The recent outcry regarding the Trayvon Martin murder seemed to be yet another example of societal segmentation and division. But something happened. Something improbable and amazing. The world opened its eyes and looked.
At first, the Trayvon Martin killing seemed to be following the usual pattern. The suspicious death of a black boy followed by mainstream apathy and outrage in the African-American community. The details of the case were a bit off kilter from the norm, as the police in this instance were not the cause of the boy’s death. Rather, the perpetrator was an Hispanic man who sought to protect his neighborhood in Sanford, Florida, from crime who became overzealous resulting in a struggle and Trayvon’s death. George Zimmerman, the aforementioned “Hispanic man” was allowed to walk free by the Sanford PD under the auspices of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, a liberal gun law that provides immunity to individuals who kill in self-defense.
The details of the case are important insofar as their impact upon the black community and the resultant outcry are concerned. Immediate outrage and the mobilization of the “black grapevine”, always lightning fast and nation-wide – but these days augmented by social media in the form of Twitter, Facebook and cell phones – resulted in nation-wide awareness and discussion online and across the span of social interaction. This time, an innocent black boy was killed not by a cop but by a regular citizen, and then set free by the cops! Personal outrage was followed by political mobilization as the family, community and the Civil Rights icons swung into action, beginning yet another assault upon the media and the establishment in a call for justice for Travyon. Black media luminaries, actors, politicians, musicians and regular people began to speak out and the full-court press was on.
As a result, the case was placed in the hands of a Grand Jury. The local police stepped aside in the investigation. Flurries of activity at the state level led to increasing visibility and the involvement of higher officialdom to include the Governor’s office. The FBI became involved. As the case drew more and more attention at the national level, black politicians were kicked off the House floor and even the black president spoke of Trayvon being his son. Despite the hype, the trend still seemed to be toward the usual division of the national polity between black and white. And black people were prepared for that. Prepared for another assault upon black manhood, another victim of the sick, systemic and institutionalized American form of racism and another injustice in the form of a perpetrator, a murderer, walking free while a black family and community mourned.
But as black folks engaged in their peculiar form of revolt and assault upon systemic injustice by employing their usual tactics, something different happened. At first, it was only a trickle. Mainstream media reports of sympathetic polls showing that the majority of whites believed that an injustice had been done. Unbelievably, right-winged media luminaries and politicians speaking up for Trayvon. White people across the social networking sphere expressing sympathetic resonance to the plight of Trayvon and supporting calls for Zimmerman’s arrest. White movie stars and musicians tweeting and speaking about justice for Trayvon. World-wide media, individuals from countries all across the world, utilizing Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and other venues calling out, expressing their dismay and solidarity with the movement to obtain justice for Trayvon Martin from an apparently corrupt system.
What had begun as a “black” issue became a “global” issue. Indeed, it seems that the Trayvon Martin murder has become a referendum upon a corrupt and value-less system that has reached the point of saturation as far as the good will of the nation – and, apparently, the world – is concerned.
It has been well-known in all ethnic populations in America for quite some time that black people generally experience terrible treatment by law enforcement. This is undeniable and factually traceable through all periods of American history, stemming directly from our ancestral status as slaves in this country to the post-slavery creation of the national Prison System as a mechanism to re-institutionalize newly-freed blacks. This event led to the codification of the Black Codes to control their movement and criminalize them, which evolved into the succedent codification of Jim Crow in the South along with the less overt but simultaneous adaption of oppressive measures in the North. All of these attempts at control and repression led inexorably to the culminative flowering of the Civil Rights movement and its inevitable co-optation and the resetting of black aspirations to integrative rather than segregative ideological frameworks in line with the establishment’s genocidal game-plan for the black polity.
The societal positioning of blacks at the bottom of the social and economic ladder is an integral aspect of the nature of American society and has served as impetus for other groups arriving in the country to achieve and integrate into the corpus of the national polity. “Not being black” has been considered to be an automatic “badge of whiteness” for all incoming groups as evidenced by the general consensus that, although Zimmerman is self-identified as Hispanic, his appearance and name place him firmly under the auspices of “acceptable whiteness” in the eyes of the world. It is from this framework that most blacks perceived the Trayvon Martin murder as a “black thing”, something that we could only expect other blacks to understand; a fight that we would have to fight alone, as always. But it hasn’t turned out that way, this time.
It’s not my job to continue the trend toward separation that is actively fostered by certain elevated segments of society and others motivated by fear and anger. There are plenty of writers out there who already do that. It was not my plan to write about Trayvon. There are plenty of writers out there who have already done that. What I do consider it my job and plan to do is to seek to stoke the awareness and compassion of a global polity concerned at heart with the necessity and inevitability of unity. Of a global expression of Oneness that dashes the macabre plans of a dysfunctional political and economic elite that expresses it’s life-denying and world-killing imperatives by any and all available means, technological and social, it deems necessary.
Their command and control of the vast network of global media has left the world’s population relatively voiceless until recent years and the rise of personal technologies that have connected us all in a web of concern and awareness. The global resonance to the Trayvon Martin murder is indicative of this unstoppable trend toward unity as it is realized at a more and more fundamental level of consciousness that we all share more in common than we do apart.
The general elevation in awareness that has accompanied the global economic depression and the destruction of the Western middle economic classes has backfired upon the elite classes. By breaking the generational agreement with the white masses of the middle and under-classes of Europe and the Americas, they have opened the door to class solidarity and they are finding that the old calls of race and ethnicity do not echo as loudly as they have in previous years. The media-borne divide and conquer methodology that counts upon the fear of blacks and browns that has been so carefully inculcated across the generations has been somewhat diffused by the realization, primarily by young, school-aged whites, that the battle that blacks and browns have been fighting for generations is the battle that they are now a part of, against the same enemies.
It’s going to be harder than pointing to Trayvon’s encounters with school authorities and suspensions to turn the people against the boy and his people, to make them fear him as yet another black youth gone wrong who might have broken into their houses, stolen their jewelry, if given half a chance. It’s going to be harder to continue to obscure Zimmerman’s past dealings with the police and his lenient treatment. It’s going to be harder than waiting on the already-broken justice system to do its slow and remorseless job of perceptive ambiguation, creating confusion and disinterest, hoping that people will stop paying attention as they enact their diabolical plans to consolidate their control through throttling economic peonage and total world-wide warfare.
Fear of a Black Planet was Public Enemy’s seminal statement on American racism and the plight of the black underclass, released in 1990. It spoke to the perceptive understanding gleaned across generations of experience regarding the state of the Other within the dominating and all-encompassing framework of institutionalized racism. While the bones of that reality continue to stand in place, the structure seems to be experiencing discombobulatory effects in the form of growing consciousness on the part of populations the world across.
It seems that the brothas aren’t the only ones who ain’t gonna take it no more. We’re all gonna work it out the only way it can be worked out. Together.