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The Trayvon Martin in US

An American Tragedy


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 21st 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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Chapter Twelve: Historical PTSD—In the Midst of a Tragedy



Historical PTSD—In the Midst of a Tragedy



The senseless killing of yet another Black teenager continues to be all too common in our society. Not only is it all too common, but it is also widely accepted and perceived apathetically by too many. The statements that claim that most Black men die as a result of Black-on-Black violence and that Trayvon Martin caused his own death are obvious indications that violence against Black youths is not only acceptable but is also not prevented in our society by any means. The not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial is traumatizing and disheartening to mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers across the nation who continue to weep not only at the blatant disregard of a Black man’s value, but also at the reality that any of us could have been Trayvon, anywhere. Our sons and our daughters are in danger. Our fears, although often labeled as unfounded, are coming to fruition daily. The death of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of his killer are clear reminders of the reality that even with a Black president, being Black is nevertheless looked upon as lawlessness and an indictment of character. As we immerse ourselves in the conversation surrounding the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin tragedy, it is imperative to consider the implications affecting race relations in this country. The relationship between people of color and mainstream society has not...

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