Trayvon’s death is an important tipping point, the whistle of a kettle boiling over. Folks march in search of an end, on a hunt for the place where a black child can be safe. The legacy of the legal victories of civil rights is ingrained in the generations downstream, and that pride flows into demands of resistance to institutional racism, particularly in our justice system. Our fear of that same system places a very real barrier to controlling the rampant violence amongst our own.
To suggest there is no winner in a case in which a killer is free to hit up Waffle House this morning is a bitter bitch slap to the losers; those who starve for justice in a system fed by fear. In a world that’s legal system perpetuates panic at the mere sight of a scared, hooded black boy, what was Trayvon supposed to do? How was he, unarmed, supposed to stand his ground after being stalked and followed by a “creepy ass” strapped “cracker”?
If you’ve spent any time around a teen boy you come to predict their behavior. They are by nature curious, anxious, testing their boundaries, resisting control, asserting their independence. In constant fear of doing the thing that will expose the child that still lingers beyond the faint hint of a mustache. So imagine the fear of a young man who knows he is being watched, tested, hunted. You can’t imagine, unless you are a black man, the layers of complication added by the color of his skin. So yeah, in a display of the full range of human emotions afforded to whites and often denied blacks (lest they be branded “angry” or “militant”), people are on edge. Black and white. And they are being watched and tested.
Trayvon Martin is dead because George Zimmerman saw him and was terrified. Today, thousands continue to march, out of fear for their children. Beneath the debate and emotion and anger and media opportunism and defeat and celebration, a child remains buried.