Spring has blossomed. And in step with its arrival has come many beautiful things- weddings, pastels, and beautiful print skirts filled with bare, shaven legs for all to adore. But there are a few sightings that are not so cheery. Insert our community’s latest concern. “Our,” of course refers to the African American community. The concern? A peacefully-handled (thus far) but troubling occurrence. At this point in time, it pretty much goes without saying that we have all heard about the tragedy of Trayvon Martin, no matter your race, or your level of knowledge of the situation. And at this point, we all are feeling a certain way. Some anger, others shame, and still, others may feel injustice is churning out its finest work – on both ends.
However, I have been following this occurrence. And those steps go from emotional radio broadcast to T.V. newscasts to inner-city “hoodie” movements across many cities and states- including my very own, Chicago, Illinois- and then follow-up news articles about released 911 recordings, a girlfriend eyewitness, and a police chief’s decision to step aside. I would be lying to say I have not formed my own opinion. An opinion that has summed up George Zimmerman’s initial call to 911 as an escape route and cover for his intentional harm to Martin. But that is beside the point, and more so speculation. Opinion is not fact, and in the system of justice, fact is what matters. So there is where I will dwell.
It is fact, (proven by phone records) that the late Trayvon Martin was speaking with his girlfriend moments before the “confrontation” and ultimately, his death. According to reports, the young woman had sense enough to give Martin the advice to run from, what she considered to be, danger- based on Martin’s detailed behavior of Zimmerman. And I wish, for the life of me, that he had listened. I can not say that the situation would have turned out differently, if he had ran from his stalker. But there is a possibility, that if he had run home, to his father’s house, that the outcome would not have been as confusing and dire. DO NOT get me wrong, there is no justification in what happened to this young man, and he felt he was doing what was right for him- at the time. I, me personally, just wish he had done something different. However, I understand. As a sibling of five brothers, I KNOW!
Do not misunderstand and assume that I am saying Martin did something wrong, because by no means am I. As a member of the African American community, I know the stereotypes. I know the generalizations and downfalls so many other races accredit to ours. But had he ran, as suggested, and subsequently was fired upon, the case would be slightly more swaying because the wound entry would be in the back of a fleeing victim instead of his chest, as a head-on confrontation insinuates.
But as I stated, I know. By that I mean, I know the male machismo, especially in our younger African American culture. I know the difficulty in trying to convince a loved one what you KNOW is the right thing and/or process for them to do or take, and how hard it can be to have them receive that message. I can not tell you how many times I have told my fiance’ to take a certain route in business, which he conveniently avoids until he hears the exact. same. thing. from another male (and what’s worse is that I am obtaining a Master’s in Business!), and then decides it is the best decision.
This type of disregard is frustrating at times, and other times I revel in being able to sit back and laugh until he gets it. The point is, so many of African American relationships are in jeopardy or are currently suffering on behalf of the male because they believe the woman refuses to submit, and/or the man feels that the woman is not submissive enough. And I will not discredit that likelihood of truth, but women are of men (for the religious), and we learn from the best examples (for the secular). Maybe we can come to an agreement. You listen, we submit…because, who knows, it just may be a matter of life or death.