Trayvon Martin’s shooting and subsequent death is a terrible tragedy. The apparent lack of investigation and the bungling by the Sanford, Florida Police Department, have caused anyone following this incident to question whether the “self defense” law that has been cited is actually the reason the shooter hasn’t been arrested. Is it perhaps because the victim was a young black male who “looked suspicious” and therefore must have been up to something? Or, did he verbally and physically defend himself from a man who “looked suspicious” because he was following him? Sadly, we will never know.
One thing we do know is that this case has caught the attention of America like no other since The Jena 6 incident of 2006. In that case, six black teenage boys beat up a white classmate in the aftermath of the discovery of a noose hanging from a tree in their school yard in Jena, Louisiana. In the days that followed, citizens across America traveled to Jena led by Al, Jessie, Michael, and other civil rights leaders and celebrities to march for justice. A month after the shooting of Trayvon, marches for justice have not only been held in Sanford, but in far away cities such as Baltimore, Houston, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Americans of all ages, races, and ethnicities, have been deeply moved by this shooting. Even President Obama has offered his feelings about the subject.
My question is why has this shooting so galvanized Americans, particularly black Americans? What is there about the unfortunate death of this young man that has brought a similar response to the march on Jena, Louisiana to the city of Sanford, Florida?
I have thought long and hard and I think I have an answer. The whites and others who are marching and protesting have their own reasons (think “Occupy Everywhere”) of which I’m not sure. But as far as the blacks who are protesting, I’ve figured it out.
The reason Trayvon’s death has caused such an out cry in the black community is because he was killed by someone who is not black. That’s right, the race of the killer of a black person determines the black community’s response. How else can you explain a rally for a black Florida youth that was held in Philadelphia when there was no rally, march, or protest of any kind for the thirty six mostly black males who were murdered in that same city in the month of January? What is the explanation for a lack of marches, rallies, and protests for the forty seven mostly black people who were shot the weekend of March 16-18, from Friday to Sunday evenings in Chicago? Or, the explanation for the seven people who were murdered in Chicago on Saturday March 24? All of the major cities I mentioned earlier have a long history of murdered black people. Yet, none of them warranted the attention given to Trayvon Martin. I say it’s because his killer, George Zimmerman, is a white Hispanic.
In my recently published book Etiquette for the Black Man, I cite facts taken from the Bureau of Crime Statistics for the years 1976 to 2005. These facts say that most murders are intra-racial. 86% of whites were killed by whites, and 94% of black victims were killed by blacks. So, unless there has been a huge shift in the race of victims killed by blacks, almost all of the blacks killed in the cities I mentioned were murdered by black people. Again, since there weren’t any rallies, marches, or protests, I say that blacks don’t have a problem with thousands of black people being murdered in their communities as long as the killers are black.
What do you say?