This is one reason why it is impossible to talk intelligently about race in this country. There are too many people invested in ratcheting up emotion and hate when it comes to the way in which incidents like the Trayvon Martin tragedy are portrayed.
Jesse Jackson - who probably felt left out of media coverage - has put both feet into the controversy.
"We're surprised that everyone else is surprised," Jackson told the Los Angeles Times. African Americans have tried for decades to get the rest of America to understand their plight, he said, particularly their beliefs that justice is still elusive in many parts of America, especially the Deep South.
Then along comes the Trayvon Martin case, and facts that are not in contention: Volunteer neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman pursued and then gunned down the unarmed 17-year-old last month, and never faced arrest because police said there was no evidence to contradict his claim that he fired in self-defense.
"I hope that this will be a transformative moment," Jackson said.
Jackson was speaking Friday morning from the Chicago offices of his Rainbow PUSH Coalition. He had just returned from duties in Belgium and Switzerland. He was in Geneva on Wednesday as part of a delegation of religious leaders trying to find a way to end the violence in Syria. Jackson was preparing to get back on a plane for a flight south so he can add his voice to the growing protests in and around Sanford, Fla., where Martin's shooting took place.
Jackson said the Martin case is getting plenty of media attention overseas, attention that is both embarrassing to white America and humiliating to black America.
Moreover, he said, the failure to make an arrest in the case takes away the nation's "moral authority" to address injustices in other countries when it fails to do the same within its own borders.
Jackson predicted that the protests will continue to multiply in number and that the ranks of protestors will swell until Zimmerman is arrested.
Zimmerman can only be arrested if he broke the law, not because Jesse Jackson and protestors believe he should be. A grand jury is looking into whether the law was broken. So is the Justice Department. The idea that protestors should be able to pressure a grand jury in to doing what it wants is so out of whack with the very concept of justice, that Jackson makes a mockery himself of the justice system.
Never mind about guilt or innocence in the eyes of the law. Jackson wants to bring a rope and carry out a lynching. He wants an arrest even if one isn't warranted.
When the two sides have such radically different concepts of "justice," dialogue is impossible.