When I think about what happened to Trayvon I remember how easily that police officer could have killed us. And the judicial system would not have done a thing. I tell this story because many People of Color experience white supremacy at a young age. So, many of us are aware of just how much society values us.
People of Color and those who are true allies are right to feel a sense of outrage. We should feel anger. And we have a right to feel a sense of betrayal and heartbreak when this society rebukes our humanity and dignity, as it has done with the horrific acquittal of George Zimmerman. We should feel even more hurt and betrayal at our “progressive” and “Leftist” friends who have sided with white supremacy in telling us what we should feel and why we should not feel what we feel. None of us can feel more hurt and passion unabated than the family of Trayvon Martin and the families of those who have experienced similar loss. We can only “lift them up” in prayer, in thought, in consciousness, and in power.
The call for Justice for Trayvon was initially about the people pleading and hoping our society’s legal institution would actually prove that our Color would not impede justice from being done. We were hoping that the judicial system would find a killer guilty, because it would assure us that justice could be done by a system historically designed to oppress the Darker Peoples. But this was not the case.
The question is “Where do we go from here?” This trial — and the outrage from the verdict — has been like a strike of lightening to the consciousness of many young People of Color. Like a flash of lightening, it has briefly lit up the dark skies of our society and revealed a broader field of social struggle. We see the consciousness work that must be done to enlighten many of our friends and ourselves to fully explicate the entangled roots — the rhizomatic nature of White Supremacy, Capitalism (human exploitation), and Patriarchy.
As Leftists we cannot hope to build any meaningful movement unless we sincerely make racial justice the center of our project. American society is founded on Racism. And racism isn’t just perpetrated by political and economic functionaries. It is mostly perpetrated by our friends and neighbors who deny its existence or downplay its importance.