Saturday, March 31, 2012

We are Trayvon's Watchdog


What if we're wrong...what if we're right?

We are Trayon’s watchdog.  Trayvon is us. Tryvon is my dark skinned daughter who many believe to be ignorant, unrefined, “ghetto,” as if they know the ghetto, and belligerent because of the color of her skin before she speaks or acts, sans hoodie and even many times afterward despite the contrary evidence. Trayvon is every middle-classed Black person discounted as naturally knowledgeable (I worked for my degree and any knowledge I may have amassed like you worked for yours, don’t get it twisted) and exotic by many liberal white folk who sadly truly believe they are color-blind though the be far from it.  These are the ignorant that demand our attention. Trayvon is every Black person ostracized and put in a box by her or his “own” Black folk for being too White, too educated, too articulate, this is the ghetto mind as opposed to saggin and gangsta rap.  God forbid Black folk should like European classical music and art, Carly Simon, even Tracy Chapman or Frank Sinatra, eat Beef Wellington and know what the heck Vichyssoise is.  (Did I spell that correctly?) What is Black anyhow?  Trayvon  is me.  And if you are not dark skinned know that by extension Trayvon is even you, you better recognize… It’s almost too late.

Men in Black
The unavoidable context of this case 
 is why it is so huge. Until we are able to put race behind us as a nation we will never be able to exact justice for all; that goes for gender identification, gender preference and a host of other death receiving societal brunts of injustices.
I read Mano Singham's post concerning the Trayvon Martin case and there is good advice in it. .  I think also Dr. Singham, even though dark skinned, speaks as one who does not realize what is at stake, as one who, perhaps as Skip Gates once felt, feels insulated from injustice and microcosmic prejudice in an American justice system.   Read his wellthought out blog here

 In diversity training I rely on Daniel Kahneman's research, who Dr. Singham mentions, to explain the necessity of prejudice, the unavoidability of it and how to overcome it, which harkens to what is called system one and system two in his post.

 We cannot remain silent until all the facts are in.  
All the facts have to be wrenched from the grasps of certain gatekeepers with no light assertion of force through public outcry.
Concerning not jumping to conclusions because all the facts aren’t out, it has been a month, many of us noted this and put it on the back burner until now.  The facts are still not out and in fact I believe the family had to sue under the public info act to get the 911 calls release by law enforcement officials.

ADHD and the Media
Dr. Singham mentioned the short media attention in America that is so true, mentioning the Kony endeavor as the most recent.  Personally I'm trying not to let it and other things in the media, die to media ADHD, which is greatly due to our, the public’s short attention span.
Because media memory is so short this particular event, Trayvon's death cannot wait for all the facts given the legal system injustices and its propensity for surreptitiously hiding the facts, which are commonplace to say the least. 

Justice-  "You go down there looking for justice; that's what you find: just us."- Richard Pryor
It is a truism that had the color/race been reversed a Black Mr. Zimmerman would have been handcuffed and taken to jail even if there was less a preponderance of evidence than currently exists, and not released just because he said he was defending himself.  A Black Mr. Zimmerman would have undoubtedly been searched on the spot, tested for alcohol, taken and tested for drugs, detained for further questioning and so on.  This is at the crux of the public outcry more so than if Trayvon was profiled and unjustly killed. 
A point is that he is profiled and unjustly accused hundreds of times a day, everyday without recourse because of the color of his skin.  Many know the arrest and release stats and the "who is in prison stats,' better than I.  Fifty years of research has come to no other conclusion than skin color to explain the gross disparities and inequalities in the legal system where people of color are concerned.

In the rape case of the "Central Park Jogger," that Dr. Singham notes, Trisha Mieli was raped in 1989 but "all the facts" didn't come out until 2002 when the real culprit, a White looking, curly haired Hispanic and serial rapist, Matias Reyes confessed to the crime and his DNA corroborated his testimony. 

Perhaps had that incident and consequent railroading of five Black youths, garnered as much attention as Trayvon Martin’s murder those innocent, young, Black boys, who spent the majority of their youth wrongfully accused in jail would not have been incarcerated. Thirteen years is a long time to be incarcerated awaiting the facts especially when you are fifteen.  If one reads the case, one will see that all the facts did not come out because, as so, so often is the case the police were not looking for the facts once they had identified the 'usual suspects.' 

In the Trayvon Martin case, I think many people are coming from a point of view that the legal system and law enforcement officials have proved ad nauseum that they are not worthy of the public's trust and confidence to serve justice and many would rather err on the side of being loud, vocal and wrong than to let the system, "do what it do one  mo’ ‘gin,” which to many of us is nothing less than emasculation, decimation and genocide of dark skinned people, especially its men.  It seems thus far Florida law enforcement officials are living up to this very low standard.  

If you say the lie long enough it becomes the truth
We are now being asked to believe that a man with a gun in his hand was accosted by a boy and then screamed out, “help help me!” (there is absolutely no credible reason, beyond a supposed insanity of Mr. Zimmerman to believe he would carry a gun, follow someone, put himself in danger, and not have his gun drawn.)  It is no surprise many are screaming, “Emmitt Till” all over again.

A comparison of the statements in the Central Park Jogger case reveals troubling discrepancies. ... The accounts given by the five defendants differed from one another on the specific details of virtually every major aspect of the crime — who initiated the attack, who knocked the victim down, who undressed her, who struck her, who held her, who raped her, what weapons were used in the course of the assault, and when in the sequence of events the attack took place. ... In many other respects the defendants' statements were not corroborated by, consistent with, or explanatory of objective, independent evidence. And some of what they said was simply contrary to established fact.
If this were the exception not the rule the Trayvon injustice would be garnering far less attention, however it is not.