April 21, 2016

Florida Congressman Alan Grayson gave a passionate speech regarding the "wretched state of race relations in America today" where he used two anectodal stories to show how differently two stories ended based on the color of the teenagers skin.

The first story involves two white teenagers who are actually breaking the law and how they are handled with kid gloves and returned safely home. The second story involves a black teen who isn't breaking the law at all, but is involved in a series of events that lead to his death, seemingly purely based on the color of his skin.

I encourage you to watch the video, but here are a few quotes that are noteworthy

"This is not just one person's tragedy. It is not just the tragedy of these parents standing at his gravesite. It is the tragedy of America. We persist in being a country of sometimes casual racism, racism that sometimes goes unnoticed. If you say a bad word that begins with the letter N and there happens to be a recording device nearby, you will certainly be scolded and to some degree held accountable, that much is true. But institutionalized racism, racial profiling, redlining is not treated the same way because it is just too hard. It is much like the concept that, if we close our eyes to it, it will somehow disappear.

I asked the FBI to investigate whether there is racial profiling by the police force in Tampa. They are thinking about it. I don't know if they are going to say yes or they are going to say no. I can't tell for sure. That is their decision, not mine.

What do we finally do--finally, finally, finally--50 years after the civil rights movement began, to end inequality in this country, end it? It starts with justice, and it ends with equality. Not just the pablum of equality of opportunity, that buzz phrase that we use in order to solve our consciences, but, rather, the equality of results: an America where an African American boy is just as likely to go to college as a White boy; an America where an African American is just as likely to earn as much money as a White, and, for God's sake, an African American can live as long as a White man does."

Powerful words.

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