Martin case brings up issues of justice, equality
Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 21:02
Quite arguably, the death of Trayvon Martin has seemed to be one of the most divisive violent racial issues in our country in our nation’s history, as it’s probably safe to say this would not be expected in the so-called “post-racial” era.
What is not known so far about the shooting that sent ripples through the country is to be decided June 10, the start of Mr. George Zimmerman’s hearings against second-degree murder charges.
What is known so far about the shootings is that Martin was only 17 and was later discovered to have no weapons of any kind, only a small packet of candy and a can of tea.
It is also apparent from the call that not only did Zimmerman continue to pursue the “suspicious” looking person (seemingly lower-middle class, minority teenager), he continued to do so even when advised not to by operators. So it is easy for one to safely infer that he was not only being insubordinate to the law and disregarding protocol, he was acting as a vigilante.
Zimmerman was a vigilante who has proven to cause more harm than good, and we can never be sure of what exactly was going on in his head at the scene, nor can we know his true intentions.
Zimmerman was known to be a bit rough, but a nice guy who was well-liked and well-known by his community, and I am sure that he intended to be honest in the duties he took up in becoming part of his neighborhood watch. But what we know so far from this case seems all too wrong and the fact that the Floridian “Stand Your Ground” law sets citizens to “shoot first and act questions later” in a time of possible danger/fear of death demonstrates that we are not in the Wild West anymore — there must be civil solutions!
With “Stand Your Ground” known as the law of self-defense in the state of Florida, it seems to be the pillar of Zimmerman’s defense. As many seem to think that the case was excessive force and apparent murder of a minor, this state law has the potential to allow for an “innocent” verdict for Mr. Zimmerman, the gunman that shook the nation’s sense of racial conscience.
Also, much of what is known about this case seems to be surrounded with a not-so-subtle racial undertone which has caused a lot of the tension between the public’s opinions on the aspects of the case. As violence against minorities and between different races seems constant, this case seemed to stick out because it was said that Martin was suspicious in his demeanor on that night.
Well why was he suspicious? Many speculate that it could very well be that he was a minority and that alone aroused Zimmerman’s suspicions.
In other words, Zimmerman is accused of using excessive force based on his bigoted predispositions towards minorities. As bold as it might sound to accuse someone of being a rabid racist killer, it is not hard to understand coming from America’s communities of minorities, particularly African-Americans and Hispanics who have long been marginalized, intimidated, suppressed, and oppressed by Americans with bigoted pre-dispositions. And in the past, our racially submissive society as a whole and the governmental system was too geared against non-whites (among non-protestants, women, other marginalized groups, etc.).
It’s understandable that these communities were overall the most outraged and disgusted, as we all seem to continue to endure prejudices in such a racially divisive era.
Another aspect of this case is one that I feel is always overlooked, and that is the class component of this case. Not only do minorities feel as if they release their kids into a cold society every day, struggling and impoverished people of all demographics feel paranoid and scared for their children.
They can’t send them to public schools without hearing about a massacre. They can’t let them leave the house without hearing about violent sexual deviants and psychos who seem to have no motive for murder.
Now they are worrying about their kids being the victims of violent racism, a precursor for genocide that always seems to stem from a racial predisposition.
On June 10, Zimmerman’s hearings will begin and this highly anticipated verdict will finally be decided. This verdict will not only decide if Martin’s death was a murder or act of self-defense protected by state law, it will be decisive in how we perceive racial progress in this era, once it is distant history. It will also shed light on our nation’s perpetual battle against racism which is a battle fought not only with law and conscience, but a culture battle in which backwards tradition is stamped out and social equality/progress is attempted.
A guilty verdict could possibly even shatter our recent notion that we live in the “post-racial era” which has never seemed to be agreed upon.
Attitudes on the condition of racism in our country may never reach a consensus, but our attitudes on what it should be will and should.
Achieving social justice is long overdue and fundamental to peace which means that we must work to achieve it to not only live in safety and happiness, but to evolve and coexist with arms aside and our dirty looks finally wiped away.
One controversial case at a time, we will reaffirm the goal equality in America; whenever a clash in the midst of racial tension is most heated, we as a society are obligated to make the right choices. Our courts must also uphold our moral consensus and be fair in judgment, while acknowledging that vengeance is not justice.
Trayvon Martin’s death and its controversial investigation have sent shockwaves through America and it is time that we regroup and tighten up.
Regardless of all the apparent confusion in the midst of this emotionally charged case, justice must be pursued relentlessly for Martin’s family as well as the condition of humanity.