Unfortunately, as anyone who watches or reads the news knows, statements like these are not limited to my facebook or twitter. When Obama addressed Martin's death by saying that "if he had a son, he'd look like Trayvon," Newt Gingrich responded by saying:
What the president said, in a sense, is disgraceful. It’s not a question of who that young man looked like. Any young American of any ethnic background should be safe, period. We should all be horrified no matter what the ethnic background.
Is the president suggesting that if it had been a white who had been shot, that would be OK because it didn’t look like him. That’s just nonsense dividing this country up. It is a tragedy this young man was shot. It would have been a tragedy if he had been Puerto Rican or Cuban or if he had been white or if he had been Asian American of if he’d been a Native American. At some point, we ought to talk about being Americans. When things go wrong to an American, it is sad for all Americans. Trying to turn it into a racial issue is fundamentally wrong. I really find it appalling.Well, do you know what idea I find appalling and nonsense Mr. Gingrich? The idea that I am just as likely to be shot by some neighborhood watch person as Trayvon Martin. Racism (unfortunately) exists, whether you like it or not. It does no good to pretend like it doesn't. We should be working toward a world where "when things to wrong to an American, it is sad for all Americans." But the truth is, we're not there yet. And to pretend that we are, or to call acknowledging racism appalling, belies your own racism.
Saying that Trayvon's death had nothing to do with issues of race is a lot like saying that rape or domestic violence has nothing to do with issues of gender and/or sexuality. And considering the Republican push back against the Violence Against Women Act, people like Gingrich apparently do think this way. Additionally, because a large part of the Republican push back to the Violence Against Women Act is due to special provisions for Native Americans and LGBTQ victims, it seems pretty clear to me that Republicans do not think, as Gingrich claims they do, "that when something goes wrong to any American, it is sad for all Americans." They might be sad if something happens to a white male. But if you're female, Native American, or LGBTQ, forget about it.
So, too bad if you're "tired of how Martin's death is being turned into a racial issue."
Do you know what I am tired of?
I am tired of people pretending racism doesn't exist. And I am tired of racism.
Let's fight for justice for Trayvon Martin, and for all of those who are subjected to violence due to the color of their skin, their gender, or their sexuality.
For more on Trayvon Martin, check out my friend Daphne's post on Big Think about Why We Need to Talk About Trayvon Martin.
Also, watch this powerful video: