Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Looking for Positives in Race Relations

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Looking for Positives in Race Relations

Article excerpt

Are you tired of all the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman talk?

Maybe we have not done enough to turn all that talk into something positive. Race often is a difficult, emotional subject.

But we can never make progress unless we do a better job of listening to each other, seeking empathy.

That is where a group of thoughtful readers comes in. We asked members of our Email Interactive Group to search for positives that can come out of this national case.

Active listening takes effort. But it's a key to understanding.

LISTEN BETTER

I think in all matters of change or adaptation, be it big or small, job or marriage or culture or trying to grow up or let a child grow up, ongoing talk without rancor or hatred is the most important step.

As long as we can keep talking, communicating and listening, there is the possibility that we can move forward.

But we do have to do it without getting furious or outraged, and we do have to listen to the other side.

Julie Mason, Jacksonville

NEWS MEDIA SHOULD LOOK INWARD

Maybe the positive steps forward should be fair and accurate media coverage. We saw the picture of Trayvon Martin as he was at age 12, not the age he was at the time of the shooting. Why? Might he have looked a little more intimidating? Might it have appeared that George Zimmerman could actually have felt his life threatened? Who knows?

The jury was not fooled by the attempted manipulation, but the outcry for shooting a "child" shows many more were. This does not mean I approve of what Zimmerman did.

Shooting anyone should be the absolute last option available, but the media perpetuated and inflamed the already shaky emotional response to the situation.

How about a news media that presents the facts, not one that pushes the popular agenda? That would be a positive forward step.

Angela Siragusa, St. Augustine

SET ASIDE EMOTIONS

As an aftermath of the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman controversy, it is critical for all segments of society to conduct an open dialogue across racial and economic lines without bias or recriminations.

We must stop pretending that racial bias does not exist today and start talking about how we can best deal with it in our neighborhoods, at our churches, at our schools, club meetings and social events.

As an elderly white woman I cannot walk in the shoes of a black man, but I must evaluate how I respond and react to those who think and feel differently than I do and participate in civil discourse, be compassionate and free of conflict or confrontation. Only then can anything be accomplished.

President Barack Obama recounted his past experiences as a black man in our society before becoming a U.S. senator. His statements proved to be enlightening to some of my colleagues and associates. …

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