It’s been 10 years since Trayvon Martin was gunned down by a gun toting white man whose defense was “Stand your ground.”
Nothing much has changed. Cops and entitled white people continue to gun down black people with impunity. It’s true there is the occasional exception to the rule when the evidence is clear and public outrage is so strident that the killers face the consequences for their horrific acts.
It was all very trendy for white people to march and flount their Black Lives Matter bling and regalia. That was two years ago. The wanton abuse of Black people in America continues unabated.
June 2020 – Marching on JFK Drive in San Francisco after George Floyd murder by a cop.
It’s the exception in America where cops and racism rule.
Excerpted from New York Magazine The Cut – Brittney Cooper 1.31.2022
In 1892, at the height of the lynching crisis, Ida B. Wells proclaimed that “a Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give.
When the white man who is always the aggressor knows he runs as great a risk of biting the dust every time his Afro-American victim does, he will have greater respect for Afro-American life.”
The critical point for me in Wells’s manifesto for Black self-defense is not her overarching respect for the power of guns.
It is her observation about where the aggression begins. Losing that thread of the argument, about who actually starts the fights, is the reason so much white aggression is seamlessly restyled as the right to “stand one’s ground,” to protect and defend one’s kith and kin. Conversely,
Black self-defense is transposed into an act of unjustified aggression and met with fire and fury by both the state and self-deputized white citizens.
There is an earnestness to Black Lives Matter. A kind of barefaced removing of the gloves and the pugilism.
Perhaps this is an homage to Trayvon Martin, who in his last moments was meandering through his father’s girlfriend’s neighborhood, chatting on the phone with his friend Rachel, unconcerned, as all young people should have the freedom to be, with the monster lurking in the bushes.
To this earnestness, the aggressors, who still are almost always white, have responded with cynicism, obfuscation, and gun sales. George Zimmerman added to the chorus by successfully auctioning for $250,000 the gun he had used to kill Martin.
Top photo – Activist Ieshia Evans in July 2016, in Louisiana. Photo: Jonathan Bachman/REUTERS