Some enlightened commentary on Trayvon Martin

A fairly even-handed take on the case from the Coffee Party website:

The fact that we still mourn our Trayvon Martins means there is a lot more work for us to do. Preconceived notions and irrational hatred still pollute human interactions. Sometimes, these weaknesses are codified into law. Black boys and men are stereotyped. Incarceration rates and crime rates are pointed to as justification for unequal treatment, and fodder for false narratives. These numbers do not take into account the fact that young men in my neighborhood, a predominantly white neighborhood, do not go to jail for infractions they confess to, while young men in other neighborhoods are arrested indiscriminately. It does not reflect that sentences on minorities are harsher and as such their chances of being granted parole and rehabilitation are smaller.

There are many Trayvon Martins out there. Many. It is sad that we have lost this beautiful young man. It is sad, also, that similar incidents occur frequently with very little news coverage. Trayvon’s case seems to resonate, perhaps because he was 17, good looking, and did not have a record. Every mother irrespective of color could envision him as their son. Every father as well. And that touches our hearts. We sense the pain that Trayvon’s real parents must feel. In the America we envision — an America where there is no “other” — such compassion for our fellow human beings is commonplace, and no one’s son deserves to die this way.

Many are emphasizing the fact that Mr. Zimmerman looks Hispanic. I’m not sure why. Does this irrelevant detail somehow exonerate him from suspicion of a hate crime? Do they think that by presenting a narrative of “minority-on-minority crime,” they can diminish the meaning of this event? Do they hope that the news networks will lose interest if they are reminded that typically they have ignored minority-on-minority crime? What is important to note is that within the Hispanic community there are many races. The racism we know in this country is found in every country in Latin America. Many of my South and Central American friends could pass for white just as Mr. Zimmerman can. They still struggled to assimilate. Ultimately they did.

Many Americans want to see the Trayvon Martin case as a potential learning experience. I do not think this is likely because we are so resistant to the only real solution, which involves everyone getting out of our comfort zones. Citizens must speak up against the “no-gun-control-bullies” that use intimidation tactics and loads of money to insist upon lawlessness when it comes to deadly weapons. If we are to resolve real racial problems we each must take it upon ourselves to lead by example — speak with honesty, and allow allow others to feel free to speak with honestly about what is in their hearts and minds without holding it against them. Only when our feelings about one another are revealed can we address, adjust, correct, or corroborate them. Only when we’ve begun and maintained an open conversation about race and racism can we see past our preconceived notions and truly hear and see one another.

Racism is not a problem with preassigned blame. Racism is simply a problem, and it belongs to all of us.

I’m not sure what the author of this piece — Egberto Willies — means by “no-gun-control-bullies”. But Trayvon Martin’s death at the hands of George Zimmerman is a story so wrapped in drama that I could imagine its retelling throughout the ages before us (with swords or even sharp sticks). Divisions by culture and race playing their devilish roles as usual.

Technology has steadily been making killing an efficient process since the dawn of time, jarringly efficient. We also enjoy a rich history of tyrannical governments that get hijacked and abandon their duty to protect its own citizens. Instead they become oppressors of dissidents abroad through bloodshed and through layers of bureaucracy at home, all the while continuing to tax the people so harshly that it ultimately breaks the economy — all for the pleasure of living in neighborhoods littered with suicide PSAs and prowled by men of all colors with idle hands.

In that environment, it’s not surprising to see private citizens fill the void and protect their neighborhoods (in this case, a sprawling apartment complex that police had been routinely called to for problems over four hundred times in a one-year period). Of course being rank amateurs at the job, bad shit like this starts to happen… a lot.

What’s truly sad here is that the corporate media doesn’t really care about Trayvon Martin in all of this — cops have questionable shootings like this that are glossed over. Instead they care about George Zimmerman, because as a private citizen who made a deadly series of mistakes (on tape) he’s now the perfect poster child for those clever gun grabbers to latch on to, all under the guise of racism and injustice… the flames of which they are actually fanning.

posted by vforvandyke · tags: , , ,
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/George-Kafantaris/100000398466956 George Kafantaris

    It is time that we look at the Trayvon Martin killing for what it is — a criminal homicide, only incidental to race.  One cannot draw a much different conclusion by listening to the cries for help heard in the recorded 911 calls.
    Even without them, however, it seems improbable that a confident, stocky-build man, with a gun in his holster, would need to beg for help — notwithstanding the claims of Zimmerman, his father and his brother.  Our understanding of human nature and common sense tells us that such cries would come from someone who is severely threatened and acutely aware of his imminent death.
    Any doubts of this are removed by merely listening to those multiple “help, help” pleas loud enough to be picked up during the 911calls.  Aside from their heart-wrenching intensity, we also note that these cries go on for over a minute.  Was Zimmerman telling Martin during that time that he was about to pull the trigger?  Why else would Martin need to plead for help with such desperation?
    If Zimmerman was threatening to shoot Martin in those two minutes before we hear the shot, what we have then is a cold blooded murder – and by one clever enough to now use our racial divide to get away with it.  We should see through this tactic and not let him do so. Not only because such defense would further divide us, but also because an unrepentant criminal would get away with murder.
    http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=11548279

  • guest

    I hope zimmerman goes to hell for what he did . If his actions are not justified on this earth , than they will be in front of god . What he did was disgusting and inhuman . He deserves to be punished , not praised .