illaim

A Pictures Worth a Thousand Prejudices

In Uncategorized on May 19, 2012 at 9:43 pm

It was bound to happen.

While engaging in everybody’s part time job while at their place of
full time employment (surfing the internet) I came across an
interesting post on Byron Crawford’s site

Given the well known realities of the once tellingly unknown and now seemingly omnipresent Trayvon Martin story, the headline utilized by Crawford; “White people turned up pics of Trayvon looking like a budget Tupac” disturbed me immediately with its off-putting tone.

Never one to judge a book its cover, or an article by its headline, I proceed to read the brief post. The words that followed explained how less than flattering pictures of Trayvon had begun to surface and somebody with the free time to match his or her conviction crafted homage to media bias utilizing lesser seen pictures of the fallen Martin and admitted shooter George Zimmerman.

 

 

Impactful

Given where the energy to create such a image spawns from, I can guarantee you, the person who created the picture above and I, view the Martin case (or lack thereof) differently. I can however sincerely empathize with the point being made by the anonymous internet graphic artist, while understanding and taking great umbrage with a particular media practice and its heinous effects.

Every event which occurs on this planet or within the cosmic regions of man’s informed grasp, regardless of the universally agreed upon facts of said event, will generate a narrative.

Narratives would be more accurate assessment, but the singular is used due the routine inevitability of one common theme being developed for a particular story and disseminated to countless masses via a myriad of outlets.

The general narrative crafted media to describe Martin’s death at the hands of Zimmerman has up to this point been deferential to him Zimmerman.  Like most mug shots, the one of Zimmerman from a previous arrest, utilized by most news outlets doesn’t paint him in the best light to say the least.

While the initial imagery used to project Zimmerman strayed from neutral, the words used to describe him and his actions have been extremely cautious, forgiving and excusatory.

Zimmerman despite clearly disobeying orders from law enforce that would’ve prevented the death of a child and  explicitly  explaining in his own words his race based rational for suspecting, pursuing , and ultimate  engagement of  Martin that literally  left blood on his hands, has routinely  been given outs by the media

“Nobody really knows what happened.”

“He was just trying to protect his community”

And the police assisted “He’s a good guy, he went to school for criminal justice”

Martin who undoubtedly was a victim on unwarranted gun violence has up to this point, has been portrayed as a benevolent kid by his grieving family and supporters in and out of the media.

Such framing is understandable for it could definitely be true and even if exaggerated, the recently deceased are almost always presented in a manner that is more prestigious than the life they actually lived by those that cared about them.

What was personally troubling about Martin’s portrayal was the seemingly angelic resonance bestowed upon him.

Every mention of how Martin allegedly save his father from a house fire at the age of 9, every exceeding innocent looking yet seemingly age askew picture released, along with the orations describing a perfect child, bothered me.

They bothered me because they shouldn’t be necessary

They bothered me because as humans, we are predisposed to never be perfect and are fallible by inherent nature.

They bothered me because they painted the hope of attaining justice for Martin’s slaying and lasting perception of his memory into a corner.

Fighting through the pain of losing a loved one, let alone one’s own child, to seek justice for them, is itself a beyond praiseworthy act. The stoicism displayed by Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton has been immaculate and her tactics she’s used to bring the story of her sons killing to the national for front are pretty much beyond reproach.

The twisted mindset that causes the necessity of such tactics is not.

The need to create a “angel” narrative for Travon stems the greater American populace enduring placement of the burden of proof, in regards to the character of Black people, on Black people.

Simply put, Black people often don’t receive benefit of the doubt of being a “good” or even regular person in society’s arenas.

Instead Blacks, more so for Black males, and even more intensely exaggerated for young Black males, the designated, ardently imposed default characterization of “bad” until proven good continually affixed to them.

That classification, which can logically, argued caused Martin’s death and influenced local law enforcements callously apathetic treatment of the case revolving around it is constantly on display in the media.

Without fail, Ms. Fulton is initially peppered with questions about her son’s character in the inception of interviews involving her by host assuaging the American psyche’s “bad by default” stance.

To sway such a belief, which justifies a variety of actions against fates imposed against those falling within its realm, the most pious Trayvon possible has been put forth by his mother and those supporting her cause.

The problem with such an approach is, when something, anything comes along to counteract that narrative, the narrative itself is looked upon as a farce and the wholly unfair default position held against those of Trayvon’s ilk, is fallen back upon, in a more reinforced state.

When pictures arise showing Trayvon in displays common to teenagers of all backgrounds, yet far from what our hardwiring would connote as innocent or reports surface the strongly infer that he was a weed smoker, the known facts of what actually happened Martin that fateful February night, that he indeed was a unnecessary victim of gun violence, are discarded by far too many.   They are replaced by views that Trayvon isn’t deserving of empathy at best, or deserved what he got at worse.

Such are the actions of those who believe they have been misled.

Little do they know they misled themselves long ago.

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