The Florida teenager was shot dead a year ago today. Barbara Reynolds, a black clergywoman and columnist, commemorates the event with a bleak meditation on how the thing that made Martin’s death stand out is the fact that he was shot and killed by a white guy:
Yet if there are no guys like Zimmerman- who is of white and Hispanic background- to attack, there is often numbness, an unjustified nothingness when the issue is blacks killing blacks. The civil rights machines don’t crank up, the pulpits seldom roar with vitriolic sermons and editorials crying out loudly for an end to the black-on-black carnage are few and far between. In fact there is such a lack of programs, protest or caring about black kids getting killed, I wonder have their lives ceased to matter at all to the powerbrokers. As Charles Ramsey, Washington’s former police chief reportedly said at a gun forum, “Nobody in this room would have known Trayvon Martin if he had been shot by a black kid.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that among 10 to 24 year olds, homicide is the leading cause of death for African Americans and other reports show that more than 90 percent of the violence is from other blacks, mostly from guns.
Insofar as their lives “cease to matter to powerbrokers,” both in the black activist community and in the media, it’s because those deaths do not fit into the emotional and ideological narrative preferred by these powerbrokers. It’s why Muslims killed by Israelis are holy martyrs to Muslim activists, but Muslims killed by other Muslims, meh.