The acquittal of George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting of Travon Martin has gripped the U.S. in a manner that I find somewhat perplexing. Protests are taking place over many major cities. Is it a tragedy and a saddening loss of life? Yes–no doubt. Yet over 10,000 black Americans have been killed by other black Americans since Zimmerman killed Travon. That is the larger tragedy that needs to be addressed that is unfortunately not being significantly addressed in the very quarters where it most needs to be! Ultimately it is the larger issue where true protest and revolt needs to be proclaimed. As a nation we entertain ourselves with these side-shows of social anomaly because it allows us to absolve ourselves of the responsibility of giving attention and speaking truth to the real issue before us that occurs daily. Sort of like how the nation’s consciousness suddenly gets captivated when tragedy befalls 1st world people despite the fact that such tragedies are common-place in 3rd world countries–yet nobody seems to give a damn. Recently some leading African American voices have said, “I’ve never been more afraid to let my young boys out of the house than I am today.” Seriously? As long as the African- American community sees the “Zimmermans” of this world as the greatest threat to the future of their young boys–and NOT the black culture of violence celebrated and the almost complete absence of fathers in the home–nothing is going to change.
There is no doubt there is racism in the outcome of certain judicial cases and we ought to identify them and seek to redress it. In saying that I don’t think Zimmerman’s acquittal is one of them. Facts are color blind and the facts tell us it was an issue of self-defense within the law. I would hope that if the ethnicities were reversed the same jury would have acquitted Trayvon Martin because of a lack of evidence to warrant a guilty verdict.
My concern is that when the nation has a discussion on racism and injustice we don’t hear enough voices speaking out on the issue of why many black youth get ensnared into a judicial system in the first place. It is principally not because of racism but because of a culture of violence celebrated, a culture of sexual promiscuity celebrated, a culture of paralyzing victimization and a culture that sees fatherhood as increasingly irrelevant in the rearing of young boys. These are the truths that I think are the most uncomfortable for us to face. As long as we think the Zimmermans of this world or even our unfair judicial systems pose the GREATEST threat to young, African-American men, we are truly putting out heads in the sand. This is not just my opinion this is the opinion of many African-Americans. But a “progressive” white media shuts them up because their voice lacks the sensational hype and goes against the narrative of injustice and victimization that others (i.e. Jaskson and Sharpton) are all too eager to grab the mic for. Ben Carson said it best when he described this suppression as something akin to “going off the media plantation.”