Decades ago, a substantial element of mainstream white culture in the United States was dysfunctional because it embraced discrimination against minorities. This was not only wrong, but self-defeating. White communities that most fully embraced racial animosity were among the most backward and poverty-stricken in the country.
Now a substantial element of mainstream black culture in the United States is dysfunctional because it embraces an irrational sense of victimhood and helplessness. If every problem and tragic event that besets the black community is a result of oppression, then there is no reason for members of that community to take responsibility for and learn from outcomes and personal experience.
A useful, constructive take-away from the Trayvon Martin tragedy is this: People should do everything possible to avoid unnecessary violent confrontations with others, because such confrontations can turn tragic in an instant. This is an actionable concept that individuals can apply to make future tragedies less likely. A useless, destructive and false take-away is that the tragedy was a result of generalized racial oppression. Teaching people to feel victimized promotes a sense of helplessness and anger that makes future tragedies more likely, not less.
Besides, “America” did not kill Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman did. While there is proof that Mr. Zimmerman set events in motion with his decision to follow the teenager, there is no proof that he was motivated by racism. There is also no way to know who escalated the confrontation to the level of violence. In all likelihood, it was the violence, not race, that was the tipping point for this tragedy.
There is no way to know at this point, but I think that if an unfamiliar white teenager had been walking through that neighborhood with the same dress and demeanor as Trayvon, Mr. Zimmerman would have followed him, too. And if the same physical altercation had ensued, the white teenager would have died as well. I would also bet that one could, if so inclined, find multiple incidences of white adult men shooting white teenagers in circumstances similar to the Trayvon Martin case. But that would not reinforce the template of “racist America.”