Minister Marlene Fuller believes the racial climate is noticeably tense these days. She thinks a recent Supreme Court decision that struck down part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Trayvon Martin murder and Paula Deen controversy are adding to it.
“The fact that in 2013 we are still having a conversation about whether states are doing things to violate people's rights--why is it even a conversation?" Fuller asked.
You don’t have to go far to hear an opinion on the high profile murder case involving George Zimmerman. Some youngsters like Grace Nelson hear the words Trayvon Martin and it elicits this response.
“He was walking to the store to get candy. How was he a threat? It was race,” Nelson added.
The teen knows many others may disagree with that. She and her friends say it’s a case that seems to spotlight one thing, race.
Radio One’s Miss Community Clovia says the Martin case and Paula Deen’s controversy has generated much buzz on the airwaves recently, with some people saying, “Her life shouldn’t completely change when she said a word that’s used by African-Americans and other races.”
Teen Jaima McReynolds says she knows these stories have stirred up many people, but she believes there’s too much of a focus on race in today’s society.
“I just get annoyed because a lot of people make things out to be racist and it's not. I don’t think every it always has to be about race. Sometimes people just take things the wrong way” McReynolds said.
Fuller and others say there’s always room for improvement in race relations.
“It starts with being self-aware of where we are now. If we can’t have that open dialogue and say that something’s really broken, we can’t progress the way we ought to,” Fuller added.