Martin-Zimmerman: Tragedy triggers sad racial finger-pointing

We have watched with sadness the divisions in our country over the George Zimmerman trial in Florida.

Zimmerman, a Neighborhood Watchman who is hispanic, was acquitted of all charges in the shooting death trial that arose from the death of black teenager Trayvon Martin. A jury of six women unanimously accepted Zimmerman’s self-defense argument.

Their decision set off a round of protests and claims racism was at the heart of the verdict. President Obama chose to spotlight Martin’s death before and after the trial, singling it out among sadly thousands like it that occur in this country.

A week after the verdict, the president decried the Stand Your Ground self-defense law that exists in the majority of the nation’s states, even though that law did not play a role in the case.

The president turned up the racial profiling meter, claiming Martin could have been him and claiming that he had experienced elements of racial profiling as a youth.

We believe black people in this country are being hurt the most by this latest round of racial divisiveness. Statistics show many black youths in this country grow up at an unfair disadvantage for cultural reasons the lack of a male role model, neighborhood drug influences, gangs and a culture of dependence. They need hope and strength to reverse the trends they are fighting.

The clearest path to creating the momentum needed to give all black children the opportunity they deserve is for, above all else, black leaders to show the way. This includes civil rights officials, entertainers, athletes, ministers, business and political leaders. They are in the best position to create the needed cultural change.

Instead, tensions have been fueled by a wave of sensationalist talk by people, some in the media, who have, frankly, made a living out of creating racial differences. Against that backdrop, the president had an opportunity to be the uniting statesman he promised he would be when he was first elected.

He chose instead to arrogantly stoke the fires of racial division despite a lack of evidence that this was a case based on race. He chose the agenda of racial differences when crime statistics say that, overwhelming, most black people who are murdered are murdered by other black people.

Likewise, most hispanics who are murdered are murdered by other hispanics and most whites who are murdered are murdered by other white people.

Obama chose to leave behind the president who campaigned on the principle that the country should not be divided into black America and white America.

We agree with that principle and pray for the day when a responsible jury making a tough decision can do so without the assumption that race is a factor, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.

Our heart goes out to the parents of Trayvon Martin for what they are being asked to endure and we salute the grace they have displayed.

We are disappointed that our president and a select few racial tension traffickers have used the teen’s death to relight the fires of division when most Americans of all colors are working very hard to create unity.