On February 26, just about one month ago, Trayvon Martin, a black seventeen-year old, was fatally shot by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer. Zimmerman’s family says that he is Hispanic, but some sources say he is white. It is for this reason that many people believe Zimmerman has yet to be prosecuted.
If Trayvon Martin had been a white teenager and George Zimmerman a black man, would this prosecution have been expedited? This is the most asked question as the Martin Family awaits word that justice has been served and Zimmerman has been put in jail for the murder of Trayvon Martin.
Race has clouded the facts in this case. The racism that still, unfortunately, exists in our country justifies to some Zimmerman’s actions. Zimmerman’s supporters and family have said that the shooting came out of self-defense. But newly uncovered evidence says otherwise. Let us be colorblind, even for a moment, as we look through the evidence:
-Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, called a non-emergency police line from his car to report a suspicious person, Trayvon Martin. “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He is on drugs or something.” While still on the phone with police, Zimmerman got out of his car and began to follow Martin.
-Martin was not in the gated community without reason, however. He was there visiting his father.
-Martin noticed he was being followed and called his girlfriend: “Oh, he’s right behind me, he’s right behind me again,” said Martin to his girlfriend. Martin’s girlfriend later heard the teenager ask, “Why are you following me?” and another man reply, “What are you doing around here?” Moments later, Martin’s girlfriend heard a gunshot.
-Travyon Martin did not have a single weapon on him, just skittles and Arizona iced tea, items he had bought from a nearby 7-11.
-This was not Zimmerman’s first call to police regarding a suspicious person. From January 2011 to February 26, 2012, Zimmerman had made 46 calls to police. Recordings of six of these calls were released on Monday and four of them concerned suspicious persons, all of whom were black.
As much as I would like to disregard race and hope that one day race will not affect the outcome of such a case, this last fact cannot be ignored. From the facts uncovered thus far, George Zimmerman appears to have been greatly at fault. He assumed that, because of skin color and associated racial stereotypes, Trayvon Martin was “up to no good.”
The fatal mix of power and racial hatred manifested itself in Zimmerman’s actions on February 26. I am reminded of Audre Lorde’s poem, “Power,” a 1978 social commentary on a case involving the killing of a young, black boy by a white police officer. Clearly, this has long been a huge, disheartening issue in our country and the world. It is my hope that some day a case such as this will have the title “neighborhood watch volunteer kills teenager” not “white/hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer kills black teenager.”
Ashley is a freshman at George Washington University and she’s majoring in “Overanalyzing Situations” and International Affairs. Follow her on twitter @ashleybrooks25