Trayvon Martin: the name alone should remind anyone of the of the sometimes deadly racial bias issues we face in America. If not for his unjust death, Martin would have been celebrating his 21st birthday today. However, on this date in in 2012, Martin was murdered by a neighborhood-watch zealot named, George Zimmerman. Martin was only 17 when he was shot for treading upon an all-white neighborhood in South Florida.
Usually, such an unlawful death of this nature–a grown man killing an unarmed team with little remorse (or reason)–causes public outrage and the assailant is dealt with promptly.
There certainly was outrage for Trayvon Martin’s death; but it was outrage due to the lack of justice served to Zimmerman as he is still a free man and loving life.
And if it weren’t for protests, Zimmerman may not have even seen his day in court–because apparently it didn’t matter. This is why Salon reports that Martin’s death was the catalyst which ignited the #BlackLivesMatter movement to begin with.
After the resounding calls for Trayvon’s justice went unheralded by the court, frustration and racial tensions flew across the nation. Currently–four years removed from Trayvon’s death–these types of issues still persist.
Unlike the Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin case, The Guardian reports that young black men, like Trayvon Martin, are nine times more likely to be killed by police than white men of the same age in 2015.
Why is that? Do they simply cause more trouble? Despite whatever you can extrapolate from that data, it is hard to disprove that racial bias isn’t at play.
But beyond analyzing the issue introspectively, there should at least en lie a consensus that the death of any unarmed teen, like Trayvon, is tragic.
“That is unfortunate for Trayvon Martin,” is what, at the very least, most human beings should say–putting politics and other interests aside. Even such notions presented as a phatic gesture to convey some degree of emotional intelligence for the situation would for a progressive dialogue on race.
But for too many, such sentiments for Trayon Martin and other victims like him are not shared. On the contrary, such reaction to these deaths seem to assuage, or rather reassure one’s belief that justice was served by ending the life of a potential “threat,” like Trayvon Martin.
To do so further proves why the stand-your-ground and “shoot first” maxims can persist.
It’s almost as though every death in the context of Martin’s (young, black, “threatening,” male) strengthens the conviction of a gun-toting critic to the point.
That is to say that the victim’s lives are completely disregarded and instead characterized as a plot-device for the narrative they wish to embrace.
In lieu of any sympathy, you’ll witness cold, calculated, and in Martin’s case–highly racist–remarks in order to stay in line with pro-gun beliefs, and to constantly attribute any faults that the 2nd amendment has to the “other.”
.@dakat1949 There is no connection. Trayvon Martin was the AGGRESSOR. He acted like the bad person he was. Till was an innocent victim.
— Philip Schuyler (@FiveRights) February 5, 2016
And hurl more statistic after statistic to further demonize groups which they are disconnected from.
Black males between the ages of 14-28 comprise 3% of the population, yet commit OVER 50% of all homicides. https://t.co/NpXcdNKPpB
— andieiam (@andieiamwhoiam) February 6, 2016
Yet proven domestic terrorists, who are white, have held arms against the federal government, for weeks–effectively committing treason, and are regarded as protectors of freedom. They are even heralded as martyrs towards the patriotic cause.
— Stephen Fletcher (@SMF62) January 27, 2016
And such insensitivity even comes at the professional level as well.
Trayvon Martin would have turned 21 today if he hadn't taken a man's head and beaten it on the pavement before being shot.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) February 5, 2016
Perhaps the veil of white privilege worn by people like conservative editor-in-chief at DailyWire.com and editor at Breitbart.com, Ben Shapiro, blinds them to the larger issue at hand, thus putting feelings aside.
But as Shapiro puts it,
Facts don't care about your feelings.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) February 5, 2016
Facts can be harsh. You cannot discredit Shapiro or other social media users for that claim. But why display such racial insensitivity?
Maybe such disconnect stems from a subconscious guilt that racism no longer exists, and we truly live in a “post-racial” society now.
Therefore, police shootings of unarmed black men and mass murders committed by gun-crazed, confederate-flag waving killers have absolutely nothing to do with anti-black racism. Because that makes white people look bad.
It just goes to show that the elephant-in-the-room can always be avoided if you try hard enough, unfortunately.
And to add insult to injury, according to a Harvard Study, reported by Tufts.edu, many white people believe that racism against whites has significantly increased or has been more prevalent since the early 2000s.
Or in other words, more blacks and other marginalized groups practice what is known as “reverse racism” towards them, ironically.
Nevertheless, a real post-racial society wouldn’t label Oregon militia man Lavoy Finicum a martyr, and Trayvon Martin, a trouble maker (or other more vile choice words) so hastily.
And if we truly lived in a post-racial society, Trayvon Martin would probably be at a bar right now, celebrating his 21st birthday as many fellow Americans would.
And Trayvon could do so because no one unjustly suspected him of being a “thug” and shot him out of fear for their own life.
[Image via Shutterstock/Lukas Maverick Greyson]