I’m tired of this popular stream of argument spreading amongst detractors of the Trayvon Martin rallies. “…Why is there so much selective outrage on the part of so many?” asked William Bennet in his latest CNN coverage. He’s part of a growing group of people who have the reasons for our outrage confused. The protests around the killing of Trayvon Martin are NOT selective outrage. Yes, black men are murdered daily, but rarely do police departments let the known murderer walk free. That’s what we are protesting. We know the who, what and the when about Trayvon’s murder. We just want 12 of Zimmerman’s peers to find out why. It’s amazing that the “Neighborhood Watch Captain” claims “Stand Your Ground”, when he neither “watched” or “stood his ground”. Even Jeb Bush, the signer of the “Stand Your Ground” law, says that Zimmerman’s scenario doesn’t fall under that law.
The other lame diversionary tactic is that “the protest needs to stop until due process happens”. If there weren’t protest due process wouldn’t have happened! This murder of an innocent young man was, almost successfully, swept under the rug. It was swept so casually that it raises suspicion on what other dirt the Sanford Police has hiding under the rug of all their investigations. Why would they risk the reputation of their department George Zimmerman? He wasn’t even one of their own, a police officer.
Deniers of modern American racism try to draw false equivalencies and have successful distracted their viewers and readers from the real issues we are trying to address in these calls for the arrest of George Zimmerman and a full investigation of the Sanford Police Department. These false comparisons caused Bernie Goldberg to write “…this explains why there are no rallies and no national outcry over Delric Waymon Miller IV. If you just said, ‘Who?’ you are not alone. It’s a safe bet that not one in a million Americans has the vaguest clue as to who Delric Waymon Miller IV is.” Evidently Delric Waymon Miller IV is a 9 month old who was strategically shot as collateral damage from a drive by. A truly horrific story and crime that there currently are no suspects for. No one is protesting this story because there is no one to protest! You organize protests to bring attention to government injustice. If we knew who killed this infant, yet know that the local police refuse to arrest him, we’d be protesting with baby bottles in the streets the same way we are doing so for Trayvon’s case.
Juan Williams wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “Where is the march against the drug dealers who prey on young black people? Where is the march against bad schools, with their 50% dropout rate for black teenaged boys? Those failed schools are certainly guilty of creating the shameful 40% unemployment rate for black teens.” Sigh. I have to remind myself that I can’t expect everyone to know my resume. To know that I keep a stack of flexible pens so my students in the Montgomery County Jail don’t stab each other in class. As a youth worker, who has lost children on both sides of this scenario (as both the victim and perpetrator of murder) I’m sensitive to this issue as well. There is no “MLK at the Capitol giving a speech” moment for this. To combat the violence that our children are dealing with is a long grueling and personal process. One that I am very familiar with.
In all honesty, the people I saw championing the cause of justice for Trayvon Martin’s family (before it became national news) were people who are already address these issues Juan Williams brings up. Whether its Salim Adofo organizing “Feed the Hood” in Washington DC, or Matt Prestbury organizing “Black Father’s Rock” in Baltimore (neither of which will ever get any of these social pundits attention) black people have been working to make our communities better before and after Trayvon. I’m not going to apologize because you don’t notice.
But I will continue to be outraged. To do my small little part by screaming from behind my computer for justice in this case. I spend the rest of the time building up the lives of young people who literally look like Trayvon. I do that in person, daily, and don’t get my outrage over the violence they face in the streets confused with the way their humanity was violated by George Zimmerman and the Sanford Police Department.