Feb 26, 2012,
Trayvon Martin (17), a Florida high school student was shot and killed by George Zimmerman (28), a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain (a.k.a. vigilante) in Orlando, Fla. Zimmerman maintains he acted in self-defense, Trayvon had no weapon on him, only a pack of Skittles and bottle of iced tea...
Stories like this make me queasy and uncomfortable simply because another young life has been lost and soon the underlying issues will be marred by racial debates and passionate arguments. In the first place, Zimmerman shouldn't have been carrying a weapon. I don't know of any law that permits vigilantes/neighborhood watch personnel to carry weapons. That in itself is another can of worms I don't want to open, the issue of gun-control legislation in the US of A.
Secondly, Zimmerman followed and approached Trayvon, not the other way around. How do you approach someone and then claim self-defense? Conventional wisdom dictates that if you spot a 'suspicious' person, you call for support. Note that Zimmerman called 911 before confronting Trayvon, and he was advised to back down, an instruction he completely ignored. In my opinion, justice should be served on Zimmerman. The police officers who arrived later at the scene 'forgot' to administer a drug or alcohol test on Zimmerman, despite the fact that he had just killed an unarmed man in combat, they simply believed his story.
I don't want to label Trayvon's death as racial profiling, but the truth of the matter is that our society in general (and when I say society, I mean ALL of us) is guilty of racial profiling. Blacks profile whites, whites profile blacks, africans profile african-americans, african-americans profile hispanics, the list is endless. Intricately woven within the fabric that we call 'human society' lies the bane of our existence: We are not united enough to accept our cultural differences/ways of life and we are not divided enough to come to the point where we decide that we don't like each other. So we embrace ourselves in the dark with daggers held behind our backs and delude ourselves with a facade of normalcy.
Like someone commented, if Zimmerman had seen a white teenager wearing a hoodie, he wouldn't have thought that 'he was up to no good'. Now, don't label him a racist, think about this. If Zimmerman was black, I believe that he still would have thought that Trayvon 'was up to no good' because he was 'creeping around' at night. Zimmerman's skin is not the factor here, permit me to borrow the words of Deuce Greenfield (read it on T.Kasali's facebook page)
"George Zimmerman says a lot about where we are as a society today, because believe me, he is not the only the person who believes that the black genetic code makes us predisposed to commit crimes. And plenty of the people who do are 'alleged' non-racists with black friends"
I completely agree with the statement except for the last part. I believe that if we take a poll of people who have this misconception about crime and being black, you'll find that a decent percentage would be black. Answer this question and be truthful, if you see a black man in a hoodie walking towards you on an empty street at night, what would be the first thought on your mind? Now switch up the image a little bit and replace the black man with a white man in a hoodie...then a hispanic man in a hoodie...still the same reaction?
George Zimmerman is a reflection of our society. He should pay for his crime, no questions. But it's time for us to wake up and agree as a society that we have to fight negative stereotypes. Else if we continue at this pace, when next we embrace ourselves, the room will be brightly lit and the daggers won't be hidden...hara-kiri