Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Liberty and Justice for...Some...

When the verdict in the George Zimmerman case came down I don't know what I initially felt. I had been mentally preparing myself, and anyone that I talked to, for the inevitable acquittal that he was sure to get. It wasn't that I thought he wasn't guilty, but there were several factors that were contributing to the inevitability. The first major factor was that the prosecution was seeking a second degree murder conviction, which seemed to be a long shot at best. The only eye witness (other than Zimmerman and Martin) said that when he viewed the struggle Martin was on top, and what happened after that we have no clue, because we only have the perspective of George Zimmerman and not Trayvon Martin. Another major reason Zimmerman was inevitably going to be acquitted was that our country does not value the lives of young black men, and therefore a man that was portrayed by the media as a neighborhood watch captain was going to be seen as a good Samaritan, while a young black man in a hooded sweatshirt is going to be looked on with suspicion. Why do you think the defense took the posture of trying to portray Trayvon Martin as a "bad" kid? Because it made their defense that much easier when the jury can "understand" Zimmerman's feeling of suspicion and fear.
The bottom line is that justice was NOT served in this case. I don't necessarily think that the jury was given enough evidence to convict Zimmerman of second degree murder, but the fact that he precipitated the encounter and then shot an unarmed 17 year old boy is wrong - flat out. It doesn't matter if Trayvon Martin confronted him; in fact, Martin had the right to do so under the very law that saw George Zimmerman acquitted. But nobody wants to bring that up. Nobody wants to be honest about the fact that if Trayvon Martin had been beating Zimmerman (according to Zimmerman's story) and had ended up killing him, we be protesting the CONVICTION of a 17 year old boy for the killing of a neighborhood watch captain - an innocent 17 year old boy.
People in this country, or at least a lot of people, don't want to have an honest conversation about what the reality of this highlights; our culture does not value the lives of young black men the way it does everyone else. People don't want to hear that. People want to pretend the civil rights movement began, worked it's way through, and finished. Quick and easy. Equality. BULLSHIT. We haven't dealt with civil rights (at least minority civil rights) issues since the 1980s. And all of the contemporary problems we see linked to historical racism are swept under the rug or passed off from a societal problem, to a yoke that specific minority groups have to deal with themselves. There is no sense of accountability among the majority (white) society in our country that in order to solve the problem of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, etc. discrimination in this country, we all have to have an active interest, keep an open mind, and have an honest dialogue. Without a discussion, we will continue to see the horrible tragedies of Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, Jordan Davis, and hundreds of others who have been killed senselessly by a society that not only doesn't care about their death, but doesn't care about their life.

1 comment:

Ima said...