What if Trayvon Martin was White?
For weeks Pariotslog has been refraining from comment on the shooting of Trayvon Martin because there simply are not enough facts. All the evidence in the case is circumstantial at best, and the sum of the legal argument has essentially been limited to a contest of honesty. The press and defense both knew this, which is why we witnessed the mudslinging through media releases that Trayvon had been suspended three separate times, and had been found with marijuana; likewise, we heard that Zimmerman had a violent arrest record, and used his neighborhood watch status to elevate his ego because he could not be a law enforcement official. The fact is that when there is such an absence of evidence in a case such as this, arrests and prosecutions take time. This week, George Zimmerman was arrested and charged with second degree murder. Many believe the Florida “stand your ground” law will lead to his acquittal because of the lack of evidence in the case. However, for all the attention the law is receiving it is interesting to note that it may not even apply in this case. There are two stories in this incident; the first, Zimmerman’s, is that he was attacked and being beaten by Trayvon Martin, and had to pull the trigger out of self-defense. The second, that of Trayvon Martin’s girlfriend–whom he was talking to on the phone just before the altercation–is that Zimmerman followed Trayvon and initiated the confrontation, shooting him for no reason. The stand your ground law is not applicable to either situation because either it was unjustified murder, or Zimmerman was assaulted and had to defend himself. The stand your ground law applies only in situations where one is threatened; in both sides of this story nobody was threatened, they were attacked. If Zimmerman is telling the truth, and he had not had a gun, it would have been him, not Martin who would have died.
All of this sparked a tsunami of media attention. Hoodies were donned by celebrities and congressman; Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton jumped to the defense of Martin and his family; superstar basketball Player Carmelo Anthony even hosted Martin’s family as special guests earlier today in a major basketball game against the Miami Heat. The message has been clear, and in fact, clearly stated by Rev. Sharpton; this is a case of racial injustice. Had Martin been white an arrest would not have taken months, but hours. As Rev. Sharpton so often does, he centered the discussion on race, and the media caught on faster than a wild brush fire. Media outlets even attempted to frame this as white vs. black in order to sell papers and boost ratings, referring to Zimmerman as a white Hispanic, whatever that means. I suppose by those standards President Obama would be a white African American, but that is beside the point. This shooting was immediately framed as a racial issue whether it should have been or not. The question then must be asked, if there was injustice, and if it was because of race, what would have happened had Zimmerman been black, and Martin been a (laughably mock able) white Hispanic? Would the justice system have acted much more swiftly? Would it have been a guaranteed conviction, the way some say it would be? Turns out we have a perfect reference to compare to.
Daniel Adkins, a 29 year old (white) Hispanic was out walking his dog in Tucson, AZ when he turned a blind corner and stepped out in front of a vehicle, driven by a black man, exiting the Taco Bell drive through. The driver got angry and a verbal–not physical–altercation ensued. Adkins, according to witnesses, swung his fists in the direction of the car, which the driver remained in throughout the altercation up to and apparently including when Adkins was then shot and killed. The shooter told police Adkins had a bat or metal pipe of some kind, and had struck the vehicle; the only item in Adkins possession when police investigated was a dog leash. The shooter claimed self-defense, and has yet to be prosecuted. It is worth noting, though it may not be relevant to the case, that Adkins had a mental handicap, and according to his family, had the brain function of a 12 year old. Where is the public outrage? Where are the celebrities and politicians lining up to help the Adkins family? Where is the special investigation team for criminal charges in Arizona? Most of all, where are the influential minority public figures crying race?
So if the roles were reversed we have a clear example which shows us that the justice process would not have been any different; in fact, the only difference in these two cases at all is the national media attention given to Trayvon Martin. Rev. Jackson made a statement in the spotlight of the Martin case that blacks are under attack in America. This is ridiculous, and obviously errant given the circumstances of Daniel Adkins’ death. A former head of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) C.L. Bryant has openly criticized both Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton for exploiting the situation and the Martin family. Political leaders, foremost of whom is President Obama, media pundits, celebrities, and athletes have all cashed in on the opportunity to say or do something to appease the crowd and gain popularity at the expense of Trayvon Martin. This type of exploitation is more an attack on black people than any justice system. In a near identical scenario in which Adkins was shot, the black shooter received the same benefit of the doubt George Zimmerman received despite the fact that Zimmerman did not have the luxury of staying in his car throughout the incident. This is a clear example that if the roles were reversed the justice system would act exactly as it did; however, it is clear that Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton could not care less about the victim, so long as the shooters skin is darker than that of the victim.
Tragically, this is the real attack on black people–manipulation and exploitation through fear. People like Rev. Jackson and Rev. Sharpton are more racist than any justice system because clearly the justice system is fair to both situations. Rev. Jackson and Rev. Sharpton do more to harm race relations than to help them. Their tireless rants did nothing for the justice of Trayvon Martin because the Justice system did what it would do regardless; their constant nagging and manipulating did have one solid effect: fear. Because of them black people now fear white people and the United States government more than they did two months ago despite clear evidence that the justice system did and would act fairly, but that does not matter to the reverends. The result of the publicity from this case is a message that every black person must live in fear. America does not care about the black citizen, and will leave them to die at the first opportunity. Obviously there is no truth to this, but the message has been sent regardless. This, more than any alleged murder, is what has hurt race relations and strained the minorities trust in our system. Trayvon Martin’s legacy has been forever stained by a false racial message. The answer to the question is clear; what would have happened if Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman had switched places? The justice system would have done its job, and racial relations would not have been strained by fear manipulation. If George Zimmerman did murder Trayvon Martin then we do need a conviction; but a conviction on grounds of race, rather than murder, will do more to tear apart this nation than to give it justice.
15 April, 2012
Posted on April 15, 2012, in Patriotslog Articles, Politics and tagged Al Sharpton, Carmelo Anthony, Congress, current-events, Daniel Adkins, george zimmerman, Jesse Jackson, Miami Heat, NAACP, politics, President Obama, race, racial tension, second degree murder, stand your ground, Trayvon Martin. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.