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: Lenin’s Tomb)
What is lynching? In its prevalent forms in American history, it appears as the administration of racial formations through terror. The mutilation, shaming and degrading of black bodies, and also the corpses being retrieved and displayed as trophies, was intended to maintain the symbolic subjection of black people to, in bell hooks’ formulation, “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy”. I stress the symbolic as a material element in racial oppression, because the problem of etiquette, of racial manners, was invariably central to such violence. Night-riders and lynch mobs were the enforcers of this etiquette. We know it’s a peculiar problem in Jim Crow, the thousand and one rules and codes that crowded the field of sociality, exchange, transport, production and so on.
(Source: Al Jazeera)
Washington, DC – Trayvon Martin was just beginning his life. Trayvon Martin was a son. He was a high school junior, with college to look forward to, a career and perhaps a family of his own.
Trayvon Martin was many things, but for George Zimmerman, he was just Black.
The teenager’s race was enough to raise “suspicion” and trigger the neighbourhood watchman – who possessed no training or authority, except for his racist prerogatives – to murder an unarmed and frightened teenager running for his life.
(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.
‘Black children are dispensable. Violence is expected to happen in these communities.’ Photograph: Brian Blanco/EPA
The second world war had a civilising influence on Buford Posey, a white man raised in the Deep South during the Depression. “When I was coming up in Mississippi I never knew it was against the law to kill a black man,” he says. “I learned that when I went in the army. I was 17 years old. When they told me I thought they were joking.”