Friday, March 23, 2012

Trayvon Martin and why black males distrust cops

Image from Black Snob.

Sean Bell. Oscar Grant. Trayvon Martin.

These names (and no doubt countless others that just don't become high profile cases) bear witness to the fact that when it comes to black males we are still regarded as the biggest threat to ever walk the face of the United States.

All three of these black males were killed under circumstances that were not just simply unjustified but plain old wrong. What really hurts is that the newest name on this list wasn't even a man yet. He was just a 17 year old kid who was still talking about what he wanted to be when he grew up. Now we will never see what kind of black man he would have grown into.

In the mind of George Zimmerman the fact that young Trayvon was planning to be an aviation mechanic meant nothing. The fact that he was just a kid minding his own business coming from the store meant nothing. The fact that he was getting some candy for his brother meant nothing. The fact that he was unarmed meant nothing. All that mattered to Zimmerman was the fact that Trayvon was a black male therefore by some strange sense of default "dangerous". That's all the justification he needed.

I've seen claims that Zimmerman's is Hispanic, not white. If that is the case that still doesn't account for the fact that its apparently been shown that a person can chase, confront, and gun down a black male and face no charges. Gunning down someone because they are black and male and being free of consequence is a display of racism/sexism no matter who pulled the trigger.

You remember those songs "Fuck the Police" by NWA and "Cop Killer" by Body Count? Yes they may endorse violence against cops but its not as if they are not justified in their distrust of police. The cops in this instance didn't do the shooting as they did in the murder of Bell but the way the police are "handling" this case shows nothing but disregard for a young black male's life.

This is an every day reality for a lot of black males in this country. The fear that someone can just up and kill (not to mention beat, harass, assault, and otherwise terrorize) us and the police will simply not care enough about us to even attempt to bring the killer to justice, especially when one of their own is the killer. And when I say black males bear in mind I'm not just talking about the adults either I'm talking about the young ones like Trayvon and even younger ones. There are parents of black males right now probably worrying if their son will suffer the same fate as Trayvon. And there are probably young black males that will see this as proof that they don't matter and add to the mounting distrust of police. And that distrust should not be a necessity for survival.

Its not right that police have left entire groups of people mistrusting them and disliking them. The police are supposed to be around to protect us from the criminals, not giving them free passes or being criminals themselves. The only people that should have a distrust of the cops are actual criminals. Its a shame that in the minds of people like Zimmerman and police force in that area "black male" is synonymous with criminal.

If you (assuming you aren't a black male) ever see a black male's fear response trigger at the sight of a cop this is why. If you ever hear of a black male talk about how he distrusts (or maybe even hates) the police this is why. If you know of a black male that doesn't want to deal with the cops (regardless of whether he's the perp or victim) this is why.

Until the police start showing that they give a damn about us this distrust will continue.