The death of Trayvon Martin and the recent acquittal of his killer, has stirred deep racial emotions. After reading some of the headlines, and comments written by “readers” in response to news stories and videos uploaded on Youtube, I realised that “when an individual is compelled by circumstances to repress important segments of their history they have reflex-like reactions to certain situations.”
When are we going to realise that there is a difference between a race-hate crime and one committed because of religious and political persuasions?
When are we going to realise that there are differences between the crimes committed by the powerless and the crimes of oppression, victimization and subjugation of the powerful against the powerless.
When are we going to realise that so called Black-on-Black crimes are committed because that is what poverty and the inability to self-actualize by being self-sufficient and self-sustaining breeds. Poverty does not breed unconditional love and well-being or the idea of transcending oneself. Poverty breeds bitter fruits. It breeds anger, animosity, envy, malice, hatred and violence.
When are we going to realise that language is used against us? Therefore, when we hear of so-called Black-on-Black crime but not of whyte-on-whyte crime or Asian-on-Asian crime, what effect does that have on us as a people? Does whyte crimes or Asian crimes not exist? They sure do! It is because Black-on-Black crime as a label criminalizes the whole Black community. Therefore, any Black person, (specifically Black males) are criminals and when you criminalise someone it means you can then treat them as a criminal. Hence, Trayvon could be followed and murdered for walking in a neighbour, in which he had all rights to be in, after buying a packet of Skittles.
Now, am I the only one that dislike some of the headlines and questions around Trayvon Martins murder? For example:
“Trayvon Martin’s Crime. He existed while Being Black?”
“Was Trayvon Martin killed because he was Black?”
“Trayvon Martin, it seems, made the fatal mistake of being born black?
Headlines like these convey the message that being Black is a crime, a mistake and a problem!
These headlines are types of emotional violence that are perpetrated on the reader, conveying the same subconscious message we receive when we hear the racist label, Black-on-Black crime. Lets look at the first statement. First of all Trayvon has committed a crime (Trayvon Martin’s crime). If you have committed a crime then it follows that you must be a criminal! Now what is Trayvon Martin’s crime? He is Black. Therefore being Black is a crime. If you are Black you are then a criminal. How do you treat criminals?
Why is it not asked instead:
“Trayvon Martin’s murder? Because Racism exists?”
“Was Trayvon Martin killed because Zimmerman is racist or because of racism?”
The problem needs to be place squarely where it belongs. RACISM KILLS.
Racism kills hearts, minds, bodies and spirits. It kills emotionally, mentally, psychologically, financially and physically. It kills the history of a people. It creates wretchedness. It creates poverty. It creates social problems and economic disenfranchisement. It creates stress.
As the poem goes:
“Did you ever wonder why so many sisters look so angry?
Why we walk like we’ve got bricks in our bags and will slash and curse you at the drop of a hat?
It’s because stress is hemmed into our dresses, pressed into our hair and painted on our fingers.
Stress from the deferred dreams, the dreams not voiced.
Stress from the broken pormises, the blatant lies.
Stress from always being at the bottom, from never being thought beautiful
from always being taken advantage of.
Stress from being a Black woman in white America.
Much of this stress is caused by how the world outside us relates to us.
But we can assert agency in our own ways so that the outside world
cannot over-determine our responses, cannot make our lives a dumping ground for stress.”
How long will they kill our prophets (and our children), while we stand aside and look!!! As Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother points out: “Today it was my son. Tomorrow it may be yours… I can’t think of anything more valuable than our children.” In the wake of this acquittal they would like for us to riot, so they can criminalize us further and send more of us to prison. This is part of the machinery of whyte domination (supremacy), to create conditions of inequalities and injustices for the people to react, so they can lock us up in cages and profit from it. The prison industry is a billion dollar industry. However, as the poem states, we can assert agency in our own way. Rioting or protesting is not the way to assert agency. Boycotting and/or petitioning are the ways for the Black community to assert agency. History has shown us that boycotting and petitioning are the only avenues that have led to dramatic and drastic changes for Black people.
One billion Black people worldwide still live on the plantations/concentration camps. There is a global system of colonialism and enslavement. Whether we live in the Caribbean, the USA, Africa, Australia, Canada, the Pacific Islands, Europe, Asia, South America, we are all experiencing the same wretchedness. The system of devaluing Black lives is global whether we live in countries whereby we are the majority or not. No doubt there are individuals doing well economically. However, if these individuals lost their income overnight, would it make a difference to us? Are our lives collectively any better because we have a few millionaires/billionaires, and a few CEO of major corporations/organisations among us? Sure they have made a difference to some individuals but the status quote remains the same. The majority of us still live at the bottom of the pyramid that our Ancestors built.
Amos Wilson made it clear: “Ultimately…we can only protect our rights and interests as people, not through laws written by other people and laws enforced by other people, but through the power to prevent other people from having their way with us. The emphasis then should be on the development of true power: military, economic and otherwise. This is our ultimate salvation.”