Racism is the original sin or our nation. From our Declaration of Independence referring to indigenous people as “merciless Indian savages,” to our history books referring to black Americans as “slaves” instead of “enslaved people.” The demon of racism is buried in a very shallow grave and is evoked by coded language. When Reagan spoke of “welfare mothers” he was evoking in his hearers the Demon Racism. When Republicans questioned whether Obama had an American birth certificate, they were evoking the Demon Racism. When people from Texas or Arizona use the phrase “illegal alien” they are evoking the Demon Racism.
The death of Trayvon Martin was tragic but it need not be in vain. May his young hooded face break America’s hardened heart until we have ears to hear the coded language of racism, the eyes to see the mask with which we allow it to hide in our sacred halls of justice, and the courage to exorcise once and for all the Demon Racism.