Racism or Mental Illness?

By: Rhonda “Roni” Gutierrez

After all the media hype regarding the Trayvon Martin case, I have often wondered if the crime was based on racism or just plain mental illness.  I truly believe that this was a case of mental illness.  Although many are quick to file this incident as racial profiling, I am not so sure.  George Zimmerman is actually a Spanish speaking Latino.  He has many black relatives and friends.  In fact, some of his friends of African American descent have come forward to speak on his behalf.  From what I know about racists, they don’t usually hang around with those that they are prejudiced against.

George Zimmerman was simply mentally ill.  According to reports, he was always obsessed with becoming involved with law enforcement.  He took his position as neighborhood watchman much too far.  Zimmerman is known to have called 911 hundreds of times.  This man was gun happy and took this particular opportunity to play cop.

Why is it that we always jump to racism, when it comes to crimes involving different races? In my opinion, this only complicates the case.  Don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware that racism exists.  However, racism is not the case in every situation. Automatically claiming that crimes are racially motivated only fuels more racism within our communities leading to more hate crimes.  It becomes a vicious cycle.

Why aren’t we just as upset about our youth killing each other? Every day, in the city of Detroit, we have black-on-black crime.  Our young Latinos are killing each other every day, due to gang violence.  Why aren’t we marching for them?

Am I upset about the Trayvon Martin case? I sure am.  As a mother, it makes me sick that a grown man would kill an unarmed child.  My heart breaks for Trayvon’s parents. However, I am also upset that babies, women and children are being killed in my city and around the country on a daily basis.  We can’t blame racism on that, can we? We can blame it on ignorance, poverty, drugs, gangs and lack of parenting.  I march in support of peace and love.  Peace and love start with recognizing that racism should never be the first thing spouted from our mouths.

“‘There are too many preachers [but] not enough service,'” Cosby began, after the roar of shock and applause died down.  ‘Tell me where Jesus would allow drug dealing on the corner? Tell me where Jesus would allow people to shoot guns for no reason, missing and then hitting a child who is paralyzed for life? And we don’t do anything but have a funeral. But let a cop shoot [a black man], and you set his car on fire and burn up the police stations. Contradictions.'” Bill Cosby



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