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Fr. Bryan Massingale on the Trayvon Martin case

 |  NCR Today

U.S. Catholic has posted a powerful  piece by theologian Fr. Bryan Massingale on the Trayvon Martin case. Massingale, an African American, has written with deep insight on race in America.

Yet, my deepest “blues” in this whole affair stems from the fact that what black men call “profiling” many white Americans consider “reasonable behavior.” For them, it is a self-evident fact that the vast majority of crimes are committed by black males—despite the empirical evidence to the contrary. They deny they are “racists” for they don’t believe that “all” black men are dangerous or malevolent. But at a visceral level, many white people are convinced that “most” of us are, or could be, and thus they are justified in presuming that we are until we prove otherwise.

This is why the language of profiling and the presumption of guilt neither resonates with nor greatly disturbs them. Profiling becomes reasonable; one is just playing the odds. And if a few innocents get inconvenienced or harmed, well, that’s the price we as a society are willing to pay for safety. “Collateral damage” isn’t a reality only in foreign wars.

- See more at: http://www.uscatholic.org/blog/201307/when-profiling-%E2%80%9Creasonable%E2%80%9D-injustice-becomes-excusable-27574#sthash.0pqpTTgY.dpuf

Yet, my deepest “blues” in this whole affair stems from the fact that what black men call “profiling” many white Americans consider “reasonable behavior.” For them, it is a self-evident fact that the vast majority of crimes are committed by black males—despite the empirical evidence to the contrary. They deny they are “racists” for they don’t believe that “all” black men are dangerous or malevolent. But at a visceral level, many white people are convinced that “most” of us are, or could be, and thus they are justified in presuming that we are until we prove otherwise.

This is why the language of profiling and the presumption of guilt neither resonates with nor greatly disturbs them. Profiling becomes reasonable; one is just playing the odds. And if a few innocents get inconvenienced or harmed, well, that’s the price we as a society are willing to pay for safety. “Collateral damage” isn’t a reality only in foreign wars.

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- See more at: http://www.uscatholic.org/blog/201307/when-profiling-%E2%80%9Creasonable%E2%80%9D-injustice-becomes-excusable-27574#sthash.0pqpTTgY.dpuf

This piece issues from personal experience. 

 

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July 4-17, 2014

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