#trayvon martin #justice for trayvon #racism
True story: I’ve had this Ask sitting here for a couple of days, and yesterday I was actually kept awake at night creating mental comebacks for the horrible people who say things like this. A few highlights:
All gun crime has been “racialized.” Because we, as a nation, absolutely refuse to acknowledge that guns and gun lobbyists are a poisonous plague on our country, every instance of gun violence that isn’t between two white people becomes “well it’s that scourge of black-on-black crime” or “it’s just gang (read: involving black or Hispanic people) crime and there’s nothing we can do” or “where is Jesse Jackson talking about all this black-on-white crime?” It’s never gun crime, it’s race crime, because race is a really convenient scapegoat for the fact that we’re basically a firearms free-for-all.
Even if that wasn’t the case, an adult man stalked and murdered a Black kid and didn’t even get arrested. America has a sick and storied history of devaluing Black bodies. It wasn’t that Trayvon Martin just HAPPENED to be Black. George Zimmerman found him suspicious because he was Black. Trayvon was murdered for being a young Black man. So yeah, the race/guns issue aside, race was a factor in his death.
Anyone who calls Trayvon Martin a gangbanger or a thug is an unapologetic racist. Fun fact: When I was in high school, I didn’t get straight A’s either, and I smoked pot a couple of times. Me and my friends sometimes threw up [what we thought were] gang signs in photos because [we thought] it made us look cool. We even wore HOODIES and BACKWARD BASEBALL CAPS on occasion. And I - a young white woman from a Nice Family and a Nice Area - have never once been called a gangbanger or a thug. Those are words we reserve to further devalue poor Black and Hispanic children, to make it OK that we don’t fund their educations properly or pay their parents enough to feed their families or create after-school activities or local parks and programs that would benefit them. The words “thug” and “gangbanger” essentially mean “person of color who’s in a gang, so obviously they do drugs and are inherently violent and not worth any investment from our society.”
Trayvon Martin was a young Black man. He wasn’t even in a gang. And for all George Zimmerman knew, Trayvon was a varsity athlete with a full ride to Harvard. George Zimmerman knew NOTHING about Trayvon other than that he was a Black kid in his neighborhood and he did not like that. “Trayvon was a gangbanger but he didn’t deserve to die” is basically blaming him for being young and Black. It’s excusing his murder, because, hey, a young gangbanger is probably just going to shoot people and rob liquor stores anyways, right? It makes his life worthless, which it was not.
My other tip for dealing with people who say things like that is to completely cut them out of your life, and if they ask why, tell them you’re afraid they’ll murder you for a perceived imperfection.