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The Trayvon Martin in US

An American Tragedy


Edited By Emmanuel Harris II and Antonio D. Tillis

The events surrounding the Trayvon Martin murder, trial and acquittal bring to public and private discourse the violent, brutal murders of Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Dr. King, while bringing back to memory the racially provoked murders of Black American and Black immigrant men such as Amadou Diallo, Oscar Grant and more recently, Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York. The name of Trayvon Martin has become trope in the 21 st century, which crystallizes US racial politics regarding Blackness, specifically the Black male: a metaphoric symbol of this history of America’s regard for Black bodies, as well as a metonym, a name that has become a contemporary substitute for terrorist attacks targeting Black bodies. The works included here imply that Trayvon Martin, as trope, reverberates in the most conscientious of ‘US’; and, this epic tragedy is one that has plagued ‘US’ since Africans and people of African descent first arrived to the Americas. The essays range from the profoundly personal to the thoroughly investigated, and conclude with the statement from President Barack H. Obama in the epilogue. The Trayvon Martin in US is essential reading for anyone who is involved in race relations or teaches the topic.


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Introduction: The Trayvon Martin in US: An American Tragedy


Introduction The Trayvon Martin in US: An American Tragedy It is plausible to suggest that the exploration of the “New World” was indeed an exercise in the creation of various peoples, cultures, ideologies, and a new world order. From the fifteenth century onward, global history records the creation of new beings that would come to produce cultures that would define a hemisphere. In so doing, the interbreeding of the Indigenous populations with the European and the African populations did create, as many suggest, a new world subject that became an anomaly for the emerging global power structures that were set in motion by annihilation, colonialism, and slavery in the Americas. Thus, a global consequence of that experience, with purposed outcomes or not, resulted in the furthering of a European agenda regarding human and cultural hierarchies, expansion of ter- ritorial wealth, and hegemonic dominance. A twenty-first-century retrospective glance at it all yields discourses laced with echoes, if not screams, of terrorism, xenophobia, annihilation of peoples/cultures, and Eurocentric ideologies as the dominant regional understandings and utterances of racism, sexism, homophobia, and the like. And, once the Indigenous populations were almost exterminated or deemed to have “souls” by the colonizers sanctioned by royal decree, the African subject was left marginalized, demonized, and vilified forever in this global web of human trafficking and gross exploitation. Recent events surrounding the Trayvon Martin murder, trial, and acquit- tal have spurred conversations that take us back to the fifteenth century, and consequently brought back to mind the...

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