Trayvon Martin’s parents visit Stephen Lawrence memorial
The parents of the murdered black American teenager Trayvon Martin have come to Britain to meet the family of Stephen Lawrence, and visit the spot where he was murdered in 1993.
The parents of 17 year old Trayvon Martin arrived in London this morning, to thank the British people who have lent their support.
Among the many letters of condolence which they received was one from Doreen Lawrence, whose own son was killed in a racist attack in South London 19 years ago. The two families met today, at the memorial to Stephen’s death, united by a search for meaning, amid their personal grief.
A day to look back, as well as forward: a reminder of a young man’s killing that has become as totemic for America as Stephen Lawrence’s death was in Britain…
For anyone who thought the election of a Black American to the highest office in the land meant some kind of milestone in the fight against racism, a nasty wake-up call. As Newsweek put it: “Despite the powerful symbolism of Obama’s election, blacks and whites are still living in different worlds”.
So: back to those fault lines, which have shattered through the veneer of America’s supposedly tolerant modernity. 23 year old Rachel Hislop, on the Daily Grind, writes that she had sat silently while white colleagues questioned whether racism still existed in their “post-racial”, privileged world. “But then a young black man called Trayvon Martin was killed, and the dirty blanket was finally pulled off the taboo conversation of the very present demon that is race relations in America, and I’ve decided I am tired of staying quiet”, she wrote.
A nation divided
According to polls, twice as many blacks and Hispanics think race played a major part in the shooting, as whites: 73% compared to 36%. Black Americans paid much closer attention to news about the incident, overwhelmingly saw George Zimmerman guilty of a crime, and believe he would have been arrested far more quickly had the victim been white.
In the New Yorker, Jelani Cobb wrote that Trayvon’s death “did not so much raise questions as it confirmed suspicions: that we remain stratified or at best striated by race, that innocent is a relative term, that black male lives can end under capricious circumstances, and that justice is in the eye of the beholder - ideas that are as cynical as they are applicable.” …
Read Whole: Channel 4 News [Video via ITV]