My Thoughts on Trayvon Martin

Justice for Trayvon!!!!!

It wasn’t until late last week that I stumbled upon the Trayvon Martin case. Anger welled in my chest and I had a feeling of deep deep sadness. It forced me back to a summer night when The Little Brother (TLB) was ripped from the backseat of my car for no other reason besides being inconveniently black at the wrong time. TLB said something to me that night that I’ve never forgotten, “It comes with the skin I’m in!” And while I know in some ways he peppered a shitty situation with humor, every word of his statement was true.

“It comes with the skin I’m in.”

Truer words have never been spoken. I sometimes wonder what it’s like to run through life oblivious to the skin you’re in. Not that I’d ever want to change, but I do sometimes wonder what it feels like to walk into a room as Faith first and only. It must be weightless. I don’t know that anyone on the opposite side of that comment truly understands the meaning behind the phrasing, the skin I’m in. W.E.B DuBois said it best, “It is a peculiar sensation, this double consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.”

I’ve found folks take two approaches to this life, either they fight with every ounce of their being against what is stereotypically accepted as true or they succumb to the labels. Both are recipes for danger with an undue burden of carrying the world on tiny shoulders. I hold court with the fighting cohort. But it gets old and no one wants to be viewed as the exception to blackness or the rule. Which brings me full force into this case and why I feel above anything there are racial undertones.

Black skin alone holds a perception of guilt. It means you look suspicious in the day and night regardless of your intent. Present media both sensational and otherwise continues to perpetuate these myths and to some extent there are members of the community who do nothing to dispel them. Are they right…in some cases, are they wrong, most of the time! Believe it or not there are more law abiding black men than criminal. I know it probably comes as a shocker. And while the usual suspect is always a black male between the ages of 17-50 that in no way means it’s right. Some argue because of this we must raise our children with that usual suspect mentality in mind, meaning don’t ever look the part.

Don’t look the part, how is that even possible if the presumption of guilt is ingrained in the skin you’re in? I can’t help thinking that if Trayvon had the complexion for the protection Zimmerman never would have found him suspicious. And if by some stretch found suspicious and fatally shot, Zimmerman would have been arrested on site regardless of the stand your ground law. Why? Because shooting a white kid holding nothing more than a package of skittles and a can of iced tea is called murder. While stating a black teenager attacks you fits a stereotype too many are willing to believe without question even in the sight of evidence to the contrary.

Let us examine the stand your ground law for a second. In this case there seems to be a warped interpretation. You are allowed to defend yourself and others against a perceived threat with deadly force. Within those words I don’t see an unprovoked license to kill. You are not allowed to hold both the position of the aggressor and the victim simultaneously. In my mind the action of pursuit does not fit the role of victim. If you pursue someone you feel is suspicious there’s an argument that you’ve transitioned from potential victim, remember your suspicious character has done nothing wrong, to aggressor. The actions the pursued person takes against you seem more along the lines of self-defense not the reverse.

My heart goes out to the family of Travyon Martin. I’m sure it’s a hurt that no amount of time will truly ever heal. A senseless murder of a boy chalked full of potential and bursting with possibility stopped by a gunshot from an overzealous bigot. Let me be clear I 100% believe that everyone is prejudice. Why, because life subjects us to many situations and we draw conclusions about those happenings based on our selective experience either good or bad. This alone does not make one a bad person. It is the behavior we express as a result of that prejudice that is the determining factor. When I meet someone who bubbles up those misconceptions I fight against my natural reaction to categorize and speculate because that’s how I was raised. Cover judging is the same mistake one makes when he assumes. And in this case it was not only dangerous it was deadly. Justice should be colorblind and everyone before the law should be judged by his actions and not his race.

I don’t presume to know all the details of this case. From what I’ve been able to piece together there seems to me more than enough evidence to have arrested Zimmerman at the scene and by now he most assuredly should be charged. I anxiously await the results of the grand jury hoping that lady justice is that, just.

What says you, what are you thoughts on the Travyon Martin case? As always to share is to care! I ask that if anyone comments as a result of this post they are respectful. I am ok with a differing opinion of the events but I will not accept name calling on either side.

2 Responses to “My Thoughts on Trayvon Martin”
  1. LMichelle says:

    My heart hurts for black men, Trayvon & our future. The thing about this, is hopefully it will open the dialouge on race, racism, and sterotyping. What’s even sadder to me however, is this man, Zimmerman, is Hispanic-American, and could have been subject to racial profiling himself. So as someone else who is also the minority, it seems he would understand the injustice behind being sterotyped as a “person of color”.

    I’m new to blogging, but I wrote a piece on this too. I found Sinead O’Connor’s Open Letter on Trayvon to be thought provoking. If you haven’t read it, check it out & let me know your thoughts

  2. i’ve already said my piece. i’m glad you said yours. & eloquently, i might add.

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