Monday, March 26, 2012

The 'R' Word: Why Trayvon Martin's Death Is So Important [OPINION]

“If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.” ― Zora Neale Hurston


It is a crying shame how many people are truly showing their hypocrisy and illogical nonsense these past few weeks regarding what may be one of the most important events of our time. The people who vocally claim to advocate for fairness and justice seem to be the same folks whom are the most ignorant about what those principles really are. Will Cain, Geraldo Riviera and Everyone Else Who Doesn't Get It: This isn't about HOODIES. It isn't about SKITTLES or ARIZONA ICED TEA. It isn't about an empty bag of WEED and the school suspension that followed or a fake photo of some kid flipping the bird that isn't Trayvon. It isn’t even about a quite STUPID law. Believe it or not, quite aligned with popular belief and, unfortunately yet unequivocally, it’s only about RACE.

Race, a long standing issue in our community. Race, the invisible, pink elephant in the room that never seems to go away. Race, the institutional causeway for nearly every single thing which occurs in this nation. As AMERICAN as the Stars and Stripes, baseball and apple pie; from sea to shining sea, we cannot escape race: but my question is, “Why should we?” Why are we running from that which we cannot escape? Ignoring our history truly hinders us, it does not help. We all, White, Hispanic, Black and Etcetera, need to be able to accept the irony which lies within American History, and the inherent cynicism of it all, to address it. Otherwise, we are living in a MATRIX: a simulation of a false reality that drains the very core of our souls. WE are dying because of the perpetuation of illegitimate and very present fear by and among certain members of our community, bolstered by a government that has not done enough to ameliorate the issue.

To be CLEAR, the notion that we and our children currently live in a “post-racial” society kills us: it is a LIE and a false hope. For most of us, what's crazy is that we've only heard and read about these sort of racial killings from our elders and on the silent pages of text in history books: but its not the past, it is our lives today, still. Yes, indeed, this is a TRAGEDY, for it resulted in a beautiful life gone vis-a-vis gun violence, mired with the poison of racism. It is also a TRAVESTY that his death, like many others, after THIRTY DAYS, still hasn't been honored with the slight solace that comes with knowing JUSTICE is being dealt...a justice that has been stoppered by that which yet remains to be seen. So...to all those who question the legitimacy of our OUTRAGE…for those who still are ignorant as to who this young man is, why he was "suspicious," why he is dead and why do we care…I tell you: we wear hoodies, because if the notion that Black skin begets criminality is what killed this young man, then the truth that we’re just like everyone else, that we just want to live a life free of persecution and full of prosperity and equality, is what we'll show in our solidarity. We FAIL all children if we fail to act, to teach the history, to STAND OUR GROUND when INJUSTICE stares us in the nose with bloodshot red eyes and dares us to bust a move. We fail ourselves if we ignore the real BLACKNESS that plagues our society and we will all be consumed by it, whether we acknowledge it or not.

So, if you still don't know why to attend your local rally for the slain Florida teenager, Trayvon Martin, I'll tell you why right now. We all have a reason to stand our ground on this. We are all just as implicated. We need to show these killers out there and the perpetuators of this cycle of hate that we care about our community and we will rally every single time injustice is dealt to any member of our community. If it was you, we'd do it for you. And That's Real, damn it. Doesn't Matter If You're Not Black, What Matters Is That You're Human And Should Be Treated As Such. Don't be a Mainstream Activist. Don't be a Drive-by Supporter. Be ACTIVE not reactive. Let us lay down the marker by which we have cried, "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!" for the umpteenth time and finally have gathered the collective resolve to do something about it and maintain that something for the generations to follow and have a torch to carry further and beyond anything we have imagined. If we cannot do this, then Dr. King will ALWAYS remain the greatest dreamer of us all. Lastly, know this: the WAR is cultural and the battle is principled; the fights are sequential, yet the VICTORY shall be universal. PEACE.


C.J. Louis is a contributing writer to PolicyDiary. Follow him on Twitter @TheCeeJayLouis

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