Essentials 2012   Hardware   Form of Godliness   Vagina Monologue   American Gothic   Racism   Prince Was Right   Christians & Islam   TRAYVON MARTIN   Fiscal Cliff

The TV show scenario of the gun falling out and the two men struggling for it is just nonsense. I believe Trayvon Martin had every reason to fear this stranger following him in the dark. I don’t believe the gun came into play during the struggle. If it had, if Zimmerman could have reached it during their encounter, I doubt he’d have taken the beating he claims to have taken. I believe the fight was over. Trayvon let George go, and Zimmerman, finally free to reach, pulled his gun and shot him. For me, no other scenario seems logical or even likely.

Skittles and Obi Won

The main problem, as I see it, is the knee-jerk racial divide that fitted Trayvon Martin for a halo right off the mark. His parents released photos not of the seventeen-year old emulating the edgy, threatening “gangsta” look idolized by boys his age, but of a happy twelve or thirteen-year old, smiling and brimming with innocence. This fanned the flames of suspicion and outrage while not telling a completely honest story. Convenience store surveillance footage of Martin, purchasing Skittles and iced tea moments before his death, painted a completely different picture. Here was a tall, lean kid whose face was obscured by the ubiquitous urban “hoodie” which—despite the ludicrous extremes black America has gone to in order to defend it—lends the appearance of evil. The dark hood has always, perhaps from its inception, represented mystery if not quite necromancy. The first time we meet the kindly mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi in the classic film Star Wars, he is wearing a hoodie. The hoodie was a deliberate misdirect to make Kenobi seem somewhat mysterious and nefarious, while the young hero Luke Sykwalker was portrayed, from the first frame if his appearance, unmasked and unfettered. Every film and now every “gangsta” video has employed the same imagery, from Errol Flynn to Wiz Khalifa: the hoodie represents mystery and darkness if not necessarily or specifically evil.

In the surveillance footage, the store clerk seems not at all concerned or alarmed by Trayvon Martin, whom he seems to recognize. I am surely reading into this few seconds of grainy footage, but my assumption is this clerk has seen Martin before. Martin does not attempt to steal anything or give the clerk a hard time. It is a routine and mundane transaction, likely one that’s gone on many times before, perhaps between this clerk and Martin. And it is over within seconds. Had I been in that store, I’d likely have not given Trayvon a second look. A glance past the gangsta hoodie, I would have seen past even a stony façade (we do not see what façade Martin portrayed at the time) to see Martin’s eyes, which told a different story. This is the unspoken reason young boys wear the hoodie and sag their pants and so forth in the first place: they’re trying to erect a defensive perimeter and assume an aggressive posture. Why? Because they are neither aggressive nor particularly dangerous They are boys trying to be men, trying to define themselves by emulating what they’ve seen. Everything about Martin’s aggressive or threatening look was, in my opinion, entirely about self-defense. Look aggressive so you don’t become a victim. This was exactly my pattern of behavior as a teen growing up in a hostile environment in New York. The neighborhood Martin was in likely was not the most threatening of environments, but this was his war paint and these were his habits: obscure who he actually was, a boy trying to find his way. What was the tip-off? The Skittles and iced tea.    CONTINUED

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Essentials 2012   Hardware   Form of Godliness   Vagina Monologue   American Gothic   Racism   Prince Was Right   Christians & Islam   TRAYVON MARTIN   Fiscal Cliff