Filed Under:  OpEd, Opinion

The Hard Truth — Trayvon is on trial

27th September 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Min. J. Kojo Livingston
Contributing Writer

Trayvon Martin is on trial for his death.

The dead teen is on trial to see if he deserved to be stalked and murdered by George Zimmerman.

It’s a lot like what happens when a woman is raped. She is accused of causing her own assault. For many women, the trauma caused by reporting their attack is so great that most rapes go unreported. Police and even friends pose accusing questions. “Why were you walking down that street?” “Were you wearing a short dress or sexy shoes or lipstick or a ‘provocative’ hairstyle?” “Why were you naked in your own bed…or in your shower?” You must be responsible for this man’s behavior.

Just like a female rape victim, Trayvon Martin is now on trial for his own murder.

The reason, the only reason Trayvon Martin is on trial is because he is Black and his murderer is white. If the races were reversed, there would be no question about guilt or innocence.

If an armed, grown Black man had followed an unarmed white teenager, while on the phone, with police who were repeatedly telling him to stop his pursuit, that Black man would have been arrested for stalking or, at the very least, interfering with police work.

If that armed Black man had shot that unarmed white kid, apparently because he was losing a fist fight with him, no one would be questioning the background of the white victim. In fact, the Black guy might not have made it to jail alive or unharmed.

If Trayvon Martin were Jewish, no one would care about his school grades, or his discipline record, or whether he ever said a cuss word, or forgot to take out the trash, or if he had farted in public.

If Trayvon Martin were of Italian or Irish descent, he would not be on trial. No one would be asking if he deserved to die at the hands of Zimmerman for the crime of walking while Black. He would be considered a murder victim, plain and simple. His murderer would be considered a murderer. Period.

But Trayvon Martin is not white and his killer is not Black. So Trayvon, from his grave, must prove in a court of law that he never did anything in his entire life that would justify his execution.

We will endure a circus of a media trial that will waste time and money raising questions that would be considered stupid and irrelevant if the races of the victim and the perp were switched.

Of course, the conservative-racist commentators are going to do everything in their power to defend their boy. And as always their unthinking, dumbed-down, racist followers will swallow their crap like a nice cold beer. After all, Zimmerman only did what they would like to do. That’s why they mass-produced shooting targets with Martin’s likeness.

It boils down to the value of a Black life. That value cannot be left to others to decide for us. We have to decide how much our lives are worth. We have to make that decision known with our voices and our actions. We have to enforce that decision, by any means necessary.

Closer to home, in the Baton Rouge area, we have the Gaines family. Last year six members of their family and a close friend were killed on the way from church by a white, habitual drunk driver. Brent Gerald had already done time for previous offenses, which included side-swiping another car and running an 18-wheeler off the road in a drunken stupor.

Immediately the system moved to protect the killer. Turns out, Brent Gerald is the grandson of a former Senator by the same name, a rather infamous sort, but still influential. Gerald was eventually convicted and given 70 years, or 10 years per murder, a pretty light sentence. The family was assured he would serve a minimum of 35 years. Then last month, Gerald’s sentenced was reduced to 35 years, or five years per murder. The judge publicly stated that he did not intend for Gerald to spend his life in jail. Neither the Baton Rouge media nor MADD seems angry about a white man getting the gentlest slap on the wrist for taking seven Black lives. Today the family is fighting to see that Brent Gerald does not walk out of prison in five years,

No one seems to care about a Black life and no one will until we make that value known and understood.

Yes, the problem is both internal and external. Our own self-slaughter can be seen as a justification for others to slaughter us. That is, until you realize that every racial group kills or harms more of its own kind than others do. But the solution to fratricide is actually pretty clear, with two major prongs: First, change the culture of self-hate to self-love. Second, create and promote viable income alternatives to the drug game. (I didn’t say “easy” or “quick.” I said “clear”.)

The external solution is a bit more complicated. It involves us uniting to engage people and forces outside of our community. The one-per-day murder of unarmed, innocent Blacks by cops and people like Zimmerman will only stop when we decide to generate consequences.

Zimmerman was able to raise over $200,000 for his defense within two weeks after being charged. White racists have no shame. For God’s sake! The man stalked and killed a teenager and they treat him like a hero.

Would that Black people had that kind of zeal! We would find his supporters, like the Koch brothers, and vigorously boycott anything they make. We would withhold our dollars from anyone remotely associated with him. We would take to the streets to let the courts and the world know that this is unacceptable. And if the courts dared let him walk, our people would make sure that he and those who freed him were never allowed to forget it or live it down.

When we are as committed our own survival and advancement as racists are to our destruction and enslavement, we will find ourselves winning and people will stop playing with us.

As Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will,”…

…and That’s the Hard TRUTH!!!

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