Remembering Trayvon — Beyond the Pain & “Conversation”

Posted on July 30, 2013 by


by Bro. Mxolisi T. Sowell / Min. Ozo-Sowande 

The ever evolving core of history, heritage, spirit and faith (my heart and soul) by which I experience and interpret the events of life has had insult added to injury once again.

This time, a guy named George Zimmerman was declared not guilty of anything by a jury of six women, in a Sanford, Florida court drama, for the killing of young Trayvon Benjamin Martin.

If juror b37 represents the core of that jury’s thinking, then Florida-America’s justice system is, indeed, selectively-wilfully deaf, dumb and blind in a racist manner, as history and statistics clearly continue to indicate. She said she felt that Zimmerman was in the wrong, in doing the things that we all know he did leading up to the killing of Martin.

We all heard the taped conversation in which Zimmerman reflected the hateful fuel that drives his core and drove him to:

  • profile a person that he didn’t know as a “f*cking punk” (or was it “f*cking ‘coon”, as a careful listening to the tape reveals to my ears);
  • profile that person as one of “these assholes” who are always getting away with something;
  • follow, track and pursue Trayvon as if he had no rights that Zimmerman was required to respect, in spite of the police operator’s admonition (as well as community watch training) to refrain from doing so;
  • follow Trayvon wherever that hateful fuel dictated – from mailboxes, to truck, to wherever the police might reached him by phone.

All of this, juror b37 expressed, was wrong on the part of the gunman, George Zimmerman.

All of this, as we all know, led to a less-than-friendly encounter between the two of them, during which, in b37’s view, the running-fleeing-hiding Trayvon Martin suddenly became the person in the wrong; during which Zimmerman pulled his pre-loaded (bullet in the chamber) automatic 9mm pistol and fired a fatal shot through the heart of the un-armed 17-year-old youth.

Trayvon Martin 2

While other jurors, to a limited extent, have come out of their anonymous closets to say that b37’s comments do not reflect their thinking, the verdict was unanimous!! They all said, Not Guilty! They all said, in effect, that no rights of Trayvon Martin were violated; that it was George Zimmerman who was violated and who had every right to do what he did.

Further insult was added to my core’s injury, when the Florida State Attorney, Angela Corey, came to the post-verdict press conference in a seemingly celebratory, perky, bubbly manner, as if she could conceal no longer some joy that her core was feeling, despite the fact that she was the ultimate leader of the losing prosecution team.

As she expressed her satisfaction with the way the system had performed, my core recalled those historical accounts of kangaroo crowds, with hateful fuel burning in their cores, bringing picnic baskets and their children to witness and celebrate the lynching of Black men (and women), and often taking pieces of flesh or clothing as souvenirs of such occasions. The barbarous, hateful, inhumane reality of this dimension of the individual and collective cores/systems of America “the beautiful” continues to plague African Americans at every level – judicially, politically, economically, educationally, socially, et al.

(For an outstanding, no-holds-barred perspective on the realities of this tragedy, check out the following video!! ~

And now, while many are hoping that the Federal Department of Justice might find some charges to bring against Trayvon’s killer, there is lot of talk about the need for a conversation on race in America. Another “conversation.” (The foregoing video ~ That’s the conversation!!!!!)

The Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch, under the hands-off ownership of Warren Buffet, ran a July 25 editorial in which it seemed to want to throw the onus for this conversation upon the African American community. It started by citing President Obama’s recent comments, including: “I haven’t seen that to be particularly productive when politicians try to organize conversations. They end up being stilted and politicized, and folks locked into the positions they already have.” Further, the editorial recalled the President’s reflections on Dr. King’s Dream, as he (Obama) expressed the thought that more productive conversations could take place in families, churches and workplaces, where people might be more honest, and confront the bias that might exist within, asking themselves: “Am wringing as much bias out of myself as I can? Am I judging people as much as I can based not on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character?”

Then the editorial, in the perceptions of my heart and soul, did some of the stilting that the President mentioned, as it made considerable reference to Obama’s May 19 commencement address at Morehouse College, in which he referenced the “bad choices” made by too many young men in our communities, and the fabrication of “excuses” for failures, and the reality that in today’s world “nobody is going to give you anything that you haven’t earned. . . ”

Trayvon Martin 3The core of that stilting came as the editorial cited these words from Obama to the Morehouse graduates: “Nobody cares how tough your upbringing was. Nobody cares if you suffered some discrimination. And, moreover, you have to remember that whatever you’ve gone through, it pales in comparison to the hardships previous generations endured – and they overcame them. And if they overcame them, you can overcome them, too.”

The editorial ended by saying, when Obama spoke about the “Martin tragedy” and to the Morehouse grads, “grace flowed from his lips.”

Grace? What grace? Is this the “conversation”?

But the Times-Dispatch wasn’t done. On the facing Op/Ed page there was a piece by some “corporate communications professional” who resides in Richmond, who opined that, while the “conversation” might focus heavily on racial profiling, it should not stop there because “it is by no means the most daunting challenge facing young African-American men today.” That writer then went on to do his own unique form of profiling, with a list of circumstances and statistics that serve to give comfort to those who negatively profile young Black men, in particular, and the African American community, in general, including:

  • they are far more likely than their White counterparts to be incarcerated and be involved in violent crime;
  • they are 40% of prison population but only 6% of total U.S. population;
  • they disproportionately drop out of school or take too long to graduate;
  • 70% of them live in single-parent households where the mother is the primary or sole provider;
  • they experience chronic unemployment (three times as much as White Americans);
  • almost 40% of African American children live below the poverty line (more than three times higher than White children).

(I wonder if these are the realities about which the President said “nobody cares.” Whether they are or not — African Americans, we have got to care, like we care about the breath of life that we all breathe!)

The Op/Ed writer further opined: That it can be uncomfortable for African Americans to confront these challenges because there is “no easy culprit to blame” and because in some cases their own community shares some of the blame. As for White Americans, he said the difficulty rests in their fear of being perceived as racially prejudiced, as well as “the sense of guilt we feel for our own responsibility.”

(The systemic and personal white racism that the Kerner Commission pointed out 45 years ago – “no easy culprit” – and the persistent and daunting roles they play in the profiling of African Americans and other people of color, definitely must not to be left out of the “conversation”!)

Perhaps realizing the tone and tenor of his expressions, that writer added, “Please do not mistake my commentary as diminishing the significance of racial profiling . . . (I) want to see it eradicated from our society. . . . Until Americans openly and honestly confront these challenges, the promise of equality and opportunity will remain unfulfilled, and the American experience for all of us . . . will remain incomplete.”

Trayvon MartinAs for me, as my core continues evolving, it is going to take one helluva “conversation” to soothe my heart and soul, and – more importantly – move us to the day that we can truly say that this land is “one nation, under GOD, indivisible, with liberty and justice for ALL.”

That would be some measure of justice for Trayvon.

Ankh, Udja, Seneb!!!