Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Trayvon, Zimmerman, London’s black-on-black killings

That George Zimmerman was immediately released without charges is preposterous, and that it took a public outcry to get a trial dishearteningly absurd. A young man wouldn’t have been slain if Zimmerman hadn’t followed him. And, yes, the colour of his skin might very well have facilitated Zimmerman picking him out as suspicious (although young, male, wearing a hoodie, could’ve contributed).
But with all that said, just as with the OJ Simpson trial, this was the wrong fight to pick for certain leaders for the advancement of the black community. Considering the facts put forward in court – all of them scrutinized by a jury in a seemingly fair trial – I doubt any court in the western world would’ve convicted Zimmerman of murder. Trayvon Martin wasn’t shot in the back. He was shot in the chest whilst lying on Zimmerman, punching Zimmerman’s face, the back of Zimmerman’s head hitting the pavement.
Of course, I’m not condoning the killing of Martin. But, let’s face it, in this case you wouldn’t need a bizarre Florida law like “stand your ground” to be acquitted by a jury of your peers. Here in the UK, for example, an 18 y/o black male was stabbed to death on Boxing Day 2011 on Oxford Street. The following trial acquitted the killer, completely. The jury established that he had acted in, yep, self-defence. One can add that the killer in this case was black, young and male. But there were few outcries about this in the media and among the leaders of London’s black community.
As seems firmly established, in the USbut also in London – there’s a disproportionate amount of black men being victims of violent crime, many times lethal. The perpetrators? Other black men (generally). Yet, far too seldom does one hear the black community scream out loud about this deplorable situation. How come? Is it that as long as it’s black people killing other black people, ‘tis OK?

I'll give the final word to Bernard Burrell, Jamaican journalist in London. On
Gavin Esler's Dateline London (27/04/13), when discussing the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence, Burrell spoke out against: "the hypocrisy [that] does exist among many people of Black and Caribbean origin. And I know I'm probably gonna get stick for this, saying it on Dateline London, but it's a fact. Stephen Lawrence was killed by racist murderers, white racist murderers. But yet, the highest number of knife crime, stabbings, are now committed by young black boys against other young black boys. And the community in many places are not actually shouting 'We must do something about this, the police must do something about this.' They actually, almost like, [put up a] wall of silence and sit[...] on it. And that is far more [a] crisis within the communities than we experienced from one tragic incident."