Race, Religion, Racism—and Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin

Editor’s note: A Florida judge on Thursday set George Zimmerman’s bond to $1 million. Zimmerman is awaiting trial for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in February. With this new development in the case, some are looking at racism once again and how power and money are at its root. The Martin shooting and the controversy surrounded it caused Pastor Frederick K. Price, the son of Frederick K.C. Price, to remember one of his father’s sermons from 1997.

When I first heard about the disastrous incident involving Trayvon Martin, I thought it was a sad and unfortunate loss for the Martin family. What’s worse is that we live in a world where prejudice exists, which was not in God’s plans.

When my father, Apostle Frederick K.C. Price, began the series on "Race, Religion and Racism" in 1997, it was a lesson primarily spawned from an issue that prevailed within the church; which of course is a place that it should not live.

To add fuel to the fire already burning in him, my father was made aware of a very prominent speaker who made a prejudiced statement from the pulpit. At that time, he felt compelled to tackle the difference between racism, prejudice and religion.

Although this series was based on prejudice in the church, there is a small link between the Trayvon Martin case and "Race, Religion and Racism" in terms of racism and color ethnic prejudice.

"Race, Religion and Racism" dealt with racism in general, as well as some of the misnomers we have regarding the definition of racism and prejudice, which most people use as synonyms.

For example, what people usually tend to describe as racism is actually color-ethnic prejudice. When we base how we feel about someone on their appearance, the color of their skin or their cultural background, we’re dealing with prejudice.

Racism is a bigger monster. The term racism is somewhat oxymoronic because there is only one race and that’s the human race. It’s a bit odd, but really the term should be prejudice. For instance, humans are a race; a race is a species, which is a type of creature. So whether you’re black, red, yellow, white or brown, you’re part of the human race.

Race is the type of species one is. It may sound silly, but aliens would have to attack earth in order for us to actually experience racism. By definition that would be another race attacking to most likely place the human race in bondage and take over because we’re not of their race.

Similar to the movie Independence Day, the aliens would want the human race dead because we aren't a part of their species. So how can the human race be racist against itself? The honest answer is, it cannot.

Racism is not about color; it’s about money and power. We intertwine racism with prejudice and really its just prejudice. And specifically its color and ethnic prejudice: “I don’t like you because of your skin color or cultural background.”

The color that supersedes white, black, brown or red is green. We don’t see any color when we’re dealing with how much money a person has. So that’s where economics and power come into play. You can be prejudice toward someone because of what they’re wearing, which possibly led Zimmerman to believe that Trayvon Martin was a threat. He played into a stereotype. A black man with a hoodie on—OK, that’s not a good combination, according to the stereotype of a “black man.”  

But when we do deal with “racism,” we’re actually talking about economics, money and power. Those who have the money, those who have the power, those who in a sense run the economic system are really the only ones that can be racist because they have the resources. The superior can only be racist, not the inferior. However the superior or inferior can be prejudiced.

If you were to dissect the entire Trayvon Martin case, you can see there is a potential issue of ethnic prejudice, not racism.

Frederick K. Price is the son of Apostle Frederick K.C. Price and Dr. Betty R. Price, and the head pastor of Crenshaw Christian Center in Los Angeles.

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