What Have We Learned In The Wake Of Trayvon Martin's Death?!
Today, Trayvon Martin should have been turning into a vibrant, thriving 21-year-old, which for many in this country signifies the mark of true adulthood. An adult free to make one’s own life choices, decisions and mistakes.
That is unless you’re a person of color or a female living in America.
Should is a word selected due to the feelings and emotions tied to the subject. Trayvon Martin should have had a chance to walk around in his own neighborhood without being accosted. The then-teenager should have had the protection of the area’s security and not its disdain or racist tropes labeled upon him. Instead, Trayvon will perpetually remain 17-years-old forever thanks to George Zimmerman, a man who has gone on to be lauded by fellow racists and purveyors of negative tendencies in America.
The neighborhood watch captain felt he was Dirty Harry and it was his obligation to “rid” the area of a suspected threat. In reality, Trayvon Martin was an unarmed black teenager heading home who attempted to defend himself from a crazed assault. Martin should have been protected by the state’s “Stand Your Ground” laws that would be used in favor of Zimmerman’s shoot-and-kill assessment of the situation. We live in a world where the color of your skin equals sin and how you wear your clothing makes you a target.
It’s no secret that Trayvon Martin’s hoodie made him a “suspicious person” in the eyes of George Zimmerman, but in his passing we’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what you wear or say. One is proven guilty no matter what the circumstances are or even how absurd the situation has become. We also learned that the murder (yes, we’re saying it like it is!) of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida directly helped to spark the #BlackLivesMatter movement that has given us our first political candidate with Deray Mckesson.
No charges weren’t brought up on George Zimmerman for the first two months after his killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Yet, since then, we’ve learned just how cavalier this person is when it comes to endangering the lives of human beings within his vicinity. Having been arrested numerous times for violent encounters, Zimmerman has shown a proclivity towards aggression and misreading situations that end up with someone else getting hurt. He should have just stayed in the car that evening as police dispatch instructed.
We’ve learned that white Americans are inclined to age and mature a child to sake its own narrative. Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and yes, Trayvon Martin all fell victim to the idea that they were adults or “grown men” because their size and stature beguiled their actual age. We also were educated on the merits of “victim blaming,” where the assailants or causes of death for these black-and-brown persons end up making it the fault of the victim for them losing their lives.
John Crawford III, Bettie Jones, Sandra Bland and countless names from the past few years have all lost their lives and then blamed for their refusal to go along with the okey-doke.
Black American males, who make up only 2% of the total U.S. population, logged more than 15% of all deaths by police. We’ve learned that the rate of police-involved deaths was five times higher than for white men of the 15-34 age range group. As militias grow within the country, angst-filled white children are able to shoot up churches and movie theaters and have a happy meal afterwards. Meanwhile, LaQuan McDonald has a full-fledge cover-up happen, courtesy of the city’s mayor. In another part of the country, a young girl is treated like a human punching bag by a cop at a pool party in McKinney, Texas.
Our black-and-brown family is constantly under attack and threat from those believing they are upholding the law. Shooting deaths related to individuals who suffered from mental illness, who were an innocent bystander, or who even called the police for help — still managed to find themselves in a pine box. Add to the mix those who pulled the trigger are able to bandy “cover charges” upon the victim, which leaves you with the makings of a living in a terrorist country, profiting off of the fruits of black-and-brown labors.
Ask Jordan Davis if he felt that he should have been killed by a stranger who was irritated by his music? Get Gynnya McMillen or Sandra Bland’s thoughts on if they should’ve died while in prison. See if Eric Garner or Akai Gurley have anything to add on to how the First Aid response to a situation involving a crooked cop worked for them.
Young Trayvon Benjamin Martin should be blowing out birthday candles with his mom and dad, going to grab his first drink with friends and enjoying his step into adulthood.
We shouldn’t be celebrating black life like this.