Earlier this week the prominent Catholic theologian and social activist, Fr. Bryan Massingale, wrote a provocative blog post on the U.S. Catholic web site about the Trayvon Martin case, When profiling is reasonable, injustice becomes excusable.
Fr. Bryan begins by writing about his own experience as an African-American man: “I, too, have been profiled by police officers, followed by campus safety patrols and stalked by mall security guards for doing nothing more than walking to my office, shopping for clothes, or enjoying an evening stroll… This happened despite my being a priest, a university professor, and a respected member of the community (or so I would have thought).”
This Marquette University theology professor went on to reflect on public comments made by one of the jurors in the George Zimmerman trial: “[Trayvon Martin] becomes an unfortunate — but necessary — victim of a reasonable desire for safety. Theologically, he is a sacrifice at the altar of white fear.”
One does not have to venture far to understand how racial prejudice permeates not only public attitudes about public safety, but infects our entire criminal justice system – including dramatically disparate sentencing of black men to death.
I highly recommend this powerful blog post, especially for people of faith.
Read Fr. Bryan Massingale’s entire blog post here.