I'm sure, like me, you have seen posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr all linking to things related to the Trayvon Martin killing and subsequent verdict of "not-guilty" for George Zimmerman. While I’d like to pretend the nation as a whole is outraged over the death of a young boy, many of the posts I have seen indicate that is not case. Unfortunately, a large percentage of people think this case had nothing to do with race. What’s even more unfortunate is that these people are lashing out at those who try to explain why race is so relevant to this case.
I’m one of those who thinks race is at the heart of why Trayvon is dead and also why the man who killed him is walking free. However, I am not the person who is able to best explain why the fact that Trayvon was Black is hugely relevant. I’m not that person because I am not Black. There are so many Black people writing about the crime and the verdict, and theirs are the voices that should be heard loudest. They are the ones who have had to live with the racism that permeates our society (yes, even now) and so they are the ones who are best able to educate others. That’s why I’m directing you to the words of my college roommate and good friend, Curtis Cook. He wrote two pieces on the subject:
Yes, I can discuss these things, but it’s not my place, it’s not my voice that must be heard, so I implore you to read what he has written. Even if you hate his words, go out and find other Black voices. Find the people who can tell you what it’s like to be Black in this country and what this trial means for those citizens.