Murder To Excellence: Trayvon Martin, Fruitvale Station and a Request to President Barack Obama for Leadership
"We should all be nostalgic for the days when only real, badge-wearing policemen felt they had legal cover to murder unarmed young black men. Those were the days, huh?"
It's obviously fruitless and hypocritical to say on this blog that I have no interest in discussing Trayvon Martin or any other young black man murdered in the streets by police, wannabe police, or anyone else. I have a goal here, and that's to gain a mainstream readership. This whole incendiary incident can cause me a lot of grief in terms of visitors and the audience I'm trying to build, and I just don't need these types of problems. I mean, my God, this is only my third blog post, and all of a sudden I'm supposed to go in swinging and fighting and waving the black flag... this early? And don't even try to tell me I'm late to the debate; again, I just started this blog. I have nice, middle-of-the-road content in mind.
If what I wrote above pissed you off, then it worked and that's good, because that's honestly what most mainstream bloggers think. That's the convenient disassociation you can allow yourself when you don't feel true responsibility towards telling a story from its moral center, and instead choose to pick up the philosophy that instead of spirits and the greater good, all you should be uplifting are those precious click-thrus, unique visitors, and those "Likes".
Don't let me sound self-righteous -- it's not like I'm just writing this to write it. I'm writing this hoping that someone will read it. And here you are. But in case it needs to be stated clearly, I'm hoping someone reads it because they care that I care, and by both of us showing concern and sharing our thoughts, someone else might do the same. In this way, the only way that's likely to be permanent in my opinion, we can change this situation for the better, creating cultural dialogue and joined responsibility. Whether we love, like, or hate each other, we're all citizens of the same planet who should value all life, and when it comes to the measurement of crime and punishment, these incidents and those who commit them should be tried on grounds of moral certainty rather than technicalities of who was on top when the gun was pulled.
Trayvon Martin's trial is over, and he/we lost. I saw we, meaning anyone that stands on the side of the law that protects children from strangers with guns following them home. The now-infamous Stand Your Ground law in Florida, which basically lets you shoot someone dead in the street if you feel that your life is in danger (correct me if I'm wrong, commenters), should have protected Trayvon from being basically put on trial in front of the whole country, seeing that he's dead and all. But instead, the country, and millions of mothers of young black men, got confirmation of what Gawker's Cord Jefferson correctly stated we already knew.
So what's next? Fruitvale Station, which stars Michael B. Jordan (the other guy) in a movie about the similarly tragic/crazy/lawless shooting of another unarmed young black man, Oscar Grant, by actual police officers in Oakland a few years ago. The movie was produced by Forrest Whittaker, and released last Friday. Coincidentally. Now you have to go see it, right? Right. Because now we should all be nostalgic for the days when only real, badge-wearing policemen felt they had legal cover to murder unarmed young black men. Those were the days, huh?
The media is, as usual, all about this whole anger thing that comes from what happens, because anger turns into viewership, and whether you think it's right or wrong your viewership turns into ad revenue. From there, the only thing that changes is that sound of coins coming together in your hand as they leave your pocket to buy Skittles, who by the way never publicly came out and said anything about Trayvon Martin, unless I'm mistaken (again, commenters, correct me in the comments).
Here's an idea: why not take those Skittles and chuck them at anybody you see protesting with a pack of Skittles outside your local courthouse or newspaper office? I mean, they're obviously a weapon, and I don't even mean because of the threat they pose to African-Americans' health due to their high-sugar content -- you know we get diabetes like billionaires get tax breaks. But that's another story... for now, I'd say you should start a new Rainbow Coalition by picking off these fake-ass picketers with pelted Skittles. The red ones. Let them taste the blood/rainbow.
Maybe that's too raw; sure it is. But I know that raw emotion is what fixes eyes to TV and computer screens hoping for justice, expecting to be disappointed, and waiting for the right moment to run to Facebook, tweet out a statement to God knows whoever, stand in front of a crowd on a soapbox screaming for people to fight some sort of power, or yep, write a blog post. The question is, when will people demand better than just to be part of a national tragedy?
When will these situations turn into something positive? Legend has it that some 2013+ years ago, a judicial mob crucified a guy who would go on to become the cause for righteous people all over the globe. Does that excuse his treatment? Certainly not. But Jesus, Gandhi, Che, Medgar, Malcolm, Martin... they're all dead. And from their sacrifice, which of course is a nice way to say they were murdered, came many great inspirations that continue to benefit even the most bigoted and ignorant of people with blessings of awareness and enlightenment. So while it's certainly not something that should be necessary, many good things have arisen from the martyrdom of good men and women.
Still, try telling Trayvon's parents that the end will someday justify the means. His death was tragic enough but was almost outdone by the spectacle of the George Zimmerman trial, with the distractions offered by the media's heavily promoted focus on "colorful" witnesses, the embarrassingly poor prosecution by the State of Florida, and the fact that the trial never seemed like Zimmerman's -- always one that investigated the character of a black male teenager. Another black man's son. Another guy who America would not let be great, as Kanye West would call it.
So is it any wonder that Kanye West tells America that he is a god, and Jay-Z call himself "Hova"... and you still get to hear some idiotic album reviewer talk of the lyrical lack of inspiration and mundane talk of material wealth, even though this "critic" is somehow making a career out of reviewing black music for mainstream media while not actually being a member of the culture, and has no idea whatsoever about the challenges young black men face every day that would cause them to upgrade their social status from being a police target to a socio-economic demagogue? Look, let me not sound too self-indulgent when I say that I am the black Ryan Gosling of blogging, the beige George Clooney of journalism, and the khaki Leo DiCaprio of communication. The media may lie to you when they one day discover that I'm that much into promoting myself, but they'll never convince me I'm not the greatest, because by all accounts I should have damn-well been shot and killed by police or fake police by now. But here I am. So I don't need media to let me be greater than I already am, and when there's an artful opportunity to tell the world that I think me and all the rest of the young black men who are surviving on a daily basis in this strange country and world, I'm going to share it. The truth is that there is black power to be had in America, and there are places for great black men who can make it through such normal growing pains as teen angst, weed smoking and a general inability to understand the world and its treatment of minorities... one of them is now the Oval Office.
So now we wait for Barack Obama to weigh in on this situation, now that it is even more divisive and less politically advantageous, unless you consider "good politics" doing the right thing in public when it's not so convenient by saying that you absolutely disagree with what happened in that courtroom.
The paper reads "Not Guilty", but the people read "Murder". Make it better, Mr. President; your moment is calling on Line One. Tell Jay-Z you'll call back; we all know he has your number and you guys are text-buddies. What we as a country need now is something positive to arise from this whole bloody mess we've all made of the murder of Trayvon Martin. And it's time for our president who once said that the son you don't have would probably resemble Trayvon Martin to take the lead on this, like now. Help us find excellence in the public execution of another young black man who could have been your son.
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