Trayvon Martin case brings up the issue of profiling
A 17- year-old black male was shot and killed on his way home from a convenience store by a man who said he was the neighborhood watch captain in a gated community in Sanford, Fla.
Trayvon Martin, a high school junior, who lived with his mother in Miami, was visiting his father and stepmother at their home in Sanford, when he was shot by George Zimmerman.
Martin was returning home after going to the store for a snack during the half-time show of the NBA All-Star game when he was confronted by Zimmerman. According to police, Zimmerman shot Martin claiming self-defense, after the two men had scuffled. When police arrived 60 seconds later, they found only a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles (which were for his younger brother) on Martin.
For a considerable amount of time, Zimmerman was not arrested on any charges. At that time, police felt they did not have enough evidence to charge Zimmerman with a crime, nor to dispute the fact that Martin was shot in self-defense.
What was even more puzzling about this situation is that the Sanford’s police department has made some very questionable decisions choosing not to interview a key witness in the case.
Martin’s 16-year-old girlfriends’ phone logs show that she was on the phone when the altercation occurred but police did not interview her.
According to Good Morning America, the girlfriend told the family’s lawyer, Benjamin Crump, she heard most of the incident before the phone cut off.
“He said this man was watching him,” the girl recounted. “So he put his hoodie on, and said he lost the man. I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast. I told him to run but he said he was not going to run.”
She told Crump: “He said this man was watching.”
“Trayvon said, ‘What are you following me for?’ and the man said, ‘What are you doing here?’ Next thing I hear is somebody pushing and somebody push Trayvon, because the headset just fell,” she said. “I called him again and he didn’t answer the phone.”
It has been about two months since the tragic death of Martin; after public outcry, petitions for Zimmerman’s arrest, “hoodie marches” and multiple demonstrations have been held, the case will not be going to the grand jury. Instead, the prosecutor will be taking the case straight to trial. Zimmerman was arrested earlier this week and charged with second degree murder.
Martin’s family has made many public appearances always citing they only want what is fair for their son, which is justice.
Many people have come forward to show their support for the Martin and Zimmerman families.
“Hoodie mania” was all the rage on social media. The Facebook campaign, “I am Trayvon Martin,” sprung up in March. Several celebrities, athletes and even stay–at-home-moms tweeted and posted pictures of themselves wearing hoodies. The most noted picture came from the Miami Heat players. The team tweeted a picture March 23, 2012 of all the players wearing hoodies.
Zimmerman’s camp has stated that he has invoked his right to remain silent until the investigation is over.
Here we go again. Another black man gets shot because someone has a problem with his skin color and the fact that he differs from most people. Of course the police would say they don’t have a good case because they see what they want to see. We, as Americans, have the gall to claim that we have this great democracy, but yet we allow the innocent to go without justice. If the roles were reversed, the police would have thrown Martin so far under the jail that we would have needed a bulldozer to get him out. If you don’t believe me look at the statistics.
According to the justice department, 1 in 8 black males in their 20s is in prison or jail on any given day. Today, more African-American men are in jail than in college and it costs tax payers more to send them to jail than to a college to make something of their lives, because as we all know the hardest thing to be in America is a black man.
Also about 10.4 percent of the entire African-American male population in the United States, aged 25 to 29, is in prison, making them by far the largest racial or ethnic incarcerated group; compared to 2.4 percent of Hispanic men and 1.2 percent of white men in that same age group.
According to a study done by students at Princeton University, even one year’s cost at Princeton University which happens to be an Ivy League school is around $37,000 and a one year stint at a New Jersey state prison cost about $44,000. Now I’m no math genius, but that’s a $7,000 difference.
My issue with this story isn’t the fact that a black man was killed, but how the police have handled the situation. Their actions seem to stand behind the fact that if you are a black man walking at night wearing a hoodie, you are a danger to society.
As a black man, I know that people will stereotype me, along with other black males under the age of 30 who wear hoodies and sagging pants, basically urban clothes. We will always be classified as drug dealers, rappers, or dumb athletes whether we are in the corporate world or at blue collar job. However, it is our jobs to change that, but when a man is profiled, how do you expect him to act?
It’s not easy to shake a profile when that’s what people see making it “large”(making a lot of money) in life. Even the media is against a black man making it. When was the last time you saw a positive image of a black man who was not famous or a politician? I can tell you the answer to that: it’s usually never. As a whole, we have to come together and show more positive images of not only black men, but the black communities, so the tragedy of profiling can stop.
Zimmerman is responsible for taking another person’s life for no known reason. He took the life of a young man who had a future and should be punished for it regardless of the victim’s race. If we, as a nation, are going to claim equality, then its time for the court system to do its job and place Zimmerman in prison so Martin’s family can have some closure.