“With the “Not Guilty” verdict handed down to George Zimmerman after his malicious murder of Trayvon Martin, the United States upholds the right to and tradition of murdering Black, Brown, and African American people.”
I don’t believe that the Americans who applauded the verdict and sought to minimize the role that race plays my asking the country to “Keep race out of it!” said it out of anger, hate, or spite. What they do not, and cannot understand is that for a growing number of Americans, especially but not just limited to Black Americans, race isn’t kept out of anything because our country uses race more than any other factor in its decision-making. It will intersect with crime, justice, injustice, and every other measurable metric. Saying “Whatever, why can’t we just keep race out of it?”” as they just have, is the privilege of people who have never been hunted, or made to live with a clear understanding that their lives are less valued than any other group in 2014.
I’m watching people who I know to be safe and sane, both as individuals and collectively call for the murder of George Zimmerman.
George Zimmerman should not be lynched.
Eyebrows raised when I used that term, but I pushed forward and made it clear that a lynching is exactly what it will be if a mob decides to ignore the court ruling and take the law into their own hands. Mob-justice is no justice at all.
No, lynch mobs aren’t the answer. Extrajudicial murder has been used against anyone marked as “other” in the USA for hundreds of years. It circumvents the legal system an inserts violent death in its place. A grizzly death that awaits anon who is marked as “other” and beyond the protection of the law, if there was any protection, to begin with.
George Zimmerman is the beneficiary and byproduct of a system that makes it abundantly clear that disproportionately punishing and murdering Blacks is not only accepted, it’s encouraged.
“The system cannot fail those it was never built to protect.” ~Unknown
A quick illustration posted in The Guardian gives us step one, the numbers that show Blacks, who make up only 14% of the population compose a staggering 42% of prisoners on death row!
In step two, it gets worse. The information in the second graph was vetted by The Society Pages. Take a look and see if you can figure it out at first glance.
What this graph illustrates is that the likelihood of actually being executed even after being convicted of murder is only 15% if the person you killed is Black. However, if you kill a white person, there is a 77% chance that your execution will be carried out.
- The lives of Black Americans are not valuable in the eyes of the state.
- Murdering a Black American is not often punishable by death.
A violent “call to arms” would be a horrible idea, but “patience and understanding” are just as bad if it results in a complacency that lets these tragedies continue. The unfortunate reality is that it’s grossly intellectually dishonest to not directly address the fact our system has been critiqued and found lacking many times. Identifying the problems and taking actions to solve them are two different issues entirely.
What I’m searching for is a way to circumvent an unjust system that does not result in more death.
What’s worked in the past?
This conundrum has plagued nearly every abused, underserved population around the world since the beginning of political activism.
“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
~Barack Hussein Obama II, 44th and current President of the United States and the first African American to hold the office.
YusefWateef (at) Gmail (dot) com