Letter: Before judging, consider both sides

I’d like to add my two cents regarding the George Zimmerman verdict. Put aside for a moment your opinion of the verdict and consider that the incident might be a symptom of a larger problem.

If an African-American man in his 20s wearing fashionable clothes were to walk down the streets of an affluent neighborhood, there is a fairly high probability that he would get suspicious looks, be judged automatically as a potential thief, incite fear and be questioned or reported.

Perhaps he’s taking a short-cut? Going to get groceries? Visiting a friend? No, at least one person will assume that he wants to steal your neighbor’s car and sell your children drugs.

Imagine the damage this would do to your self-esteem and self-respect over time. Imagine the indignity of being judged this way simply because of your race and demographic.

Try to empathize with this, the phenomenon by which all people assume you to be evil without justification, when you consider why an African-American might see racial overtones in the tragic Trayvon Martin slaying.

So, in moving forward, try to live with kindness and tolerance in your heart. It’s cost-effective, it feels good and it’s what Jesus would do.

Paul Lang, PhD


Baton Rouge