The case of Trayvon Martin has shaken many of us to our core and for some, the case is slightly more personal because it highlighted a dark secret America has long held….a secret that seemed taboo to speak about and politically incorrect to address – America fears young men of color.
Many would say that myths and legends have a start in truth. A volcano erupts and the villagers begin a rumor-turned-myth that an angry God lives in the mountain. There are a million different stories that can substantiate some stereotypes-turned-myths-turned irrational fears. Sadly, some have turned these irrational fears into a terrifying reality that will have some folks justifying killing a man of color simply for being present; somehow our mere presence sends-up a red flag for some; for some, men of color trigger a fight or flight response.
As a man of color I’m perplexed by the reaction some folks may have to me. I’ve seen [first-hand] as some women move their purse to the opposite side of where I’m standing; I’ve been privy to the young white man who gets off the elevator before it leaves the lobby so we’re not sharing the ride.
America can now have the conversation that starts with, “…there is good and bad in all men.” Rather than elaborate further, I’d urge everyone to take a look at who you’re pre-judging and to make a conscious effort to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Now I’m not saying that you should turn-off your God-given fight/flight response to danger (if you feel it, do something about it) but that something should more than likely be run and avoid danger, rather than run to meet it head-on.
Ultimately, Trayvon Martin was murdered in cold blood on a street in Florida. Whether he was a clean-cut kid or a homicidal maniac doesn’t matter. The truth is that George Zimmerman was instructed by the 9-1-1 operator to remain in his vehicle and to NOT pursue Trayvon. He chose to ignore that order. Did Trayvon strike George first? The answer is irrelevant. I would hope that my son would fight for his life if a stranger confronted him on the street baring a weapon
Was Trayvon a good kid? Is George a racist? Was Trayvon looking for trouble that night? Did George see something really suspicious? Who struck out first? ALL of these questions and their respective answers are moot; You see, sometimes the details of a story are just background noise. Trayvon is dead. Murdered at the hands of a man instructed to stay in his vehicle; shot to death by a weapon totting neighborhood watch vigilante.
Keep passin' the open windows...