Monday, July 22, 2013

Dehumanizing Trayvon

Can you think of two more different people than President Obama and Trayvon Martin?

Obama was born in 1961 to a black Kenyan Muslim apostate and a white American; Trayvon Martin was born in 1995 to two black Americans. Obama was raised in Hawaii and Indonesia; Trayvon Martin was raised in Florida. Obama attended a Catholic school, a madrasa, and an American college prep school; Trayvon Martin attended American public schools.

Obama and Trayvon Martin both came from broken families, but even there the similarity breaks down in the details. Obama’s parents divorced when he was 4 years old, and his childhood revolved around the lives of men who weren’t there: first his father, later his stepfather. He was raised mostly by his mother and grandparents. Trayvon Martin’s parents divorced when he was 2, and he stayed in his father’s and stepmother’s care until his father cheated on his stepmother when Trayvon was 15. After that, his mother, father, and father’s girlfriend shared guardianship of him.

The closest thing Obama and Trayvon Martin have to a substantive resemblance is occasional drug use. Obama was open about using marijuana and cocaine in his biography, Dreams From My Father. Trayvon Martin also used marijuana and a drug called lean, two of three ingredients of which he bought at the store the night George Zimmerman killed him. He was walking to his father’s fiancé’s house, where he was visiting while serving a 10-day drug-related suspension from school.

It was not this similarity Obama drew between himself and Trayvon Martin. America’s first half-black, half-white president said if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin. He said, “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream is dead. Skin tone, not character, matter to Marxists and Marxist tools. Trayvon Martin is not a unique individual with a unique background, unique aspirations, and—yes—unique flaws. All the traits that make him human the racial tribalists discard. He is first and foremost a black, which is how millions of people, including the president, call him “our son,” knowing nothing else about him.

The shallow, tribal thinking behind calling Trayvon Martin “our son” also lies behind the grieving Sybrina Fulton’s accusation, “They’ve killed my son.” He, George Zimmerman, killed Trayvon Martin, not “they.” Zimmerman acted on his own, not on a commission, an alien concept in identity politics.

The lessening of Trayvon Martin from textured human being to a black victim of a non-black perpetrator is damning enough in itself, but it wouldn’t complete the picture of racial tribalism’s dehumanizing effect. Each year, thousands of black men are the victims of crimes perpetrated by black men. Black youths are 13 times more likely to be killed by a black than by a white. These crimes receive no attention because they don’t reinforce “black” identity in opposition to all others.

To paraphrase Stalin, the victims of black-on-black crime are mere statistics. They are sacrifices to this dysfunctional identity, which cannot survive a deep level of introspection that grows out of admitting the greatest problems come from within.

Further reading: “Not ‘black’ enough.”

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