In the trial of Trayvon, the US is guilty
The verdict in the Trayvon Martin case exemplifies growing racism in the United States.
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2013 13:54
hen I was a child I watched policemen beat a man nearly to death, and I watched my country acquit them. I was shocked that police would attack a man instead of defending him. I was shocked that someone would record the attack on video and that this video would mean nothing. I was shocked that people could watch things and not really see them. I was shocked because I was a child. I was shocked because I am white.
Twenty-one years after the Rodney King verdict, Americans have proven again that in a court of law, perception matters more than proof. Perception is rooted in power, a power bestowed upon birth, reified through experience, and verified through discrimination masked as fairness and fact.
Trayvon Martin is dead and the man who killed him walks free. Americans are afraid there will be riots, like there were after the King verdict in 1992. But we should not fear riots. We should fear a society that puts people on trial the day they are born. And after they die.
The Trayvon Martin trial was not supposed to happen. This is true in two respects. The Trayvon Martin trial only took place because public outrage prompted Florida police to arrest George Zimmerman, the man who killed him, over a month after Martin's death. The Trayvon Martin trial took place because that same public went on to try Martin in his own murder, assessing his morality like it precluded his right to live. It was never a trial of George Zimmerman. It was always a trial of Trayvon Martin, always a character assassination of the dead.
Zimmerman acquitted of Trayvon Martin murder
One might assume that rising privation would increase public empathy toward minorities long denied a semblance of a fair shot. But instead, overt racism and racial barriers in America have increased since the recession. Denied by the Supreme Court, invalidated in the eyes of many by the election of a black president, racism erases the individual until the individual is dead, where he is then recast as the enemy.
Trayvon Martin was vilified for being "Trayvon Martin". If he were considered a fully human being, a person of inherent worth, it would be the US on trial. For its denial of opportunity, for its ceaseless condemnation of the suffering, for its demonization of the people it abandons, for its shifting gaze from the burden of proof. The Trayvon Martin case only sanctioned what was once tacit and disavowed. A young black man can be murdered on perception. A young black man becomes the criminal so that the real criminal can go free.
Americans should not fear riots. They should fear a society that ranks the death of children. They should fear a society that shrugs, carries on, and lets them go.
A friend of mine on Facebook posts updates from a website called " Black and Missing but Not Forgotten ". The site exists because the default assumption is that a black and missing child will be forgotten. It exists because the disappearance of a black child is considered less important than the disappearance of a white child. It exists because a large number of Americans has to be reminded that black children are human beings.
New video in racialised Florida killing
Many Americans, of many races, will be outraged that George Zimmerman has gone free. They will advocate for tolerance and peace. This is a noble sentiment, but what the US needs is a cold, hard look at social structure. We need to examine and eliminate barriers to opportunity, some of which are racially biased in an overt way, but many of which are downplayed because they are considered ambiguous social issues - social issues, like decaying public schools, low-wage labor and unemployment, that affect African-Americans at disproportionate rates.
Trayvon Martin was murdered before we could see what kind of person he would become. But the truth is, he had a hard road ahead of him no matter what he did. He would have confronted an America of racial and class barriers that even the most ambitious young man cannot override without a good deal of luck.
In a US of diminished opportunities, luck is nothing to bank on. Neither is hope, or dreams, or the idea, espoused by President Obama, that for young black men, "there's no longer any room for excuses". Trayvon Martin shows that there is plenty of room for excuses. There is even more room for social and economic reform, for accountability, and for change.
Above all, there is room for responsibility. The death of Trayvon Martin is a US tragedy. He was part of a broken system we all experience, but that black Americans experience in ways white Americans cannot fathom. The children who grow up like Trayvon Martin, discriminated against and denied opportunity, are everyone's responsibility. Providing them a fairer, safer future should be a public priority.
Americans should not fear riots. They should fear apathy. They should fear acquiescence. They should not fear each other. But it is understandable, now, that they do.
Now is the time to arrest spreading of the movement and immediately legislating passing a strict law with provision of death. Prosecute whoever acts or utter tantamount to racism. If the Government fails to enact the anti racism law then US would be labeled as a Racial country to the satisfaction of Israel. Americans now defies to call Israeli JEWS their best friends after the Republican Leaders , the Minority leader , speaker, and the house leader conspired with the Republican Presidential Candidate during the last election to eliminate 47% American Middle class and poor and now planned to ignite a black and white riot to bring down the Democratic government.. US is in danger because of "WE JEWS CONTROL AMERICA" We would not go further in detail but just point out to show how the JEW Republicans reacted to NRA issue killings of American school going children with guns. The morning shows the day.Time to act not think.