The Dangers of “Walking While Black”: Trayvon Martin

In his article “Driving While Black”, David Harris addresses a racism problem within our own Justice System, calling out law authorities who target African-Americans in arrests and traffic stops. This is a commonly recognized problem that demonstrates a flaw in the system. It demonstrates that Racism is still out there, residing in the very system that we trust to defend social justice.

So, we’ve established that according to local police systems, driving while black is considered legitimate terms for a traffic stop. What I want to look at in this post is the Trayvon Martin case, and the suspicions which now coincide with walking while black.

Let me first off say, that I literally cried while listening to the recording of the 911 calls made during Trayvon’s shooting. Anyone with ears can hear Trayvon screaming, or howling rather, “HELP”. The cries for help stop abruptly with a gunshot. Trayvon’s mother identified the sound of her son’s voice. The first call, made by Martin’s shooter, Zimmerman, explains the so called “self defense” of Zimmerman.

Based on Zimmerman’s call, the reasons why Trayvon appeared suspicious were the following: He was black, he was walking around, he was wearing a gray hoodie, and he was holding something (a pack of skittles and an Arizona Iced Tea). That’s funny. Now I’m not saying that Trayvon Martin may not have been “up to no good”, but he certainly had NOT committed a crime, or given a reason for Zimmerman to shoot him based on self defense. Furthermore, Trayvon has no police record, where Zimmerman himself actually does have a record. According to a 2005 Florida Law, if you have a reasonable fear to believe you are in great danger of death, you do not have the obligation to run, you can fight back. When Zimmerman called 911, he said “[Trayvon] is running” the dispatcher says “Are you chasing him?” and Zimmerman responds that he is, the dispatcher says “Ok, we don’t need you to do that.” Is this a matter of self-defense? Or a demonstration of our country’s deep rooted racism?.

The only thing good that can come out of this tragic shooting is a radical change in the way we see each other. This deep rooted social injustice doesn’t come from no where. It comes from fear advocated by our everyday racial slurrs, comments and jokes, even if they are “all in good fun”. Why should Trayvon have had to learn from his mother “don’t run in public”. WHY is that a message to be sent to black children? Why? What you can do now? Ask yourself why. Ask yourself what you can change in your daily speech and behavior.

Follow this link to sign the petition to arrest the murder of Trayvon Martin


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