Can we ever really know what happened between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin? Getting inside the mind of either is difficult and we have a good idea about what George Zimmerman was thinking as he followed Trayvon Martin based on the phone call to the police. But what about what was going on in Trayvon Martin’s mind? We learned from the trial that Martin referred to Zimmerman as a “creepy ass cracker“. This coupled with the concern that Rachel Jeantel voiced about Zimmerman potentially being a child rapist makes it clear that Martin was agitated to say the least. But what happened after the phone calls? Did Martin confront Zimmerman feeling that he was being disrespected or threatened? I think we can get a good window into that from a guy who recently spoke at a Trayvon Martin protest in Seattle. (Language Warning)
The key take away here is that for merely approaching this guy in the wrong way he will take action into his own hands. So based on the subjective experience of this guy, and I think he represents the view/experience of black youth since his examples are commonly heard. Even President Obama said the same thing, just in a different way.
You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me, 35 years ago.
And when you think about why, in the African-American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a — and a history that — that doesn’t go away.
There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me.
There are probably very few African-American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me — at least before I was a senator.
There are very few African-Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off.
That happens often.
And, you know, I — I don’t want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the African-American community interprets what happened one night in Florida.
Trayvon Martin would be viewing his getting followed by George Zimmerman through Obama’s description about such experiences and we see from the video above the kind of anger that would provoke. In Martin’s case, that anger resulted in action that ended with him on top of Zimmerman and pounding on him.
It is hard to find an underlining message in all this. Zimmerman should never have gotten out of his car in the first place but he did. Martin should not have gotten physical with Zimmerman but he did. Once that happened it became as issue of self defense. Unfortunately at this rally in Seattle this speaker and the affirming crowd think that it is permissible to attack someone for walking up to you in the wrong way. That means this kind of situation may be played out again sometime. Tragic.