Trayvon Martin’s Mom Says Her Son’s Death Isn’t About Race: I Disagree

Trayvon Martin
Photo Credit: An undated photo of Trayvon Martin. / CBS

Today marks the first anniversary of the murder of Trayvon Martin, but it feels like just yesterday that I was receiving invitations online to march in solidarity wearing a hoodie. It seems like just yesterday that I read in disbelief how the man who shot him had not been arrested.

But it wasn’t yesterday, it was one year ago that a family needlessly lost their son.

I can’t imagine how it must feel for the family that lost their son after he went to buy snacks at a convenient store. I will never know how it feels to deal with such a horrendous tragedy, followed by a flood of racist vitriol  (and the racist drivel just keeps coming for Trayvon’s family), but I have to respectfully disagree with Sybrina Fulton: Trayvons death is about race.

It’s about race because I have seen the privilege deniers mobilize to defend George Zimmerman, and they’re doing it without shame, and in spite of the evidence.

It’s about race because when my brother was seventeen and went out for snacks, I didn’t have to worry about him getting gunned down (and my family lives in one of Utah’s armpits).

It’s about race because African-American males have eight times the homicide victimization and offending rates of white males. It’s about race because similar cases of innocent children being brutalized keep happening. If Trayvon were white, George Zimmerman would have been arrestedat the scene, and forced to undergo blood testing.

I will concede, the case isn’t exclusively about race, it’s also about gun violence. We need to examine “stand your ground” statutes that don’t require any attempt to retreat before the use of lethal force. (For all of you Utahns reading this, remember we have a similar statue on the books.)

Ultimately though, it’s about a teenage boy whose life ended too soon, and it very likely wouldn’t have been if he were white.

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