In Carroll’s case, she should have been close enough to help Scott understand and empathize with the experiences of people who look like her.
And there’s no indication that Carroll tried to do anything close to that.
She was virtually silent as Scott signed off on legislation clearly designed to limit the access of blacks, Latinos and college students to the polls, such as cutbacks in early voting days that resulted in horrendously long lines at the polls.
Then there was her presence on a state task force to examine its Stand Your Ground law. This law, which allows people to resort to deadly force if they feel threatened rather than retreat, thrust Florida in the national spotlight last year.
That was after self-appointed neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., after following the unarmed teenager against the advice of a police dispatcher and getting into a tussle with him.
The task force was supposed to revise the law, which keeps the door open for people to kill someone and claim they felt “threatened,” by that person’s ethnicity, their music, or other reasons that might have more to do with stereotyping than any credible danger.
Instead, the 19-member task force, which included lawmakers who helped write the 2005 Stand Your Ground legislation – essentially left it as it was.
Amazing, Carroll defended the makeup of the panel. Carroll – a black woman with two sons who could possibly wind up being shot by some racist claiming he felt threatened, and claim the Stand Your Ground defense.
I’m no fan of this Tea Party-infested GOP, but I still held out hope for Carroll. I just hate that she chose to carry the tainted water of people who preferred to use her color and her back story as an excuse to ignore the needs of other black people, and her acquiescence as a pass for them to proceed on their path of insensitivity and intolerance.
Hopefully, she won’t let that happen again.
Tonyaa Weathersbee is an award-winning columnist based in Jacksonville, Fla. Follow her @tonyaajw. Or like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tonyaajweathersbee.