*If any lesson can be drawn from the Trayvon Martin murder case, it is that racism is still alive and well in the US.
Once again, America is divided, and the media has successfully diverted public attention away from more important domestic issues like unemployment, gun control, healthcare and anti-abortion legislation, same-sex marriage, and the ever looming threat of nuclear warfare—just to name a few.
Red flag number one.
The smorgasbord of media coverage devoted to Martin’s case suggests that his death somehow compares to Emmett Till’s unlawful murder in 1955, shortly before the civil rights era began. However, Till’s mutilated body resulted from a deep-seated, racially fueled hatred for blacks in oldtime Mississippi. Martin’s killing is the result of reckless and compulsive action from his assailant—which hardly qualifies as martyrdom.
The most striking development throughout this process has been the volatility demonstrated by African Americans in the wake of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman’s recent acquittal in the fatal 2012 shooting of 17-year old Trayvon Martin.
We all know the story by now: man follows boy, boy confronts man, man questions boy’s intentions, a tussle ensues, boy overpowers man “allegedly,” man panics and fires his otherwise concealed weapon, boy eventually dies of a fatal gunshot wound. The end.
Innumerable reports of civil unrest have emerged across the nation, starting with the riots in Los Angeles that occurred shortly after jurors rendered their verdict on July 13. Ironically, this incident embodied the mayhem that followed Rodney King’s 1991 thrashing by LAPD officers.
In light of recent events, it’s become clear that black America still has a lot of growing up to do. Wolves have no right to condemn other wolves. Thusly, throwing tantrums is not a way to create separation from the animals. It simply makes you one of them.
Red flag number two.
When miracle-working attorney Johnny Cochran turned water into wine during the OJ Simpson Trail in 94,’ White America didn’t flinch. One of their own, a blond bombshell, had been brutally murdered by a 6’2”, 211-pound Black male athlete. This high-profile case exacerbated racial tension throughout the Southern California area, where the proceedings transpired.
Despite the prosecution’s best efforts—and plies of circumstantial evidence—OJ was acquitted of all charges (he later fanned the flames by writing a book entitled, “If I did it”).
The jury’s verdict produced widespread euphoria among African American supporters, and some even fired up their barbecue grills to celebrate. Simpson’s detractors vehemently pushed for a reexamination of the case, but they refrained from cross burning and dawning white masks in protest. In other words, they exhibited self-restraint even in the midst of controversy.
In the case of young Trayvon Martin, protesters have adopted a far more aggressive approach (hence the rioting). Like many others, veteran political conspirator Tavis Smiley and his running mate Cornel West have accused Florida’s Judicial System of failing Martin’s family. Famed musician Stevie Wonder has even tried to convince other artists to join his boycott of the state, reports show. But if such madness actually took place, it would be another example of the blind leading the blind (no pun intended).
Simply put, Trayvon Martin apologists would gain more perspective by merely accepting the facts. Overall, the trail was plagued with incongruities, resulting from insufficient evidence and botched testimonies from unprepared witnesses (it’s hardly rocket science). Let’s hold on to the race card for now.
This doesn’t mean Trayvon’s murder is an open and shut case. However, it’s one of countless examples throughout modern history in which a young black male is gunned down in cold blood, often by someone who fits the same description. Solving this problem should be a priority, yet it hasn’t been since the Million Man March of 95,’ almost 20 years ago.
Red Flag number three.
The “New Century Foundation” studies Federal crime reports, and found significant differences in crime ratio between races. They state emphatically that the Judicial System is not biased against minorities. Blacks are seven times more likely than people of other races to commit murder, and eight times more likely to commit robbery. Blacks are three times more likely to use a hand gun, and twice more likely to use a knife. Blacks are 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against whites than vice versa, and 136 times more likely to commit a robbery. Forty-five percent of black crime is against whites, 43 against other blacks, and 10 percent against Hispanics. Blacks are also seven times more likely to go to prison
Red flag number four.
Zimmerman’s decision to pursue Trayvon Martin stems from a preconditioned, media-driven psychological bias. In that regard, the slain teenager symbolizes the consequence of perceived criminality in young Black males.
Several facets of Black entertainment (ie. Gangsta rap) perpetuate stereotypes and stigmas associated with people of color. This subculture of violence and secularism is punctuated by increasing rates of crime throughout urban communities. It’s a repetitive, self-deprecating cycle that has gone decades without a smell test.
Red flag number five.
During a recent press conference, President Obama—who often intentionally shies from race talk—reached out to his Negro brethren, saying:
“There are very few African American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. There are very few African American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me — at least before I was a senator. There are very few African Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.”
The president’s candid illustration of black prejudice has reopened a bottomless can of worms in the media. Additionally, hot button issues concerning race now monopolize dinner conversation among political circles otherwise inclined to bite their tongues. When the dust settles, Trayvon Martin’s death will have triggered a wave of social consciousness that only comes along when tragedy strikes. During this period of reflection, let’s remember those who have fallen prey to the evils of prejudice. Trayvon wasn’t the first victim, and he won’t be the last.
Black people, it’s time to grow up. Look—in—the–mirror.
Based in Southern California, EURweb editorial associate Cory A. Haywood is also a certified personal fitness trainer. Contact him via: [email protected] and/or visit his website: www.coryhaywood.webs.com.