Trayvon Martin and Media Hypocrisy
President Obama called it a “tragedy,” and he was right. “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon."
The president, of course, was talking about the death of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year old black teenager armed with nothing more than a pack of candy and an iced tea who was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida by a 28-year old neighborhood watch volunteer.
The president never spoke directly about race. He never said, not in so many words anyway, that Trayvon was shot because he was black or that his death was the result of racism. Others were not so careful.
At a rally in Florida, Al Sharpton demanded justice. “We are tired of going to jail for nothing and others going home for something,” Sharpton told the crowd. “[George] Zimmerman should have been arrested that night ... you cannot defend yourself against a pack of Skittles and iced tea. Don't talk to us like we're stupid! Don't talk to us like we're ignorant! We love our children like you love yours. Lock him up!”
Jesse Jackson also weighed in, telling the Los Angeles Times that there was a mistaken belief that racial problems in America went away with the election of our first African American president. "There was this feeling that we were kind of beyond racism," he said. "That's not true. His victory has triggered tremendous backlash."
According to the LA Times, Jackson predicted that the protests would continue to multiply and that the number of protestors would grow until Zimmerman is arrested.
It is understandable why so many Americans would demand justice for Trayvon Martin. But the hypocrisy and the high profile sanctimony of the oh-so-concerned media and the civil rights establishment is downright galling.
Let’s not be naïve: If Trayvon Martin had been shot that night by another black teenager there would be have been nothing from president Obama, no nationally televised demonstrations, no demands for justice by prominent civil rights leaders, and nobody outside his immediate circle of family and friends would even know his name.
We know about Trayvon Martin only because the man who shot him looks white. Actually, Zimmerman’s mother is Peruvian, which makes him half Hispanic, a fact you might not have known if you get your news from the usual places. That would only detract from the storyline: black kid shot by overzealous (and probably racist) white vigilante. For what it’s worth, the New York Times refers to him as a “white Hispanic,” a politically correct description to make sure we know Mr. Zimmerman is a white man – and not “a person of color.” You think the Times would call him a "white Hispanic" if he had won a Nobel Prize for curing cancer?
And this explains why there are no rallies and no national outcry over Delric Waymon Miller IV. If you just said, “Who?” you are not alone. It’s a safe bet that not one in a million Americans has the vaguest clue as to who Delric Waymon Miller IV is.
Delric was a 9-month old baby – a 9-month old African American baby – who was sleeping on a couch at home in Detroit a few weeks ago, when in the early morning hours, someone fired 37 shots from an AK-47 into the house. One shot killed Delric Waymon Miller IV.
Delric’s 19-year old mother said to get away from the gunfire she grabbed her baby and took him into the basement. That’s when she saw the blood. The baby wouldn’t wake up, she said.
Police think the shooting may have been an act of retaliation stemming from a fight between rival gangs a few days earlier at a bar.
So of course there would be no national outcry, no comments from the president, no rallies led by Al Sharpton demanding justice for Delric, no pieties from Jesse Jackson about how “blacks are under attack” in America. It’s a safe bet the shooter was black. This was just one more case of black on black crime, the kind of story that gets ink in the local papers but that’s about it.
Hundreds of young black men are shot and killed in this country every year. In almost all the cases, the shooter is also black. Try to name one of those dead black men. Just one.
Journalists who work for the national news networks, or major American newspapers with a national reach, don’t spend a lot of time shining a spotlight on dysfunctional behavior in parts of black America. Stories about such things in black neighborhoods, imposed on black people by black people, would be tantamount to airing dirty laundry in front of the whole country. And that is something liberal journalists who are proud of their good racial manners (along with their friends in the civil rights establishment) do not want to do.
President Obama said we need some national “soul searching” in the wake of the tragic death of young Trayvon Martin. Looking inward is a good thing. So let’s have that soul searching. And while we’re at it, let’s ask ourselves why the death of a young black man in Florida means so much more to Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and so many other concerned Americans than does the death of a baby in Detroit who was murdered in his sleep.
Could it be because one shooter had light skin and the other dark?