I draw your attention to this piece by Sam Rocha at Patheos (a site bringing together all sorts of different religious views and insights). It looks at the Zimmerman trial with a keen eye, and draws some wide conclusions based on reading many of the key court documents/statements (NB fascinating to see them via the link).
Read the whole thing as it puts these issues in a much wider philosphical context. Thus:
As vulgar as that may be, a lesson we can learn is this: there is a crucial distinction between what we mean by “justice” when we are speaking about the common intuitions that ought to inform the law and the just application of the actual laws on the books. The law does not always correspond to what is just, we’ve known this since Augustine, or Moses vs. Pharaoh. This might be, among other things, because we are not sure how to describe, and much less judge, what justice is to begin with.
People like to make fun of theory and philosophy and abstract thought. But without it, the application of justice will only be harder, if not impossible, to do. The lack of clarity in our present laws reflects a conceptual lack of clarity in our ability to describe the concept of justice and its many applications…
… One thing is sure: just as the Left has conveniently tried to use preventive defense to justify Trayvon’s assault, and in doing so endorsed the Bush Doctrine, so too with the Right on the (ir)relevance of racism, and especially racism against the Black community: to dismiss the cancerous problem of racism, and in particular the racist legacy of the US, out of convenience, also denies the role it plays in a particularly graphic, yet apt description of abortion: genocide. If race and racism cease to be real, then genocide is impossible. If genocide is impossible, then it only follows that one cannot make the claim that contemporary abortion rates are genocidal.
Furthermore, given the monstrous presence of genocide (and other racial, national, and ethnic conflicts) in the past century, and throughout history, anyone who attempts to wish away racism ought to be more cautious and far less desperate.
My guess is that racism runs deep in the human psyche; it is ideological not material, and, like suffering, will not be washed away and may not even be entirely evil. It should not be oversimplified.** The paranoid post-racial nonsense reminds me of New Atheists trying to rid themselves of religion without understanding that it is more than a passtime or a club — it is a fundamental desire inherent to the human person, a longing for something beyond, warts (even genocide!) and all.
I have posted a long comment there, part of which is this:
“My guess is that racism runs deep in the human psyche; it is ideological not material, and, like suffering, will not be washed away and may not even be entirely evil”
Beautifully put. Social solidarity, tradition and community (all good) can end up being defensive and fearful of ‘otherness’ (bad). Racism is part of that wider dynamic. The way to deal with it is patient fair-minded emphasis on what people have in common, not to bludgeon people into thinking a certain way. The contrast between the inclusive language of Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela and the crabbed, aggressive unpleasant Marxist tone of the Western ‘race relations’ grievance industry today is more than obvious.
Anyone arguing with that?