The beginning of this rant never started with Trayvon Martin and surely will not end with George Zimmerman. I don’t blame George Zimmerman; I blame America.
African-American mortality holds little value in mainstream America. Africans had some sort of economic value when they were brought over as slaves, but they were slaves. Some would argue that our nation is far removed from slavery, lest they forget that for 192 years…not months…not weeks…but YEARS, the intrinsic value of law was not intended for African-Americans. The law had to be rewritten at the federal level to assure Blacks, women, and other non-white ethnic groups full access and protection.
African-Americans are a group of people with a common origin, but centuries removed…with ancestors more foreign to them than their White American counterparts, forced to live and die in a nation that promised "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" as second-class citizens. Of course there were the few that overcame furious obstacles, but let’s speak plainly…America was OPENLY RACIST with corroboration from the United States government until 1964.
Some of the White Americans reading this piece do not have ties to slave owners or segregation, as their ancestors emigrated to the U.S. during the 1900s. However, as you have been blessed with White privilege, you are cursed with being labeled as an oppressor. Many of you will argue that we must stop dividing each other into classes, races, castes, sexes, etc., which is perhaps the greatest fallacy of our current situation. Black skin is intimidating, wild, ashy, beautiful, powerful…but what is it worth? The same as any other minority life? A white life?
George Zimmerman is looked upon by many as a victim who used his available resources to defend himself against an attacker. Hence, the value of his existence MUST have some precedence over a 17-year old Black kid walking home in the rain while on the phone with his girlfriend. Take a look at your Twitter feeds and Facebook posts. I have seen plenty of White Americans rejoicing over Zimmerman’s acquittal, which further strengthens my view that a Black life in America is worthless. Of course, Zimmerman was protected by law, and as I stated earlier in this piece, Black people are not considered when such laws are written. Laws are intended to protect all Americans regardless of origin and in some cases, citizenship. However, the disconnect between law and the application of the law is apparent.
The Daily Caller produced an article that carefully describes how Blacks benefit from Stand Your Ground Laws in Florida via acquittal comparisons between Blacks and Whites. Obviously, Black kids killing Black kids and "getting off" is not beneficial to our communities. However, Trayvon’s murder had nothing to do with the law; it was merely protected by the law. Zimmerman, clearly the aggressor, didn’t have to be a White male to "get off." This is the key point of this case. It is not about self-protection under law, it is about the perception of Black skin.
As a father, I have always taught my daughter to be the best version of herself 100% of the time and to always be honest when interacting with others. Good behavior is not a goal in as much as it is a standard. But as a ½ Nigerian-Black, ½ Mexican young woman, she will be held to an even higher behavioral standard to be considered a good person. Is this fair? Is this accurate? If you disagree, ask yourself this: when and where did Trayvon make an error in judgment the night he was murdered? Additionally, if our newly re-elected ½ Black ½ White President of the United States received backlash from his fellow citizens for speaking truths about the perception of Blacks in America, then he could still be perceived as a trouble maker, a villain, a thief, a crook, up to no good, if he had worn a black hoodie on a rainy night in Florida with Skittles in hand.
Such immediate judgments are rooted in American history and we need to ask ourselves when we, as Americans, will embrace Black people as valuable members of society. When will blonde hair and blue eyes cease to be synonymous with "all-American"? What does "all-American" actually mean? Because Trayvon was an all-American kid, and Zimmerman profiled him for that very reason. And then he killed him for his own "protection." You tell me why the same law did not also protect Trayvon Martin. Go ahead, I will wait.