In an op-ed for Clutch Magazine, Newsone Contributing Editor, Kirsten West Savali, discusses the meme that has emerged in the wake of the vigilante-style execution of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, which pits factions of the Black community against each other over the relevance and appropriateness of shifting the conversation away from Trayvon’s murder in favor of discussing “Black-on-Black” crime.
Many African-Americans are expressing outrage at the level of support and exposure that Trayvon’s murder is receiving as crime in Black communities goes ignored by mainstream media.
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In this sharp commentary, Kirsten expresses her disappointment at the rationale of some people who feel that the murder of an unarmed child by an over-zealous “neighborhood watch captain” some how does not deserve the level of concern, fear and anger that it has generated across the country:
In the wake of Trayvon Martin’s horrific murder, there has been a palpable outrage similar to the electric emotions that were generated by the state-sanctioned slaying of Troy Davis.
Though the two cases are polar opposites in certain aspects, one commonality weaves through both narratives that illuminate the underlying racist structure of this country. By the very virtue of their differences and the vast disparities in the situations, what becomes resoundingly clear is that it doesn’t matter if they’re criminals; it doesn’t matter if they’re young or old, carrying a gun or carrying a pack of Skittles.
Our boys and men are guilty on sight because they are Black.
Unfortunately, as the Sanford Police Department, spearheaded by Chief Bill Lee, continues to make excuses for murderer George Zimmerman, the chorus has taken an ugly turn that needs to be addressed.
Why are self-righteous Black folks using this opportunity to shift the blame to the issues plaguing the African-American community?
For every post of support for Trayvon, there are two that read:
“Well, I’m tired of us killing each other!”
“I don’t know why y’all worried about what the white man is doing, you need to be worrying about what’s going on every day in the hood!”
And I completely agree, but the problem with that train of thought is simple: Shifting blame to crimes that have been committed brother against brother, sister against sister, in a time when we need to come together to foster a sense of solidarity is counter-productive and broadcasts the disconnect that fractures our community to the world. It screams that we don’t care about racism; we don’t care about gun toting white bastards with superiority complexes menacing young Black boys and girls. Shifting the blame away from the racism and focusing the microscope squarely on the evil that is perpetuated in our own communities does nothing but allow racist, violent criminals like George Zimmerman to get away with murder – literally – and allows the Sanford Police Department to be accessory to murder after the fact with no discernible consequences.
Yes, we need to stop killing our own; we needed to stop killing our own long before Trayvon’s death and will need to stop killing our own long after. Where was the outcry, the mobilization efforts to curtail violence in urban slums across the United States the day before Trayvon was murdered?