The shooting of Trayvon Martin and the apathy on the part of the Sanford police underscored the reality that black lives in this nation are not only not given justice, but are considered worthless. As I read other blog posts highlighting the case the comment section illuminated the raging fire of racism that has been burning for a long time. Those from mostly white commenters make it clear that Trayvon’s life was meaningless and that he deserved to die. It is no surprise that this is the same mentality lurking in this nation’s so-called justice system.
Trayvon’s death at the hands of a white man was not the first or the last of white-on-black murders, nor is it the only example of the justice system’s indifference regarding the black community. It didn’t matter if this was a 17-year old child who belonged to someone. What did matter was that he was a black male. “Justice” was served when his life expired.
Sadly, black males are not the only ones who are subject to this nation’s unjust system of racism. Three recent cases are brought to light that shows that black women are given the same treatment, or worse.
The first case involves Florida native Marissa Alexander, a survivor of domestic violence at the hands of her abusive husband, who assaulted her even while she was pregnant, who feared for her life on August of 2010. She used a gun to scare off her husband was going mad with jealous rage. She never intended to harm him as she, according to her testimony, pointed the gun in the air to scare him. No one was hurt in that incident.
Yet, Alexander faces 20 years in prison for aggravated assault. Just recently, the judge denied her a new trial.
Marissa Alexander “stood her ground” as that is the law in Florida. George Zimmerman proclaimed used that same law to shoot and kill Trayvon Martin even though he (Zimmerman) was the aggressor. He walked free, for almost a month, while Alexander faces prison time.
The second case involves a transgender woman named CeCe McDonald who was charged with second degree murder for the death of Dean Schmitz. Last year in June 2011, Schmitz and his friends attacked McDonald by shouting racist and homophobic slurs at a bar in Minneapolis. Eventually a fight broke out which killed Schmitz who was a white heterosexual male.
Many have compared McDonald’s case with that of the New Jersey Four, four black lesbians who were charged with attempted murder after defending themselves from a group of white men who wanted to “fuck them straight”.
The third and final example occurred in December 2011 in North Carolina. Even though this murder occurred prior to Trayvon’s death, in retrospect it is strikingly similiar.
16 year-old Jasmine Thar was visiting her family when a single bullet struck her. Also wounded was her aunt and cousin. Even though they survived, Jasmine did not.
The shooter was James Anthony Blackwell, a white man who lived across the street. His alibi was that his gun went off accidentally inside his house and the bullet went through the window. The local police believed him and he was free, never charged.
The family was outraged. They didn’t believe that a single bullet was responsible for striking three people at once. Furthermore, it’s been noted that Blackwell had confederate flags and Nazi paraphernalia.
A petition is made demanding the police to charge Blackwell for the murder of Jasmine Thar.
These three cases are stark examples of the “justice” system’s swift imprisonment of women of color protecting themselves from harm and danger, and the preference to protect men, especially white men, and seek tough, unrelenting justice for them. Even though we can not and should not forget the case of Trayvon Martin, we must also can not afford to ignore the injustices done to women of color. To fight for justice on behalf of all victims of color is a movement that must take place if there is to be a radical change in how this society defines ‘justice’.