After word of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin’s murder spread across social media, many rightly sprang into action to protest his slaying and hold local police accountable for their sloppy investigation. Since that fateful February night, thousands have rallied in his honor in hopes of urging Florida officials to fight for justice for Martin and his family. But lost in the marches, Facebook statuses, and hoodie pictures are scores of murdered black men and women who most will never know their names.
Last week, 22-year-old Rekia Boyd was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer in Chicago.
(Source: The Crunk Feminist Collective)
Part of the reason folks rallied in reaction to Trayvon Martin’s murder has to do with ideas about who is an appropriate or worthy victim. He was shot by a vigilante, he wasn’t armed, he was a good student, had some class privilege, he was doing something mundane, simply returning from buying Skittles and ice tea. He was “innocent” and killed in cold blood.
We have an idea of who is deserving of support en masse and who is not. And for similar reasons we thought, with 911 tapes, eyewitness testimony, national outrage that it would result in a prosecution in the very least. If anything, the murder of Trayvon Martin shows us once again that there is no such thing as an “appropriate” Black victim.