By Walter Smith
The rights of young Black men to walk the streets, to live in a safe environment and exercise the privileges of American citizenry has been repealed. It’s not only a crime to drive while Black; it has now become a crime to be Black. If there was any hope of ridding the Black community of guns and other weapons, kiss that premise goodbye. Young Black men must be prepared to meet and defeat the George Zimmermans of the world.
Rest assured, George Zimmerman will pay for his crime for the rest of his life. He can never be without his gun, he can never be comfortable in public, he will forever have to look over shoulder in defense of his millions of enemies. There is nowhere on this earth where he can go and feel safe. He probably would have been better off in prison. The “Not Guilty” verdict may be a blessing in disguise for the Trayvon Martin family.
America’s creed, “freedom and justice for all” exclude people of color. People of color were not represented on the George Zimmerman jury. The jury should have been made up of Trayvon Martin’s peers. No one on that jury could have or would have identified with Trayvon Martin. However they all identified with George Zimmerman. The world knows that George Zimmerman initiated the scuffle between himself and Trayvon Martin except the “Seminole Six”.
The entire court was made up of people of Caucasian decent: The Prosecutors, the Defense, the Jurors, and the Judge. Not one shred of color in the entire court. Sure there were Blacks on the staff of the attorneys but were obviously absent from the officers of the court. This is southern justice at its best.
In March of 1857, 156 years and 4 months ago, the United States Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, declared that all blacks — slaves as well as free — were not and could never become citizens of the United States. The court also declared the 1820 Missouri Compromise unconstitutional, thus permitting slavery in all of the country’s territories.
The case before the court was that of Dred Scott v. Sanford. Dred Scott, a slave who had lived in the free state of Illinois and the free territory of Wisconsin before moving back to the slave state of Missouri, had appealed to the Supreme Court in hopes of being granted his freedom. Taney — a staunch supporter of slavery and intent on protecting southerners from northern aggression — wrote in the Court’s majority opinion that, because Scott was black, he was not a citizen and therefore had no right to sue. The framers of the Constitution, he wrote, believed that Blacks “had no rights which the White man was bound to respect; and that the Negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever profit could be made by it.” Referring to the language in the Declaration of Independence that includes the phrase, “all men are created equal,” Taney reasoned that “it is too clear for dispute, that the enslaved African race were not intended to be included, and formed no part of the people who framed and adopted this declaration”.
In many respects this social attitude still exists today. We are looked upon by the Caucasian world as inferior, uneducated, and undeserving.
Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother is an educated graduate of FAMU and holds a responsible government job. Her older son Jahvaris is attending college at Florida International University, majoring in information technology. She lives in a modest home in a good neighborhood and is a good parent. Yet this is not apparent to the American society because she is Black and expected to be ignorant. Both Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton invested their time and love into their son. He was
traveling with his dad the night he was murdered. So despite all the stereotypes, Black people do get married and divorced and have children from marriages. They can create homes with a nuclear family and with a caring father. They can live regular middle class lives that are directed by study, success, and stability.
George Zimmerman profiled Trayvon Benjamin Martin, a temporary resident of the Retreat at Twin Lakes, as an intruder and possible robber and decided he had to take some action against him. He had told the dispatcher that “these assholes always get away”. Zimmerman was determined this one would not get away. He called the Sanford police department, made sure they were sending help, and chased down Trayvon Martin, confronted and tried to detain him, which initiated a struggle which resulted in Zimmerman pulling a gun and shooting Trayvon through the heart. He proceeded to concoct a story possibly with help from the Sanford Police, to support his evil deed. Because Trayvon was a Black kid, the Sanford police department bought Zimmerman’s story, recorded it, and sent Trayvon to the morgue in a body bag as a John Doe. George Zimmerman went home without the threat of ever being arrested. Demonstrations and protests from media and civil rights activists prompted the State of Florida to make an arrest and charge Zimmerman with second degree murder.
The NRA, with minimal knowledge of the case, sprang into action and raised and contributed thousands of dollars for the George Zimmerman defense fund. It is not clear whether the defense attorneys were Pro bono or was paid from the defense fund.
What was most disappointing in the Television talk show discussions were the voices of several African American commentators who were at odds with each other about the racist aspect of this case. Their support for the defense of George Zimmerman was disgusting. They spoke as if they never heard of the Emmit Till case or of the Scottsboro Boys nor the Wilmington 10, nor police brutality nor Stop & Frisk, nor Martin Luther King nor Medgar Evers, nor Chaney, Schwerner, and Goodman, nor the Klu Klux Klan, nor George Wallace. Plaxico Burris got two years for shooting himself, Michael Vick went to prison for killing dogs and Marissa Alexander got 20 years for firing a warning shot. George Zimmerman murders an innocent child and goes free. The case began with racism and ended the same way. One African American female called upon Al Sharpton not to fan the “flames of racism”.
Southern justice has spoken and hopefully, those liberated African Americans will wake up and face reality. The American Criminal Justice System does not work for people of color, it works to control them and to protect its white citizens from them. For proof positive, check the prison population: 41%.
African Americans represent 13% of the US population and 41% of the prison population.
We can cure this ill. Our young adults should set their sights on the criminal justice system. Those who can afford college should become lawyers and those who cannot afford college should pursue a career of law enforcement. We should establish a scholarship fund in the name of Trayvon Benjamin Martin to support this effort.
We lose our sons through Black on Black crime, Police and vigilante shooting, and that number will increase with the George Zimmerman verdict that allows one to track, confront, initiate a fight, and shoot to kill an unarmed man in the name of “self defense”. Of course all black men are armed with dangerous weapons, their fists and the ground they walk on.
Our sons are our future. We must take all steps necessary to insure that incidents of Trayvon Benjamin Martin disappear from this society.