The Trayvon Martin case invokes a lot of emotion, I was thinking how can I write a piece about the verdict and remain detached and unbiased and the truth is I can’t so be forewarned I am writing this with emotion and frustration. With what qualifications do I have to speak on the subject I’m no legal expert and I live 1000’s of miles away in the UK. But I have myself been a victim of racial profiling which did play a large part in this case and so has my son.
And that is one of the things that brings such an emotional connection for me I am a parent of a teenager, I have a son who is 1yr younger then Trayvon. He is a young black man who when I see the image of Trayvon in that Holllister T-shirt I see the image of my son staring back.
Race played a major part in this case. The facts we know are true is Trayvon who was 17 unarmed and walking home to his dads carrying nothing but a bag of skittles and a can of iced tea. We know that George Zimmerman a 28 year old neighborhood watch coordinator armed with a 9mm handgun took it upon himself to target Trayvon as “suspicious” the police report confirms that Trayvon was not involved in any criminal activity but Zimmerman decided to target Trayvon on his judgment based on his appearance. Zimmerman called 911 and the dispatcher asked him to stand down. But Zimmerman did not stand down he got out of his car followed an innocent teenager and confronted him. There was a confrontation what happened next only two people know and one of them does not have or will ever have the chance to speak.
If Trayvon had of been white would Zimmerman had followed him and viewed him as suspicious in his gated neighborhood. If Trayvon had been white would it have taken 6 weeks to charge the shooter.
As a father my heart goes out to Trayvon’s parents I feel for the parents of black boys across the pond and the fear and anxiety they must feel for their sons and the message this verdict sends.
And as Cord Jefferson said
Trayvon Martin is dead—and so many young men like him are dead or in prison—because in America it was his responsibility to take it. It was his responsibility to let a stranger with a gun follow him at night in his own neighborhood and suspect him of wrongdoing. It was his responsibility to apologize for being a black kid who scared people. It was not George Zimmerman’s responsibility to let a boy get home to his family.