Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Trayvon Martin and Truth About America

There are certain hard, unpopular truths about America that rarely get discussed.

1. This country was never intended to be a meritocracy, has never operated as a meritocracy. Injustice is just as much a bedrock of this country as man's inalienable rights.

2. The law has typically been used to maintain the status quo.

It's important to note these unassailable facts because in the case of Trayvon Martin, these facts are not only what led to his death, but they have also allowed his murderer to walk the streets as a free man. It's not enough to decry Martin's death as an unspeakable tragedy and sympathize with his grieving family. No, it must be noted that his death is just the latest salvo in an ongoing war against the rights of minorities, and a recent incarnation of a longstanding meme that black and brown lives are worth less.

Those who think this country is truly concerned with justice and equality must examine those beliefs under the harsh glare of a case where an armed, adult white male accosts a smaller, unarmed, black teenager for no crime, but because he deemed the youth "suspicious." This man demands that this child "present his papers" and when the child takes offense, they scuffle. This man is somehow bested by a child he outweighs by more than 100 pounds, and decides that his life is so endangered that he's justified in killing the young man. That's right, the larger more aggressive suspect who accosted the innocent bystander kills him and then claims it was self defense.

And the police have accepted this explanation.

Clearly this is not the more common scenario that typically surrounds the slaying of an unarmed black man, where a police officer in a pressure-filled situation overreacts and points to the threat of potential death. This is not the case of a homeowner protecting his property, even under the most dubious claims..

No, in this incident, a man sought a fight, found a fight and then killed a child when the fight didn't go his way. And he did it all despite commands from law enforcement to stand down. That's what makes this incident such a prime example of the injustice that dominates America. This man's actions, and the response from authorities, is driven by the idea that a white man who kills a black man has an inherent right to take that action. More importantly, a black man who is killed, probably deserves it.

Honestly, this can't be surprising to people. A quick perusal of the evening news, or the pages of your local newspaper will show that black men are violently killed at an alarming rate, typically by other black men. It's impossible not to note how these deaths are often viewed as part of the status quo, while the deaths of non-blacks, particularly whites, are viewed as a sign of the coming Apocalypse. This media quirk, it is a business decision made based on the stark realities of life in this country. Black lives are worth less.

Trayvon Martin's murder, and it was a murder, has not captivated the nation's consciousness because on a certain level, his death is to be expected. As a black teenage male, he was living on borrowed time in this country where far too many of his peers still view reaching age 21 as an accomplishment and age 30 as a miracle. Any suffering he endures is almost always going to be believed to be his fault or the fault of those charged with caring for him. It's why so many folks have rushed to defend Zimmerman's actions by providing anecdotes about their own encounters with dangerous black youth. These reactions are driven by the conscious and unconscious belief that black people, particularly the males, are inherently dangerous and sometimes need to be put down. Mistakes will be made, but the end justifies the means.

That is what is so infuriating about the situation. It's as if black people can see this obvious reality, but we're constantly being told it's all in our minds. We know what it's like to be black, and about half of us know what's it's like to be black and male. We see the tightrope we walk, and we learn from youth the consequences of falling.

But too many other folks are caught up in the American myth..

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11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm black and the only time I hear black men is when they are lauded some non-black beauty or bragging about basketball or rap.

You may or may not have noticed that many black women writers are silent. Its cause they- and I refuse to carry the burden.

We're not marching for you anymore. Nope.

TIME FOR BLACK MEN TO BE THE SO CALLED 'KANGS' THEY CLAIM. YOU ALL WOULD RATHER LINE UP ALL MORNING TO BUY JORDANS THAN MARCH FOR THE MURDER OF ONE OF YOUR BASTARD CHILDREN.

Sorry, I'm sitting out of this. You won't see too many BW bloggers talking abou this, we're tired and sick of defending men who have abandoned us, don't defend up but want us to white knight you!Yall stopped having our back, about 40 years ago.

Good luck with this and best wishes to the family of the murdered youth.

KRStyle said...

WOW! Hey Anonymous, wish you much success with the White Guys. I'm sure they'll treat you like the Queen you and the other silent sistahs think you are, they've been doing such a wonderful job for over half millenium now. Oh, by the way, DON'T have any sons.

Peace Out.

Anonymous said...

Based on the comments above the "Willie Lynch" syndrome is alive and well. Sista my prayer for you is to have a son that looks just like you and in twenty years or so he gets to read your comment. I'm sure things in Amerikkk(a) will not have changed much.

Big Man said...

Anonymous

You need to deal with a better quality black guy.

It's your choice whether you speak on Trayvon Martin's death or not, but his death isn't about black male and female relationships, it's about the way young black males are viewed and treated in America. And the same problems they face, are faced in a lesser degree by women when it comes to being targeted and mistreated by police.

It's why when a black woman goes missing, the attention is much less. Your lives are worth less as well.

I understand that a lot of sisters are angry at black men, but from what I've seen, there are plenty of good, decent black men involved with good decent black women. Both sides have their issues, but I don't see the horrible situation that most people see. It's much more nuanced than that.

Imhotep said...

The Dred Scott decision from the U.S. Supreme Court, though 150 years old, is alive and well. Justice Taney’s articulated ruling that a “Black man have no rights that a White man is bound to respect” was the verdict in the case, but in fact Taney’s sentiments had been the de facto law of the land since its inception. If a person have no rights worthy of respect, then what value is their life? Zimmerman is symbolic of white America’s view on the rights of Black people. Our rights do not matter.

@ Anonymous 11:38 Did you know Trayvon? I’m guessing you did not (correct me if I’m wrong) yet you choose to lump him with people in your narrow circle. Your circle consist of people who talk about Rap and basketball all day then stand in line to buy basketball shoes, by your admission, that’s all your hear from Black men. If you have never talked with Trayvon, then you don’t know him, so please separate him from your limited view of Black men, and at least respect the young brother in death, do not rob him of his dignity, that was already done by the murderous Zimmerman.

A young unarmed man was murdered and he best you can offer is to be an apologist for his assassin? You’re basically advocating that it’s ok for a white man to kill black men from whom they perceive an imaginary threat. It’s sad commentary that you as a Black person would embrace Justice Taney’s point of view.

Anonymous said...

I am a white woman and while I agree compley with your analysis I can never ever know what is it like to be black.

I do know that those lines are blurring. Just ask the you g white woman in Orlando who had her teeth busted out by a cop whoes union would only let him get a weeks pay deducted for his inappropriate use of force. Or the white woman pushed down the stairs at a club by the cops- or the mentally challenged guy killed because he had a pop gun- or the baby shot in JAX while police overreached their attack on a carjacker-
The sooner people in out nation join together to stop the violence- the better off we all will be- and safer too

Blackgirlinmaine said...

Yep, you are right. This case has shaken me to the core, not just as a Black woman but as the mother of a 20yo young man. Trayvon could be any of our boys.

Thordaddy said...

Ol' beat up, battered and worn out black liberation narrative:

Racist cracker kill completely innocent black boy/child.

Reality:

Hispanic male, part of an oppressed class, shoots and kills teenage black male after a suspicious pursuit and questionable physical altercation.

Ranting and raving is right, lil' man.

I would also say that you're also fomenting deadly lies, faux-Christian.

Big Man said...

Look who is back.

It's funny how a Hispanic dude has the last name Zimmerman, right?

You listen to the 911 tapes? Bet he never called himself Hispanic in his life, and even if he did, I'll bet he was Hispanic-white.

Anonymous said...

@ Big Man- he got banned from Abagond, so he's trolling around- like a lost puppy (LOL!!)

Anonymous said...

What about all of our black brothers who were mowed down by our own people over the years? No one marched for them. Only alleged racially-provoked tragedies are worthy of a march? Let's be patient & wait for the facts. The media never gets it right, at least not for the first 3 or 4 tries. Anyway, it's a tragic case either way. Peace out.

Raving Black Lunatic