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Trayvon Martin: Tired of the Same Old Arguments
I was all ready to put a hoodie as my Facebook profile pic in support of Trayvon Martin but something stopped me. Something caused my justifiable anger and disbelief to quickly disappear like smoke on a breeze. I’ve always stood up for what I felt was right and I’m never afraid to voice or display my views. But this was different. This time I felt, “Ugh…enough already. I’ve seen this play before.” I knew the media and celebrities would jump on board before knowing all the facts and continually pump the perceived injustice into our psyche. This would trigger the public to overreact which in turn would lead to false protest and racial arguments. So this time I basically said, “Screw Trayvon Martin and his copyrighting family and screw George Zimmerman and his superhero complex.” And while I felt this strongly I continued to wrestle in my mind as to why this time I felt no compassion. Sure nobody cares what I think in the big scope of things but for me personally I may have finally reached a breaking point with our society.
I’m married and have a twelve year old son. I care about him and I’m always on the lookout for his safety. I should have felt for Trayvon Martin’s parents. It should’ve been easy for me to defend a seventeen year old walking home wearing a hoodie who was tragically shot and killed. I should’ve felt anger toward a neighborhood watch volunteer who went John Wayne when told by the 911 operator to stand down. But I didn’t; I couldn’t. It felt horribly wrong for me to try and even fake it. Several arguments played out in my head the worst of which was, “Who gives a shit. I’ve got my own problems.” Was it going to change anybody’s life outside the parties involved if George Zimmerman was charged with murder or manslaughter? No. Maybe we’d feel about ten minutes of redemption and then return to our day to day grind.
But then another argument would push its way to the front of my head. As the facts started to trickle in it became clear this was no cut and dry, “black kid is stereotyped, mistook for a burglar and shot.” While it’s considered stereotyping when a black teen wearing a hoodie, walking through a gated community is questioned, it really isn’t. If it had been a shabby, homeless looking white guy he’d been asked the same thing. I’m tired of race immediately jumping to the front. It’s 2012 and I believe it’s the one area we’ve made some progress. This wasn’t about race. This was about the country we now live in where you can’t be disrespected or embarrassed because if you are then somebody has to die.
George Zimmerman felt a sense of power and respect because he was a volunteer neighborhood watchman. Trayvon Martin like most seventeen year old males felt he deserved respect and was growing up in a time where people talk smack hiding behind their Twitter and Facebook accounts. So when these two egos clashed it was a mix of disrespect, surprise, embarrassment and then rage. But what Martin hadn’t learned at his age was the subtlety of underestimating. Sure he figured he could beat Zimmerman but he underestimated that he might have a weapon. And Zimmerman having a gun brings in the age old argument of gun control.
Sick and Tired
If you want someone to blame then blame our country and Florida in particular. This starts another mindless debate of owning a gun to defend yourself. That along with this so called “stand your ground” law gives too much leeway to the one holding the gun. To allow a person a gun and their interpretation of feeling their life is in danger makes for situations like the one we’re witnessing. This incident took place in Florida, that’s their law and our country allows guns. And as always in this country guns get a pass and add another element of frustration that drives me to throw my hands up.
While it seems cliché and an easy way out, Martin’s parents can’t be overlooked in this case. The argument can be made, what were these parents thinking? What type of path did they think they were leading their child down when they allowed a tattoo at fifteen? When they allowed him to have a gold grill? When they allowed a Twitter handle NO_LIMIT_NIGGA for their child. How as a parent of an African-American child would you let him degrade himself by using that word? There are Tweets of his that speak of and encourage violence. There were school suspensions over weed residue, possible stolen items and fighting. You allowed your son to be put in this position and ultimately it got him killed. If you don’t want to be stereotyped then don’t act the part. This was no scared innocent kid running from Zimmerman. If maybe he’d been taught to respect himself and others he’d have talked it out instead of fighting it out. But then again these same parents felt the need to trademark their son’s name for some bizarre reason. And that reason is our culture has taught us to live in a fantasy world. It’s taught us to live through celebrities and mediocre pro athletes. It’s taught us to try and get easy money and false fame at any cost. Instead of dealing with people on a common sense level we judge and insult.
And this results in Spike Lee and Roseanne Barr who feel the need to Tweet Zimmerman’s home address. You have Tweets calling for him to be killed. You have a moronic Congressman wearing a stupid hoodie on the House floor. You have the President stirring the pot. You have lemmings staging marches for a seventeen year old wanna-be thug who couldn’t handle the question, “Hey where you headed.” You have people wearing shirts that read, “If I had son he’d look like Trayvon Martin.”
It’s all the above reasons that have my brain on overload. I can’t fight for someone or something when the cause is false and could’ve been prevented years ago. It’s the same thing over and over again. I don’t understand how people can’t see the déjà vu. I guess I’m desensitized and tired of it all. Until things change in our culture and how we perceive ourselves and others, I guess we'll just continue to bang our heads against the wall.