In yet another case that continues to defy logic, surprise and anger the global community, a 17-year-old boy, Trayvon Martin, was killed last month in Florida, U.S.A when a neighborhood watch leader with an unregistered weapon shot the teenager to death after deeming him ‘suspicious looking.’ The young African-American boy, it was later found, was simply cutting through a gated community to make his way home.
This killing which is now mired in controversy continues to garner widespread media attention. The perpetrator, George Zimmerman is yet to be arrested and continues to enjoy his freedom. He claims that the shooting was in an act of self-defense. This is clearly another case where adrenalin and testosterone of a pseudo-cop overshadows all forms of logic and reason.
As the evidence continues to trickle in, one thing remains certain. Trayvon was killed for being black and ‘suspicious looking.’ Law enforcement officers, have clearly failed to investigate the case properly. I wonder if their reaction would be different if the boy killed had been Caucasian.
We all know that U.S big wigs claim this is America’s post-race era. Yet race plays such a significant role in the cases reported each successive year. Imagine the number of cases that go unsolved or worse still- unreported. In a country like the U.S that has such intense racial biases and lax laws on the acquisition of arms and weapons, is anyone really safe?
My heart goes out to Trayvon’s family. I cannot begin to fathom the sense of loss or deep-rooted pain they must be experiencing. For them, it’s not about race or about controversial politics. They’ve lost their son. For that alone they deserve justice. They deserve closure. They need to heal.
Through the darkness and negativity that surrounds this entire case, it is my hope that a light will shine through on issues that people are so uncomfortable discussing: race, stereotyping, violence and prejudices.
We claim our world has changed, we claim to be citizens of a global community, Dr King’s famous words still reverberate in our minds, and we were all overwhelmed when Barack Obama became president. But in moments like these, our faith is shaken. Have we really changed?