Justice for Trayvon Martin
By Todd A. Smith
As the publisher of an online magazine geared towards African American men, I constantly get complaints from non-African Americans that publications like mine are the reason why there is racism in the world.
I constantly hear the argument that if people like me would stop mentioning race, then racism would go away. I guess ignoring racism, in their minds, would make us all forget that people come in different shades and colors.
However, the recent murder (not self-defense killing) of Florida teen Trayvon Martin is a true indication that racism is still alive in today’s society and can unfortunately lead to fatal consequences. Contrary to what many believe, racism will not go away by simply ignoring it. After all, do bill collectors and credit agencies go away if you ignore your debts? No, those debts just accrue interest, and your financial picture gets bleaker by the day.
Trayvon Martin, 17, was gunned down in a gated community in Sanford, Fla. by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood patrol captain. The teen was returning to his father’s home in the gated community from a nearby convenient store when Zimmerman called 911 to report a suspicious person.
Operators informed Zimmerman to stand down because officers were en route. Allegedly, he made reference to operators about Martin being Black and that “they always get away” and he had no plans of letting the young teen get away. He approached Martin and got into a physical altercation with him on Feb. 26, admitting to killing the victim, but only in self-defense.
Trayvon Martin’s family dispute the self-defense claim, stating Martin was only 140 pounds, 100 pounds lighter than Zimmerman. The state is investigating the murder, but says they have little evidence that would refute Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense. Furthermore, the Martin family says that Trayvon only had candy and a beverage on him from the store, which are not what I call deadly weapons.
I pray, and urge all Regal readers to pray for the Martin family. I pray that justice is served in this heinous crime, but unnecessary killings like that of Trayvon Martin highlight the need to be transparent when it comes to racial issues. I often say that those who deny that racism exists are usually the biggest racist on the planet. And while I think that racism is often used as a crutch in the Black community, racism should be attacked whenever it appears.
To think that we can have an African American family in the White House, but many still believe African Americans cannot afford a house in a gated community is completely absurd and inexcusable. Zimmerman stated that they “always get away with it,” but I want to ask him get away with what? I did not think a child buying candy on his way back to his father’s house was something criminal that he had to get away with it.
Unfortunately for the Martin family, many have stated that Sanford police have a turbulent history with the African American community, and Zimmerman, the only criminal involved in this incident, will probably get away with his crimes while the Martin family mourns Trayvon’s loss for their entire life.
The murder of Trayvon Martin is the reason niche publications like Regal Magazine will always exist. The reality is, unless you give a voice to the problems in society, those problems will continue to fester and ultimately get worse.
Acknowledging different races and their struggles makes one no more racist than acknowledging gender makes one sexist. It simply makes us diverse and beautiful. However, ignoring the realities of American life, will only lead to ugly incidents like the recent murder in Florida and ultimately prove who the real racists are.
Smith is publisher of Regal Magazine, a publication dedicated to the African American community.