19 March 2012

Trayvon Martin: Walking While Black

Left: George Zimmerman
Right: Trayvon Martin

I’m sure by now you’ve heard of Trayvon Martin. If not, read the story here. He’s the 17 year old boy who was killed by a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain. The incident occurred on February 26th, 2012, and it’s a frustrating, heart-wrenching story. His murderer, George Zimmerman, has yet to be arrested. Why? He claimed self-defense. All week, I have been struggling with my emotions and if I can handle writing about it. Knowing how much light needs to be shone on this case, and how much this story hits home, and how many black people have been fucked over by the judicial system, I realize that I have to write about it.

This story pisses me off because of how it relates to my dad’s case. There is so much evidence to prove that Zimmerman is wrongfully walking the streets, yet these so-called “enforcers” of the law have done nothing to bring him to justice. I have read almost every possible news site and comment relating to this case, and though I’m not an expert on law, I can tell just by reading that Zimmerman deserves to be in someone’s prison. Trayvon’s parents have to not only deal with the loss of a son, but must live with the sting of the bitch slap the Sanford PD has delivered upon them by allowing Zimmerman to sleep cozily in his bed with a seedy smirk on his face.

I am one of the last people to ever bring race into a situation, but to be completely honest, I doubt this situation would play out like this had the race roles been reversed. A black Zimmerman would be under the prison pending investigation and awaiting trial. In the case of a black defendant, that whole “innocence until proven guilty” bullshit doesn’t exist. In my dad’s case, he sat in prison for a year and some change awaiting trial because he was labeled a “flight risk” though he has never left the state and doesn’t hold a passport. Zimmerman’s “self-defense” claim pure fuckery at its finest. He stalked Trayvon and initiated these series of unfortunate events. Once he realized, “Oh shit, I killed him,” he claimed self-defense, knowing that in a post-racial (haha!) society, it’s more believable that a black teen armed with Skittles and iced tea could threaten his life. Interesting. There are only two people who can substantiate Zimmerman’s claim, and one of them is dead. Tell me, George, which posed more of a threat—the Skittles or the iced tea?

As a black woman who hopes to start a family one day, what do I instruct my future son to do? If he walks in the rain with a hood to protect his head, he looks suspicious and “on drugs” (Zimmerman’s words). If he’s running, he stole something. If he’s walking too slow, he’s plotting a crime. If he’s skipping, he’s labeled as a homosexual and bullied by homophobes because of it. If he is too happy, he’s on drugs. If he’s mad, he is labeled as a “angry black man,” and treated like Bigger from Richard Wright’s “Native Son.” The black man cannot win in this so-called post-racial society. Just by being a black man in America, he has a bounty on his head. “WANTED: ALL BLACK MEN—DEAD OR IN PRISON.”

I guess, fortunately for my family, my dad is in prison, but it’s for a crime that can be easily proven that he didn’t commit. I’ve been fighting my dad’s fight for 4½ years, and I am unsure when it’ll be over. The pain I feel each day for my dad is the worse ever and I would hate for anyone to have to endure it. Having to visit my dad in a monitored setting and not having him at my college graduations is difficult, but imagine Trayvon’s parents not given the opportunity to experience any of that at all.

Sign the petition to prosecute Zimmerman: here


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