Tag Archives: Trayvon Martin

George Zimmerman Found ‘Not Guilty’ For Killing Trayvon Martin

Graphic by Abigail Adams Brigade
Graphic by Abigail Adams Brigade

By: Frenchie R.

I have a headache. I went to bed with one last evening, and I woke up with one. If you feel in any way good about this country this morning, you must have somehow missed out on the verdict of the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case last night. That, or there’s something dreadfully wrong with you.

trayvon-yellow
Trayvon Martin.

 

As much as a certain percentage of the public would like to ignore the fact, yes, race is very much a factor here. It’s not a “card” that a disenfranchised population pulls out when they’re upset they didn’t get their way. The racial divide is something that is beyond evident when the core of a case is that a grown man stalked and killed a child but, because the victim was dark-skinned, he was clearly at fault for his own demise. Clearly, he was the threat. Despite the fact that the man in question was explicitly told by police dispatch to leave him be. Despite the child being unarmed and minding his own business. Travyon was at fault because he was too brown to possibly be innocent. Victim blaming, ladies and gents. It’s not just reserved for rape victims and LGBTQ biased assaults! If you are anything other than a conservative, white, cis-gendered male, YOU are a walking target. I, by the very grace of my existence, am a target. Brown children grabbing snacks on their way home…are a target. IF YOU INSIST ON ATTEMPTING TO REMOVE RACE FROM THE EQUATION, LET THE REALITY OF MEN KILLING CHILDREN OUT OF IGNORANCE AND FEAR IS SOMETHING THAT THIS JURY IN FLORIDA HAS DEEMED A-OKAY.

And this issue isn’t specific to Florida. Oh, no!  Granted, they have a shit record when it comes to human rights but, this is a rampant, seething, infection flowing unchecked throughout the vascular system of the good ol’ US of A. It’s disgusting. It’s shameful. It’s heartbreaking.

Many are shocked that the 6, mainly white, women on the jury were part of this farce. But ask yourself why they would be. Not that they were right, because they most certainly weren’t, but why would they agree to the “not guilty” decision for George Zimmerman? Well, when you live in a society that continually sees young black men as aggressors, ESPECIALLY against women, its incredibly easy to have an unconsciously biased fear against Trayvon Martin. Not a single one of those women was a black woman, much less a black MOTHER, who lived with the truth of her child being racially profiled as part of the daily norm.

That’s not to say that there are no young, black male criminals! But they’re just as common as any other criminal. The difference is that society has trained us to see the black ones far more often than the white ones, to the point of seeing them where they DON’T EVEN EXIST as is evident in this case.

The skin color of both the main individuals involved have 100% overshadowed what really happened so, I’ll say it again: A grown man stalked–after he was told by a 911 operator to stay in his car, accosted, and killed an unarmed teen. This very essence of the situation is being missed and THAT is something that desperately needs to change. The death of Trayvon Martin was, for all intents and purposes, a modern-day lynching. A black male being exterminated for an imaginary slight. And, somehow, a Florida jury and an ignorant yet vocal group of Americans have decided that is once again acceptable. I think it’s way past time we thought about what this says about the “land of the free” and do something to change it. Because that’s our job as Americans. To be a beacon of hope, not despair.

Profiling, of any kind, is wrong. Whether its because of race, gender, lifestyle, etc. We’ve all been guilty of it, and will probably fall back into that habit at some time in our lives. That’s how fear works, that’s how the world and the communities we’ve created have groomed us. But as thinking beings, we have the innate ability to fight this.

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Your child could very well be next.

 

Happy Birthday, Billie Holiday – ‘Strange Fruit’ Video

Billie Holiday, April 7, 1915 - July 17, 1959

I listen to this song and worry that a whole lot hasn’t changed in America since Billie Holiday sang the utterly heartbreaking song, “Strange Fruit”. 

Two words: Trayvon Martin.

 

I came across a fascinating mini-bio of the song, “Strange Fruit”.  I’d like to share a bit of it with you.

via The Pop History Dig:

“Although the Commodore release of “Strange Fruit” did not get extensive radio play, the record sold well, which Gabler attributed in part to the record’s other song on the flip side, “Fine and Mellow,” which was a jukebox hit.  But “Strange Fruit” also rose on the charts, according to one source, peaking at No. 16 on July 22, 1939.  The song also helped put Billie Holiday in the national spotlight.  “‘Strange Fruit’ was to Billie what ‘Of Human Bondage’ was to Bette Davis or ‘The Petrified Forest’ to Humphrey Bogart,” wrote Michael Brooks in 1991 liner notes to a Billie Holiday collection.  “It brought her national recognition, fame and a very modest fortune.  It also attracted celebrity hunters of the worst sort, plus the type of men who were interested in nothing but a free ride…” 

But some critics, Brooks among them, also believed that “Strange Fruit” changed Holiday’s style, and led her to take on other concerns of the oppressed with her music.  “She began to live the part and see herself as the living symbol of injustice and oppression,” wrote Brooks.  This change in Holiday’ style, lamented by some, was a gradual process in which she began to interpret her songs rather than just naturally sing them.  Yet for many fans and critics, it was her musical interpretation and her singular vocal style in marking those interpretations, that made Holiday’s work so distinctive and impressionable.

“Strange Fruit” remained in Holiday’s repertoire for twenty years.  She persisted in using it, in part, she would later say, because it reminded her of what she believed happened to her father in 1937.  ( Clarence Holiday, a musician himself then on tour in Texas, developed a heavy cold in his travels that turned to pneumonia.  However, he died needlessly at the age of 39 after he was denied medical treatment at a Dallas hospital because he was black.)  

Not everyone got the message in “Strange Fruit,” however.  In fact, decades after she had first performed the song, Holiday would express frustration with those not understanding the song’s message.  In one 1958 interview,  explaining how some folks missed the point, Holiday said: “They’ll ask me to ‘sing that sexy song about the people swinging’.”

Strange Fruit

by: Lewis Allen

Southern Trees Bear Strange Fruit,
Blood On The Leaves And Blood At The Root,
Black Bodies Swinging In The Southern Breeze,
Strange Fruit Hanging From The Poplar Trees.

Pastoral Scene Of The Gallant South,
The Bulging Eyes And The Twisted Mouth,
Scent Of Magnolias, Sweet And Fresh,
Then The Sudden Smell Of Burning Flesh.

Here Is Fruit For The Crows To Pluck,
For The Rain To Gather, For The Wind To Suck,
For The Sun To Rot, For The Trees To Drop,
Here Is A Strange And Bitter Crop.

Never forgotten, Lady Day.