- Politics and Social Issues»
- Social Issues
The Trayvon Martin Case.... One White Man's Point of View. The Opening Salvo of the Black Lives Matter Movement
The Truth vs Distortions by The Press
The Opening Salvo of "black Lives Matter
The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. There is no doubt about that. The actual facts behind his death may never be known. The problem I and many other Americans have with the event is the manner in which the press described the victim and the circumstances behind the event. Yes, legally he could be classified as a boy. But to describe him as an innocent. almost angelic young boy who shared no responsibility for his fate may be a major misconception. Emotions cloud the issue. His parents, especially his mother, like most parents with a teenager saw their child as near perfect young boy.
As a citizen of one of the country's most violent cities, I can't tell you how many times I have witnessed a TV interview with a mother of an accused African American teenager killer cry out in anguish, tears rolling down her cheeks exclaiming: "My baby, my baby. He's not a killer. He's a good boy who doesn't get into any trouble. Why are you picking on him?" Unfortunately in so many of these cases, you soon find out that her "baby" has a rap sheet a mile long; did drugs and was a known troublemaker. This denial is a fairly normal reaction in black communities, where many parents are refuse to accept the facts. They claim their "baby" is being profiled unjustifiably. The truth is that many of those "babies" are hardened, tough guys at 15 years of age but are defended by their folks even after a conviction.This is part of the white vs. black culture that flourishes in many black communities.
Racial Profiling or Facing Racial Facts?
Even though the crime rate for the black segment of the population is unbelievably high, authorities are accused of "racial profiling". The Federal government has entered the fray in large part because of media coverage and the president's remarks on the Martin case. In a city like Detroit for instance that is 85% black, who in the world would you expect the police to arrest for a crime? Black kids have made themselves targets by their violent reputations, enhanced by the their gangster mentality and a perception held by many whites that the current generation of young Afro-Americans hold little or no value for human life. Is it not reasonable that they would be suspected and feared.
The Hoodie culture is part of this sinister image, encouraged by the violent videos and movies that reinforce the image. The liberal protesters who demonstrate on behalf of Trayvon have probably never been exposed to a walk through many city neighborhoods and their inherent danger. Whites are generally not welcomed and that is quite evident. The protesters should divert their energies to helping minority members promote family values and education to help the community break away from the culture of sex, drugs, violence and a lack of respect among black youth. The fear is real. Anyone white person who does not experience that sensation walking through a crowd of black 17 year old teens is a liar.
I'm getting off track. What peaked my interest and this response is the constant reference to Trayvon as a poor young black boy who was maliciously attacked without reason by a much older, therefore assuredly stronger, white man. Photos of him as a 12 year old appeared on the web. He looked like an angelic little black child. Later photos showed him for what he really had become. Black boys stop being boys much earlier than white kids, largely due to their environment. They promote that image instead of working on a more positive one. Black kids who try to improve their lot are often looked at with disdain by their peer group.
My Youthful Experiences
I thought back to my youth, when I was 17. What was I all about? At that point of my life, I was a cocky young white kid in the best shape of my life, 6 feet tall and 175 pounds, I had no fear and thought myself invincible. Testosterone plays a big role in the lives of young guys and believe me I was fully charged. I was convinced that I could handle myself in any situation on the streets of the city where confrontations were easy to find. I grew out of that phase and by the time i was 21, my outlook and behavior changed for the better.
The point is that there is a good chance that if I were in Trayvon's shoes, I would have challenged the guy following me, no matter what color he was, even if he were 20 lbs. heavier and 20 years older. I was 17 and invincible. Back at the scene in Florida, I could imagine the kid turning on Zimmerman, surprising him and knocking him down with a couple of quick moves. "I'll show you, you Honky M*****F*****," he might have exclaimed. It is quite feasible that started to do just that, by now totally caught up in the rush and bolstered by his thoughts of invincibility. Zimmerman's perception of what could happen to him during the ensuing scuffle escalated as he could see that he was in trouble. A lean, quick kid could do serious damage.
Who Was Trayvon?
Trayvon was certainly no sissy. He knew how to fight. He was a "bad" dude, at least in his mind. We did hear after the trial that Trayvon had been suspended from school for possessing "burglar tools." and for marijuana violations. Videos of him in action demonstrate those points. He got into trouble and did a lot of things that his parents would not be proud of. Did he deserve to die? Absolutely not. If Zimmerman was getting his ass kicked, he probably could just as easily have shot to wound, not kill. But once again, we don't know how things played out and what was said and done during the final seconds of the confrontation. How far the fight would have gone is only speculation. At this point, it means nothing except to make us wonder what he was doing in that neighborhood. Forget the Skittles.
Neighborhood Watchman Responsibilities
I am not clear on what a neighborhood watchman's responsibilities are. It would seem that Zimmerman was within his rights to follow and stop a trespasser in his gated community. There had been several break-ins reported within the enclave in recent months. Any stranger, black, white or yellow could be a suspect. One of the primary reasons for gated communities is to protect inhabitants of that occurrence.
The NAACP The Civil Rights Groups and every black minister has jumped on the stage. That is their right and an expected response. Rather than simply protest, the opportunity is right for them all to take a close look at their responsibility to their youth and help them develop. They have an image and crime issue that needs a solution. Family life, the value of human life and a responsibility to improve their lot needs to take precedence. The time to call foul at every incident is over. The time to evaluate their place in society is at hand. Our white society certainly needs to take a closer look at our intolerance. As President Obama said that we are not a perfect society but we are making progress on working at our imperfections. This is a two way street. Yes, black lives matter, but rsepect for authority is important too