In memory of Trayvon Martin

by Andy Gregg, Chief Executive, Race on the Agenda 

Trayvon Martin

The shocking murder of Trayvon Martin and the extraordinary and bizarre not guilty verdict for his killer Zimmerman show how the US is still mired in racism and white supremacy. I defy anyone to argue that the roles of Martin and Zimmerman could ever be reversed and have the same outcome in a US  court room. The crazy lack of gun control and the highly dubious use of “Stand Your Ground” legislation clearly discriminate directly against African-American young men.  Indeed even our own Daily Mail concedes that white people who kill black people in the 31 US States that have enshrined ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws are 354% more likely to be cleared of murder than if they had killed a white person. i The fact that Trayvon Martin, armed with no more than a snicker chocolate bar,  could be profiled, followed, attacked and then murdered – and then effectively blamed for his own death for challenging Zimmerman (who had already received orders not to follow him) is absolutely mind-boggling.

The almost genocidal fear and loathing that institutions and individuals in the US are permitted to show towards young black men  should be a source of shame and self-disgust for any right minded US citizen. Instead there is a conspiracy of silence about the everyday treatment of black men. Take for example the fact that 1 in every three African- American men will at some time in their lives be under the control of the penal system. The inability of President Obama to hold any sensible conversation or discussion about the appalling situation facing the African-American community in the so-called “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave” is perhaps even more shocking and shameful .