The Florida teenager who was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer last month, has been honored in many cities throughout this great country. 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot in his neighborhood after shopping, while wearing a hoodie.
The shooter, George Zimmerman, claimed he was acting in self-defense when he shot the teen and has so far not been charged by Sanford Florida police. The US Justice Department and the FBI are now investigating this case.
Our nation has been gripped with the murder of Trayvon Martin. Everyone from President Obama to Children’s Defense Fund officers to Muhammad Ali have weighed in and commented on this case, symbolizing their stance against the stereotype-driven suspicion that haunts minorities.
Despite all of this attention, some cannot understand the obsession with the murder of Trayvon Martin. Most of the details that have emerged in the media—recorded 911 calls, witness testimonies, potential police misconduct, and racial slurs paint Trayvon’s murder as a racially motivated crime carried out in the context of an institutional racism that sanctions violence.
But aside from the specifics of this case and the analyses which have emerged there remains one reason above all others why this case has struck such a chord with communities of color.
While there have been numerous articles about the legal, political, and sociological aspects of this case, very little has been said about the emotional dimensions at the heart of all this huge outpouring of support. What is behind the outrage? What is it about this particular case that triggered such a strong response from so many people?
Is there still racism today? Undoubtedly. There are elements of racism in every culture on this planet. First of all, it’s fitting to celebrate what we have achieved here in America. To be honest, the fact that we have an African American President is an amazing testimony to the lack of racism in our culture. These are amazing strides we’ve all taken, but much more needs to occur all over the world before all humans can enjoy the end of racism.