TRAYVON MARTIN - THE EMMITT TILL OF 2012 By Hermene Hartman, Today’s Transmedia Woman
The murder of Trayvon Martin who was fatally shot in Sanford Florida by a
keystone cop type is the Emmett Till case of 2012. A teen Black male is in
danger on American streets, in his neighborhood, in the suburbs and on urban
streets. A young Black Male Walking (BMW) should be very careful. His
mere walking is a danger sign. Walking in jeans and sweats and a hoodie
could be a death sentence. The reason – because you are Black and only
because you are Black.
America has a problem – the perception of the Black Male. Even with a
Black male occupying The White House, the fear factor and the disrespect
looms. The President of the Untied States said, if I had a son, he might
look like Trayvon Martin. The resemblance is clearly there - clean cut,
bright shinning face. He could have also said, maybe if I weren¹t in the
White House, I too would be under the same threat, minus secret service. Or
he could have also said, when I was his age, it could have been me.
A Washington Post reporter said we are living in a post racial society. The
comment was stimulated, I am sure, because President Barrack Obama is in
office and some might think race issues have vanished. Wrong and we knew
it was wrong when she said it. Try walking the streets as a young black man
and you find out quickly the state of American racism. The police are
afraid of the children. The children are afraid of the police. Both are
quick on the draw.
Trayvon was walking in his housing complex in Florida. He was walking in a
gated guarded community. He went to the store. He had candy in one hand
and tea in the other. He was talking on his cell phone. He had on the
clothes of youth, a hoodie that is a sweatshirt with a hood. Did it cost
him his life? Front-page story in the Chicago Tribune is ³What black
parents are telling their sons² as they navigate from teenage to adult hood
as they travel the streets in normal life. This is a Black problem, it is
not a class problem or an education problem, it is a defined race problem.
It is a problem that whites may not understand, however, it is real. It
is not new that Black parents provide their sons social instructions on a
special code of conduct for Black men. The Black men of the south,
yesteryear were told to get off the sidewalk if approaching a white male.
They were also told never to look a white man in the eye and to drop their
heads while talking.
Today, parents tell their children to walk in twos or threes. They
prepare them for the police stop. Instructions are stay in the car, keep
your hands on the wheel. Do not argue. Get out of the car with your hands
up and in front of you. For no reason at all put your hands in your
pocket, it does not matter that you don¹t have anything in your pocket, it
matters only what the police officer thinks. He thinks you have a weapon.
Black Male Tales that are True
I know a Black male who was the top officer of his company working in a
major downtown establishment. He forget his brief case, filled with work
for the weekend. He did not go back in the building after hours, because
the guards did not know he was coming. He is never without suit, shirt and
tie, always looking like a fashion plate. He did not go back in the
building because he is a Black male, and he didn¹t want the guard, the white
guard, to get confused and mistakenly consider him a burglar and shoot him
accidentally in the dark. He left his briefcase and drove back into the
city the next day and went to his office.
I know another Black man, whose teen child wanted to visit the mall with his
buddies for his birthday, without parents. They wanted to just hang by
themselves. His father gave him and his buddies instructions. He drove
them to the mall and they agreed where they would be picked up with specific
time. He made sure they were nicely dressed. He told them to be polite and
for no reason loud. He told them to go into the stores only where they
wanted to purchase an item and to make it clear that they were there to buy.
He told them not to laugh too loud. This was their first venture without
parents. He was scared to death, explaining to me, you have no idea what
could happen over absolutely nothing. He was on pins and needles often
with phone calls to his sons cell to check on their safety and whereabouts.
I know another Black male who for no reason will not wear a jockeying suit
or jeans and t-shirt. He is suited at all times. His complexion is dark.
He is a successful business owner and works odd hours and is always low key
and polite, no matter what. He says a screaming black man, a black man with
the wrong hat, the wrong suit of clothing, can cause upset and death.
I have a white neighbor, who was alarmed when she saw a Black male in the
hallway. She went and told another white neighbor that a Black man was in
the building. She was correct. He was a United States Congressman. I
had to tell her she would probably see other Black men in my home and that
she could not call the police as though she was in danger when she saw
someone walking through the halls.
The young black male in American society is threatened and is a threat all
in one package. It is ridiculous, yet Black people understand it and live
it. Women understand it and men understand it most of all and adjust their
style to accommodate.
A maniac, George Zimmerman, killed Trayvon for no reason other than his own
prejudices. He has yet to be arrested. This is the tragedy of the tragedy.
America at large is up in arms for the murder and rightfully are filling
the streets in protest. Trayvon could have been anybody¹s child and any
black boy in America.