One in Equality: Race and the Zimmerman Case

Posted by on Jul 14, 2013 in Articles | 2 comments

One in Equality: Race and the Zimmerman Case

With all the attention surrounding the George Zimmerman case, I have one simple thought. I did not follow the case closely and therefore I am not looking to get into debates about the nuances.

But the case has brought the subject of race back into the public spotlight in America, yet again. It is a subject that never goes away, at least not more than a short spot of time until it reappears for one reason or another. Fine. Let us place the subject of race in its proper light:


Racism — especially legalized racism — is ugly and wrong for one simple reason, and one reason only: Because ALL men are created equal, because ALL human beings are equal in their inalienable natural rights to their own life, their own liberty, their own property, their own free pursuit of happiness. If the Declaration of Independence is wrong, if human beings do NOT possess equal natural rights, then it’s hard to see why racism in any form is not right. But if the Declaration is RIGHT, then it must be WRONG to treat people differently under the laws based on the color of their skin or any other incidental characteristic.

Racism is nothing new to the human condition. But the discovery of the only principle by which we can condemn racism as wrong, equality of natural rights, is. It was not widely known before 1776. But there it stands in our own founding document, still shining in glorious splendor, simplicity, and beauty, a beacon to guide us then, and now.


So for everyone shouting “racism” today, let us work to ensure that our laws embrace the color-blind principle of human equality. Demand it, and nothing less. Demand equal protection under the laws for equal individual rights. Every law that asks what color skin a person has should immediately be suspect. For that matter, every law that asks what ethnicity a person is, or what religion a person believes, or how much money a person makes, or what occupation a person does for a living — anything dividing Americans into categories for different treatment, perks, benefits, burdens, discrimination — should be immediately suspect.

Racial discrimination in the laws is wrong for the same reason religious discrimination, economic discrimination, or any other kind of discrimination is wrong. Let us stand upon the solid moral ground of Human Equality, demanding equal protection from our laws, lawgivers, law enforcers, and law judges, budging NOT ONE INCH! And when we have achieved that, let us work on being friends with our fellow Americans in the civil sphere of private human interactions, regardless of color. Please let us be grown up and decent enough to strive for that. Any other option is…ugly and wrong, tired and tried and failed.

2 Responses to “One in Equality: Race and the Zimmerman Case”

  1. Jon Hatfield says:

    What do you mean by “it is hard not to see why racism in any form is not right” unless by the idea of equal natural rights as stated in the Declaration of Independence? No, racism is wrong in any form on Christian principle and that is how America has won through a perverted historical form of racism to be the first civilization in history to achieve REALITY, not just in words, of equality of races and other sight, social, creed, etc. differences. America has achieved not just the ideal of equal treatment but celebration of distinctions and achievements in differences and contributions by ethnicities to our civilization (some of which I personally might wish less celebrated but that’s another subject…as is also government measures to deal with realities of unequal opportunities from social and economic circumstances). America is the most Christian nation on earth in practice and idea–though perhaps more so by those not churchgoers than by the bible thumping faction. ha. Jesus, as I recall, was not a thumper and quoter but showed us the Word by example and idea.

    Regarding racism, we started out with a plantation system that was a perverted form developing from historical transplantation of the manorial system from the old world to the new…and DOI writer Thomas Jefferson was a plantation and slave owner by circumstance of time and place. No personal fault, historical circumstance. It took an awful civil war to overcome that historical circumstance, and then it wasn’t possible to have real equal treatment because of real social differences and segregation was the pragmatic intermediate measure (Lincoln wanted emigration to Africa). As late as the late 1940s I recall reading Eleanor Roosevelt statement that interracial marriage was fine but they should not have children because they would suffer discrimination. No greater statesman or stateswoman since the founding fathers perhaps than these two but even they could not envision how America would overcome the color status divide.

    Yes, unequal treatment was pragmatic necessity for generations, a contradiction of our ideal and right, but despite aberrant atrocities and systemic enforcement of status, the ideal of equality persisted to its greater triumph in our own lifetime. Andrew Jackson’s words on his deathbed to his slaves is said to have been, “We shall all be together in heaven, black and white, black and white”–and Rev. King and leaders of the civil rights movement had faith in the ordinary goodness and Christianity of white southerners to demonstrate against segregation and discrimination without fear of violence from more than a few extreme fanatics. Immediate justice and right are not always immediately achievable in circumstances of place and time. The extraordinary color and social status difference America has overcome shows that, with patience and some pragmatic accommodations but looking always toward better, wrong can be overcome and right achieved. More than that–we do not appreciate enough not just the justice finally reached (perhaps some distance yet to go) and the distinctive enrichment added to America’s various ethnicities parts but far more than that a degree of equality in differences never achieved anywhere before and–like our model of govt. of limited powers with checks and balances, union of states with own independent powers with checks and balances, & other independent incorporations and most important independent individuals–the model for future civilization.

    We do not appreciate enough what has been achieved by America for the future of human civilization. Greek and Roman civilization developed on the edges of ancient civilization and Britain and America likewise by circumstances of separation from the European continent and greater separation in a new world have formed the model for the future of human civilization in government and human achievement. In the sense of human achievement and government detail perhaps what was our most persistent and intractable problem and contradiction has become America’s most distinctive and hallmark achievement.

    I suppose I shouldn’t be so picky about your formulation of the right and wrong of racism, but I do insist on giving credit to America’s signature equality of ethnicities and differences achievement to basic Christian principle as well as statement of equal rights in the Declaration of Independence…but more just basic Christian principle and decency and trust in trying to do right as best we can under circumstances…not absolute perfection but the way toward it.

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