Trayvon Martin and U.S. Racism

By Desiaire Rickman on June 17, 2013

“Long Live Zimmerman” was spray-painted on the side of Hale Hall, Ohio State’s black cultural center. (Source: The Lantern)

Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African-American visiting with family, was shot and killed on Feb. 26, 2012.

His crime? He was in the right place at the wrong time.

If you haven’t heard about this young man’s murder, it should become familiar in the next few weeks. George Zimmerman, the man who shot Martin, went on trial last Monday.

The first week of Zimmerman’s case consisted of jury selection, but some of the responses show how long of a process it’s going to be.

“I don’t watch news, I usually watch Bad Girls Club,” Juror B29 said when asked about what she knew about the case.

“I believe Zimmerman is innocent. My opinion is pretty firm,” Juror E81 said when asked about Zimmerman’s self-defense claim. The juror is entitled to her opinion; however, she should know that with answers like that, she probably won’t be able to serve on the jury.

“I don’t believe the killing was racially motivated,” Juror B35 said when asked about his opinion of Zimmerman. The juror was identified as a black man who watches Fox News and Sean Hannity.

Despite the controversy surrounding the case, Zimmerman should have access to a fair and unbiased trial because that is his constitutional right. But that goes for Martin as well. His parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, should have access to a jury that is fair and unbiased to either side so that the facts and justice may prevail.

Unfortunately, due to the overexposure of this case and the mentality of the United States, this trial won’t be completely fair and completely unbiased.

In Sanford, Fla., the location of the Martin shooting and the Zimmerman trial, racism festers like an ugly and uncomfortable cold sore. But the sad reality is that it’s not just Sanford. Tones of racism can be found throughout the country, a disease that continues to infect the “American Dream” for so many Americans.

Trayvon Martin was a teenager walking through a suburban community on the day he died. The man who killed him was the self-appointed captain of an unregistered Neighborhood Watch program. Zimmerman saw Martin walking and thought he was “suspicious,” pursuing Martin even after a police dispatcher advised against it. In a confrontation that has become the subject of much controversy, Zimmerman walked away with his life and Martin died on his way home— all because he was in the right place at the wrong time.

It’s not a question of whether or not racism exists in America; it’s a reality. Just ask Sebastien de la Cruz, an 11-year-old Mexican-American who beautifully sang the National Anthem during the NBA finals Tuesday, but was hit with racial slurs and comments via Twitter. Why? Because of his traditional Mexican garb and the color of his skin.

The beauty of a Mexican-American in a mariachi outfit singing the National Anthem exists in the reality that America is indeed a melting pot of different cultures and peoples living together as they pursue their own version of the “American Dream.”

Trayvon Martin, who wanted to become an aviation mechanic, can no longer pursue his dream. America persecutes Sebastien for trying to pursue his. If the dream killing continues, what future can we expect for the United States?

By Desiaire Rickman

Uloop Writer
A woman with an eccentric mind, I keep an eye open for all of the things that interest me in our ever-changing world. I have many interests, from anime to government, so I will bring you all of these topics to you from the perspective of a college student. As a Buckeye, I write and bleed scarlet and gray, but I will discuss subjects that all college students can relate to. I am a third year at The Ohio State University, majoring in Public Affairs Journalism and minoring in International Studies (with an East Asian focus). I aspire to become an editor at a leading publishing company, editing fiction works and guiding authors on their journey to literary success. I plan on writing my own novels that focus on female protagonists that will serve as role models for women all over the world. I also have hopes of creating a manga-styled comic book centered around one of my developed characters. When I'm not writing, I love to read, listen to music, dance, daydream about new stories, read manga and watch anime.

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