On Super Bowl Sunday, Roland Martin sent a series of tweets poking fun at a few athletes he saw wearing pink during the game. By the next morning, GLAAD had released a cavalcade of statements and press releases calling his actions deplorable and asking for his job.
Martin was suspended within the week.
A few years ago, Michael Vick was caught harboring a dog-fighting ring at his home. Thanks to pressure from PETA, his case was handled expeditiously and Vick was sent to jail.
Trayvon Martin, an African-American teen, was gunned down in cold blood while unarmed in a Florida neighborhood. The shooter, George Zimmerman has yet to see justice.
Who’s going to stand up for Trayvon?
“We can’t even get Touré fined or suspended for cracking ignorant jokes at Trayvon’s expense.”
The local authorities conducted an “investigation” and cited the “Stand Your Ground” Rule (the legislative equivalent of the “tuck rule”) as
enough evidence that Zimmerman did nothing wrong. And that’s it for now. Of course, the Feds are going to show up and probably bring Zimmerman to justice, but it shouldn’t have gotten to that point.
Trayvon Martin should have never been seen as suspect. He should have never been considered as threatening simply for being a Black male in a hoodie. But, in 2012, he was. And he was killed for it. And we as a community can’t do anything about it.
Sure, we can and will march around in hoodies. And every other Facebook status you see will be about Trayvon. But in the end, what will that do? Will it bring Zimmerman to justice? Will it stop more idiots from gunning down our kids whenever they feel like it? Honestly, it’s hard to imagine so.
The Civil Rights movement worked because they were disrupting local economic structures.
Organizations like GLAAD and PETA are able to affect change because they’ve established support and economic bases to really make offenders pay for any transgression. You better believe if I wrote a homophobic slur right here, GLAAD would have my job by the end of the day. Bill O’Reilly is free to say whatever he wants about minorities but when was the last time he said something offensive to the homos-xual community? He can’t because he knows which group carries economic and political clout. Hell, we can’t even get Touré fined or suspended for cracking ignorant jokes at Trayvon’s expense.
For the African-American community to affect that sort of change or elicit that sort of respect (or fear), we need to develop organizations that are going to punish economically those that we feel wrong us.
The Civil Rights movement didn’t work because the marches and boycotts shamed the White community. It worked because they were disrupting local economic structures. In 2012, that ability to react to injustice by attacking high-powered pocketbooks is lost on our community. Imagine how quickly the Florida state government would step in and reopen the investigation if a Black Power source were able to pull money away from senators or get people to boycott Florida as a vacation destination. The closest we’ve come to using influence and dollars to make a change like this came in 1993 when the NFL refused to take the Super Bowl to Arizona unless they began celebrating Martin Luther King Day.
This is the part where I’m supposed to lambaste or appeal to rappers and athletes to put their money to good use or make some sort of song that will bring Treyvon back to life. But honestly, I’m past the point of believing rappers or athletes will look beyond themselves to change the way things are. Jay-Z’s one of the richest men in America and he’s only used his influence to get us to stop drinking Cristal, so I’m not going to hold my breath for him to use his money to lobby. And I’m not going to kid myself into thinking a song from Hova, or any hyper-influential artist, about the situation will open any eyes or ears.
So it’s up to us. And no, I’m not sure how we’re going to pull it off. But the African-American community needs to establish some entity that can put up lobby money and economically cripple organizations that perpetuate violence and inequality.
It’s impossible to know what Zimmerman was thinking during those fateful last minutes of Trayvon Martin’s life. But if he knew that justice would await him if he pulled the trigger, maybe he would have stopped. If the local authorities knew that they’d lose funding, then they would have seen what Zimmerman did for what it was: illegal and unjust. Maybe if senators and representatives saw fading campaign contributions then they’d push for a more thorough investigation and call for justice. And maybe we can pull together the resources needed so we won’t have to light candles the next time a young Black man or woman wants to buy a midnight snack.
Photo: Trayvon Martin