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The “Discussion” in the Wake of the Martin/Zimmerman Case

July 31, 2013


In the wake of the Trayvon Martin slaying and the acquittal of his murderer, George Zimmerman, there has been yet another public outcry for a “discussion” about racism. At the same time, President Obama was pilloried by the Right for his response to a question about the Martin/Zimmerman case that, thirty-five years ago, he could have been the one shot by a white man for no other reason than that he, Obama, was a black teenager. He appeared weary of hearing people say that what we, as a country, needed was a “discussion,” noting that the last group of Americans who should be included in the “discussion” are politicians. Obama seemed to be talking more as an adult black man than the supreme leader of the free world.

Meanwhile the Right dismissed anyone who said that the murder and acquittal were racially motivated acts, calling them victim-based whiners, reserving its most potent venom for Obama and his aforementioned speech. Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity voiced opinions that were borderline racist firebombs – and got away with it, and even, in the process, enhanced their already lucrative broadcasting careers. The fact that the two Rightwing partisans were rewarded for channeling their inner George Wallace, coupled with the recent Supreme Court decision that overruled a key provision in the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act, demonstrated to minorities that, yes, racism is still a problem in America – and it demonstrated to whites that, yes, they really are not allowed to give opinions on blacks that the same blacks are permitted to give on whites without being labeled a racist.

I am one of those people – yes, “those people” – who have self-published books on Amazon. One of my books, “The Education of a White Boy,” IS this mythical “discussion” on race, since everyone else seems unwilling to risk the self-incrimination needed to enter the forum. “The Education of a White Boy” takes a unique perspective – that is, blunt honesty about how I evolved from racist white trash to an authority on African American history and literature. I posit both sides of the “discussion,” not from the lofty tower of a Right or Left pundit but rather from the vantage point of a guy having for many years lived on the ground level of society, a poor working class guy who, in high school, experienced actual race riots and then went on to become an autodidact curious about history and first-rate literature. (The book is also meant to inspire a quest for knowledge and literacy in forms longer and more comprehensive that 140-character Tweets.)

I make a point of writing witty chapters and sub-chapters on many famous black figures, like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, W.E.B. Du Bois, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, etc., if only to remind the modern reader – and Limbaugh and Hannity – that our American past does not even come close to resembling a Tea Party version of a 1776 free market paradise, unless one believes that, as three-fifths of a person, black individuals should still be subjected to slavery and lynch-mobs.

“The Education of a White Boy” is not just another self-important memoir — then again, it is only half a memoir, with the other half being historical and literary criticism. This book that can be THEE template for the “discussion.”

If the reader would like to buy a copy, below is the book’s Amazon link:



  1. lani permalink

    Good book by the way. I liked your humour. But you know, you may still harbour a little racism, you can’t truly help it. Thanks for your honesty, at least you were willing to look at yourself and your privilege. (from a Maori female, New Zealand)

    • Thank you so much for at least reading the book, and thank you for your own honesty. I totally agree with you that I may still harbor a little racism, though, to be honest, I have the biggest problem with white trash — but I can say that because I was raised in this cigarette-strewn culture. But my whole point is just that: There will be no discussion because, in the public forum, I am not allowed to offer valid criticism of other cultures…By the way, ever since watching Lord of the Rings, one of my goals is to see New Zealand before the Zombie invasion…Take care, and may the human race continue reading books.

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