Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Lamb That Was Slain: The Killing of Trayvon Martin

by Gee Joyner
Rhetoric Race Religion Contributor

In ancient Jewish tradition, an animal sacrifice-- most often a lamb-- was used as an offering, a tithe if you will, for God to illustrate humankind’s appreciation for the blessings they received from the omnipotent and beneficent Creator, or even a ‘Forgive Me’ card for immoral behavior, sins, and human transgressions. (Hosea 14:3 is referential evidence that Ancient Jews eventually ceased killing innocent beasts for sacrificial offerings—“ Take with you words, and turn to the Lord. Say to him, forgive all iniquity and receive us graciously, so we will offer the words of our lips instead of calves.”)

Though other animals were used for sacrifices, such as goats and calves, the lamb has become a metaphorical symbol in popular culture and modern History more than likely because of its attributes of docility and timidity that evoke emotions of sympathy and empathy when one identifies another as being a ‘sacrificial lamb.’ Some cultures, such as the Mayans and Aztecs, even went as far as to not only sacrifice beasts, but also humans to their ‘Gods’ as a means of offering recompense for sins or gifts that would satisfy the Gods and keep them safe from impending danger. On February 26, 2012, George Zimmerman, a ‘Captain’ of a neighborhood watch program in The Retreat at Twin Lakes, a gated community twenty minutes north of Orlando, Florida, located in Sanford, Florida, murdered, or sacrificed, a 17-year-old Black American teen at the altar of U.S. prejudice and racism.

From Numbers 7:57 to Revelation 5:13, one can find numerous references of a ‘lamb’ and the slaughter thereof, yet Revelations Chapter 5, verse 13, really symbolizes the death of young Trayvon. The text states, “In a loud voice they sang: Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” And this is what Black Americans, and even non-Black Americans, will exclaim when remembering the legacy of the young Trayvon Martin. We will exalt him because his bravery in the face of a murderer with premeditated intentions. We will uphold him and place him in the clouds with Emmett Till, who was also killed by racist monsters with malevolent intentions. We will contrast his willingness verbally to question the paranoia of Mr. Zimmerman by rebelling against authority just as the Christ rebelled against the Roman Empire and the tradition of Jewish exclusionary practices that exhibited prejudice towards Gentiles.

Now, by no means am I positing Trayvon Martin as a Christ-Like figure who has died for the sins of humankind in order to save them from the fiery lakes of Hell, but we can juxtapose his significance in the continual struggle for African American equality in the United States to the efforts of Jesus Christ to free man from his sinful ways and lead him down the path of human, if not Godly, righteousness. Jesus Christ was tried and convicted for claiming to be the Son of God, while Trayvon was murdered, gunned down in the cloak of night by a vigilante night watchman for essentially claiming his innocence of being a criminal; “Why are you following me?” which an anonymous girl who was on the phone with Travyon at the time, to me, is similar to Christ’s assertion that he was the ‘Son of God’ and had done nothing to deserve being accosted by Pontious Pilate’s Court just as Martin had done nothing to be relegated to the status of ‘criminal’ by Mr. Zimmerman.

While there may never be any concrete answers as to why this happened to Trayvon, I do believe the masses of Black Americans who have been unjustly profiled as delinquents, thieves, thugs, criminals, and ne’er- do- wells know why Zimmerman did this to Travyon— it was the direct correlation to the creation and perpetuation of the derogatory stereotype of the African American in America. For centuries, this has been the root cause of instances of mistreatment, and, in this case, unjustified killing of individuals of the darker hue. Many people only see the stereotype of the Negro, rather than the character of the human being, thus the stereotypes that have permeated the psyche of Americans, both Black and White, Asian and Hispanic, cause individuals to prejudge the Black American and label them as the aforementioned culprits of skullduggery and mischief that I mentioned in the lines above.

Hopefully, and from the attention this tragedy is receiving from national media outlets, both visual and print, as well as social networking sites, Trayvon’s death will serve as another turning point, just as the ghastly lynching of Emmett Till provided a launching pad for the success of the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, and prove to be an intricate piece of evidence that proves that the Black American still has miles to go before we sleep in the bed of equality, societal acceptance, and civil rights. We must remember that Trayvon Martin, and all of the unnamed Blacks who have died behind racist intentions, did not die in vain. He died, involuntarily, for the ‘cause.’ His blood will scream out from that Floridian soil and protest against the demonic spirit of racism, discrimination, and prejudice. Though I am saddened at the death of this young man, who could be my son in 14 years, I have peace within my soul because I know that there is “wondrous working power…in the precious blood of the Lamb.”

10 comments:

Blame Girl said...

I was reflecting on the Treyvon Martin case, just a minute ago and considered the legacy he leaves. He will definitely leave a national legacy, we will have to address 1. States rights 2. Profiling 3. 2nd Amendment rights. The death has sparked national fury and grief. But brought a much needed discussion on several issues to the forefront. Good piece.

Brian said...

Well said my friend...

Dub said...

This article speaks to the masses and offers the point of view of all people that do nothing but care about their human counterparts. This crime is unspeakable and this culprit Zimmerman has not even offered an apology among his free state. He will burn for a sin that shows no repentence and will offer no justice among the Lord. Zimmerman you are a real devil. And the police department in Sanford should just be shut down b/c they offer no protection for the innocent.

Anonymous said...

We (or should I say 'y'all) speak so well of the dead! It is almost comical how y'all take the death of an innocent and kill him all over again by commencing with martyr-is tic rhetoric about how things are and have been for the American Negro for centuries and what needs/should be done to rectify this and other situations like this. All the talk is hallow for what y'all deem it is worth because nothing, absolutely nothing, is going to 1) bring the innocent back to life 2) ease the pain of his family 3) apply justice for the deed. When will y'all begin to learn that this is the way things are in America! It is not, I repeat...NOT, going to change no time soon. As witnessed time and time again, there is but one course of justice in the world and that is...a death for a death! Just as many could imagine that it could happen to their precious teenage child, I too can imagine it happening to my 17 year old son. One difference is that IF this was to happen to mine, I am fully prepared to seek vengeance and revenge upon whomever committed his murder/death. I have no qualms about this way of thinking, as I have read and witnessed the history of mistreatment of people of colour in this country and how we (or should I again say 'y'all) respond/react to it. I say, NOT ME! I will not roll over in the face of any indignity visited upon me or my family. And no I ain't waiting on no God or Gods to settle a situation that some evil human has created. I, too, have the capacity for evil in return for evil and I am not trying to see humanity prevail when it comes to righteousness.

So continue on with y'all's brand of humanity, keep supporting a society that cares not for people of colour or a culture of sheep. Keep on accepting second classed treatment from third rate "murderers" and above all keep praying/begging for mercy! In the meantime, y'all keep getting what y'all getting!

Gee Joyner said...

Why hide behind anonymity, Vengeance?

JWarren said...

By lifting up the story of Trayvon Martin's death, we say "We see what happened. You look, too." When we look, we cannot continue to be ostriches with our collective heads in the ground. If enough people shine the light on situations like these, which certainly are far too frequent, we hope to overbalance the oppressor, to tip the scales of justice in favor of the one made "other," the one dehumanized. We cannot dishonor this young man with further violence committed in his name, but we should be part of a redemption story.

Gee Joyner said...

Right on@JWarren.

shequita merritt said...

we must come together to ensure that this does not happen again. we must come together to see to it that Zimmerman pays fro what he has done because if we do not then we are saying that it is okay for our young men to be killed for no apparent reason. we will be saying that Zimmerman was right, AND we cannot let that happen.

Anonymous said...

Hate don't look good on you.

Joseph said...

His parents say that he was saved, and that good enough for God to bring him home. Here on earth we struggle to survive because the system is ran by people that is not interested in justice, only power at the expense of the powerless. There is a day coming where every knee will bow and every tongue will confess and Jesus' righteous judgement will pervail. Amen.