By now most of the nation knows what happened a little over a month ago in Sanford, Fl.
28-year-old Caucasian/Hispanic George Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old African American Trayvon Martin. The basics of the story have been covered by all major news outlets, blogs, and the like, so I will not go into them here.
The media firestorm that has arisen from this story is comparable to that of the Casey Anthony case. And some people don't understand why people have gotten so upset, or think that the cries of "racism" are erroneous. I'm writing this post to showcase why they are NOT erroneous, to talk about the different levels of racism that this case has brought to the forefront, and in hopes
that by using my own personal soap box that I can help, even if in a small way.
Some people think that the big deal is whether Zimmerman is/isn't racist. And some people have gone as far as saying that they are happy that Zimmerman is not fully white, as if the fact that he is half Hispanic changes anything. I am full blooded Hispanic, and I can tell you that it changes NOTHING. It is clear to me that Zimmerman was stereotyping when targeting Trayvon Martin. Trayvon was black, was wearing a hoodie, and looked some sort of kind of way that made Zimmerman feel uncomfortable.
Furthermore, people are focusing on part of Zimmerman's ethnicity instead of his race, and this means a lot. Ethnically Zimmerman may be half Hispanic, but his race is White. We have these same separations in Hispanic countries. I am a Black Hispanic (Afro Caribbean) and there are White Hispanics, Indian Hispanics, and so on. Hispanic countries, and Hispanic people, are just as racist as other countries, including this one. So once again, Zimmerman may have been part Hispanic, but his race is White.
I emphasize that not only to point out that just because he was Hispanic it means that he wasn't racist and that he wasn't stereotyping, but also because I think that his Anglo last name and white skin had a lot to do with the reaction of the police. Had Zimmerman been named Reyes, or Garcia, or some other Hispanic sounding last name none of this may have happened. It is very likely that he could have been arrested. Had the story been the other way around, had Trayvon shot Zimmerman, even in self-defense, I also believe he would have been arrested. Because this is the way the system works in this country, and this is the second level of racism I wanted to talk about.
Don't believe me? Check this case out, which also took place in Florida. Quintavis Seay is African American, and was 16 when three brothers jumped him and his friend. Seay didn't know the brothers, but apparently they were jumping the two boys out of retaliation for an earlier fight in which the friend that he was walking with was involved. The brothers left the friend almost unconscious before turning to Seay. Seay took out a gun, said he tried to shoot the air, but one of the bullets hit one of the brothers, who later died.
Seay was not granted the same immunity that Zimmerman has been awarded, even though the same law applies to both cases. The Florida Stand Your Ground law states that: "A person [...] who is attacked [...] has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force." The same law that protects a White Hispanic is leaving yet another black kid to rot in the system.
The next reason why this case has angered so many, and why we have many reasons to believe there are racial motives behind it is the fact that Zimmerman still hasn't been arrested. The evidence is growing stronger and stronger to the fact that Zimmerman is lying about his side of the story. He claims self defense. He claims that Trayvon punched him repeatedly, and bashed his head against the ground. Yet the funeral director who took care of Martin's body said there were no signs that Trayvon had punched anyone in the manner in which Zimmerman claims.
Zimmerman also claimed that the cries for help in the 911 call where his, not Trayvon's, yet experts in voice identification say that it was Trayvon screaming for help, not Zimmerman. The young boy who saw part of the scuffle said he saw someone on the ground crying for help, and someone on top of them. If that's the case, then clearly Zimmerman had Trayvon pinned down before shooting him. Which means that it was no longer self defense. Yet Zimmerman still walks free, and we have no news as to whether is going to be prosecuted or not.
Frankly, I don't understand it. I try to comprehend, but I can't. And it angers me. It angers me that a boy and his family were robbed simply because they had the "wrong" skin color. They were robbed of his life, and now they are robbed of justice. It also worries me. If racism can be so blatant, and still people refuse to face it, address it, and admit that there is a problem that desperately needs to be fixed, will it ever be fixed?
Some people are saying that this is advent of the next wave of Civil Rights activism. I hope so. I hope so not only for the change that this country desperately needs in order to fully give equality to people of all races, but also because it means that Trayvon's senseless death will not be in vain. I know a lot of people are tired of hearing about the case, but we can't stop talking about it. We can't forget about it until Trayvon gets justice and until change happens. Let's ensure his death was not in vain.