As we continue to reflect, protest, and campaign about the injustice that occurred during and after Trayvon Martin’s death, [read more and sign petition here], it’s also important to put this tragedy in perspective. While it’s not the first time this has happened in the town of Sanford, it also a painful reminder that it isn’t the first time in US history. Along with Trayvon Martin is Oscar Grant, Steve Biko, Sean Bell, Timothy Thomas, Robert Davis, the developing case of Howard Morgan and a painstakingly count of more in the past 100 years.
So what is the true remedy or solution to being young, black and male? How does one not look suspicious when actually not being suspicious? The sad truth is that there is no real way to avoid police brutality or racial profiling. But there are ways to fight it, and to attempt to ease the pain of the solutions. Here are Live Civil’s Top 3 Ways to Prevent It from Reoccurring. It starts with friends, families, and well-intentioned strangers:
If a friend SAYS something racist or prejudice, do not accuse them of being so, explain to them how their words were interpreted and why. IllDoc1 described it best:
In the case of Trayvon Martin, his confessed killer, George Zimmerman, was described by his father as being “a Spanish speaking minority with many black family members and friends.” But the reality is that profiling does not occur simply due to racism, but also social and class assumptions in conjunction, which definitely played a huge part in this tragic death.
While many have lost faith in the judicial system, the undeniable gain about protesting is that it lifts up the voices of those unheard and forces the media to place such injustices on their front pages. Protests may not always prove justice, but more times than naught creates a space for reaching solutions.
Riots are known as the most brutal of protests, when fear, exhaustion and hurt turns into anger. While they have yet to “solve” any problems, they have been proven to raise the stakes in such cases, inciting fear for innocent turnovers for guilty assailants. Such as the case of 1989’s Yusuf Hawkins, reinvented in Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing” below.
3. Practice Restraint and Know The Law
Even though Wiki’s “How to Avoid Police Brutality” is extremely ignorant of the injustices many African-Americans and Hispanics witness from some police officers, it brings up a few tips that can assist if you find yourself in a situation fearing the worse from an authoritative officer.
Patience, Control, and Voice are the most important. If you are innocent and an officer begins to search you, your car, or any other possession, try to stay calm. Even if the obtrusive party is trying to overpower you, if a weapon has yet to be involved, controlling your fear with confidence, keeping your voice stable and low (unless in need of help) and practicing patience even out of frustration may assist you from changing a “protocol” search into another case of abused powers.
But most importantly, knowing the law will save you beyond measure. What are officers allowed to do? What are your rights? Knowing these things can easily change a tense situation into something much more relaxed. Being aware will ease your fears. Consequently, it may also make the officer aware of your knowledge, changing their proceeding actions, as demonstrated through this father below.
Our love and support goes out to the family of Trayvon Martin and all similar injustices around the world daily. What would you suggest to the young Trayvon Martin’s of the world?