CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The classic novel, "The Scarlet Letter," has come full circle in regard to how we label people in society.
I followed the trial of George Zimmerman. The first letter that labeled the late Trayvon Martin was "P" as Zimmerman declared: "Those punks get away with everything." Then the letter "T" was put on Martin's chest, labeling him a thug up to no good.
Did Trayvon Martin not have a right to defend himself? Did anyone ever think about that? Why did some people ignore the fact that Zimmerman disobeyed a direct command to stop his pursuit, and label him a victim?
When you look up the word thug, it's defined as a robber, murderer, criminal. Since when does possessing a bag of Skittles and an Iced Tea make a person a thug?
Look at the flipside, to "stand your ground and protect yourself." Yes, Zimmerman had a right to defend himself -- but in Florida, a black woman who was a domestic abuse victim fired a warning shot into the ceiling of her home to protect herself (the victim) from her husband (the aggressor), and she got 20 years in prison. After all, she was standing her ground. Where is the outrage?
With all that's going on, I have decided to put the letter "T" on my chest. That's for target because I will be profiled, stereotyped, labeled differently and maybe discriminated against. We've come too far from such hatred and bigotry to where society is getting out their shovels and digging up Jim Crow's grave and bringing him back to life.
If we are proud Americans where we stand up to sing the National Anthem or wave that flag, then it's also our patriotic duty to live by the U.S. Constitution where it says: "all men are created equal." I will take this as a learning lesson to not only teach me, but to teach my son (as well as protect my son) to do what Spike Lee once said, and that's "do the right thing," to be a model citizen, to be productive in today's society, to stand your ground and fight (not physically) for what you believe in and at the same time, to defend yourself when necessary.
Whiting lives and works in Charleston.