A small sense of relief has been offered with the arrest of George Zimmerman, accused of shooting and killing unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin. A self proclaimed neighborhood watchman, he allegedly decided to investigate a suspicious looking Black male, even after the 911 dispatcher advised him to cease pursuit. After the shooting, Zimmerman was not arrested or considered a perpetrator of violence until now, some 45 days later.
Many would say that if Zimmerman were Black and Trayvon were White, he would have pretty much been thrown under the jail, prosecuted, and possibly sentenced to death. This is an unfortunate truth and history of America; as many White’s in this country could kill a Black person and resume their lives as if nothing happened. Reminiscent of Emmitt Till, the 15 year old young man who was accused of “whistling” at a White woman – tortured and drowned so much so that his body, so severely unrecognizable that his mother wanted an open casket for the world to see injustice first hand.
So now that the arrest has been made, and Zimmerman’s fate is in the balance, what does that mean for us? Us as in African Americans who have seen this behavior for way too long, yet are often cited as being violent perpetrators of our own? Us as in White Americans who have seen this behavior at the hands of their own toward African Americans, Native Americans, Latino Americans, Asian Americans, women and legions of people overseas, yet are often allowed to go free; mainly prosecuted if the victim of violence is one of their own.
In essence we have a violence spirit in this country. We tend to solve, sift and analyze our inner conflicts with others and ourselves by violating one’s spirit, body and in too many cases life. Justice has been reduced to a courtroom, a media, and a history – one that tends to take sides with those who have power and influence; and negates those who do not. Justice, or lack thereof has also been hinged on stereotypes of Black Men, regardless of economic status low or high that render them less that human, expendable; as well as the stereotypes of White Men who are above the law – right, correct, form by virtue of their very being.
Today, we have a country of various races coming together on the issue of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. After the dust settles, business as usual will raise this issue again and again.