I have tried as hard as I could to ignore the racist banter, the hateful sentiment, and the ignorant conjecture that have engulfed the Trayvon Martin case. I attempted to wait until the police had released all of the evidence surrounding the case and when I had all the facts I would then be able to make up my mind about who did what to whom. But I can remain silent no longer. What is wrong with everyone in this country? The rest of the world looks at us and collectively shakes their heads in disgust and bewilderment. Here is this great country, this benevolent, omnipotent, forward-thinking, free society that ironically is still a bastion of racist sentiment and hateful rhetoric. And it is spouted from the lips of politicians, political pundits, TV personalities, and anyone and everyone who has access to the internet all the way down to the most common of us all. And at the end of the day nothing is solved, fingers are pointed, blame is skirted, and what we are left with is the same as when it all began, a dead child. This case is very simple, an overzealous man shot an unarmed child and regardless of whatever reason he gave, short of a hockey mask and a butcher knife, he committed a crime. Regardless of race, regardless of intent, the very least that should have happened to this man is that he should be in a jail cell waiting to face arraignment. But he is not, and that is where the problem ensues.
A boy is dead. He is not coming back no matter how much name calling we do, blame we place on the articles of clothing he was wearing, or vitriol we spew about the races of the individuals involved. George Zimmerman shot and killed an unarmed child. Period. End of sentence. But that was not the end, George Zimmerman was not charged after he was detained and brought to the police station, he was released. And the question that everyone has been asking is why. Why did a man carrying a concealed weapon, chasing a person around a neighborhood yelling at him after a police 911 operator instructed him not to, get away with shooting an unarmed person? This is the question that is at the epicenter of this whole debacle. When a police officer shoots a suspect they are automatically taken off their beat, given a psychological evaluation, and investigated. And these are the people that we have vetted and deemed competent enough to carry a fire arm and determine when and where they should use it. George Zimmerman is just a guy with a piece and too much time on his hands. Not remotely the same.
The reason why this has become a racial issue is because there is no legitimate reason that George Zimmerman should not have been arrested. And once you have ruled out everything that is impossible, whatever is left over no matter how improbable is the answer. Race is the only reason left. Where did this happen? In Florida, which is part of the South. The South is not known for being very tolerant of adhering to Black people’s civil rights. Just because laws were passed a few decades ago granting Black people their civil rights doesn’t mean that it changed the prevailing mindset of the folks that live in that area. In reality it hasn’t changed anyone’s thinking in any area. If people would change their way of thinking, then laws wouldn’t have to be passed to force people to act a certain way. They just would. This is the same South where a few years before those laws were passed they were killing Black students, lynching Black men for looking at White women, hosing down and beating protestors, were unable to eat, shop, drink in the same places as their White counterparts, and they were getting blown up in churches for being Black. So there is no way that this was not a result of leftover racism that is as prevalent today as it was back then. I find it rather disconcerting that this blatant racism on the part of the police department (and perhaps George Zimmerman) for doing nothing is called into question by a majority of White people who are offended and can’t believe that Blacks are once again “playing the race card.” Yep that’s it, just us and Motorhead, “The ace of spades.” Given the areas past, the blatant disregard for the life of a Black person, and the fact that the police let him go should speak volumes about the mindset of those officers.
The prevailing sentiment I have heard expressed over and over again is that White people are tired of hearing Black people blame everything on race. “Well, we gave you guys a Black president, so you can’t say we are racist.” Well gee thanks. It’s not like he was overqualified for the position and has done an amazing job considering the state of affairs the country was in when he took office, but thank you for your generosity. In actuality, all that this proved to me is that Americans are more sexist than racist. Being Black in America is a full time job. I have to act differently in the work place, in a restaurant, at the mall, in my car, in front of the cops, everywhere I go. There is a different set of rules that govern how Black people should act. Everyone is just waiting for me to do something crazy so they can just say, “Yep, just like I thought.” My White friends act crazy, do insane things, often in front of the police, and nothing is done to them. In fact, if they do get hassled, they mouth off to the cops for harassing them and do things that would get any Black person shot on the spot. And to them this is perfectly natural. The truth is, is that racism is alive and well in this country. It is actually more dangerous than it has ever been because people are afraid to have a discourse about it. To talk about their feelings, beliefs, misconceptions, and stereotypes so that their fears can be sated and have knowledge fill in the gaps of their ignorance. Let’s all be honest here, if a Black man had shot a white intruder in his house who had just raped and murdered his family, he would absolutely have been arrested and spent the next few nights in jail. Can we all agree to that?
There is enough blame to go around here. But at the end of the day we should be more outraged that there is a young man who will never fall in love, climb the highest mountain, see the Great Wall of China, or whatever it was he wanted to do with his life. There is a man walking around who took that life who is as free today as he was when he murdered this boy. There is a family that has lost a son, a community that has lost a friend, a school that has lost a pupil, and a world that has sacrificed one more person to hatred, bigotry, and ignorance that seems to insatiably permeated every corner of our planet. When will it be enough? When will we stand up together and collectively say “enough!?” Can’t we all just be Americans? A crime was committed. A person shot another person. He deserves to go to jail. The police force should be removed, and justice needs to be served. The people in that community need to talk to one another to see if they can forgive, remember, but heal as a group, or they will all fail as individuals.
“Without out justice all we have is the illusion of a civil society”