By BASN Wire Services ATLANTA — The sneaker industry has gone...
HOODIED UP; FACE DOWN
It was Sunday February 26.
Normally, on this date, the Nation of Islam celebrates its annual Savior’s Day event, which has been called the crowning moment of Black History month.
But ironically, this February 26, was also the day of the NBA All-Star Game, which took place in Orlando, Florida.
But something strange was happening.
While Dwight Howard smiled and tried to be a gracious host to the hometown fans, many in the audience felt it would be their last time cheering for the gentle giant.
Yes, something strange was happening. But, you couldn’t quite place your finger on it.
But, you could feel it in the air.
It started during the NBA Slam-Dunk contest, a night before, when out of nowhere, Sean “Puffy” Combs threw up a Black Power fist and shouted Black Power, before announcing he was starting up his own television network. Then, the following day, there was a level of awkwardness in the arena as the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who said Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was treating Lebron James as if he were a “runaway slave” during last year’s free agency appeared on camera in the front row before the All-Star game shaking hands with all the players.
Then oddly, during the announcement of the Eastern Conference All Stars, Chicago Bulls (PF) Luol Deng, who is from war torn Sudan, was proudly spotted on the platform wearing a tee-shirt with a RED,BLACK, AND GREEN image of Africa on it.
Was Deng’s decision not to wear those god-awful NBA-All Star space suits, a fashion decision or political statement? Or simply a moment of African pride?
Regardless of his motivates, seeing him standing on stage sporting a picture of Africa on his chest metaphysically sent shockwaves throughout the sports world.
THE GODS ARE TRYING TO TELL US SOMETHING
Were the Gods trying to tell us something?
A day of celebration for the Nation, Jesse in the front row, Puffy throwing up a Black Power Fist, and Luol Deng proudly sporting the RED,BLACK, and GREEN, what did all of this mean?
Then sadly, moments before the opening tip, we found out, one month later.
On February 26, a 17-year old, unarmed, black teenager named Travyon Martin found himself being “stalked and hunted” and eventually “murdered” by George Zimmerman several feet from his father’s home in Sanford, Florida.
Accordingly to conflicting news reports, Zimmerman, an unidentified member of the Neighborhood Watch Committee, felt Travyon, who was walking alone in the rain in the gated community of Twin Lakes with a hoodie on, looked “suspicious”.
As a result, Zimmerman called 9-1-1 before deciding to follow the teen, which the 9-1-1 dispatcher clearly told him not to do.
After reportedly chasing Martin, a scuffle occurred, which led Zimmerman, who claimed it was done in self-defense, to pull out his gun and fire it into the chest of the unarmed teenager, leaving him dead in the grass.
When the police finally arrived on the scene, Zimmerman stood over Martin’s lifeless body with the gun in his hand.
That’s where the story stood still.
And, the movement began.
Why? Because, despite this unbelievable narrative, the details involving Travyon’s death were still a mystery.
And despite all the news reports and headlines in the newspapers, no one actually knows what took place that fatal night.
The mystery, however, has sparked debates, conspiracy theories, rallies, rap songs, protests, and outrage.
But, no arrest.
So, while the NFL Network and ESPN discussed the bounty system involving the New Orleans Saints, the New Black Panther Party was placing a $100,000 bounty for the capture of George Zimmerman, who currently is still walking free after murdering Trayvon on Feb.26.
This is an emotional case, which has the potential to explode if Zimmerman is not arrested and placed in handcuffs.
Why? Because, the death of one’s son is a mother’s worst nightmare and a father’s unforgivable fault forever.
It, in fact, can bring a mother to her knees and an uncrying father to tears.
With that said, Lebron James along with Dwyane Wade, who are both fathers trying to raise African-American boys, decided to take a stand by taking a photo, which included the entire Miami Heat team dressed in hoodies with their heads held down in the memory of Trayvon Martin, who was a big Miami Heat fan.
The photo of the Miami Heat “hoodied up; and face down” was tweeted by James as a sign of solidarity with the Martin family. The simple tweet by LBJ has been considered revolutionary, especially in an area when most athletes tend to shy away from hot bedded topics, which affect the African-America community.
In effect, to a younger generation, the Heat’s “hoodied up” photo has been fairly or unfairly compared to the historic photo of John Carlos and Tommie Smith holding up their Black power fists during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.
Yes, the tragedy surrounding Travyon Martin has the world talking, texting, You tubing, praying, protesting, crying and even cursing.
Why? Because, Trayvon wasn’t a soldier fighting in Afghanistan. He didn’t lose his life on the battlefield. Plus, he wasn’t some type of “thug” committing crimes. He simply was a little black boy, walking home in the rain.
But in the eyes of many, including George Zimmerman, he looked “suspicious.”
Unfortunately, the only one’s looking suspicious in this case, now, is the Stanford police department, who seemed to have allowed a murderer to walk free after killing someone’s child.
HAVE YOU EVER WORN A HOODIE?
Now, the world is debating whether it was Martin’s hoodie that covered his head from the pouring rain, which caused his own death.
Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera even pleaded with parents in the African-American and Latino community to tell their children not to wear hoodies anymore.
But Geraldo’s attempt to be a fashion police was met with harsh criticism.
Why? Because, most people felt Rivera was trying to victimize the victim.
In other words, Geraldo’s bogus argument about hoodies was as foolish as trying to place the blame on a woman, who wears a short dress for getting raped. “If she didn’t have that sexy dress on, she wouldn’t have gotten raped.”
As political activist Dick Gregory said, “A woman can be butt-naked, but that doesn’t give a man the right to rape her.”
Gregory was speaking the truth. Rape is an act of violence. And, so was the killing of an innocent person without cause or reason.
Therefore, it’s illogical to try to defend Zimmerman’s paranoid pre-mediated murder of an unarmed black teenager on an item of clothing or a hoodie.
Let’s not forget, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates didn’t have a hoodie on when he was arrested and handcuffed outside of his own house in Connecticut.
But, unfortunately, he looked “suspicious.”
Hell, even the election of the first Black President in the United States, was viewed with “suspicion” by several people in America, and still is.
YOU LOOK SUSPICIOUS
President Obama was deemed “suspicious” because of his name, which is Barack Hussein Obama. (That’s scary, He could be a Muslim).He was deemed “suspicious” because of the church he attended.” (God Damn America, Jeremiah Wright).He was considered “suspicious” when he was seen in a photo wearing a traditional African head wrap. (You are so paranoid Fox News) He was deemed “suspicious” because he went to the Million Man March. (Oh no, he knows Farrakhan). Plus, he was regarded as being “suspicious” because he was born in Hawaii. (Where’s his birth certificate? Donald Trump)
Yes, the “first” Black President of the United States faced the same “suspicion” that little Trayvon Martin faced on the night of his assassination.
That’s why it was a memorable moment when President Obama looked in that camera and said “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
This was so significant, at this particular time in history because we had a Black President in the Oval Office, who knew actually what it meant to be profiled, knew actually what it felt like to be viewed as a threat simply because of the” skin he was born in.”
Yes, Barack Obama had faced the same “suspicion” and twisted thoughts that were rambling in the sub-conscious mind of George Zimmerman.
Zimmerman’s mind, in my opinion, had been shaped and molded in a world, which allows one to conclude that Black men are up to “no good.”
IT DOESN’T MATTER
Whether they are standing on the corner, driving an expensive car, walking in the mall, wearing a hoodie, talking amongst themselves at work or after work, hanging in the hallways, praising God in church, running for President of the United States, or, even, simply, walking in the rain, on a late Sunday afternoon, trying not to miss the NBA All Star game,….. they were still up to “no good.”
Yes, regardless of the situation, the first thought that comes to their minds will always be the same: “What are you doing over there?”
Whether it’s the Black Codes, Jim Crow laws, the segregated South, apartheid South Africa, McCarthyism, zero tolerance, in school suspension, Stop and Frisk, illegal immigration, the Prison Industrial Complex or Cointel-Pro, the thought process is still the same. “What are you doing over there?”
“Put your hands up!!!”
“Nobody moves, nobody gets hurt!”
“You look suspicious”
Let’s not forget, the recent political finger waving incident involving Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and President Obama, which she said, “I felt a little bit threatened, if you will, in the attitude that he (President Obama) had, because I was there to welcome him,”
Therefore, it doesn’t matter if you are Nat Turner, Denmark Vesey, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, WEB Dubois, Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, Mumia Abu-Jamal,Little Bobby Hutton, Medgar Evers, Ben Chavis, Kwame’Toure, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Nelson Mandela, Khalid Abdul Muhammad, Minister Farrakhan, Sean Bell, Emmitt Till, Amadou Diallo, Oscar Grant, James Byrd, Ramarley Graham,Shaima Alawadi [Iraqi-American woman killed in California] or Rekia Boyd, who was shot by a cop…..
You are still perceived as a threat.
Last Saturday, during the Rainbow Coalition televised broadcast Jonathan L.Jackson tried to explain the psychological disorder known-as Negrophobia, which he defined as a person, who fears Negroes.
“I was in court in Los Angeles, 111 Hill Street with my father some seven years ago and a man accused us of making him fearful.” Jackson said.
“And he charged my father and I in Superior Court in Los Angeles with assault.”
“What is an assault? I never touched him. And then the Judge said, “The way he felt, you looked at him.”
Yes, Jackson had been charged with assault for simply looking at a man.
During the “good ole days”, this would have been called wreck less eye-balling, where in some places in the United States; Blacks weren’t allowed to look a “white person” in the eyes and were forced to hide their faces into strategically placed “barrels” throughout the town.
Therefore, whether you are an Alpha, Omega, Sigma, Kappa, Mason, Shriner, Christian, Hebrew, Muslim, Jew, Moor, rich, poor, hetro-sexual, homo-sexual, college-educated or uneducated.
It doesn’t matter.
Whether it’s your grandfather, my Uncle, your father, my nephew, your baby brother, our sons or even President Obama.
In other words, we are all Trayvon Martin.