So, this Trayvon Martin meme is really dumb

This image has apparently been making the rounds on social media:

So, the question it poses is clearly rhetorical: “You tell me…what is the difference?” with the subtext being, “There is no difference, is there? Except that the media and the president and the countless celebrities only made a deal about Trayvon Martin because he was black. How racist is that?”

The problem is, it’s not actually a rhetorical question, because there are differences. Marley Lion was shot while getting robbed. It’s tragic, obviously, but as far as anyone can tell, the black man accused of killing him had gone out that night with the intention to commit a violent crime. Trayvon Martin was singled out and followed because George Zimmerman thought he looked “suspicious.”

And then there’s how the two deaths were handled. Police jumped on the Lion case immediately and quickly apprehended the suspected killers. George Zimmerman wasn’t even charged until people all over the country started getting vocally upset, and by that time, the cops had done a pretty shabby job of investigating.

Finally, there’s the line “This story never made it past the local news.” But most murders, even of teens, don’t make it past the local news. And there are lots and lots of murders of black teens that don’t even make it to the local news. This image makes it sound like Marley Lion’s murder hasn’t gotten enough attention, but the attention it’s received is actually pretty much in line with comparable murders.

It would be one thing if TV broadcasts and Facebook feeds were routinely deluged with Barack Obama and Hollywood stars calling for justice over the death of black teenagers, but I bet you can’t think of another instance where that has happened. The Martin case is an anomaly, not a standard for comparison.

16 July 2013, 4:39 pm
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