Unless you live under a rock in America, most likely you know that one of the biggest racially-driven cases in history is currently underway in Sanford, Fla. However, in case you have been, let me brief you. In February 2012, a black 17-year-old boy named Trayvon Martin was returning home from a local convenience store after picking up a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles. As he was walking (in the rain), neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, 29, started following him in his truck claiming that Trayvon’s hood made him look suspicious.
Eventually, Zimmerman, who is white and hispanic, called 911 and asked them if they wanted him to approach Trayvon because guys like him “always get away.” Despite being told not to though, he got out of the car and pursued him. And that’s where things get fuzzy, however what’s obvious is that there was a struggle between the two and Trayvon was shot in the chest and killed.
Since then issues pertaining to race equality, justice and prejudice have been the talk of this case and it has finally gone to trial this past Monday. Now what makes me most irate (amongst so many things) is that in my eyes this is a open and shut case. Zimmerman showed ill-will by pursuing this unarmed child (because he was) and then eventually killing him. People are acting like this is such a complicated thing, when it’s really not. Everything about this situation points to Zimmerman as the aggressor, so the fact that there are some who really go to bat for this man is crazy.
What’s even more insane is the social media comments. I’m at my internship during most of the day so I can’t watch the actual trial, therefore I keep up with via The Huffington Post and Yahoo and some of these comments are ridiculous. I seriously have a hard time believing people with such ruthless opinions even exist.
Aside from the obvious racial epithets (which honestly I’ve become immune to reading), the privilege that some have in their mind is unbelievable. In one HuffPo comment a guy said:
“What you all don’t get is that all [Trayvon] had to do is tell Zimmerman that he was going to a house in the area and it would have never happened. He should’ve just said what he was doing.”
What kind of mindset is that?? That boy didn’t owe him a damn explanation! He’s no authority so, why did he need to justify his presence to Zimmerman? I can tell you now that if a man is following me in a truck, while I’m walking in the rain, I’m not stopping to tell him anything!
But, that’s only half of the problem. Let’s not forget the people who insist that Trayvon was a “thug” (despite there being no evidence of it) based sheerly on the fact that he was black. This comment was what got to me most:
“Did anyone else realize that skittles and fruit flavored drinks are the main ingredients in ‘lean’ you know, the gangster drink that popular in the rap culture.”
First of all, 1) that’s not true. Skittles and iced tea have nothing to do with ‘lean’. If you’d like to get really technical, it’s a combination of promethazine and codeine sometimes mixed sometimes with soda. Where this “main ingredients in ‘lean’” idea came from, I have no clue. Last time, I checked Skittles and iced tea were the main ingredients to cure a sugar fix.
2) White people, please STOP with the “all black people do everything in rap culture.” As someone who attends rap shows regularly, I can tell you that that there are usually more of you out there patronizing these shows, products and music than any other ethnicity. So seriously, stop it. You look ridiculous.
Despite the shenanigans involved though, the most hurtful thing about this case is that there’s a family that’s broken. In April 2012, I ran into Trayvon’s mother Sybrina Fulton at the Macy’s in Herald Square. She was sitting in the ladies shoe section alone. Now, anyone who knows Macy’s Herald Square, knows that it’s packed constantly (especially on a Saturday). Yet, there she was by herself looking dazed and broken amidst tons of women clawing for shoes and in that moment I’d never felt so sad for someone in my life. I spoke to her, gave her a hug and told her that I was praying for her.
But, it also reminded me of something else. We see these people on TV: Trayvon’s parents and brother, however we forget that these are real people. Parents who will never see their son again, a brother who lost his younger sibling, a family who’s now missing a piece. Why? Because his hood made him “look suspicious.”
So, when I watch this case and consider all of these things I can’t help, but get upset and want Zimmerman to pay, to be accountable for destroying the lives of more people than he could’ve ever imagined. Yet, all I can do is continue to watch and try not to give myself an ulcer.