Zimmerman and Trayvon: Until You've Been Racially Profiled Yourself, You Will Never Understand

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Editor: Tef Poe is an artist from St. Louis city. Through powerful imagery and complicated honesty, he has earned a reputation as one of the best rappers telling the story of St. Louis, which is about much more than one place. Poe has been featured in music publications such as XXL and Urb Magazine. His project The Hero Killer was released on January 21 and will be followed up by a full-length with DJ Burn One entitled Cheer For the Villain. Follow him on twitter @tefpoe. Get The Hero Killer here.

Several things run through my mind, as I clearly knew this week I'd have to blog about this case one way or the other. Originally I typed a blog explaining "profiling" to people who may not understand it. I read it and I disliked it because, honestly, people that don't understand profiling aren't trying to understand it so it doesn't matter if I explain it. I'm preaching to a group of people that simply lack the frame of reference to be mentally capable of embracing my sermon.

See Also:
- Destructive Ignorance in St. Louis and South Florida and the Unfulfilled Potential of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman

People often seem to have some form of sympathy for George Zimmerman, but the simple fact is that there's only one dead person in this situation. We want to sugar coat this incident because it's ugly and it forces us to look at our country in a light that isn't the most beautiful. I've learned that people are offended when you ask them to show their true colors in regards to racism,sexism, homophobia or any form of prejudiced discrimination. I can spend this entire blog explaining to you that from my perspective, Trayvon was a innocent teenager walking home talking on the phone to his friend.

George accused him of being suspicious, but really its the opposite. George was suspicious of Tray, and no one wants to admit that this is socially acceptable due to the way young black males are viewed by certain people. I feel as if we are blind to the fact that this man randomly started following a innocent person with a loaded gun. He was not law enforcement. Trayvon had zero obligation to respect Zimmerman and his gun.

We know Zimmerman had his gun out as he followed Trayvon, because we know he viewed him as a criminal menace due to the things he stated on the 9-11 call. Who follows and approaches a person they are assuming is a burglar without a weapon to protect themselves? George Zimmerman's mission statement in this situation speaks for itself. If Trayvon would've followed George on his way home with a loaded gun due to the fact that he assumed George was a burglar, Zimmerman would've had the same exact right to defend his self. I would've supported his stance, because in the reverse scenario he would be the victim.

The truth is in our society it's okay to follow black youth due to your suspicions. I've been followed in the grocery store by random security figures and store managers that didn't identify themselves. If in return I started following an older person of a different race, they would likely assume I'm trying to rob them. The assumption that I'm trying to protect the store or stop them from stealing wouldn't matter because they would instantly feel threatened. I might feel the same energy as I am being followed, but I'm not awarded the right to be afraid of them.

One of the jurors (B-37) recently appeared on CNN and she claimed she believed both Zimmerman and Trayvon were at fault. Let's consider that: I'm walking to the store, a man observes me through his window blinds and assumes I'm a criminal. I am being followed by a completely random and mysterious person. Shouldn't I be nervous? The problem with this scenario is there is no win for Trayvon either way the story goes. If the roles were reversed and Tray was following Zimmerman then George still has the right to claim self defense and kill. Remix the situation either way you want and Zimmerman would be allowed to get away with murder.

Zimmerman followed Trayvon with a loaded gun, shot him down and still reaped the benefit of claiming this is a self defense incident. Trayvon Martin was on trial more so than George Zimmerman. The case was basically about proving whether or not Trayvon had the right to defend himself once the fight started between Zimmerman and him. The popular concensus from the general public seems to be overwhelmingly in support of the fact that George Zimmerman did not have the right to follow and approach this teenager with his gun.

You are the instigator of the conflict, George Zimmerman. Trayvon is guilty of doing exactly what we all are taught to do by our parents in this situation. If danger approaches and you are left with no other choice than to defend yourself. He was likely nervous and scared and, let's be honest, the police in Sanford don't to seem to be the most accepting in regards to young minorities.Often in this scenario the police are not favorable to people that look like me.

In the original blog I wrote about Zimmerman a few months ago, I told the story of how I was working for Mayor Slay, canvassing in his neighborhood and had the police called on me because I appeared to be "suspicious." Never mind the fact that I had a bright yellow shirt on displaying what I was actually doing for the mayor. Never mind the fact that it was mid-day and it's not illegal to walk down the street with a clipboard. The police approached me and I asked if I could call the office to verify my story and they said no. Another incident occurs as I was walking home one night many moons ago and the police randomly stopped me and searched me. They had guns drawn and aimed at me immediately. Another incident occurs as I am sitting in my friend's living room, and the police storm into her home through the back door with guns drawn, assuming I am a burglar because her black neighbor called the cops on me.

Each and every time this type of interaction occurred with police I was found innocent of any wrong-doing and released. The truth is, though, that at any random moment they could've mistakenly shot me or arrested me. So in Trayvon's mind, if he calls the police on Zimmerman they either won't show up or aren't on his side. I can relate to this because it happens all the time. I had a gun pulled on me by a random person years ago when I lived in Tennessee. I called the police and they treated me like I was the criminal. They showed up two hours after the fact. If I would've fought this person and suffered from a gunshot to the chest I still would've been the one doing wrong. There is no win when dealing with law enforcement for us sometimes. Aside from this, George Zimmerman was the aggressor the very second he decided to disobey the police dispatcher's orders to not follow Trayvon Martin. When I listened to the tapes and heard the dispatcher tell him to not follow Trayvon I knew they were attempting to prevent something like this from happening. You're not a police officer.You have zero authority over the next person. You are not trained to handle a situation of this nature.


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12 comments
carey529
carey529

another op-ed...

this guy doesn't have any idea what really happened...only Zimmerman and martin do...but, like SO MANY others, he's not letting the absence of facts and first hand knowledge get in the way of making a fool of himself...

that said, my congratulations to the nations media in making this debacle so incredibly divisive ...

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

Tef Poe is making up a story to fit his anger. We do not know all the facts of the Zimmerman-Martin encounter. We only have Zimmerman's side of the story. Tef Poe's imagination is not fact, nor is it the account of Martin. The young lady's view of the situation from the phone does not fit the story Tef Poe is wanting us to believe.

Did Zimmerman have his gun pulled? We do not know this. According to Zimmerman, he did not. According to Zimmermen he was blind-sided and attacked by Martin. The gun was pulled during the struggle.

I do not know if Zimmerman is telling the truth. I know his story has not changed. I know the story in the press has changed. Long after Martin was dead, we finally heard Zimmerman's story. Even longer before we were shown Zimmerman's blood head. A man with a gun pulled and ready to use seldom receives a whipping from a teenager.

Please excuse my disbelief that Tef Poe's anger fits reality. It fits someone who is angry at society in general, and has latched onto this particular case as a reason. There, I profiled Tef Poe, according to him, and that was his true objectives in this article. Tef Poe wants to be divided by the color of his skin, not by the content of his character.

Will Tef Poe let the dream die? Or will Tef Poe decide to stand with Dr. MLK, Jr. and others in having a color blind society rather than accuse others of the moral crime of being not black.

TerryDe
TerryDe

con't

Oh yeah boys, and whenever the cops see a car full of white boys driving through a black neighborhood you will be pulled over for DWW every time.

WARNING…WARNING…WARNING: TO ALL MY YOUNG WHITE BROTHERS OUT THERE, YOU WILL BE RACIALLY PROFILED IF YOU GO INTO BLACK NEIGHBORHOODS…

Oh yeah boys, the Neighborhood Watch in black neighborhoods will ALWAYS see you as suspicious (because you’re white) and will follow you everywhere and report it to the police.

STAY OUT OF BLACK NEIGHBORHOODS.

Hey, why aren’t the white leaders sending around a petition and filing a case to protect our Civil Rights? That ain’t right man, that ain’t right.

TerryDe
TerryDe

STAY OUT OF BLACK NEIGHBORHOODS

Parents of white teenage boys now will have to speak to them. Explain to them that if they go into black neighborhoods they will be racially profiled as drug buyers and the cops will race their police car up on the sidewalk, jump out, grab you, throw you up against a brick wall slamming head in it then roughly frisk you thwe throw you hard down to the sidewalk, jump on your back and kneel you roughly while they handcuff you and immediately force you up and yell in your face “WHAT THE F ARE YOU DOING HERE” while spraying your face with their spit (especially when you have on a rock concert t-shirt and tinted prescription glasses.)

Happened to me when I was 17 and happens to young white males every F’n day.

To be con't.

chas.manson
chas.manson

In 1989 when I was working for a printing company and making a delivery to a Chinese restaurant on N. Grand a few blocks up from Powell Hall, I was robbed while walking back to by truck parked 50 feet from the restaurant door and was referred to as "white boy" and "cracker mother fu@$*er" and told to keep my ass in my own neighborhood.    Don't tell me that as a white person I have never bee profiled, and please...quite laying the whole "you'll never know what it's like to be me" line of crap on me as an excuse to be just another black asshole.

ronnietee
ronnietee

Remember that Trayvon was previously found in possession of stolen jewelry and burglary tools.  Lets face it, the kid was a criminal.  He could have been scoping out cars to rob, who knows?  Zimmeman was 100% correct to profile him as a criminal.  He wanted to protect his neighborhood, that was being victimized in robberies from people just like Trayvon.  Trayvon should have just walked away but instead he started a fight.  

In the end he's just a bitchass punk who got got.

chas.manson
chas.manson

@TerryDe Damn the man!    We need the Reverend Mojo Nixon to get his ass out here and give us some WHITE POWER!



TerryDe
TerryDe

Right on brother!

BETTY WHITE POWER!

rachaduncan
rachaduncan

@ronnietee  "In 2005, at the age of 21, Zimmerman was charged with assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest, after shoving an officer while a friend of Zimmerman's was being questioned about underage drinking. The charges were reduced, then dropped when Zimmerman entered a pre-trial diversion program. Also in 2005, Zimmerman's ex-fiancée filed a restraining order against him, alleging domestic violence."   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Trayvon_Martin

So Trayvon had previous issues and he's a thug, but Zimmerman, who has also had previous issues is not?

ronnietee
ronnietee

@rachaduncan @ronnietee Zimmerman did not victimize random people the way Trayvon did.  Also Zimmerman's previous offenses happened many years ago.  Trayvon's crimes were still fresh and he was still in the criminal mindstate, unlike Zimmerman.

ronnietee
ronnietee

@rachaduncan @ronnietee You're just holding on to the past to make Zimmerman look bad.  His issues happened EIGHT YEARS ago.  He's been clean ever since.  People can change a lot from age 21 to age 29.  You don't know if he still had anger issues.  You just want to believe this.

He had every right to confront Trayvon, since people fitting his description were seen committing burglaries in the neighborhood.  And yes, TRAYVON WAS A BURGLAR.  Admit that to yourself.    



rachaduncan
rachaduncan

@ronnietee @rachaduncan I love how you give Zimmerman a pass and make his previous transgressions acceptable in order to continue believing the things you do. It would seem from Zimmerman's history that he has anger issues, do we have any record of him getting help for this? No, so if he never did, then he still has anger issues. People that have trouble controlling their anger have trouble making the right decision in heated moments. It seems to me that him following Trayvon with his gun out, even though he was requested not to do that, feels like he was looking for a fight. He's not a police officer, he doesn't have the right to hunt down someone with a gun. Trayvon was not approaching him, not stealing from him, not in his home. He was on the street. Do I think Trayvon was smart to stop and even have any type of contact with Zimmerman, no. But then again I can't say what I'd do if someone followed me with a gun.


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