Walking While Black

It’s not enough being at risk on the highway if you’re a black man in America, but just by walking down the street can put you in harm’s way just like it happened to Trayvon Martin.

Trymaine Lee at the Huffington Post’s Black Voices section reports:

“Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African-American teenager, was shot and killed in a gated community in Florida late last month by a white neighborhood watch captain, according to police. But the watch captain, George Zimmerman — a 26-year-old college student who has admitted to police that he shot the young man — still walks free. And Martin’s family is pleading for answers and demanding justice.

At this point there are more questions than answers in the young man’s death, but this much is known: Martin was packing little more than a bag of candy and a canned iced tea on the night he was killed.

‘He had a gun, and Trayvon had Skittles,’ Benjamin Crump, a family attorney, told The Huffington Post this afternoon.

Martin, 17, a high school junior who lived with his mother in Miami, was visiting his father and stepmother at their home in Sanford, a suburb of Orlando, on the weekend of Feb. 26. During halftime of the NBA All-Star Game, Martin’s family said he walked to a nearby convenience store to get some candy for his younger brother. On his way back home, according to reports, he caught the attention of George Zimmerman, a 26-year-old college student and self-appointed captain of The Retreat at Twin Lakes neighborhood watch.

Zimmerman, armed with a 9mm handgun, trailed the boy in his car. At some point, Zimmerman called 911, telling the operator there was a “suspicious person in the area,” according to a police report acquired by HuffPost.

Not long after the call, some sort of altercation ensued between Zimmerman and Martin. Then neighbors said they heard gunfire.

The Sanford Police arrived and found Martin lying face down on a patch of grass about 70 feet from his family’s home, a pack of candy in one pocket and an iced tea in the other.”

It’s no surprise that what followed was the usual self-defense excuse we’ve heard so many times when it comes to the murder of a young black male. You see, for those who are unaware of how things operate in the States, young black men are more frightening than mass murderers, serial killers, and school shooters of the white American persuasion:

“For some reason he felt that Trayvon, the way that he was walking or appeared seemed suspicious to him,” Lee said. ‘He called this in and at one part of this initial call [the dispatcher] recommends him not to follow Trayvon. A police officer is on the way at that point.’

Lee said that Zimmerman instead followed Martin.

‘I believe that Mr. Zimmerman was trying to, by his account, find an address to give the officers and also trying to keep Trayvon in eyesight.’

Zimmerman told the police that Martin noticed that he was being followed and asked, ‘what’s your problem?’

That’s when a physical confrontation ensued, Lee said. And moments later, Martin was shot.

Lee said that Zimmerman has a legal permit to carry the weapon used in the shooting, and that he told police that he shot Martin in self-defense.

“He felt the need to defend himself,’ Lee said. ‘I don’t think it was his intent to go and shoot somebody’ that night.”

So, Zimmerman sees this young black male and automatically assumed that he was up to no good. After all, all young black men are nothing but troublemakers in this civilized society (sarcasm).

Anyway, he called the cops which is the usual response when white folks see black males hanging around or walking in an area they think they don’t belong in. The police told him not to follow, but guess what, he does anyway locked and loaded. So, Martin understandably asks what his problem is. They get into a scuffle, and “CHITTY BANG BANG!” Martin becomes another statistic.

So, I bet you’re wondering, among other things, why did George Zimmerman have a gun in the first place? I know you will wonder why especially when you hear that Zimmerman was in trouble with the law before:

“(Attorney Benjamin) Crump said public records show that Zimmerman was arrested in Orange County in 2005 on charges of resisting arrest with violence and battery on a law enforcement officer.”

But the police in all of their wisdom didn’t arrest Zimmerman because, according to them, he had a “squeaky-clean” record, and he studied criminal justice for four years!

Is there any wonder why black folks don’t trust the police let alone most whites? It’s bad enough that in the past up until today, black people have to walk to the other side of the streets whenever white people walk in the incoming direction so as to not scare the hell out of them, but after hearing to what happened to Trayvon Martin and the dozens of untold numbers of black males who were murdered by civilians and cops just for “looking suspicious” or being in the wrong place in the wrong time, it proves how little this society values our lives.

Yet, some white people will look at this incident and our reactions and tell us that while we have a right to be upset, we are making a mountain out of a molehill. It’s not as bad as it seems as this was just one incident. Zimmerman was just trying to protect himself, or worse, Trayvon was really up to no good. Anything to try not to observe the seriousness of this nation’s pathology against black men. All they’re trying to say in their own white-coded language that the lives of young black men are worthless while telling us we have no reason to be upset because – again – our lives have little or no value. Therefore, our pain, outrage and suffering doesn’t matter. The pain the family is going through doesn’t matter. But the dilemma of George Zimmerman, the murderer, does matter?

We continue to have to survive in an world that says we have no right to live. Trayvon Martin is a point in a long list of reasons why we must be on our guard wherever we go. The reminder that we are black men in a white male supremacist society will show itself in different forms, and some of those forms are lethal.

If you want to join in on the online movement to prosecute the murderer of Trayvon Martin, please visit the following link and sign their petition:

Prosecute the Murderer of 17 Year-Old Trayvon Martin


20 thoughts on “Walking While Black

  1. Thank you for sharing. Coincidentally, I just read this article a few hours ago; it breaks my heart and angers me so. And I am not at all trying to seem pessimistic, but will this petition really help? I would hate to be filled with hope and this not even make a difference…Thanks again.

  2. “He felt the need to defend himself,’ Lee said. ‘I don’t think it was his intent to go and shoot somebody’ that night.”

    Why was this clown following this kid? If he thought he was potentially dangerous, why did he follow the kid instead of waiting for the police to arrive? Why did he call the police? Racist coverup!

    Here’s a link to a series of articles upcoming this week about how young black men are disproportionally stopped and ‘carded’, in Toronto. This occurs in ‘high risk’ neighbourhood, and black men venturing into mostly white neighbourhoods. The similarities are astounding!


    1. Why was this clown following this kid? If he thought he was potentially dangerous, why did he follow the kid instead of waiting for the police to arrive? Why did he call the police? Racist coverup!


      Also, thanks for the link.

  3. I’m speechless – the more I read about this travesty, the angrier I get…

    The fact that it’s taking so long to do anything about this muderous bastard is why my pessimism is strong. Un-freakin-believable. There is no argument or justification for the murder of this innocent young man. Those who think that there is, are some mighty sick people.

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