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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Trayvon and the Hood

I've been helping candidates on the local school board campaign trail for the last month. But the Trayvon case has captured everyone's attention, including mine. I feel compelled to put my 2 cents in.

Apparently what we know:
Zimmerman saw Trayvon and thought he looked suspicious. Enough so that he called the police.
The Police told Zimmerman to stand down and not go after Trayvon.
Zimmerman went after Trayvon.
Zimmerman was in a car and exited it at some point before the altercation.
Zimmerman was injured when the police arrived after the fatal shooting.
Trayvon was dead, killed by Zimmerman.

All the rest seems to be conjecture depending on what scenario you want to see.

But here is some dot connecting that makes sense to me.

Zimmerman is an adult. Trayvon was a minor.
Zimmerman is larger than Trayvon.
Zimmerman was in a car which should be a fairly safe environment. The car was fully functioning and not disabled. He chose to leave his car and pursue Trayvon. These events immediately violate any notion of self-defense. Self-defense is obeying the police, staying in your car, and not going after the suspicious person.
Zimmerman makes no claims that Trayvon was seen committing any crime.

In my mind, Trayvon was defending himself from a larger adult man who came after him without any authority to do so. Trayvon was under NO OBLIGATION to stop or heed anything this man said to him. If Trayvon felt he was under attack, didn't HE have the legal right to "stand his ground" and use self-defense? This would account for Zimmerman's injuries.

This is not just a tragedy. This is a travesty. I am embarrassed for my former home state. I am outraged that the police would let evidence leave the scene based on someone's instant judgement of the situation without any investigation. I am dismayed that this case has become politicized to the fact that this young man's character is now under assault.

I weep for the inability of the privileged white/older/middle and upper income/educated/ population of this nation to get this racial fear of blacks out of their heads. Hoodies are not scary. White teenage girls wear hoodies and I don't see them getting killed over it. Until we get this racism out of our heads, nothing will change. Stop seeing the world through our lens. See it through the eyes of Trayvon, and Ricky, Evan, Carlos, Laz, and Damon, and all the other young men I know, you know, and those we've never met.

Read some of Leonard Pitts work in the Miami Herald. Here's a good example: