“Race” Not An Issue in the Trayvon Martin Murder?
I recently wrote a post for my blog regarding swift justice for murdered bunnies, but no justice for murdered black boys. A blogger was kind enough to include my post as a reference in his response, in which he claims that he sees no indication that “race” had anything to do with Trayvon’s murder. I include, below, a link to his comments, as well as my response. While I realize that it is possible that it could have all been just a tragic “mistake,” I find that difficult to believe within the context of these times. What has stood out for me, just as much as the injustice of Trayvon’s murder, is the “signature” lack of a response, and the fact that Zimmerman was allowed to go free, with all the evidence in the world against him; yet, Troy Davis, a black man, with barely a scrap of evidence against him for the crime of which he was charged, was executed on Wednesday, September 21, 2011, at 11:08 PM. Trayvon Martin is dead. We know who killed him. Yet, there are those who would question the ethics of putting George Zimmerman on trial. He killed another human being. And while I, like most of us, do not yet know the “true story,” George Zimmerman should, nonetheless, have been locked up while awaiting his day in court — just as any other black person would have been locked up, and any white person should be locked up. Murder is against the law. We cannot just kill people because we do not like their looks.
Here is a link to this blogger’s response to my (and others’ posts). My response, posted on the autbor’s blog is pasted below:
“Greetings! You said that “nothing I read made me think it had anything to do with race.” Perhaps you’ve yet to read of how Zimmerman referred to Trayvon as a “f**king coon”? Perhaps you haven’t noticed that this is indicative of a continuing trend of a lack of follow-up on crimes perpetrated against black people? Or maybe you have not contextualized this within the context of the policeman who’s been protected (for months) after shooting 68-year-old retired Marine, Kenneth Chamberlain, a black man, who set off his medic alert alarm in his sleep and ended up tazed, shot in the chest, and dead as a result. Perhaps, you haven’t considered that had it been a black man who had shot a young white kid, that there would be no way in heck that that black man would have been walking around free, and armed, for weeks afterwards? Lynching, as an overt act, had everything to do with “race.”
Unfortunately, the issue of “race” is so unpleasant, and so seemingly impossible to extinguish that people prefer to pretend that we now live in a “post-racial” society. People prefer to believe that “just anyone” could get shot to death for wielding a bottle of iced tea and a bag of Skittles. I guess we have to do and believe whatever gets us through life. As for me, I choose to deal with the truth. Inequities exist; and it’s easy to be generous with convicted criminals, with a history of violence, like George Zimmerman, when it was not our son who was killed, or our “blood” that was spilled. So, even if this has, as you believe, nothing to do with “race,” it’s still just plain psychotic.
The point here is that there has never been a premium on “black life” in this country. This is why our Congress recently apologized for never getting around to making lynching a criminal act. Yes, thousands were lynched, but they were “black thousands.” Admittedly, people of other races were lynched during this awful period in our history, but the majority were black males, then women, then children. I’m wondering what it might take for you to believe that something is “racist.” Do words like “nigger” have to be involved (instead of “just” coon?) Does someone have to be lynched, as opposed to shot? If it had been a black man who had shot a white kid and called the kid a “cracker,” or some other despicable epithet, would you have also been unable to see “race?” I truly appreciate that you gave my opinion some “play” on your blog. I also respect your right to your views, even if I don’t agree. You are entitled to suspend your judgment if you so wish.
As a black woman who has feared for the black men in her life, all her life, I guess I just don’t have that luxury…”
The older I get, the more I become convinced that people don’t take too much seriously unless it happens to them, or “theirs.” It’s easy to talk about “being Christian,” and “learning to forgive,” but even Jesus believed in justice. And why isn’t this “forgiveness” ever available for, or even discussed with reference to, black men who kill? We executed a black man, Troy Davis, in September 2011, for a crime that not only Amnesty International didn’t believe he committed, but the Innocence Project, as well. It would be quite convenient for those of us who would rather not deal with “race,” and those of us who have the luxury and privilege of not having to deal with race, if Troy Davis’ s family, and all black people, simply forgave what has been nothing less than a continuous assault on black males, and just got on with their lives in the hope that they, too, will not fall victim to such gross inequity in their futures.
I want justice done by both Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. No one, no matter what the color of the victim and the perpetrator, should expect to go free without having the facts vetted in a court of law. Yes, Trayvon Martin is dead, but even now, he matters. And his family matters. If the tables had been turned and it had been George Zimmerman who had ended up dead on the ground, George Zimmerman’s story would also deserve to be told, and his family’s rights would matter — but I wouldn’t have had to argue it as I have to for Trayvon Martin and his family — black people. Forgiveness does not preclude justice. George Zimmerman, if found guilty of second-degree murder, does not have to go free in order to avail himself of the Martin family’s forgiveness. And the Martin family, while forgiving George Zimmerman, does not have to stop seeking justice for their own son. Through George Zimmerman’s privilege, his crimes were erased, expunged, continually. Trayvon Martin’s crime, being born black, something of which my own father is guilty, is something that not even privilege can erase. Nonetheless, no one is above the law — “God’s” or man’s.
Why do people so often find exceedingly difficult to walk in others’ shoes? It’s so easy to be generous in these situations when the capital you are spending is not yours, but that of others…
“Race” Not An Issue in the Trayvon Martin Murder? by Vivien E. Zazzau is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://darkactsbible.wordpress.com.
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