What the Trayvon Martin Verdict Could have Meant for America


Read Part1 Here

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(The verdict is what it is and cannot be change. I wanted for this part 2 to be a reflection on what the case has shown me about our current society. )

Everyone is entitled to their opinion on the Trayvon Martin case. If you believe that race was or wasn’t involved that is your own prerogative. I am writing this to address gross dismissal. When I told my high school professor I was harassed by a cop he told me I was imagining it. “Cops are good people,” he said “and they are here to protect us all.”  When I complained about being stopped and frisked my friend said it’s fair since black people tend to commit most of the crimes anyways.

Looking at American history is there not a historic precedent for the existence of racism? Is it so difficult to imagine that ethnicity still determines how one is treated by various institutions? Dissenting opinions don’t shock me; how easy it is for many people to disregard completely whatever fall outside the confines of their thinking does.

We suffer in this country from a terrible selfishness. If it’s not happening to me, if it didn’t occur in my own backyard then it’s not my problem:

  1. Children working horrible conditions overseas to make my clothing and electronics, not my issue.
  2. Black kids getting killed in Chicago, not my issue.
  3. Drone killing innocents, it’s not my issue.

But how long will it be till drones are being used to police everyone and someone you know or love is killed, labeled collateral damage.  How long is it before the militarized police units put someone you care for in the hospital? Finally what is the cost of apathy?

When the Trayvon Martin verdict is issued and people rally into action across the nation, especially given how difficult it is to get people to come together, isn’t that significant? To me, if campaigns have to be launched to get people to vote i.e participate in shaping their own national landscape, when people in 100 different cities come together to protest or raise awareness of an issue then something important is taking place. At the very least, one should the existence of another view, while it may not be held by the people speaking the loudest or with the most air time exists.

If you are not part of the majority, in a majority rules democracy, then your views and needs have little validity. That’s just the numbers and history talking.  No politician is going out their way to address the poverty on Native American reservations.

The gun laws and the gun lobby in this country need to be addressed. Race relations need to be addressed not just for ourselves. What we domestically has great ramifications globally. Imagine if we shed all the negative stereotypes we have been feeding generation of American. If we saw Muslims as human beings, maybe drones wouldn’t kill as many innocents. Maybe if we addressed the disparities in wealth distributions in our country we wouldn’t support trade policies that keep farmers and workers in other countries poor. Maybe we wouldn’t support abusive regimes because they are our economic allies. If we saw gay people as people first it wouldn’t be a big deal to let gay men and women donate blood or marry.

The Trayvon Martin case is a challenge to re-envision who we are, our place in the world, and the course we will take to meet the future as a nationally and a globally society too. It is a call to action and it doesn’t seem like we are going to take the opportunity.

 

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