is that we as people don't have a sense of humanity towards each other because skin color has divided us. Whether George Zimmerman walks or is imprisoned (he walked) will neither solve nor evaporate this horrendous racial problem. It will remain a problem in American Society because many in our nation view our black youths negatively, and many of them view themselves as dreamless, hopeless vehicles of nothingness. We need only knock on any door.

#KNOCKONANYDOOR

Jul. 13, 2022

In 1944 sociologist Gunnar Myrdal provided a deep insight into the contradictions of American democracy related to its treatment of African Americans. In the 74 years since that publication the color line still troubles the equality line in the Disunited States.