For decennia we have seen many news releases about the differences and clashes between different race groups in the United States of America.
While some believe that the Americans have achieved an equitable society, enough that the Supreme Court struck down a portion of the Voting Rights Act, many blacks — especially black men — remain subjected to indignities every day. Far from colour-blind or post-racial, there’s still a way to go.
Obama called the Travyon Martin – George Zimmerman a “tragedy” for America and asked the public to remain calm, urging respect for the Martin family.
You could wonder if it was a good idea to have only six white women jurors who deliberated for 16 hours over two days to find Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter Saturday night in a case that has polarized the U.S. public.
Zimmerman, who is white and Hispanic, spotted Martin from his car inside the gated community where he was a neighbourhood watch coordinator and called police, believing Martin to be suspicious. The teenager was staying in the neighbourhood, the house guest of his father’s fiancée.
Minutes later, after Zimmerman got out of his car, the two engaged in a fight that left Zimmerman with a bloody nose and head injuries. The encounter ended when Zimmerman shot Martin once through the heart with a 9mm pistol.
Zimmerman’s brother said the former neighbourhood watch volunteer was still processing the reality that he wouldn’t serve prison time for the killing of Martin, which Zimmerman, 29, has maintained was an act of self-defense.
Some critics said special prosecutor Angela Corey overcharged the case by alleging second-degree murder, saying the lesser charge of manslaughter was more appropriate.
The acquittal will weaken any wrongful death civil lawsuit that Martin’s family might bring. Such a case would have a lower burden of proof and Zimmerman, who opted against taking the witness stand in his criminal trial, might be forced to testify.
“We will seek and get immunity in a civil hearing,” said Zimmerman’s lead defense lawyer, Mark O’Mara.
Civil rights leader Al Sharpton called the verdict “a slap in the face to the American people” and urged federal action.
He cited the example of Rodney King, the man whose videotaped beating by Los Angeles police triggered rioting two decades ago after a state criminal trial found the police officers not guilty. Later, the Justice Department prosecuted some of the officers in a federal civil case.
Around the US thousands of protesters could be found chanting “No justice, no peace” to protest the acquittal.
Protests began in Sanford and soon spread around the country, creating pressure that forced the Sanford police chief to step down and led Florida’s governor to appoint a special prosecutor, who brought a second-degree murder charge 45 days after the shooting.
In Manhattan, congregants at Middle Collegiate Church were encouraged to wear hooded sweatshirts in the memory of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager who was wearing a hoodie the night he was shot to death in February 2012. The Rev. Jacqueline Lewis, wearing a pink hoodie, urged peace and told her congregation: “We’re going to raise our voices against the root causes of this kind of tragedy.”
At a youth service in Sanford, Fla., where the trial was held, teens wearing shirts displaying Martin’s picture wiped away tears during a sermon at the St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church.
In Florida, about 200 demonstrators marched through downtown Tallahassee carrying signs that said “Racism is Not Dead” and “Who’s Next?”
Jesse Jackson said on CNN earlier Sunday:
“The [U.S.] Department of Justice must intervene to take this to another level.”
Hope E. Ferguson writes:
It seems as if the president’s election, instead of ushering in the new post-racial U.S., has revealed the troubling underbelly of race relations in this country.
We do, in fact, need to have a conversation about race:and about the violence, drugs and hyper-sexuality in our communities; the epidemic of fatherlessness; and the limited dreams that cause generations to languish in the projects. And let’s not forget the abysmal state of black matrimony.
Kwadwo Poku comments:
Sadly many Christians have advanced rather than end racism.” Remember the many missionaries who have knowingly or blindly promoted racism, colonialism, and imperialism? And those who stood aside and even promoted apartheid in South Africa, and slavery, genocide of American Indians and the Civil Rights movement in the US?
Tim Wise does find he and his daughter live a country where there is the system that fails — with a near-unanimity almost incomprehensible to behold — to render justice to black peoples. He looks at the family of Trayvon Martin being only the latest battered by the machinations of American justice, but with all certainty not the last.
Those who deny the racial angle to the killing of Trayvon Martin can only do so by a willful ignorance, a carefully cultivated denial of every logical, obvious piece of evidence before them, and by erasing from their minds — if indeed they ever had anything in there to erase — the entire history of American criminal justice, the criminal suspicion regularly attached to black men, and the inevitable results whenever black men pay for these suspicions with their lives. They must choose to leave the dots unconnected between, for instance, Martin on the one hand, and then on the other, Amadou Diallo or Sean Bell or Patrick Dorismond, or any of a number of other black men whose names — were I to list them — would take up page after page, and whose names wouldn’t mean shit to most white people even if I did list them, and that is the problem.
writes Tim wise.
Please read more:
No Innocence Left to Kill: Racism, Injustice and Explaining America to My Daughter
You remember, forever and forever, that moment when you first discover the cruelties and injustices of the world, and having been ill-prepared for them, your heart breaks open.
I mean really discover them, and for yourself; not because someone else told you to see the elephant standing, gigantic and unrelenting in the middle of your room, but because you saw him, and now you know he’s there, and will never go away until you attack him, and with a vengeance.
Of Children and Inkblots: Trayvon Martin and the Psychopathology of Whiteness
The claim that Zimmerman had given up on the pursuit of Martin and was returning to his vehicle when Martin blindsided him is corroborated by no one, was not believed by investigators on the scene, and is utterly discredited by Martin’s girlfriend, who heard the words exchanged between the two, and then the sound of shoving, 2-3 minutes after the end of Zimmerman’s 9-1-1 call. If one chooses to believe Zimmerman on this absurd point, it can only be because one finds the story so plausible based upon one’s own preconceived notions of black aggression, that the facts in evidence no longer matter.
Kevin Frazier Recaps Celebrity Reactions to the Zimmerman Verdict
OMG! Insider Kevin Frazier talks with the TJMS crew about celebrity reactions to the George Zimmerman verdict including Jennifer Hudson, Steph Curry and more. 32 more
A Sad Day When Our Children Can Be “Legally” Murdered
Like many, I was outraged at the death of Trayvon Martin. I was appalled by the behavior and attitude of the Florida police that had treated a dead child like the criminal and the man who pulled the trigger as a victim. 766 more words
I am Happy that George Zimmerman is Alive
I am happy that George Zimmerman is alive, and I wish that Trayvon Martin was too. Nevertheless, I must say that I am thoroughly disgusted with the… 726 more words
Rev. Al Sharpton: ‘We’re Not Having a Fit, We’re Having a Movement’
Reverend Al Sharpton gives his take on the George Zimmerman verdict and let’s us know what is up next in getting justice for Trayvon Martin in his powerful interview with the Tom Joyner Morning Show. 1,299 more words and 1 comment
Rihanna sounds off on Zimmerman verdict, compares Martin to her 17-year-old brother
Rihanna took to Instagram on Sunday morning and posted a picture of Trayvon Martin as she expressed her thoughts on George Zimmerman’s acquittal for the shooting death of the 17-year-old Florida teenager. 180 more words and 1 like
The Truth About The Zimmerman Trial
Can I just say something controversial that must be said? I don’t care about the George Zimmerman trial. I don’t, not even a little. That’s not to say I don’t feel sorry for those involved who’ve lost a loved one, I do. 972 more words
Trayvon Martin’s Parents Tweet Reactions To Not Guilty’ Verdict Trayvon Martin’s parents, Tracy Martin and Syrbrina Fulton, were reportedly not in the court room when the jury returned a ‘not guilty’ verdict in George Zimmerman’s second degree murder trial for killing their son, Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida in February 2012. 266
A Black Mother’s Love: A Letter to My Sons in the Wake of the Trayvon Martin Murder
Dear Solomon and Ellison, Last year we spent countless weekends shuttling you back and forth to various bar mitzvahs held for your Jewish friends from school. 681 more words
Trayvon Martin Supporters Rally After Zimmerman Verdict
This doesn’t soften the blow of the verdict for many people. However, it’s good to know that so many Americans agree that the young man had a “right to life”… 146 more words
- Zimmerman Framed. (annaraccoon.com)
Who knew that Trayvon Martin had morphed from this angelic picture of a 12-year-old into a 6’2″ 17-year-old body builder? Were there no up to date photographs of him to plaster the country with? No matter, he has been immortalised in his cherubic period.
Every week since Trayvon Martin was shot, every week, over 100 young black teenagers have been shot dead in the US, 94% of them shot by another young black man.We don’t hear of them. We don’t see smiling pictures of their innocent young faces. We don’t see grim mug shots of their murderers, man-slaughterers, aggravated assaulters, nor, final insult from a prosecution that seemed unable to make up its mind as to what they were prosecuting – ‘felony murderers in the course of child abuse’. Huh, ‘Terminal paedophilia with Prejudice’ .
- The accumulated injustices of the Trayvon Martin case (theconversation.com)
The criminal justice system has always been at the sharp end of race relations in the United States. Not only have African Americans been treated more harshly than whites as suspects and offenders, they have been taken less seriously as victims.From the thousands of lynchings that were never prosecuted to police beatings and murders that triggered riots, African Americans have historically had little reason to believe that the state values their lives as much as those of others. To this day, offenders against black victims are treated more leniently than those whose victims are white.
Against this backdrop the Trayvon Martin case was always going to be about race, regardless of how frequently people claimed it wasn’t. It was about race from the moment George Zimmerman decided, against the instructions of police, to pursue an unarmed black teenager through a Florida gated community because of his supposed resemblance to African American burglars in the area.
- Hmmm…”Revisiting a Past Essay – Honky Wanna Cracker?” by Tim Wise (makessensetoaiti.wordpress.com)
“In light of reports that Trayvon Martin referred to George Zimmerman as a ‘crazy-ass cracker’ while talking on his cell phone prior to being shot and killed by the latter, many have suggested (including Zimmerman’s defense attorney) that it was Martin, rather than Zimmerman who introduced race to the confrontation with his client that night. Aside from the absurdity of this claim — namely, Martin didn’t ‘introduce race’ into the confrontation because had it been up to Martin alone, there would have been no confrontation — there is the larger matter of whether or not ‘cracker;’ is a hateful or racist term, on par with something like the n-word or other anti-black slurs.
- “White Privilege” is Not Enough (livingformations.com)
More than forty years after the advent of Black Liberation Theology, Trayvon Martin’s predator and murderer walked.More than twenty years after critical studies of whiteness began to gain traction among justice-committed academics Trayvon Martin’s predator and murderer walked.
Exceptionalism exposes the extent to which U.S.-American identity is completely bound up in the evil, deadly toxicity of white supremacy. Our claim that we were divinely chosen, a city on a hill, a (white) people destined by God to become the nation we are was of a unified piece with the genocide of Native Americans and the enslavement of people of African descent. Exceptionalism continued/s to play out through the eras of Jim and Jane Crow, lynching, the Sand Creek massacre, dispossession and removal, the Dawes Severalty Act, the murder of Civil Rights activists, the sterilization of Native women, the forced removal of Native children from their homes, the 41-bullet assassination of Amadou Diallo and the free walk his assassins, like Zimmerman, also made back to their homes.
U.S.-American exceptionalism has always been white and supremacist. This is true figuratively and literally. Literally the build up of U.S. power and prominence came and was/is sustained through the subjugation and sometimes slaughter of Native and African American peoples, as well as through the violent exploitation of many other communities of color who have their own unique, yet similar, stories to also tell. And these literal ways in which U.S.-America became exceptional through racial atrocity fed and continue to feed the figurative whiteness and supremacy embraced and endorsed in our national self-perception as “exceptional.”
U.S-American exceptionalism was what the flag wavers were celebrating (knowingly or not) last week at our fourth of July parade in this little mountain town where I sit writing during a sabbatical while Trayvon Martin’s parents grieved.
- Little Known Black History Fact: Trayvon Martin and Sanford Florida’s Racist Past (blackamericaweb.com)
The city of Sanford, Florida will forever go down in history as the place where Trayvon Martin was shot and killed. But the city is also haunted by racist memories of the past, dating back to the early days of Baseball Hall of Famer, Jackie Robinson. After Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, he was sent to train with their minor league team, the Montreal Royals, in Sanford, Florida. Upon arrival, Robinson was met by an angry white mob and members of the Ku Klux Klan. They refused to let Robinson practice on the field. It was reported that Robinson had to pry himself through a hole in the fence of the baseball field to join the Royals. It was unknown as to whether or not he actually took the field. Later that night, Robinson was forced out of town to avoid serious injury by racist haters.
- The Zimmerman Acquittal: America’s Racist God (religiondispatches.org)
The not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman case has me thinking a lot about a book I first encountered in seminary, Is God a White Racist?, by the Rev. Dr. Bill Jones. As a budding seminary student, it took me by surprise. Now, as a wiser, older professor looking at the needless death of Trayvon Martin, I have to say: I get it.
- The mythology of a “post racial” America
A look at incarceration rates show that black men represent disproportionately high numbers of inmates in our criminal justice system. According to a 2007 Department of Justice report, “Black men comprised 41% of the more than 2 million men in custody, and black men age 20 to 29 comprised 15.5% of all men in custody on June 30, 2006…4.8% percent of all black men were in custody in midyear 2006, compared to about .7% of white men…Overall, black men were incarcerated at 6.5 times the rate of white men.” The report goes on to say that black men are between 5.7 and 8.5 times more likely than white men to be incarcerated. And the controversial War on Drugs is the biggest culprit for these awful numbers as according to drugwarfacts.org, the leading reason for incarceration of black men is nonviolent drug offenses.