Trayvon Martin’s death has been called a tragedy. It has been called a murder. It has been called justifiable homicide. His killer, George Zimmerman, has been called a murderer, a racist, and a vigilante.
The silence from white evangelicals has been deafening. The clamor from the african-american community has been building to a roar. Bloggers like Drew Hart are rightly asking, “Where are the protests from white religious leaders across the nation?”
There is even cross-talk from the LGBT community regarding the potential dangers for homeless LGBT teens who “may appear suspicious due to their homelessness, having been exiled as it were from house and home by their families.
So quickly, concerned individuals seek to make this about a cause; or about a color. The details of this confrontation that left a 17-year-old dead are swirling. The facts are being reported as gospel. The authorities are being second-guessed (and perhaps with good reason).
What happened? Any number of people will offer you their opinion as flat, unadulterated facts. I am not one of them. I do not know.
I have not called for the arrest of George Zimmerman. I didn’t call for the arrest of Trevor Dooley when a similar event occured in September of 2010.
Racism is wrong. Did it play a part in Trayvon’s death? I don’t know. I have my suspicions. [EDIT: The recently released 911 recordings may reveal that George Zimmerman used a racial slur to describe Trayvon Martin.] Did it play a part in Michael Whitt’s death? I have no idea.
Is it wrong to allow one human being to apply deadly force to another human being because the first person feels threatened? I think that the current law, as it has been reported by the media, needs to be reconsidered. Stand Your Ground is a variation on the Castle Doctrine, and one that needs immediate attention. That is a task for lawmakers in Florida, and one that demands immediate action.
Racism is a wrong that will not be righted until we decide to deal with each other as individual persons, human beings instead of white or black. And we, as a nation, perpetuate a myopic view of each other when we draw lines of race and lifestyle around the tragic and perhaps even wrongful death of one human being at the hands of another.
To say that a death is wrong is one thing. Obviously, Trayvon’s death was wrong. But was Zimmerman’s action criminal? Was it motivated by race? Again, I don’t know. We will see.
The sad part is that, at this point in our history, we don’t have a choice about our myopic attempts to address this. If Zimmerman’s motive was racial, then the lines must be drawn. To erase those lines, we must know where they exist. To reach a solution, we must continue to address the problem.
In the meantime, we cannot afford to be colorblind. Neither can we afford to draw conclusions without first answering questions.
- Zimmerman Attorney To Anderson Cooper: Trayvon Martin Broke My Client’s Nose (mediaite.com)
- Trayvon’s Killer Walking Free Because of The Colour of His Skin (socyberty.com)
- Justifiable Homicide: Modern Day Lynching by Nova Giovanni (mranalytical.wordpress.com)
- Geraldo Rivera finds real culprit in Trayvon Martin slaying was The hoodie . (gangsgoonsandgunz.rahrahrecords.com)
Author: Joey Reed
Joey is the pastor of Grace UMC in Jackson, Tennessee. He and his wife, Laurinda, have two children, Jack and Becca. There’s also a cat named George living at their house. Their idea of a great day usually involves Happy Hour — at a Sonic Drive-In.