Trayvon Martin Analysis: It’s time for all Americans to look in the mirror

A shattered America serves no one

It belongs to all of us: Responsibility is simply the ability to respond.
It belongs to all of us: Responsibility is simply the ability to respond.
I love that.
I love that.

George Zimmerman is behind bars. To some, this might be a cause to celebrate, but I hope that we refrain. Zimmerman is a tragic character in a made for America drama. His life will be linked forever to a tragedy that opened up old wounds for America. The hope is that revealing those wounds will make us look at ourselves and change the way we deal with each other.

Zimmerman shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012. The teen was walking to his father’s fiancée’s house from the store when Zimmerman who thought he was suspicious confronted him. They got into a verbal altercation and then a physical confrontation and Martin was killed. Now Zimmerman is charged with 2nd degree murder and faces life imprisonment.

That tragic moment has led to protest from the black community and a call for Zimmerman’s arrest. It has also highlighted the divide between the right and the left. The questions that we are asking involve the story of these two tragic figures, but maybe we should all be asking how we contributed to this tragedy in our daily lives.

No one should ever be judged based only on his or her appearance. However, that is human nature and there are contributing factors. As African Americans, our focus has got to change from that of being victimized to becoming victorious. To do this we must confront the problems in our communities head on. These include black-on-black violence and broken dysfunctional family units. It is time to take back our children. We cannot do this by pontificating about how. We need to get our hands dirty. Some of us will be hurt or even die.

Bullies who have power over someone do not give it up easily. The bullies in our communities who carry guns are not afraid to use them. However, like most bullies, if enough of us gather together and stand up to them, we can change their behavior. This starts with honestly looking at what is going on with our children and dealing with it instead of pushing it aside or assigning blame.

It also means looking in the mirror and deciding how we as a community need to affect change to survive. Death is an everyday occurrence for some of our children. Some of us, and I include myself in this, do not want to look at the issues that black people in urban areas face. We choose to assimilate and that assimilation has left our communities lost and looking for their way. For the most part, no one else is raping, murdering, or robbing our children. We do it to ourselves. It is time to face the facts and stand up to those terrorists in our own home.

For some Caucasians the task is no easier. Until we all look at these problems and accept them as an American problem, things will never change. Referring to and dealing with minority Americans as if they are a different entity only breeds contempt. We are all Americans and should be judged as only Americans.

Crime in America is a universal problem. All groups commit crime and most of the people who do live at or below the poverty level. This is our American boat and we all have to stop the leaks before it sinks. Becoming a part of the solution may mean breaking down barriers that we have erected because of race. All of our young people need teaching, and it is my experience that color really does not matter. Kids, especially, are looking for consistency and love. We all have those things to give.

As a teacher, I find that my students do not attach themselves to me or do well for me because I am nice to them. I am a bit of a pain in the ass to be honest. They attach themselves to me because I am the same person every day and they know that I care. The way we change the dynamic of racism and violence in America is one person at a time—making personal connections and following through.

America is at a crossroads and we cannot depend on government or anyone else to help us solve our problems. We have to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty. The question is are we brave enough or does fear control our choices. I’m in for the long haul, how about you?

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Comments 9 comments

JC 4 years ago

Nicely framed:

Crime in America is a universal problem. All groups commit crime and most of the people who do live at or below the poverty level. This is our American boat and we all have to stop the leaks before it sinks. Becoming a part of the solution may mean breaking down barriers that we have erected because of race. All of our young people need teaching, and it is my experience that color really does not matter. Kids, especially, are looking for consistency and love. We all have those things to give.

As a teacher, I find that my students do not attach themselves to me or do well for me because I am nice to them. I am a bit of a pain in the ass to be honest. They attach themselves to me because I am the same person every day and they know that I care. The way we change the dynamic of racism and violence in America is one person at a time—making personal connections and following through.

America is at a crossroads and we cannot depend on government or anyone else to help us solve our problems. We have to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty. The question is are we brave enough or does fear control our choices. I’m in for the long haul, how about you?


habueld profile image

habueld 4 years ago from Riverside, CA Author

Thanks JC.


Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

JC, you make a very valid point. I don't think that we should have ever depended on the government in the first place. IT was necessary to do so during the civil war and the civil rights movement, but not for our day-to-day life.


Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Habueld, we definitely need to do the work ourselves. I am still hurt by the vigilante justice contrived by so many to capture Zimmerman. All we had to do was wait on the DOA to gather enough information for an arrest which they did finally.

I hubbed about Daniel Adkins which occurred in my own backyard! It is surreal. It is scary that the same racial thing could happen with the Black man that shot and killed this White Hispanic a few blocks away from me in a supposedly safe area.


Patriette profile image

Patriette 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

Interesting hub! I don't agree with everything you've addressed here, but I do agree with your concluding comments that America is at a crossroads, government cannot be depended on and that's it's individuals that change the dynamics of racism and violence. That said, no one but the two individuals involved are responsible for what happened that awful night. The same can be said for the broken, dysfunctional family units you speak of. Until every individual embraces personal discipline, responsibility and accountability for their actions, while modeling everyday examples of decency for their children and their communities, the racial divide and disproportionately high levels of black crime will sadly worsen.

Blacks are no different from other racial groups and know the difference between right and wrong. They must stop making excuses and wallowing in victim hood as you suggest. Middle class blacks who, either have left the inner city - or never lived in the inner city to begin with - are not saviors nor are they responsible for what does or does not happen in inner cities; the people who live there are the ones responsible. Blacks who leave should not feel guilty for choosing to do so.


Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

You almost made me shout out Patriette! I agree in truth with what you say, BUT (there is always a big but) culturally I think we are years away from applying that idea. I believe we have been handed a generation cultural practice from the former slaves to help each other or no one will. It has become a cord for successful Blacks to hang themselves with rather than a rope to support future Black enterprising individuals--as it was in the past.

I do feel like I owe my brothers in color support, but my religious beliefs help me to support them in the best way, encouragement and independence. I am far from free of dependence on people, but in thought, motive, drive, responsibility, duty etc. I am free. I think we should all approach life the way many White people do and take care of ourselves and help out where we can if we so desire.

I think that the Black community could learn that as a whole from Whites. I also think that Whites could learn from the Black community to be more united. We do not live in a bubble of one family, but a society of perforated bubbles. We should do all we can on our own, but be willing to let others help. We as a Black community are good at allowing others to help--it is an asset not a weakens. I just think many of us take getting help too far.

If 3 generations have passed of people living on welfare, there is a real problem.


habueld profile image

habueld 4 years ago from Riverside, CA Author

That is so the American way. "I'm not responsible for anyone but myself and what happens in the community-at-large does not affect me." My position on this is that if we are not willing to deal with a problem, then STOP complaining about it. The biggest problem with these blogs is that everyone has a problem but no one has a solution. It becomes vain babbling--talking about something that we know nothing or can do nothing about.

We all have a responsibility to our society as a whole and excuse me, but when you say 'they', you include me too because I am black, I am middle class, and I do take responsibility for those around me.

I'm also really tired of people talking about high levels of black-on-black crime and ignoring the equally and higher levels of white-on-white crime. All races commit crime in this society. Most of the people committing those crimes are poor. Our jails are filled with poor people who could not defend themselves. They are of ALL races and genders.

The point of this hub is to take action and not assess blame. This is an American problem, not just a black or white one. It won't be fixed until all Americans take responsibility for their part in it.


Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

My American way is to help and assist. I agree with you about standing together and support each other. As I said before we can learn from each other as groups as we work together to build America.

We have become a nation of cynics. Every word a person says in positive is contrived for some other motive! I really want to work together to build a better America. I write articles and books that I think will help a few people. I like living unitedly.

The only way we can come as one is to believe we are fighting the same fight and living for the same goals. I want to be free to associate with all I want to and not have my religious rights infringed up, but I also want a responsible neighbor who will not take advantage of my will for free to introduce filth into my life, which is what's happening. The day Porn became freedom of speech is the day the US lost it. I am certain that founding fathers did not consider lewd behavior a public form or speech in government.

I do believe we are meant to have a living constitution, but such thins makes reason it self stare!


ImKarn23 profile image

ImKarn23 4 years ago

Stop being 'victimized to becoming victorious'. This is brilliant stuff, sir! Had i only known sooner. I say exactly the same thing - look in the mirror. Change yourself - then help your neighbors to change themselves. Accept people for their red hearts and their red blood - and judge on a one on one basis(because judging is something we do thousands of times a day - it's human). I wrote a poem when Trayvon was killed. If you have read it - you'll know that we are on the same page: - responsibility for ourselves - first and foremost! well done!

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