From Justin Bieber to Reggie Bush, celebrities far and wide have been fighting the injustice against Trayvon Martin by Tweeting and signing petitions. I wish I had the courage and money to fight like them.
Oh wait, Twitter is free and so is petition signing.
No doubt anyone who casually browses the news, has a Facebook, receives Justin Bieber tweets, watches sports, watches movies or listens to music, has heard about the popular investigation from Sanford, Fla. Since that list includes people who browse online (including preteen girls), it seems safe to say a lot of people have heard about Martin, even it if is via their celebrity heroes.
After an in-depth parallel investigation of every news story about the case I could find, I have compiled a list of facts that all seem to agree on:
- On Feb. 26, Trayvon Martin was fatally shot by George Zimmerman
- Zimmerman, as of last Friday, was released by police who said he acted in self-defense
- Martin carried Skittles and iced tea
- Zimmerman carried a gun. He was described as a “neighborhood watchdog”
- Martin is a human being
- Zimmerman is a human being
- Martin was black
How about this lesser known fact: Zimmerman is a Spanish-speaking Hispanic.
That’s right. Zimmerman isn’t “white.”
According to friends, he is half white, half Peruvian. His family says he has black relatives. Following the norm for determining race — he is a minority.
Despite these facts, many news organizations originally reported Zimmerman as a “white shooter” who shot a “black teenager.” Recent articles eventually replaced “white” with “white Hispanic” or “Hispanic,” but by that time, the damage was done.
By adding the two words “black” and “white,” this story was hijacked, flipped 180 degrees, distorted and fed to the starving zombies who are desperate to grasp on a piece of its flesh.
Sorry, “The Walking Dead” season 2 finale is still fresh in my mind.
Perhaps the most tragic aspect of this story, after the unnecessary death of an unarmed 17-year-old, is the fact this case has been painted by the media, celebrities and the public as a race issue.
We need to be clear about this: The Trayvon Martin tragedy is not a race issue. Just because he was killed by someone who wasn’t black does not automatically brand him a victim of a race crime.
The real issue here is the fact that there is a possible abuse of a unique law, the “stand your ground” law as it is often described.
This law, in which there are similar laws in 21 states, allows citizens to use deadly force against an attacker if they feel their life is threatened. These laws also do not require citizens to have to retreat.
The Martin incident is possibly the first flicker of the fire that is to come. It is possible the law could continue to be abused, as anyone can declare they were righteous in the name of self-defense.
In journalism, we are taught to keep race out of a story unless it is relevant.
In this case, it is absolutely 100 percent irrelevant.
It is also irrelevant that Martin was wearing a hoodie, as if that suddenly makes him a stereotypical black male victimized by Hispanic racist.
As someone who is Hispanic, who was raised in Houston, Texas and has a grandpa who was born and raised in Mexico — I can tell you that hoodies are as much a part of a Hispanic culture as they are African American, if we are going to play the stereotype game.
I urge everyone, let’s not play that game. Focus on the real issues — the fact that an unarmed teenager was shot and the controversial self-defence law, and blend it with what facts we know. The media, celebrities and zombies — I mean, public, should investigate the details of why Zimmerman shot Martin, and wait for more police reports and the autopsy.
To all those who are wearing their hoodies in memory of Martin, don’t disrespect him that way. He deserves to be remembered not because of supposed racial stereotypes, but for being the possible victim of a delicate and possibly dangerous law.
Maybe we will find out Martin was shot in cold blood. Maybe we will learn Martin tried to kill Zimmerman.
Maybe we will learn the gun went off accidentally.
Whatever the case, everyone should do their duty to find the facts, be honest, paper-shred their stereotypes and do more than sign a petition because Justin Bieber, Al Sharpton and Michael Moore did so.
Contact Assistant Campus Editor Jordan Gonzalez via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @el_doctor23