Batuhan: The color green-A A +A
Saturday, April 14, 2012
TWO weeks is a long time in America. Just the week before Easter, we talked about how constant racial angst seems to be keeping this nation almost forever in its grip.
Back then, the minority African-American community was up in arms over what it perceived to be unjust treatment one if its own was receiving from the white-dominated justice system.
Since then, the name Trayvon Martin has become synonymous with the racial divide in America.
On the one hand, the African-American community feels that the white majority get away with murder – literally – because they perceive that the wheels of justice always grind in the latter’s favour. On the other, the white majority believe that the minority are quick to raise an uproar when it is a white-on-black crime, but always look the other way at the by-far more numerous black-on-black incidents of violence.
Just today, it seems that things have come to a mutually acceptable end, for now.
George Zimmermann – the accused criminal – has been arrested and charged for the killing of the young, black teenager. The judicial process has taken over, and both parties – it seems – are now content to leave their fate to the system.
For a terribly angst-ridden nation, this is a saving grace. For America – despite its relative immaturity as far as race relations are concerned – can at least rely on democratic systems that work. Justice, give or take a few odd outcomes, does seem to function as it should. Whether one is in the white majority, or with one of the minority groups, one is almost certain to get their fair hearing by a jury of their peers. Yes, thousands of innocent people do get jail time. And yes, thousands of guilty people remain scot-free. But by and large, those who break the law do get their just rewards.
This is in stark contrast to what we have at home.
Though we have no apparent problems with regards to race – being more or less a racially homogenous nation – our systems do not work as they are intended.
Rather than being split along racial divides, what seems to divide us are the proverbial train tracks. The haves have it good, while the have-nots cannot even have their day in court.
Just look at what is happening with the Maguindanao massacre.
Years after it happened, the alleged perpetrators are still so far from being served their just punishment for their extremely heinous crimes. Witnesses are disappearing, and proceedings do not seem that encouraging in terms of proper conviction and consequent incarceration.
Yes, I did say last week that America is a very imperfect place as far as race relations are concerned. Yes, I also said that it has fallen way below in my own personal scale, in the area of cultural and racial harmony.
I do take my hats off, though, to their functioning democratic systems. Elections work, and for the most part are clean. The justice system appears to be blind to color – whether it be black, brown, yellow, or indeed, green.
The Philippines? Yes, racial problems are not in our immediate area of concern. We do not have protests arising from one group feeling like it is getting the shorter end of the stick compared to another.
But we pay for it with our rotten systems, where everything seems to work only if one has the resources to pay for them.
So while America may have problems with the colors black and white, we seem to have ours on a single color alone—the color green.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 14, 2012.