The names are familiar: Amadou Diallo, Emmett Till.
The places are well known: Howard Beach, Oakland BART, Mississippi.
The fear, frustration and rage date back generations.
The incidents, horrific. But they are only the tip of the iceberg. It’s the slaps, the kicks, the contempt, and the disrespect that happens a thousand times before blood spills and rage boils over.
It’s the cool indifference of those who suggest that black on black crime is a bigger problem so this one little death ought not to matter so much and what was he doing there anyway? Skittles and iced tea could look like a gun.
The lies tumbling upon lies chasing after falsehoods. My boy was never in trouble with the law. Except for that assault against a police officer.
The surreal. An ABC.com headline proclaiming: “Neighborhood Watchman Who Allegedly Shot Trayvon Martin Wanted to Be a Cop.” Allegedly? Mr. Zimmerman admitted to shooting Trayvon Martin after essentially being told to stand down by the real police. What would have gone down if the police had arrived? A mystery. Impossible to know if the outcome would have been better or worse.
Calls for calm speak to my mind, but today they don’t speak to my heart. I know that African American men commit more crimes – mostly non violent drug offenses. Perhaps more accurately that they are disproportionately convicted of crimes. But what about the fact that they are more likely to be the victims of crime? Fear with no help in sight. Victim and vulnerable, perhaps but perpetrator and alleged to the end and in the middle.
It took days for this story to surface, after aggressive follow through from Mr. Martin’s family. My heart is with them.
Potential interrupted. Soul snatched. Life truncated.
Trayvon Martin (1995-2012)