“Shock” best described the reaction among some black Americans after a jury acquitted George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Rallies, protests and violence in varying degrees erupted in some of America’s largest cities by those who believed race was a factor in the handling and the outcome of the case.
Some will forever argue that the jury failed to convict an obviously guilty man. How, for example, could the prosecution’s mountain of evidence disintegrate in the jury room in just a few days? The verdict, it is alleged, was a repudiation of a justice system that failed the colorblind test.
Agitators wearing hoodies took to the streets singing songs of justice and calling for an end to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows people to use deadly force if they believe their lives are at risk. The Internet erupted with outrage.
Inflammatory and injudicious statements by National Action Network leader Al Sharpton and his minions further contributed to racial divisions. The NAACP called for the Justice Department to file civil rights charges against Zimmerman.
At best, the race baiting is sad commentary on how our moral outrage is sorely misplaced. It is not white racists who are tearing at the fabric of black life. Black America is hardly under siege by swarming armies of militant whites. Zimmerman is an anomaly.
The far greater threat to the security and well being of black America is the insidious behavior pathology waged by the enemy within. No group victimizes blacks more than the youth and young adults who are born and bred in black neighborhoods.
The death, funerals and mourning of everyday urban life provide evidence that the black male is rapidly becoming an endangered species. Homicide is the main cause of death for black males aged 15-24. Nearly all of this carnage stems from a black on black criminal tidal wave that has long surpassed the atrocities blacks faced at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups.
Preying upon the young and old, their rampaging violent binge run the gamut; murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Apparently without conscience, vicious assaults are daily occurrences on the streets of Detroit and across America without producing as much as a whimper from the NAAP, the National Action Network, or hardly any other group that claims to be “hood” change agents.
The silence in the black community about the helter-skelter being waged against black families is deafening. Nobody asks the families of black victims if they care what color the perpetrators were. No one questions whether old style civil rights tacticians can come up with a new agenda that address the “right to tranquility” of law-abiding black residents.
None among the so-called black leadership has the answers to the social mayhem. Too few parents advocate — and too few churches preach — a return of lost values that once produced strong families, stable communities and respect for the law.
Protestors that single out Trayvon as an icon upon which to rally against racism, trivializes the thousands of young men who died before him and insults their surviving families. Worse, the loss of a black life seems not to be worth more than a funeral procession until a white person snuffs it out.
The Zimmerman verdict should not shake the public’s faith in the American justice system. We must remain vigilant in the fight for swift, certain, equal and colorblind justice.
Beyond that, black Americans must ponder why they are conditioned to calmly accept genocidal death at the hands of homegrown assassins, while viewing isolated conflicts with whites as harbingers of a return to an oppressive era that no longer exists. To be clear: the real menace to our survival today is people who live and walk among us.