Trayvon Martin

Some people believed that the election of the first African-American President was a sign that our Country had finally begun to break the brutal curse of racism that has forever been a part of our history. Well, if the irrational hatred President Obama by the political Right Wing wasn’t enough proof enough, the Trayvon Martin killing should put an end to that myth. This Country is as racist to its core as it has ever been. I am not just referring to the fact that a teenage boy was singled out and killed simply because he was walking while being black. I am referring more to the reaction of society to the murder after the fact.

Consider the Police investigating the shooting as a prime example of the institutional racism that pervades American society.  They knew that the perp was following a teenage boy contrary to their instruction to not follow him. They knew he didn’t want the “asshole” to get away with it (even thought there was no “it” to get away with). They knew he was 10 years older, armed and 100 lbs. heavier than the teen. They knew the teen was unarmed and carried only some candy, ice tea and a cell phone. They knew the perp had a history of assaulting a police officer in the past… you get the idea. Yet they took no evidence, distorted witness statements and let a man get away with murder (so far).

Can anyone honestly say that if the roles and races had been reversed that the police would have acted the same? Racists want to hide behind legal smoke screens like “probable cause” and the “stand your ground” law. Suspects are arrested all the time based on the pretext of probable cause far less compelling than this circumstance, and how does following a person against police advice constitute “standing his ground”?  Now the police are anonymously releasing “facts” about the teenager that have nothing to do with the murder, in an attempt to smear the victim of a crime they covered-up.

Consider the reaction of the media to the killing on right wing outlets. Fox News is combing the background of the victim to find any justification for being murdered. Geraldo Rivera blames the “hoodie” as much as the man who pulled the trigger for the death. His comments were as cruel to the parents as they were racist, but he gets away with it – because of racism. It is the old “blame the victim” ploy – she was wearing clothes that was asking for her to be raped excuse. To say that a person was shot not for what they did, but because of how they looked is blatantly racist.

On a personal note, as a man who has adopted two children of color, this incident is as frightening as it is instructive. I understand now that every parent of a black child must constantly instruct their child on how to dress and act to avoid being murdered out of a racist fear. I understand on a whole new level how a black man must be always aware of their body position, location and reactions… in the wrong place, with the wrong clothes, with their hands in the pockets or urge to run away from a threat it could mean being murdered with nothing more said. That is a racist society.

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14 Responses to Trayvon Martin

  1. Amen, Mr. Fieger. You’ve said it all. I appreciate your blogging about this as you’ve seen these things first hand. I guess all we can do is continue to fight the racism that we see every day.

    Pat McCarthy
    Digital Coordinator – Obama for America, Macomb County

  2. Mr. Fieger,

    I respectfully disagree with your assessment of the incident. Additionally I feel that America has proven; by way of electing a black President, that a majority of this nation is NOT racist. I will agree with you that there are still some people that are racist but that is no longer the majority.

    Unfortunately it is Obama who has changed since his election and it is Obama that is stirring the “Race War” pot. By getting involved in this matter he has almost shown his racist hand. Every day children both black, white, yellow and in-between are killed, yet often times very little gets reported. In the case of Trayvon it almost seems like a media frenzy, where as news outlets like MSDNC errr… I mean MSNBC were actually using VERY old photos in an effort to draw undue sympathy from the public. It was not until Obama got up on national TV and made his pathetic statement that “If I had a son he would be just like Trayvon”, which I feel was VERY disrespectful to Trayvons REAL father. But you see it wasn’t until Obama’s involvement that the story really gained traction.

    There have been reports that Trayvon was suspended from school for having an empty bag of marijuana when this tragedy occurred. I have to wonder why Trayvon was not grounded? Had the proper parental supervision been in play it’s quite possible this would never have happened. I know if my kids were suspended from school their little butts would NOT be roaming the streets, they would be on punishment. Food for thought.

    Now there are also other things coming to light with regards to Trayvons Facebook account, where the images he uploaded seemed to indicate a “gangbanger” influence into his life. Is this justification for what happened? HELL NO! But it goes without saying that the company you keep can and will help or hurt you.

    Dressing like a gangster is really no different than some other stereotypes. Such stereotypes based on the way people dress include-

    Biker gangs – These people often times have tattoos, wear leather jackets, blue jeans and have chains attached to their wallets.

    Burn outs – Usually long haired folks, who also like leather jackets, blue jeans and often times smoke.

    Gothic – These folks usually wear a lot of black, along with studded collars and such. Eye, ear, nose, breast and genital piercings are also a trademark. Tattoos are also very common in this group.

    So you see there is more than just “Gangsters” who by the way are known for hooded sweaters, pants sagging below their waist, very loose clothing and near flawlessly new shoes. And I might add that being black is not exclusive to the “Gangster” look.

    To be quite honest, the term “Gangster” used to represent well dressed organized crime figures, usually Italian. The term more conducive to Trayvons style and the rappers he is trying to imitate would be “Gang-Bangers”, so again, we have Obama to thank for stirring this pot.

    Meanwhile I sit back and wonder what right ANYONE has to punch a man in the face and then smack his head on a curb? Even if he was being followed it does not change the fact that Trayvon might be alive today if he had kept his hands to himself. But who knows what really happened, that is up to the courts to figure out.

    I do agree with you that Zimmerman should have been arrested after using lethal force, since it is not up to the police to play judge and jury. However to say just because Zimmerman was much older and weighed 100 lbs more than Trayvon was defacto proof he’s guilty is wrong. One only needs to look at folks like Muhammad Ali, who was known for taking down people much larger than himself.

    What I fear is that whatever good electing Obama may have done to prove America is no longer a racist nation is quickly being reversed. What’s worse is the fact it seems to be Obama himself that is dividing the nation and fanning the flames of this race war.

  3. InYourFaceNewYorker says:

    “Consider the reaction of the media to the killing on right wing outlets. Fox News is combing the background of the victim to find any justification for being murdered. Geraldo Rivera blames the “hoodie” as much as the man who pulled the trigger for the death. His comments were as cruel to the parents as they were racist, but he gets away with it – because of racism. It is the old “blame the victim” ploy – she was wearing clothes that was asking for her to be raped excuse. To say that a person was shot not for what they did, but because of how they looked is blatantly racist.”

    Mr. Fieger, I always enjoy reading your blog posts. They always offer a refreshing, truth-telling of reality by someone who has clearly done his homework and isn’t shooting off his mouth.

    When I see blog posts like this (or similar posts on the RichardDawkins.net forum) I start replying with comments about consciousness-raising. So here I go. What is really frightening is that while there is “conscious” racism, that is, people who blatantly hate blacks and know they hate blacks, there are definitely a lot of people who subconsciously feel racism or sexism or fat-ism or short-ism or any other kind of judgment without even realizing it. I’m listening to an audio book called The Hidden Brain and it is about all of what I just mentioned. Research has shown that one reason women have such difficulty in male-dominated fields is because of sexism… Well, no shit, Sherlock. But a lot of this sexism is subconscious. Without even realizing it, many people do not allow women to be wrong about technical issues, science, and other male-dominated issues because if the woman is wrong, they think she must never know what she’s talking about. If a man is wrong about something, it just means he’s wrong. Again, a lot of people DO NOT REALIZE THAT THEY ARE DOING THIS. I recall when I was in high school I was in the library and some other kids– boys– were having trouble with the computers. I knew a lot about computers so I came over and gave them advice. They sarcastically talked back to me. Okay, maybe part of it had to do with the fact that I offered my help unsolicited, but it’s worth asking if they would have had the same reaction if I had a dick.

    I don’t think anybody is innocent of subconscious isms. Evolution hardwired us to automatically and unconsciously sort things into categories. What helped our ancestors survive manifests itself today as socially detrimental phenomena. That is why we have to raise our consciousness about certain issues and “talk back” to our “hidden brains.” I recently had a teacher in a class who I couldn’t stand. He was also black. I stopped to ask myself if the fact that he was black made it easier for me to get annoyed with him. I honestly don’t know. I certainly don’t want it be true. But instead of denying the possibility I have these “conversations” with myself and do my best to “talk back” to my “hidden brain.” The problem is that most people don’t think that deeply about things which is one reason (of many) why these problems still exist today.

    “I understand on a whole new level how a black man must be always aware of their body position, location and reactions… in the wrong place, with the wrong clothes, with their hands in the pockets or urge to run away from a threat it could mean being murdered with nothing more said. That is a racist society.”

    It’s disgusting, and it doesn’t affect just black people. It affects anyone who isn’t in the majority. As someone who grew up with undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome, I can attest to that. Like many people with AS, I was horrendously bullied, in my case up until the end of middle school. I was constantly trying to act “normal” in terms of body language and social interactions so that I wouldn’t become a target. And also so people wouldn’t misinterpret things I said and did as “bad” behavior. Can you imagine having to live like that? Especially in the world of middle school where people are remarkably intolerant? Black people shouldn’t have to try to be “perfect” any more than I should have had to try to be “normal.” How can people live like that possibly become well-adjusted adults? At age 31, I am well-adjusted, but that’s DESPITE what I went through, certainly not BECAUSE of it. And a lot of people who went through what I did are not well-adjusted in adulthood.

    Sorry if I’m eating up your blog space, but your post really provoked me!

    Julie

  4. Thomas Neal says:

    I am a person of color, a veteran and a parent of 4 successful children. But I must say it has been a hard life being an african american in this country. I have almost lost my faith in mankind. I am presently being discriminated against at my work place and no one seems to care. But that is not why I am commenting today. I just wanted to say after reading about you, I believe again that all whites are not bad. You have restored my faith in some of white america. Your a good man. Thank you for being you.

  5. Curt Peterson says:

    . I live in Sanford and cannot think each and every one who came to our rescue. I think we need to use this momentum to create some positive and immediate reaction as follows.
    1. If everyone who is sympathetic to our cause would not attend the next three (3)Magic games.
    2. A notice to anyone who has planned a vacation in FL to cancel and not come as long as that killer (George Zimmer) is loose.

    **This alone I truly would give us the results we seek; losing money is what the power that be respect. Without even really supporting us, losing money will get the arrest of Trevon’s murderer. We all know those folk have a lot of closed door meeting; we only see the results.

    3. If everyone who was touched by the senseless killing of this truly beautiful young person would exercise their right to vote ( if not registered and voting age in their state, get registered to vote) a lot of things we tolerate would vanish. We are not respected as a force in part because we do not harness our power as many other nationalities do.., voting is certainly a good place to start.

  6. Brian Christian says:

    Mr. Umney,
    Apparently you miss the point of what Obama was saying in regards to “if I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.” You and many other Obama haters are taking it literally. Think about it- SO MANY BOYS DRESS JUST LIKE TRAYVON- it doesn’t matter what racial/ethnic group you come from at all. The point was that he was murdered based on a style of dress, one which is worn by millions of young men. Period. I don’t particularly like the whole look, but it doesn’t give me or anyone else the right to pass judgement OR Execute an individual for that choice.

    Secondly, of this man’s head was bashed onto the side walk by Trayvon- why didn’t any of this so called bashing make a SINGLE MARK ON HIS FACE OR HEAD? Look at his mug shots. I dont know if you have ever had your head bashed on a sidewalk or curb, but it makes a mark.

    Next, Trayvon was ALONE. I don’t care if he was hanging with the Black Panthers; he was unarmed, ALONE, and minding his business with a bag of skittles. The man attacked him. The man killed him. How can you possible say the company you keep….blah blah blah. His killer didn’t know Trayvon, so what would he know about the company he keeps?

    Apparently, since you bashed MSNBC, you must enjoy FOX? Can I assume that about you? No, I can’t. Just as trayvond killer can’t assume anything about a stranger he doesn’t know.

    Do not play devils advocate in this case. It makes you look just as ignorant as the killer by inadvertently justifying this horrific crime based on issues drug up to tarnish the boys name. The real point is THIS MAN KILLED AN INNOCENT CHILD. PERIOD. It is about race because, he made racist comments about the situation.

    And one more clarification. Racism = power + prejudice. Bigotry = prejudice based on personal beliefs.

    Thank you Mr. Feiger for your post. It was very well put. You layed out facts that are true and non-biased.

  7. ilena says:

    I would like to know who gets to decide “who can stand their ground”. Is it always the older white guy? Does anyone really believe things would be different if Trevon had basketball shorts, sneakers, and a tee on? Zimmerman was out to kill. Why take a gun if it wasn’t to kill?

  8. Mr. Christian,

    I did not miss any point sir… There were reports of “eye witnesses” that seen Trayvon attacking Zimmerman, and this was reported by both Fox news and MSNBC. IF true it really does not matter how old Trayvon is, or what color his skin was.

    You sir seem to think its okay to excuse bad behavior based solely on race alone. I for one am SICK of it! More and more I find that people are using race as a “cop-out” whenever misfortune befalls them and Obama’s administration has pretty much worn out the race card over the years. I feel it is Obama’s intention to fan these race flames in an effort to garner the black vote PERIOD. Does Obama get up on TV and address every homicide that involves a minor? Or does he seem to pick the ones with a strong media following? I think we all know the answer to that question.

    Had this whole situation been reversed and Trayvon beaten Zimmerman to death would there have been any huge public/media outcry? I seriously doubt it. Perhaps a 1 day appearance on MSNBC and Fox, but that’s it.

    Your statements about the black panthers is just an effort to provoke, and no it does not matter if Trayvon was kicking it with black panthers, just as it would not have mattered if Zimmerman was kicking it with the KKK.

    I fear this whole issue of race as it pertains to black folks is no different than what you would find if a white man got mixed up in a predominantly black community. So what really burns me is the hypocrisy that surrounds it all.

    As I have said before, IF it is true that Trayvon attacked Zimmerman first then it’s self defense plain and simple. Let it be a lesson to anyone of ANY race that you run the risk of getting shot if you pick a fight with the wrong guy or gal.

    Trayvon had a cell phone… He should have told his little lady friend he would call her back and then called his parents or 911, and then maybe he would still be alive today. The fact he had a bag of skittles and an Iced Tea means what? I am almost 40 and I still eat skittles and drink tea! Did you mean to imply Trayvons very young age (17 years old) made this event even more tragic? If that’s what you meant to say Ill agree with you.

  9. maileen says:

    treyvon did’nt diserve to be killed & he was unarmed with only a cell phone skittels and a tea seriously and i do believe the guy was rasis

  10. Don’t forget maileen… He also had a few gold teeth to go with them skittles and iced tea!

  11. Anna Kristine Magnúsdóttir says:

    Mr.Fieger. I totally agree with you. And it is not in the USA that rasicm lives. I live in a very little country, Iceland, and here I withness rasism much too often. One might say that is because Iceland is so small, only 330.000 inhabitants, that colored people are noticed. I was staying in Southfiled in 1991 for 3 months and when we invited the maid in for coffee and to give her daughter a doll, it was a huge matter. The hotel manager called me to his office to ask if she didn´t clean well enough etc. When I said she was perfect he answered: ,,But why did you ask her to come in with you????” Same goes for my daughter who played all day long with colored children, she found them so charming and learnt a lot of dance steps from them. Just wanting to quote and wishing you well in the future.
    Anna Kristine Magnúsdóttir,Reykjavík, Iceland.

  12. You’re the best, Fieger! I had a feeling you would have something to add to this “debate” (what there is to debate, I really don’t understand), and, as usual, you cut to the core of the issue with your signature biting commentary. Mr. Fieger, how I would loooove to see you bring a suit of wrongful death against George Zimmerman (Jenny Jones-style)! Any chance of that???

  13. Annika Stanely says:

    Mr. Umney This is how you sound.

    KKK wants to ‘adopt’ highway in Georgia
    A group affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan wants to “adopt” a mile-long stretch of highway in Georgia.

    According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Georgia Department of Transportation is currently reviewing the May 21 request—filed by International Keystone Knights of the KKK in Union County—to clean up part of Route 515 in the Appalachian Mountains in Blairsville.

    “Any civic-minded organization, business, individual, family, city, county, state, or federal agency is welcome to volunteer in the Georgia Adopt-A-Highway program,” according to the department’s website.

    The state attorney general’s office is expected to decide Monday.

    [Related: Minority babies now a majority]

    “We just want to clean up the doggone road,” Harley Hanson, who filed the application, told the paper. “We’re not going to be out there in robes.”

    But Rep. Tyrone Brooks, head of the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials, called on state officials to reject the application.

    “This is about membership building and rebranding their name in a public way,” Brooks said. “What’s next, are we going to let neo-Nazis or the Taliban or al-Qaida

    [Related: Ex-skinhead wins GOP post]

    “We are good, decent Christian Americans,” Hanson, the group’s “exalted cyclops,” added. “What we’re trying to do is to work with the local community.”

    It’s not the first time the KKK has participated in an “Adopt-a-Highway” program.
    In 2000, the KKK successfully adopted part of Interstate 55 south of St. Louis after a federal judge ruled that the Missouri Department of Transportation could not keep the group out of the cleanup program.

    The Georgia KKK group said it would file a lawsuit if the state rejects its application.

    ..

  14. Annika Stanely says:

    Former Pa. skinhead wins GOP post with single vote
    A northeastern Pennsylvania man with longstanding ties to white supremacist groups entered a polling place on primary election day and wrote in his name for a low-level position with the local Republican Party committee.

    Steve Smith wound up getting elected with a single vote — his own — and now presents a headache for a GOP that doesn’t want him but might not be able to get rid of him.

    Pennsylvania Democrats spread word last week of his April election, linking to a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center that described Smith’s associations with “an extraordinary array of white nationalist, skinhead, and neo-Nazi groups,” including a group formerly known as the Keystone State Skinheads.

    The Luzerne County Republican Committee and the state GOP denounced Smith’s election to a four-year committee post representing Pittston’s Fourth Ward, saying his views in no way represent their own.

    The GOP “does not endorse or represent any of the hateful views of Mr. Smith, nor did any of the voters in Pittston City or Luzerne County,” Luzerne County Republican Party chief Terry Casey said in a statement. But he said the committee’s bylaws indicate the only qualification for office is that a candidate has been a registered Republican for the last two years — and do not include a provision that would allow Smith to be expelled because of his beliefs.

    Smith, 41, of Pittston, announced his election on a website called White News Now, posting a photo of his election certificate.

    He said he’s no longer affiliated with the skinheads group, but he confirmed that he founded the European American Action Coalition, which says on its website that it “advocates on behalf of White Americans” and was “founded in the fall of 2011 by a few well known White activists in the great and historic state of Pennsylvania.”

    Smith told The (Wilkes-Barre) Citizens’ Voice that he ran for the party post to help get Republicans elected and would fight any attempt to get him booted from the GOP committee.

    He also rejected the white supremacist label.

    “A white supremacist is someone who wants to rule over other races and I do not wish to do that,” Smith told WILK-AM on Monday. “I advocate on behalf of white people, much like the NAACP

    He said he’s no longer affiliated with the skinheads group, but he confirmed that he founded the European American Action Coalition, which says on its website that it “advocates on behalf of White Americans” and was “founded in the fall of 2011 by a few well known White activists in the great and historic state of Pennsylvania.”
    advocates on behalf of blacks or La Raza advocates on behalf of Hispanics.” He went on to challenge the radio interviewer to “name one majority black or Hispanic neighborhood or school district that you wish to move your kids to.”

    Smith didn’t return several messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.

    Court records show Smith pleaded guilty in 2003 to state charges of ethnic intimidation and simple assault, both misdemeanors, and was sentenced to one to 12 months in prison. According to a 2003 newspaper account, Smith and two other members of the Keystone State Skinheads yelled racial slurs at a black man and threw a brick at him. Smith told the Wilkes-Barre newspaper that he spent two months behind bars and said the encounter was the result of “drunken stupidity.”

    Smith’s election with a single write-in vote demonstrated the trouble that political parties sometimes

    Smith told The (Wilkes-Barre) Citizens’ Voice that he ran for the party post to help get Republicans elected and would fight any attempt to get him booted from the GOP committee.

    He also rejected the white supremacist label.

    “A white supremacist is someone who wants to rule over other races and I do not wish to do that,” Smith told WILK-AM on Monday. “I advocate on behalf of white people, much like the NAACP
    bickering.”

    Democratic spokesman Mark Nicastre said Tuesday that Republicans were slow to act once Smith’s background was brought to light.

    “We thought it was appropriate to raise awareness of it. We didn’t think this was someone who should have a position in the Republican Party,” he said. “We’re happy the Republican Party is finally realizing this is an issue they should take care of.”

    ..

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