“Zimmerman being found guilty will change NOTHING”
These were the words I was met with upon turning on my laptop and booting up Facebook. It was the top post on my news feed from a good friend of mine. I instantly had the urge to comment, but why, to say what, exactly? I honestly partly agreed. So I said nothing. I sat and I thought for a second, then I saw another post saying “why all of a sudden yall care? Yall know good and well this is doing nothing for your life!” Again I sat and thought, this time thinking more on why is it that I cared so much? And what will the outcome of all of this mean to me? For the last week and a half I have been locked into this trial watching hours of it on Youtube, finally realizing I can stream it live from my desk at work.
The moment I read the news of this occurrence; “Unarmed Black Teenager Killed in Florida by White Neighborhood watchmen” my tiny social antennas went up!
The fact that he wasn’t arrested for 44 days after the shooting angered me. Being an admit opposer of the 2nd amendment, my first thought was “F-in’ South, F-in’-Florida and their shoot ‘em up bang bang love of guns!” I also didn’t know the facts but that tittle was enough for me. It was racism and I’m sick of it! But then as it went on the facts or bumbling of facts had me confused; George Zimmerman the man accused of the crime is not white, he’s Hispanic. Zimmerman was attacked by teen and says its self-defense read another headline. So wait a minute, he’s not white? Not racism? So what is going on here??
At this point I decided to take a more proactive approach to this case and started to do my own research instead of just merely scrolling newsfeeds. I digested all the details and realized though I was and half of America along with me was pulled into this case because of racial indications. This wasn’t merely about race, I suggest to you that what happened the night of February 26th 2012 has the makings of a bestselling John Grisham novel!
Bo Morrison, you know him right? Yeah, I’ll wait while you hit that link or Google…
“He was also an unarmed young black male who was shot, weeks after Trayvon, while hiding on a neighbor’s porch after fleeing an underage drinking party that was broken up by police. His shooter was never prosecuted because he was protected by Wisconsin’s Castle Doctrine Law, a.k.a. Stand Your Ground.
Hundreds of Trayvon’s and Morrison’s have been killed around the country and their killers have been protected under this law. But none has received such media attention.” Says the Global Grind website.
So again, why do I care? Why do you? I believe that the location, age difference, events leading up to, those Skittles and Ice Tea have far more to do with why we care. The events leading up to; specifically the profiling has everything to do with it.
Being that I am a young black female I will never and can never know what it is to be a young black male in this country but I suggest to you that what it means to be a black male in America can now be summed up by two words; “Trayvon Martin”. I oft
en tell people I would like a daughter, I can’t raise a man. But really what I have always felt is that I couldn’t stand the fear of having a son. The undenying fear of what he may become in the streets of New York or how do I prepare him as a women for the racism, discrimination and run-ins with the police that he will undoubtedly face due to the color of his skin?!
The words “Fits the description” has long plaque the Black community and has resulted in as many as 7 out of 10 Black males (I think more) having to prove their innocence. Trayvon Martin is just one of many born with the misfortune of having one of the most deadliest combinations: Black and Male. Then add to that 6-foot-2-inch, Hoodie and teen. Man, sadly this is a disaster waiting to happen or one so many assume will happen.
“So it’s a dark night, a 6-foot-2-inch hoodie-wearing stranger is in the immediate housing complex. How would the ladies of that jury have reacted? I submit that if they were armed, they would have shot and killed Trayvon Martin a lot sooner than George Zimmerman did” ~ Geraldo Rivera
Everyone is upset Geraldo said this, everyone but me. I’m not surprised and I’m not angry because it’s the truth! See African Americans, males in particular are born guilty, assumed criminal, assumed failures all before their first breath. Decades of mental conditioning of other races, negative images on their televisions and news stories of drugs and gang related shootings of African Males has formed this view. We can argue all day about whether this view is wrong or right but the fact will still remain, it exists! I’m pretty sure half of you reading this profiles Arabs or any middle easterners as much as I am pretty sure 6-foot-2-inch African American Male in the dark provokes a scared as shit feeling for most non-African Americans. This is where good ole George comes in, he saw this hooded, African American teen unknown to him and automatically assumed he was criminal. I submit to you that every Non-African American everywhere had to stop and ask themselves if they wouldn’t have assumed the same thing, if they had in the past or would in future. I also submit to you that the tragic ending of this occurrence has force some to ask would they ever just assume that again. For these questions I am grateful because questioning is the beginning of change. I do not believe you should be ridiculing anyone for their interest in this case, have there been many cases like this before, YES! Will there be more, probably. However let’s not diminish what this case is having an effect on now and what it will in future.
3 Positive Results of the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman Saga
- It is bringing a significant look at the stand your ground law which has seen a 300% increase in “justifiable homicides” (killings that were deemed legitimate) in the state of Florida alone.
- It also is giving us a hard and honest look at the “process” no doubt the “Justice” system in this country needs a serious overhaul. As we are consuming every minute of this trial the pool recorder or the networks’ producers don’t switch to a mundane image of lawyers being lawyerly quite fast enough, and we get to see snippets of the human cruelty, stupidity, and frailty that accompany trials such as this.
- Lastly, people need to be rocked out of their comfortable ignorance. “We know bad things happen in the world, but not actually seeing them explicitly helps many of us to refrain from becoming uncomfortably familiar with them. Unfortunately, avoiding that discomfort has directly resulted in many of us becoming desensitized.” Says Lincoln Anthony Blades of Uptown Magazine and Thisisyourconscience.com. People had to pull away from twitter and Candy Crush on Facebook to face the reality of what’s happening every day.
I believe the fact that you have to ask the question why does this case matter proves just how much it matters. The fact that people ask how does it affect me is the problem. Though a verdict is not going to bring Trayvon back or stop racial profiling and racism. I need to believe that there is justice in the “Justice” System. I want future profilers, wanabe cops and racists to know that there will be consequences to their actions. I need them to question themselves, second guess their urge to see a young African American Male and only see a suspect. As weird as it sounds I was so happy all this young man did was go out and buy Ice Tea and skittles, for you see it is so easy for the police and media to justify the death of a young black male. Though they tried to criminalize him with evidence of weed use and fighting the facts remain that he was an unarmed teen with no criminal record.
The details, issues and continued reactions to this case is more important than any verdict. So lets continue the conversations and debates, maybe just maybe one day African American Males will know what it feels like to walk through this world with the privilege of peace of mind. “The luxury of existing as a whole human being, with infinite layers, who has the opportunity to have a myriad of choices, free to be young and evolve, free to live without thinking about the consequences of your physical existence and somebody else’s obsession.”
Let me know in the comments section: Your Thoughts? Questions? Comments? Concerns? —Pret-a-Porte Graphic Designer & Entrepreneur (www.perdiemvision.com)
PUBLIC NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the Urban Intellectuals, affiliates or partners.