The Sociology Of Trayvon Martin

The premature death of a teenager is always a tragedy.  Unfortunately, some have used this tragedy to further their political agenda (See: The Politics Of Trayvon Martin), while others use it to stay relevant.  I think people are legitimately upset about Martin’s untimely demise.  However, I am beginning to suspect that though genuine, the outrage is also selective and self-serving.

Jesse Jackson is quoted as saying, “Blacks are under attack“, and that Martin is a “Martyr” who “represents all of us”.  Director Spike Lee has retweeted Zimmerman’s home address which invited death threats.  The New Black Panther Party has issued a “Wanted: Dead or Alive” poster For Zimmerman and have planned to recruit 10,000 men to hunt him.  They have also issued a $10,000 bounty for his “capture”.

Here’s why I say the outrage is selective and self-serving: Trayvon’s case is a rather staggering exception.  The fact that he was killed by someone other than another black man is almost a statistical anomaly.  Though blacks make up only about 13% of the overall U.S. population, they account for half of all murder victims.  If that weren’t bad enough, 93% of black murder victims were killed by other blacks, and half of those victims were in their late teens and twenties — just like Martin.

Though murders of black youth are mourned publicly on a local level by family and friends, rarely — if ever — do we see major news outlets or self-proclaimed racial justice warriors lament the deaths of the 3200 black youths slain by other blacks.  Is Trayvon Martin somehow more worthy of outrage because the man who took his life is of a different race?

If the killing were racially motivated (which is unclear at this point) it carries a greater emotional impact with some people, I understand that.  But hatred for a person because of their race is as arbitrary as hatred for a person because of their gang affiliation, which accounts for a sizable number of inner city murders.  But again, where is the national public outrage and demand for those killers to be caught, after all, only 65% of all murderers are arrested.  Do we only care when blacks are killed by non-blacks?  If so, what does that say?

I’d like to think that the outcry from national media and public figures for Trayvon Martin was not politically or ideologically motivated.  I’d like to think that.  But the selective nature of it all belies the demands for justice.  Unless of course, Trayvon is somehow something more than the other 6,500 blacks killed each year.  I’d like to know what that something more is.


UPDATE: Not to mention this story from the NyDailyNews.


  1. Sad situation!

  2. Marshall Art says:

    “Is Trayvon Martin somehow more worthy of outrage because the man who took his life is of a different race?”

    Absolutely! Don’t you realize how much more dead he is if the motive was racial? You can’t be much more dead than that! You could die of a heart attack. But if you were a black man killed by a white man, you’re REALLY dead!

    The more this story drags on, the less convinced I feel that anyone protesting gives a rat’s ass about Martin at all. It seems obvious that his death is more important to them as an excuse to perpetuate racial divide. The “outcry” is a lie. It’s a sham. And the stats you cite give credence to that position. If the concern was for the murdered, there would be a far greater outcry for those deaths that are the result of black-on-black crime and gang activity.

  3. Why aren’t these folks up in arms over Terrell Mayes ?

  4. So, is the outrage in the US around this one murder only about racial issues? Is it just about how race seems to divide your nation even today? Does it not have anything to do with your rather liberal gun laws? Why was the shooter not arrested?

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