...from what I know about life, it will catch itself up, somehow, some way. Man may have let Zimmerman off the hook, but the soul lives forever, and he will have to answer for this.
You've announced elsewhere that you're writing a diary series on race relations. I'm not sure if this diary is supposed to be part of that series. But it seems to be related.Given my history and stance on race, racism, and prejudice in America, it could naturally be assumed that I would have been following the George Zimmerman trial for the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin from beginning to end. Surprisingly, I have not. I didn’t watch one minute of the trial. If you had noticed, you would have recognized the fact that outside of mentioning his name in a few of my diaries, I never discussed Trayvon Martin.
You've set yourself up as an expert on such matters.
Maybe it was because of the pain I felt for Martin’s family. Maybe it was because the media turned this case into a farce from the start. Maybe it was because I knew that they would criminalize Martin in court posthumously. Maybe it was because I felt that America wanted to view Zimmerman as a victim. Maybe it was because I lack faith in America’s justice system to do the right thing. Maybe it was because I knew George Zimmerman would be found not guilty of all charges on all counts. Maybe it was because I knew I would be right… and I was.
But in truth, none of those reasons, though it’s really what I felt, were responsible for me not tuning in. The real reason is because I just couldn’t do it. It would have been ridiculously emotional for me. I’m not much for crying, but I struggle with injustice every time I see it. When I saw the movie Platoon, I remember how I felt when I saw Charlie Sheen’s character walk into a Vietnamese hut only to find a severely deformed and disabled young man and his mother, and proceeded to shoot at the young man’s feet so he could “dance.” I was horrified when another member of the platoon walked in and brutally shot the innocent young man in the head and his screaming mother shortly thereafter. I knew it was only a movie, but I cried. When I saw the Rodney King beating by 4 police officers while handcuffed behind his back and on his knees taking blow after blow, as another circle of officers stood by and watched, I only had one question: when is someone going to step in and stop this? They never did. This was not a movie, and I cried. When I watched Spike Lee’s When the Levees Broke, and I saw the treatment of so many black people being packed into a failing Louisiana Superdome, and then being separated from family members, mothers and fathers from children, I thought about my own daughter who is 100% disabled; who cannot communicate with anyone, who cannot feed herself, who cannot dress herself, who cannot give herself her own medicine, and who at eleven years old has the brain capacity of a one year old child. I thought about the fact that if we were in a similar situation and we were separated, she would probably die because no one would have known how to care for her. This was not a movie, and I cried. I cried because it hurt, and for a long while after witnessing each of these events the images of what I had seen played out over and over in my head.
No, I couldn’t watch the trial. It would have stirred up an incredible anger in me. Seeing the process of painting Martin as a degenerate young man who deserved the fate he was given would have been too painful for me. The outcome of the verdict would have devastated me. I knew the facts of the case. I saw the many comments on Facebook defending Zimmerman’s victimization. I knew what the pulse of America was. And I knew Martin, his family, and their supporters would lose.
No, I couldn’t watch the trial. So last night at 9:21 pm, I received a text message from a friend that read: NOT GUILTY. WOW!!! All I could say to myself was, “I’m not responding to that.”
Many of my friends on Facebook placed posts that defined their shock, frustration, and exasperation with the verdict, and their inability, at this moment, to be proud of being Americans. Many called out for justice. Others put up the Black Out block for their profile pictures. One post read, “Don’t forget to set your clocks back 200 years.”
Marissa Alexander received a 20 year sentence for firing a warning shot in the air to prevent her abusive husband from savagely beating her – again. No one was injured. George Zimmerman was told to remain in the car and wait for police to arrive – by the police – when he accused Martin of being suspicious. He got out of his car, threatened Martin, fought with him, drew his weapon and shot the unarmed boy in the chest, killing him. Self defense. He was found not guilty.
For those who wondered when I was going to get to it, what my take would be, and what I would say… I would say this. Until his death, I will not follow future news or references of George Zimmerman. I will not give him power. I will not wish him any ill will either, because I don’t need to tarnish my soul, and from what I know about life, it will catch itself up, somehow, some way. Man may have let Zimmerman off the hook, but the soul lives forever, and he will have to answer for this.
And for Trayvon Martin…I wasn’t ignoring you. This is not a movie. For you and your family, and for other Americans who support you and who have come to love you, I cry.