2011 was widely known as The Year of the Protest. From the #Occupy movement to countries overseas fighting against tyranny and oppression, people rejuvenated the art of protesting for better or worse. After a 17-year-old black male was killed, the taste of protesting has become bittersweet more than ever.
By now Trayvon Martin is a household name for tragic reasons. While walking home after getting some Skittles and an Ice Tea from a corner store, Trayvon was gunned down by George Zimmerman, the self-appointed neighborhood watch leader (or demented Top Flight Security wannabe). Zimmerman deemed Trayvon as a threat thinking the snacks in his pockets were potentially weapons since he “Was up to no good” as he called 911 while following him. This story is disturbing on so many levels. Sure the classic case of racial profiling is at display but the sting is still as strong as ever. This made me think about when I was his age and how I had to learn how not to look suspicious. I knew certain places I couldn’t have my hood on with my hands in my pocket because what of people would assume of me. In no way am I’m placing blame on the young man, he is the true definition of a victim. I’m merely recalling how I’ve been through those circumstances of being seen as a threat and how that made me feel. It made me feel I was something I wasn’t, a danger to the community. Of course the outrage over this murder is heavy understandably. What doesn’t make sense is how some people were reported showing their anger and frustration over this event.
Last night on Twitter is when I first heard reports of people protesting Skittles, to which I initially didn’t believe. Why, because Twitter for everything factual you can learn from there is still hearsay at its core. Plus the ridiculous-ness of that made it seem fake. I was praying that it was a misunderstanding on my part because there’s no logical reason to me why people would protest the company Skittles for what happened to Trayvon. How would badgering a candy company comfort the death of an incident young man who had so much to live for? I couldn’t even think of remotely asking that question, so when I saw reports of people using Skittles in their protest I sighed in relief. I began hearing reports of people sending bags of Skittles to the Sanford Police Dept who were in charge of the investigation for this case. I’ve failed to mention that the gunman, Zimmerman, has never been handcuffed, brought in, or anything in that matter for shooting Trayvon. I probably left that out because my mind instantly begins hurting whenever I think, heard, or read that!
Over the past few days many protest have happened or are in the works. Some are centered around the theme of wearing hooded sweaters since Trayvon was wearing his hood when being labeled a threat. And of course others are centered around Skittles as I mentioned earlier. Any protest that has a clear idea of what point it’s trying to get across has my full support. But I urge people, especially the Black community PLEASEdon’t let this be another opportunity where we display our anger in a belligerent manner. Too many times we allow racial crimes like these to be a platform for us to only act out the same stereotypes we cry about. It’s hard to keep emotions in check with tragedies like this but acting a damn fool wouldn’t relieve the pain for Trayvon Martin’s family or ourselves. Get mad with a purpose to avoid another wasted chance to show how we come together in times of need support each other while bringing injustice into light.