Countering the Dumb Argument That Outrage Over Trayvon Martin's Death Distracts From Black-on-Black Violence

Categories: Race

"Should the Africa-American community be focusing on black-on-black crime and the carnage in our inner cities, and not on George Zimmerman?"

Chris Wallace said that a few days ago on Fox News. But you could pull a similar question from a range of sources. The sentiment is widespread these days--a common refrain from that portion of the American populace seeking to retake the moral high ground from those outraged that a grown man can follow an unarmed black teenager in the dark, shoot him when the fight isn't going his way, then walk out of a courtroom free.

It's a dumbass question, but the only way to defeat it is to answer it.

See Also: Zimmerman Verdict Brings the John H. White Case Back Into Spotlight

The first thing to note about this question is that it's built on a false premise. Anyone asking some version of "Why is there outrage over Trayvon yet no outrage over any of the other black kids killed by members of their own race?" or "You know Trayvon, but can you name any of the victims of black-on-black violence?" is projecting their own ignorance and apathy on the subject of inner-city violence. Because anyone paying attention knows that there is constant outrage over "the carnage in our inner cities."

Ta-Nehisi Coates settled this more than a year ago with a blog post called "Why Don't Black People Protest 'Black-on-Black Violence'?" He wrote it in response to Fox Newsman Juan Williams asking, "Where is the march" for "all the other young black murder victims?" Coates goes on to list seven recent examples of marches and protests and rallies against black-on-black violence.

In some neighborhood here in New York, there is an anti-violence march every time somebody gets shot and killed. In Jamaica, there was a march for D'aja Robinson. In Far Rockaway, there is an annual summer basketball tournament in memory of Rayquan Elliot. In the Bronx and Harlem, mothers who have lost a child to the streets hold anti-gun violence protests several times a year. In fact, there's a rally in Crown Heights tonight.

But beyond the question's false dichotomy (that protesting the Zimmerman verdict somehow distracts from black-on-black violence), the spirit of its point is closer to this: "Why is there more overt national outrage over Trayvon Martin's death than the deaths of all those other black kids?"

The answer is race. Because, when you consider the historical context that President Obama discussed in his speech last week, race seemed infused in every bitter level of this whole thing: from Martin appearing "suspicious" to Zimmerman, to the police giving Zimmerman the benefit of the doubt on self-defense and not arresting him, to the county prosecutor not pressing charges, to one juror telling Anderson Cooper that "both were responsible for the situation they had gotten themselves into," to the overall idea that a man can get let off after instigating a confrontation with then fatally shooting an unarmed 17-year-old 30 pounds smaller than him.

The outrage is not over Martin's death, but over everything that followed it.

As Obama noted, "There is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws--everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws." Rarely, though, does this disparity take center stage in our national discourse. Martin's death and Zimmerman's acquittal offered a high-profile example that the criminal justice system can work as it was designed to and still not bring justice. It illuminated the racial disparities that, over the course of American history, chewed up communities of color and spit out the seeds of black-on-black violence. It publicly displayed that "post-racial America" is a myth.

There is, of course, a chunk of the American populace that does not see it that way. And that, more than anything else, explains the outrage.

Send story tips to the author, Albert Samaha

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The so-called burglary tool was a screwdriver. If you arrest one person for having a screwdriver, then you have to arrest everyone else who carries one.


More attention should be paid to why Travon Martin was headed down the wrong path in more ways than one. The innocent watermelon ice tea and skittles that sounds of innocent are two primary components of an intoxicant cocktail called "lean". How could anyone defend a teenager who was brutally beating an individual for 40 seconds while that individual is screaming for help.

Did he go for Zimmerman's gun? Take a look at the text messages on his phone about wanting to buy and sell a gun and the picture of the gun in the hand, and fights he was in where he was upset that he didn't draw enough blood . The kid was on the wrong path.

Apparently he should have been arrested for possession of burglary tools  and stolen property , but for the fact that there was a cover-up by his school so as to affect lower crime statistics .

Justice Department investigation? George Zimmerman's rights were violated for racial reasons .  The Martin family's attorney exploited the race card to have a special prosecutor assigned and instead of going to a grand jury , having him indicted through an "information".  Tell me that stuff wasn't done just to satisfy the racial rabble rousing coming a politicians .

profiling? if I was drinking lean, Zimmerman was perceptive if he profiled them as "something wrong with this kid " was he a burglar ?  I guess the huge screwdriver and women's jewelry they found in his locker got there by osmosis.  was he violent ? sounds to me like Zimmerman profiled him quite perceptively without taking race into consideration.

And that's disregarding that statistically the truth is that black youth commits a disproportionate amount of the crime in this country and maybe that's what black leaders should be helping to fix . in Israeli airports they use profiling , they don't search little old ladies in wheelchairs for switchblades they profile and they do it effectively. there are worse things than being profiled like a plane blowing up or a home invasion . and the good Mr. Zimmerman did it with total disregard to race. but had he taken recently consideration , it would've been statistically justified. the Take community should take a little advice from Bill Cosby and pay more attention to raising the kids right , educating them better , instilling good values ,  and overcoming the disproportionate crime statistics, disproportionately lower income , disproportionate reliance on welfare , etc. there's a lot of work to be done stop complaining and get to.

Andd this nonsense  about teaching your kids how to walk not too fast or to slow , give me a break ! just teach them not to attack someone with their fists , not continue beating them while they scream for help , and not to cry foul when you get shot doing it .

 George Zimmerman mentored to young black children whose father was in prison .  He was colorblind and a compassionate mush in his community.  Zimmerman's attorneys have done more to protect the rights of young black men than Rev. Al Sharpton ( remember Tawana Brawley Rev?)  Would the world be a better place full of George Zimmermans or Tyavon Martins?

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