The Existential Guilt of Trayvon Martin

Many of us are still in mourning over the cold-blooded murder of  17-year-old Trayvon Martin whose “crime” was his mere existence. I am all too familiar with America’s deeply racist & violent history towards people of color. From the moment African slaves set their traumatized souls on to the blood-stained soil of a stolen land to the burning down of entire towns by mobs of white people  to the night raids & lynchings of innocent black people up to the present moment of police brutality & unfair, draconian sentencing laws, black people in America –particularly those in the inner city – have been under siege & under constant threat of annihilation.  The tragic killing of Trayvon Martin is but a continuation of a poisoned mindset of a wayward nation. It reminds me somewhat of the brutal murder of a young Emmit Till  whose life came to a horrific close because of the wrongful accusation of flirting with a white woman which threatened white male dominance in the South. Trayvon, like Emmitt, was young & visiting from out of town when he met his end at the hands of a malevolent, hate-filled animal. Trayvon was accused of….nothing…nothing!. And here is the kicker: the police at the scene “corrected” an eyewitness by telling her it was the murderer who cried for help and not Trayvon (three  additional witnesses said they heard a boy cry for help before shots were fired). Although the police have historically harassed or brutalized black communities across the land – saving their most poisonous venom for the mythic bogeyman of the collective American psyche , the “young, black male predator”- it still strikes a raw nerve when I read about the continuing injustices toward America’s darker citizens  who still remain trapped in the prisons of superstitions and suppositions, paranoia and guilt, fear & historical amnesia.

Trayvon Martin – possessing  nothing but a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea– is dead. This is the face of America underneath the hype & hyperbole of freedom & justice for all. Trayvon is about the same age as my son, so his loss impacts me in a personal way – he could have been my son, your son, anyone’s precious son. In the meantime, his murderer is still a “free” man. It would be nothing less than sinful for that bastard Zimmerman to go unpunished, & if the courts can’t mete out a severe punishment for his actions, the streets/divine justice most certainly will.

Rest in peace, our good brother.



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