Race & Prejudicial Behavior
David Xi-Ken Astor
In the past few weeks we have been exposed to a national dialogue, mostly on cable TV, on the state of the race issue in America as a result of the tragic story of Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman “stand-your-ground” controversy. It was heightened in my mind after the trial when each side of the issue articulated their opinion without access to the actual evidence as presented in court. Not all the “facts” the media presented was allowed in court as evidence, however. So, the public was presented with certain information that the jury was not privileged to as determined by the court. What complicates understanding of this case is separating the race issue from the legal and moral issues raised by the stand-your-ground law. The various Buddhist traditions are rich with pragmatic philosophical pyridines to guide our ethic and moral outlook relative to the nature of these critical social concerns. It is, yet again, an example of an opportunity to apply situational ethics. So, I would like to share with you some of my thoughts that might give you an idea on how, as Buddhists, we might approach a discussion on the issues associated with this tragic even. Siddhartha spoke in a very clear voice that can guide us through these very real, and very divisive, situations with lessons on our obligation as social-selves to act with astute and applied compassion. Keep in mind that this is another example of how the ideal meets the real. Social issues are often messy things, however.