by: Josh Healey on March 25th, 2012 | 9 Comments »
Before he became the latest and most-Tweeted victim of racial violence in America’s long, dirty history, Trayvon Martin was just another kid growing up in Miami. He was a high school junior, got A’s and B’s in his classes, planned to go to college and become a flight mechanic. His folks were separated, so he split time between his mom’s house and his dad’s. He was just another kid.
Just another black kid, that is.
To George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed Trayvon last month in the gated community outside Orlando he shared with Trayvon’s father, Trayvon was suspicious. Up to no good. A walking, talking threat of darkness.
Trayvon’s innocence — what could be more all-American than bringing home a bag of Skittles to watch the NBA All-Star game? — juxtaposed with Zimmerman’s vigilante persona makes this appear a classic case of right and wrong, black and white (or at least light-skinned.) But this is bigger than two individuals. This is bigger than the District Attorney who – unbelievably – still has yet to arrest Zimmerman. This is the reality of institutional racism in 21st century America: a racism that creeps along quietly, strong and determined, touching every corner of American life, until before you know it, it has touched a new corner of American death.