Apr 2, 2012
In the weeks since Trayvon Martin was murdered, the media has carried out a second attack on Martin, assassinating his character, just as George Zimmerman assassinated his body.
Not just Fox News – we expect vile racist garbage to come spewing out of the mouths of those right wing fanatics, funded by some of the wealthiest people in the country.
But the sedate, proper media do exactly the same thing – they just do it more “politely,” pretending that in this situation it’s perfectly normal to be neutral, to give us both sides of the story.
There aren’t two sides to this story. Trayvon was lynched, every bit as much as all those young black men during the 1930s, 40s and 50s were lynched just for looking the wrong way.
Yes, he wasn’t lynched with a rope, hung from the branch of a moss-draped Southern tree. He was gunned down in the street by a vigilante who condemned him to death for being “suspicious” – that is, for being nothing more than a young, black man, walking naively down the street.
Just as with all those lynchings of an earlier day, his murderer goes unpunished. In the modern-day racist state of Florida, the murder of a young black man calls forth no punishment. And if punishment ever comes, it will only be because of all the angry rallies and demonstrations not only in Florida, but around the country.
Trayvon Martin was supposed to be one of the lucky young men – a football player, respected in his school, living a somewhat comfortable life. But he was killed anyway.
It could not be more clear – in this modern-day racist United States of America, it is open season on young black men.
One in ten young black men will die before they reach the age of 18. Some are killed by racists, some by cops, most by other young black men, all of those young men living in the dire circumstances that poverty and unfulfilled needs create. Lack of jobs – a 70% rate of unemployment if you are black, without a high school diploma. Lack of access to decent schooling – this country spends less than one-third as much on poor black children in the big urban centers as it does on the children of the wealthy white bourgeois out in their suburbs.
More young black men will end up in prison than get into college – because there aren’t jobs for those without an education, and there are few decent schools that could provide a real education to children who are poor and black.
Nearly half of all young black men in the urban centers come out of school functionally illiterate. From the day they start until the day they leave school, they are jammed into classrooms where individual attention isn’t even a passing dream.
This, too, is a kind of assassination, a kind of lynching of a whole generation of young black men – and young women too.
There is enough wealth in this capitalist society that this systematic deprivation could be overcome in a generation. More than enough. And the racism that feeds on poverty could be overcome. But none of this will be done by a system whose basic aim is to keep accumulating more wealth in the hands of a tiny bourgeois class, while further impoverishing the population.
This system certainly can’t provide justice for Trayvon Martin and his family, nor will it shut down the open season on young black men. This can only be imposed by the population itself, especially by the black population, and it can be imposed by all those young black men who today recognize themselves in Trayvon Martin.