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