Is America a country where a men and women are the authors of their own destiny, or is it a country where the odds are stacked against certain groups to essentially guarantee failure? Let us consider the case of Miami-Dade County Judge Mindy Glazer, who ran into accused burglar Arthur Booth in her courtroom. The two have a very telling history together — they were childhood friends. The exchange between them brought one man (and the country’s many race-baiters) to tears.
A local ABC affiliate reported June 30:
The suspect in front of the bench was Arthur Booth, a classmate of Glazer’s at Nautilus Middle School.
Glazer asked if Booth, who is facing numerous charges including burglary and grand theft, had attended the school.
“Oh, my goodness! Oh, my goodness!” exclaimed Booth before beginning to cry.
Glazer said that Booth was the nicest and best kid in school.
“I used to play football with him, all the kids, and look what has happened,” Glazer said. “I’m so sorry to see this.”
Follow the link and watch the video. It is well worth your time. You can almost see the moment where Mr. Booth’s brain registers just how different his life could have been if he made better choices along the way.
Two American minorities go to the same high school. They’re both intelligent kids. They play the same games, have the same teachers and the same friends, and yet at some point a string of bad decisions sends Mr. Booth’s life into the ditch. He treated his life like a pro golfer who inexplicably decides to swing his club with reckless abandon, and then wonders why his partner winds up with the a large trophy room.
Every day we dip our hands into an endless stream of consciousness, pull out decisions, and then act. We inherently know that the sheer volume of choices that rest squarely on our shoulders means that most trials and tribulations can be overcome. When it comes to discussing racial issues, however, those truths are suddenly denied or turned upside down.
The next time you hear about “white privilege,” I suggest thinking about the race that you’ve run in the ultimate marathon that is life. Think about the mind-bending number of decisions that you have made over the years to get to where you are today. Think about the times you have fallen short of your full potential. Think about your faults. Think about the hard work you put in over the years to recover from your personal and professional mistakes. Then ask if episodic instances of racism or bigotry in the United States has the power to keep anyone from attaining the vast majority of their hopes and dreams.
Hopefully Mr. Booth realizes what Judge Mindy Glazer’s comments highlight: there is no reason why the nicest kid in school should wind up a middle-aged adult with a criminal record unless he long ago decided to walk down a dangerous dead-end road.