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.
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.
Your child could very well be next.