I watch him go down from the one-two punch of a Taser and several gunshots to the body. I don't know why they followed up a successful non-lethal takedown with lethal force, but I'm not a police officer. If you were to take every single piece of shaky cam and mobile phone footage showing police officers killing unarmed or complying Black people and splice them together, you'd have a horror movie. Or a snuff film. When it's time for me to die on camera, how will it look? Who will film me? What small physical imperfection, what inadvertent stumble will be the reason I'm murdered on a jittery impulse?
All I could see was my dad attempting to move past the first officer and that officer not moving, continuing to block the door way and then preceding to hold back my father. I screamed, "Daddy, just wait! Just wait! Don't move any further." I was reminded me of the rash, fatal shooting and tasering of Sammy Yatim and feared that my father could too have suffered a similar fate
At the AMAs, rapper Macklemore spent much of his precious acceptance speech time discussing the injustice behind the Trayvon Martin verdict. Here's a radical idea: if Macklemore is so disgusted by the Trayvon Martin ruling, he should be the one to lead Stevie Wonder's list of artists boycotting Florida until the Stand Your Ground Law is repealed.
Are race relations in Canada so much further advanced than in the US that the Trayvon Martin tragedy would never happen here? I'm not so sure. As troubling as it is to face, the Canadian version of the Zimmerman-Martin horror would actually look something like the following scenario: Zimmerman is a South-Asian or Asian male. Trayvon is an Indigenous teen girl who was simply walking to her home in one of Canada's upper-middle-class suburban neighbourhoods. She is brutalized and dumped on the side of the road afterwards. And the Canadian public doesn't bat an eye.
When President Obama commented for the second time on the George Zimmerman verdict, he crossed the line. By politicizing the legal procedures, in an apparent effort to potentially obtain a different result, the President runs the risk of perverting America's objective and impartial legal and judicial system.
I have to take issue with Rachel Décoste's recent blog, "Racism is Front Page News at the Ottawa Sun," because she unfairly labels the Ottawa Sun's handling of Trayvon Martin's death as racist. In doing so, she trivializes the real issue of racism in our society, and undermines the very cause that she is advocating. There is no evidence that the Ottawa Sun acted in a racist manner and prejudicial manner. And there is no evidence that as a result of such treatment of the Martin matter, the Ottawa Sun is perpetuating inequality in our Canadian society.
We can move past this. It starts with feeling. Feeling what it's like to be Trayvon Martin, who is walking around with a target on his back and acting accordingly by lashing out. Feeling what it's like to be George Zimmerman who felt that he was doing his part by protecting his neighbourhood. We've got to get into the ugly shit and hear each other out.
I got home and found out about George Zimmerman's acquittal. I watched white people make this about them, and then I watched them slowly but surely provide themselves with the tools to forget that this had ever happened. And I watched black people wonder if their kid was next. When people of colour raise their voice, I'm going to do my best to make sure that they get a megaphone, and then I'm going to hightail it to the back of the room and listen.
Although I am convinced that the death of Trayvon Martin was not because of his race, and that the jury reached a correct verdict in declaring George Zimmerman "not guilty," I also feel the people raising the issue of "black on black" crime (and saying it is ignored in a way that white on black crime isn't) are being disingenuous. The fact is, "black on black" crime is no more common than "white on white" crime or "Chinese on Chinese" crime. Most murders are intraracial. If Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton annoy me with their contrived despair, so do conservatives like Newt Gingrich with their "What about black on black crime" line.
Canadians gloss over our bloody history in order to pretend that we're better than the rest of the world, that racism isn't an issue here. It's only not an issue if you're not a person of colour. It's only not an issue if you've never had to watch your children grow up and battle their own skin colour in order to live. It's only not an issue if you're not someone like Trayvon Martin, walking in a neighbourhood where he looked suspicious because he was black.
Trayvon Martin's parents were savvy enough to understand and then challenge their murdered son's standing in the "court of public opinion." The carefully-chosen photos of a fresh-faced Trayvon Martin told an alternate narrative. The pictures of Trayvon on horseback, on a ski hill, and with his doting father humanized the "hoodlum."
''A teenager is dead. He is dead through no fault of his own. He is dead because another man made assumptions... and unfortunately, because his assumptions were wrong, Trayvon Benjamin Martin no longer walks on this earth.'' This simple statement is the state's most compelling argument for a manslaughter conviction. An innocent teenager died and Zimmerman was his killer as the result of his flawed perceptions and negligent conduct.