- Parent Category: Politics & the Law
- Category: Social Commentary
- Published on Wednesday, 28 March 2012 13:45
- Written by Adisa Menewa
- Hits: 567
This case illustrates the yet fragile state of race relations in these United States. While everyone has a right to her or his opinion, it is unfathomable just how insensitive some people can be. Over the past few days, images of a “thugged-out” Trayvon Martin have surfaced across the Internet. Conservative commentators have even posted what they believe to be Trayvon’s Twitter account and Facebook page, alleging among other things that Trayvon Martin may have been a small-time drug dealer. Other reports have surfaced that many of these images are not the Trayvon Martin that was slain by George Zimmerman. Notwithstanding, whether Trayvon Martin posted thuggish pictures of himself on Facebook or not becomes immaterial to George Zimmerman’s defense, yet so many people seem to be searching for a reason to justify the killing of an unarmed child. The facts that are not in dispute seem to provide a clear picture that Zimmerman pursued then killed Trayvon Martin. A jury would likely conclude that Martin had a right to defend himself, as well. At the end of the day, Zimmerman had the only weapon. Zimmerman has offered no evidence that would suggest that Martin retaliated in such a way as to warrant the use of lethal force. Where are the pictures of his broken nose? Why did the police not take any photos of the injuries Zimmerman sustained? Whether or not George Zimmerman committed murder is a question for a jury of his peers to decide. In fact, the longer the various investigations continue, the more challenging garnering the truth will become. The larger question that may dog this country long after this case has finally been resolved will be in regards to why some people are promoting the notion that if Trayvon Martin actually fit the stereotypical image of the black male, it somehow makes his death at the hands of George Zimmerman more justifiable or, at least, makes some sense of an otherwise senseless killing.
Because the Sanford Police Department failed to render a proper investigation on the night of the shooting, including collecting relevant evidence and speaking to witnesses while the crime scene was fresh, we may never know or fully understand what actually transpired between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. This case is not about a white man killing a black child. This case is about a person possibly getting away with murder simply because he seems more credible than the dead child. The yet to be answered question as to whether or not Zimmerman walked free that night because he happens to be white and Trayvon Martin happens to be black is what makes this case outrageous. There is almost no other explanation, other than race, as to why George Zimmerman’s account of the events that led to him shooting Trayvon Martin have been so readily accepted by the Sanford police or the myriad individuals who have come forward in cyberspace to defend him. We do not know what happened, and without a proper investigation, we will not. What is certain, troubled teen or not, all available evidence points to the fact that Trayvon Martin did not deserve to die.
Moreover, wherever he is, we can almost be certain that George Zimmerman probably does not benefit from the support he has received from commentators like Fox News analyst, Bernie Goldberg. Goldberg suggests that the liberal-leaning national media needs to use the word “white” in order to further the Trayvon Martin storyline. Goldberg even went so far in a March 27th interview on America Live to compare the Trayvon Martin case to the false allegations of rape by a black woman against members of the Duke Lacrosse team in 2006. This is the same Bernie Goldberg, however, who told Bill O’Reilly that the media is biased against black people. Goldberg explained his comments by saying that “black people were seen as out of the ‘Mainstream’, as alien, or even as dangerous.”
Similarly, George Zimmerman may not even benefit from the seemingly lone black man that has emerged to defend him. Like the slaves who worked inside the plantation houses of old, Joe Oliver proves why “Good Negroes” make bad Americans. The American people need to discover the truth of this matter. As Lawrence O’Donnell revealed in his interview last evening, Joe Oliver simply cannot help us get any closer to that truth.
Americans approach the subject of race very gingerly, particularly when it involves an alleged injustice perpetrated against African Americans by whites. Race makes us, as a people, uncomfortable. For black Americans, it evokes painful reminders of the persecution their ancestors and even close relatives suffered for nothing more than the color of their skin. For white Americans, the subject of race evokes the same feelings of regret and aching self-disappointment engendered in times when one realizes the deep pain and injury they have caused another, intentionally or otherwise. The vast majority of white Americans are not racists, a fact that sometimes gets lost during times of intense national reflection involving questions of race. Some people, nonetheless, refuse to be sensitive to the issue, especially during times like this when as a nation we really need to uncover the truth of certain events.
Sadly, the killing of Trayvon Martin and the attitudes surrounding the case expressed in hundreds of articles published on the Internet along with the comments attached to them reveals that many people in this country still view African Americans as “out of the ‘Mainstream, as alien, or even as dangerous.” At the end of the day, this case is not about black on black crime or our desensitization to it; moreover, the American people need not be extremely concerned with Trayvon Martin’s life before he was shot and killed on February 26th. The coroner did not find any traces of illegal substances in his system the night he was killed. Martin was unarmed. He was not killed in a drive-by shooting or some other stereotypical fashion. He was shot by a man who has not even had to face proper examination by law enforcement officials. This case should not even be about the validity of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law. The true poverty of this situation becomes the unwillingness of some Americans to see Trayvon Martin as their own child and to try as best they can to relate to the pain his parents now experience. Because of the national scrutiny this case has received, the entire country now needs to heal from this tragedy, and no better remedy than justice exists for what ails us in this case.
Adisa Menewa is the executive director of Internet Publications for Praying Mantis Publishing™ as well as the managing editor of The Old School Journal™ (TOSJ). When he is not working, which is rare, Adisa is an avid sports fanatic. Find more commentary by Adisa on the TOSJ Facebook® page. Follow TOSJ on Twitter: @OldSkoolJournal, hashtag: #tosj.
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