The Blog of John Walford, British-born, but long resident in The United States. I am an art historian, currently studying satire in Netherlandish art, an amateur photographer, and occasional writer, who writes here about art, photography, and the human condition--some of it ekphratic poetry, responding to works of art. This is to be a site for words and images, interacting on one another, as vehicles of human expression.

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Calling All People: Time to Cut Racial Biases from Our Hearts



[My photo of the thoughtful, child ring-bearer, gratefully published with his parents permission].



WHOSE AT GROSSLY UNFAIR ADVANTAGE UNDER FLORIDA's "STAND YOUR GROUND LAW"? And what racial biases still have a lethal hold on our hearts?

Some reflections on the Florida slaying of Trayvon Martin:

I am departing from my usual practice at this blog in order to address a far more serious topic, touching the day-to-day well-being of a huge section of the US population, instanced by the dangerous, and likely biased application of a poorly defined law, the right to 'stand your ground' and to kill a person who you allege was a threat to your safety, with no witnesses to corroborate your claim.

If Trayvon Martin had been white, and George Zimmerman black, would the Florida police have been as reluctant to press charges? If either of them - Martin or Zimmerman - had walked into my classroom, I trust that I would have been delighted to welcome them as students. If either of them were to walk into my home, I trust they would receive a hearty, warm welcome. If either of them wanted to marry my daughter - were she still unmarried, - then I wonder how my thought patterns would have run..... and so should we all.

Until each of us can see the image of God in all of our fellow human beings, and indeed, as Carlos Fuentes wisely wrote, ("The Buried Mirror," 1992, p. 353), "if we do not recognize our humanity in others, we shall not recognize it in ourselves," the humanity of us all remains gravely diminished. Does this matter? Surely gravely so! Indeed, the consequences of our prejudices will continue to be acted out on the streets, in the classrooms, and in our homes, day after day, just as they have been for years past.

I openly admit that I grew up with every shape and form of bias and prejudice in my heart, until I learned to respect the power and the beauty, and the transformation of life that gradually grows from respect for the power of the most basic of Commandments, namely to love God with all our hearts, and, flowing therefrom, to love our neighbor as ourself. It is so basic, yet so challenging.

But, in the name of God, and his beloved creatures, the only way to do amends for the totally tragic slaying of Trayvon Martin, is for each of us, of whatever race, religion, or class, to embrace these fundamental human obligations with all of our hearts, our minds, our wills, and our bodies, and also to abjure the American obsession with the right to bear arms, and to use them, in such a cavalier, indiscriminate manner, free from prosecution.

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John Walford

John Walford
Not All That Meets The Eye

About Me

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I am a British-born, art historian, teaching in the USA; I studied law, in England,1964-68; worked part-time in the art world, 1968-69; then studied art history at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, 1969-76; completed my Ph.D. diss. at the University of Cambridge, 1981; moved to the States in 1981, and have since written, or co-authored, other books. I am currently studying satire in Netherlandish art. My wife, Maria, was born in Milan, Italy, where she worked as an interpreter, in business; she spent seven years in Switzerland, at the University of Lausanne, 1963-70. She came to Amsterdam in 1971, and we soon married. She is a wife, mother, literary critic, of Italian (and French) literature, and completed her Ph. D. diss. in 2002, at the University of Chicago, on Cesare Pavese and His Critics. We have three married children, and eight grandchildren, all of whom we excessively adore! I welcome dialog about art, photography, human behavior, beliefs, and motivation from all comers, regardless of race, color, gender, orientation, values, or beliefs. This is to be a site for words and images, as vehicles of human expression, around topics of mutual interest.

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