Why Trayvon?: Unmet Expectations & Mass Movements.


I’m seeing that there are many people confused and/or annoyed that the Trayvon Martin murder is generating such attention and provoking national responses, both symbolic and active. I’ll try to explain once more:

Individuals keep quoting the homicide statistics occurring with Black shooters and Black victims, or instances when the police kill Black youth and get away with it; and the fact they don’t garner the level of exposure and response of the Trayvon murder. They mistakenly conclude that we, the Black community, don’t care when Blacks murder other Blacks, or that we are simply blindly following the media circus surrounding the Travon murder; both are untrue.

If you simply dwell within the Black community and talk to our people you will find that everyone is concerned, outraged, hurt, and even ashamed by the homicide rates in the hood. Even the gang members express dismay and claim to want positive alternatives to the drug dealing and violence it fuels. Granted, there are some pure killers out here, some crazed and damaged individuals who would pick violence and killing even when more positive alternatives are made available; but these individuals are less than 1% of the overall population, and are as often victims of shootings as they are shooters. The bottom-line is, our people care, and want change; we want it as much as you who falsely claim that we don’t care when Blacks kill Blacks.

Secondly, if you follow the full history of the Trayvon murder, you will find that the media ignored his killing, the police tried to bury the incident, and let Zimmerman go without as much as a ticket or citation. It was the People who brought this incident to the fore. We, the People, made this story an international incident, not the media. The corporate media is follow the people, not the other way around.

The final issue is ‘Why Trayvon?’ Why not one of the many others who’ve fallen to violence from a Black killer, or a White killer, or a representative of the state.

We must understand that Revolutions, Rebellions, Riots, or mass actions don’t occur as the result of simple tragedy or injustice. Uprisings and outrage only occur when expectations are not met. People only act out, for good or for bad, when their expectations are disappointed or violated. Look at any massive upraising, or Revolutionary struggle and you will find unmet expectations at their root.

If people expect to be enslaved, or lynched; then they will allow themselves to be enslave and lynched for decades, but if they sincerely expect a change, if they are promised a change and expect that promised to be fulfilled; and that change fails to come, then you got a riot, a rebellion, a revolution, or a mass movement on your hands.

We expect that there will be gang violence, we expect that every weekend there will be an outrageous number of shootings in the hood, and that our poor and undereducated youth will engage in self-destructive behavior. We also expect that these Black killers will be prosecuted and imprisoned when they are captured. So, when it happens, we are saddened, but we don’t take to the streets in mass.

We expect that the police will shoot us, and our children and get off. We expect the courts to fail us when the police murder us. We expected in the case of Rodney King, that having such strong video evidence would force the courts to give us justice, and incarcerate the murderous cops; that expectation was not met, therefore you got a massive rebellion. Now we no long expect to get justice, even with irrefutable video evidence of police murder, so in following videotaped atrocities, no riot, no upraising.

We expect that when a White person kills a Black person, they will receive a lighter sentence, and the full benefit of the doubt when they go to trail. We don’t expect that the White murder will be allowed to walk totally free when they kill us, at least not in this era, we thought that we had reversed that trend back in the lynching era of the 1950s. The handling of Zimmerman case failed to meet the most basic expectations of the Black community; so you are getting a mass response.

For better or for worse, this is a historical trend and reality. We who seek more long-term and fundamental change will gain nothing from mocking or dismissing the masses and their response to the Trayvon murder; it is our responsibility observe, listen, and support our community in any positive group action, we must also work to translate the awareness and willingness to act into more productive organizing. We can’t appeal to the People for support when we fail to support them in their (symbolic) actions, and their (superficial) understandings of the political and social implications of their actions.

So yeah, as I continue in my Revolutionary Pan-Africanist Organizing, I will also take time to Black-Out my profile pic, and show sympathy and respect for the pain they express for Trayvon. Granted, many will go back to sleep when the cameras are turned off, but for the few who are fully awaken by this killing, the trial, and the verdict; we need to be there to embrace and build with them.