Trayvon Martin. The name incites unbridled emotions.
Some believe George Zimmerman’s account of events, thus concluding Trayvon was the instigator while George was the victim. After all, they reason, Trayvon was suspended from school and had used marijuana.
Others contend Trayvon was racially profiled and targeted while returning home from a store. Why? Because George was totally unaware of Trayvon’s past and only aware of Trayvon’s race. There was no speech bubble above Trayvon’s head with a list of misdeeds, just as there was no speech bubble above George’s head detailing George’s brushes with the law.
The outrage among many, especially African Americans, emanated from the fact that Trayvon was a black teen simply walking home. This benign task resulted in suspicion, a call to police and being followed, which somehow led to a confrontation resulting in death. Many black parents gasped at that realization. It could have been their son or the son of Will Smith, Tom Cruise or Denzel Washington because socioeconomic class and accomplishments matter little when all that is visible is race.
What is known is that, while Trayvon walked home, George reported him to police as being suspicious and followed him. Trayvon became aware of a stranger (George) following him. A confrontation resulted, and a teen was shot dead. Whether mistaken identity by George or the feeling of being stalked by Trayvon, a person lost their life as they attempted to return home for the second half of the NBA Finals. A collective wave of outrage and concern for the safety of black boys resulted among many Americans.