First of all, I am not in the least bit surprised by the verdict given in the Zimmerman trial. When you stop and think about it, most Americans should not have been the least bit surprised either. This is the land of the free and the home of the brave. This is the land of opportunity unless you fit a certain description that makes you guilty of some crime not yet committed or guilty of being a “thug”. This case wasn’t the first time a young Black man was killed because of a perceived threat, nor will it be the last. I don’t like to make broad brushed statements and such, but it’s quite obvious that Trayvon Martin was primarily guilty of being Black. His being Black and walking through the neighborhood in a hoodie while it was raining was enough to make him “suspicious” of something. Nevermind the fact that no crime, attempted or otherwise, had been reported or witnessed. The simple act of walking through a neighborhood is all it takes for a Black kid to be “suspicious” nowadays based on the outcome of this trial.
The underlying message in the verdict, in my opinion, was a swift kick to the solar plexus of every single Black man in America. Now, I wonder if someone will stalk me when I’m walking through my neighborhood at night. Do I have to look over my shoulder every other step to see if someone’s following me because I look “suspicious”? Must I now always arm myself to be able to “Stand My Ground” if I’m approached by a stranger who isn’t looking out for my best interests?
I didn’t really watch or read much about the trial while it was ongoing because I did not want to set myself up to be let down since I already had a good feel about what the outcome would be. Florida’s laws are written so wide open that MOST anybody could get away with killing someone by claiming self-defense. There are exceptions, such as Marissa Alexander, who’s doing prison time for shooting AT her abusive husband who even acknowledged that he would have beaten her at that time if he could have. The next court test will be in the trial for the murder of Jordan Davis that’s going on in Jacksonville.
Only time will reveal what the long-term impact of this trial will be in regards to American Black males. My intentions are not to stir up some racist or bigoted crap, but things have to be really effed up when you can’t walk through your own neighborhood anymore. Now, it seems as though someone can label me “suspicious” with no supporting facts. Once he labels me “suspicious”, he can follow me around, approach me as though he’s some law enforcement authority figure, and I’m supposed to comply as though I’m a 10-year-old kid. If I don’t comply and “Stand My Ground” because I feel threatened, he can kill me with impunity because I threatened his life by feeling threatened and attempting to protect mine. Isn’t America just the greatest country ever???
Karen Grigsby Bates asks a very important question at NPR today, With Fla. Verdict, Is Protective Clothing Still Required?
- Open season on black boys after a verdict like this | Gary Younge (guardian.co.uk)
- Opinion: Trayvon could have been my son (cnn.com)
- Armed Racial Entitlement: Zimmerman’s Acquittal Comes as No Surprise (politicususa.com)