Posted By LambChop
Much has been made of Oprah Winfrey’s claim that the Trayvon Martin case was the “same thing” as the murder of Emmett Till. Other than the fact that they were both African-American teenagers who died by the hand of another ….there is no similarity.
Emmett Till was a 14- year old visiting relatives in Mississippi in 1955. Till made the “mistake” of bragging about having sex with white women, and then he whistled at, flirted with and touched the hand of a young married white woman in a grocery store. He was a tough braggadocious boy from Chicago proving his manhood to his friends. For this, the boy was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by racist killers.
Two white men were arrested and indicted by a Grand Jury. They were acquitted and later bragged, laughed and joked about their horrendous crime of murdering Till in cold blood.
Mark Naison, an African-American Studies and History professor at Fordham University claimed: “Emmett Till broke the code of his time by speaking in a suggestive, teasing way to a white women - Martin by wearing a hoodie and walking at night through a white neighborhood. The reason for the second death is every bit as outrageous as the reason for the first.”
Fast forward to the night of Trayvon’s murder. George Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch captain. He called the police after seeing a tall figure (Trayvon was 6’) on a rainy night. Zimmerman, a mix-raced Hispanic 29-year-old male, was quizzed for a description of the unidentified male.
The suspect in question was 17- year-old Trayvon Martin- a troubled youth sent to live with his father after being suspended from school. Martin died the night of February 26th, while walking back to his father’s home on the phone with his girlfriend. Trayvon had been shopping – purchasing a bag of Skittles and Watermelon iced tea-two of the three ingredients to make a drink called “lean” used by youths to get high on codeine. Martin’s autopsy showed extensive liver damage as a result of this habit and his toxicology report showed that he had marijuana in his system. Martin had a history of trouble in school and was a star fight club member – YouTube had videos of Trayvon pummeling his opponent.
Evidence from the trial showed that Zimmerman followed Trayvon, and Trayvon was told by his girlfriend on the phone that Zimmerman was probably a gay rapist. Trayvon doubled back and confronted Zimmerman. Witnesses reported that Trayvon was on top of Zimmerman. Zimmerman’s nose was broken and head split open by the stronger youth - hardly a racially -motivated kidnapping and torture session. The alleged victim of racial hatred had the upper hand in this case, and Zimmerman made a choice to defend himself. Trayvon was shot in the chest and killed.
President Obama later weighed in on the case, fanning the flames of racism without regard to the facts of the case stating, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
Zimmerman initially was not been arrested until claims of racism forced the overreaching political hand of an appointed prosecutor who pursued the staggering second degree murder charges against Zimmerman. The jury did not find evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to convict George Zimmerman.
Randolph McLaughlin, a professor at Pace Law School said: “Just as in Emmett Till’s case, nothing was done by local authorities. It was fine to lynch a black kid then. It’s fine to kill a black kid now.”
Till’s case had massive political consequences. His brutal murder fueled the civil rights movement.
The Trayvon Martin case was not a racially-motivated hate crime, but a horrible accident motivated by Zimmerman’s bad judgment. To claim similarity between the two cases irreparably damages the significance of the death of Emmett Till. It also diminishes the stain and consequences of authentic racial hatred.
Oprah's comments indicate a lack of knowledge of history and of the Trayvon Martin case. Of course, in light of her failing television empire, Oprah finds herself in the position of pandering to blacks for ratings.