The fact of the matter is that being harassed and fatally shot by the police or over-zealous neighborhood watch captains for simply “walking while black” is a dangerous reality for many young, black males.
Trayvon Martin was shot on Feb. 26 by George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain, while he was visiting his father in Sanford, Florida. Martin left his father’s home to buy Skittles and iced tea when he was spotted and pursued by Zimmerman. A scuffle ensued and resulted in the death of seventeen-year-old Trayvon. Zimmerman, who maintains that he acted in self-defense, has not been arrested. In his defense, Zimmerman is expected to invoke Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground Law, which states that a person may use deadly force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of an imminent threat without an obligation to retreat first. George Zimmerman told police that he shot Trayvon Martin after the teenager decked him with a single punch, repeatedly slammed his head on the ground, and tried to take his gun. Zimmerman claims that the cries for help came from him not Trayvon as claimed by the Martin family. Zimmerman also maintains that he is not racist, even though in the 911 calls released by the police Zimmerman can be heard muttering “fucking coons.”
The media is currently reporting that Trayvon Martin was suspended from school at the time of the shooting because traces of marijuana were found in an empty plastic baggie in his book bag. The claims that Trayvon Martin may have been a small-time drug dealer or at the very least drug-user prompted Trayvon’s mother to come to his defense: “The only comment that I have right now is that they killed my son and now they're trying to kill his reputation." I tend to agree with Trayvon’s mother. Even if Zimmerman had found Trayvon shooting up heroin on the street, at most, he should have notified the police and awaited their arrival instead of taking the law into his own hands. Zimmerman’s claim that he acted in self-defense seems absurd as he was the pursuer not the pursued.
According to Mother Jones, “George Zimmerman was a man obsessed with suburban law-and-order minutiae—and black men stalking the neighborhood.” Apparently, in the months leading up to the shooting, Zimmerman made some 46 calls to police some of which reported “suspicious activity” involving black males. Despite the (in my opinion) clear racial overtones in the Martin case some claim that liberals are exploiting this case for political gain. Rush Limbaugh for example, claims that it is people on the left who “think of everything and everyone in black and white — literally.” For Limbaugh and many others, Trayvon Martin’s death, although tragic, was not the result of racial profiling. According to their convoluted logic, the people who are cognizant of race are the ones who are racist. In other words, because I recognize that African Americans still face widespread discrimination solely on the basis of skin color I am the racist. I beg to differ.
Some would like to believe that racism is not a problem in this country, but it seems to me that it is still quite a big problem. As evidence I present the last presidential election when the media kept asking the ridiculous question “is the country ready for a black president?” Apparently, too many people are still not ready for a black president and consider President Obama a Muslim/Kenyan imposter of some sort. I keep trying to think of the last time a black police officer shot a white kid who was unarmed but acting “suspicious,” and I am drawing a blank. I’m also reminded of Oscar Grant, who was fatally shot by Johannes Mehserle, a BART police officer, in Oakland, California. Grant was laying face-down on the ground with his hands tied behind his back when he was shot in the back by Mehserle. For this crime, Mehserle was sentenced to two years with double credit for time already served. In other words, Mehserle served just 11 months behind bars for an involuntary manslaughter conviction. Take a look at the video following this article and see if you think Mehserle’s actions did not warrant a conviction for murder. Imagine what would have happened had Mehserle been black and Oscar Grant white.
The fact of the matter is that being harassed and/or fatally shot by the police or over-zealous neighborhood watch captains for simply “walking while black” is a dangerous reality for many young, black males. Clearly, what made Trayvon Martin suspicious is the fact that he was black and was wearing a hoodie, nothing else.
Image Source: http://newsone.com/nation/tjstarr/million-hoody-march-trayvon-martin/