Jesse Jackson Calls For UN to Investigate America
Jesse Jackson called on the United Nations to investigate America following the George Zimmerman verdict.
From Jesse’s column at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
If Trayvon Martin were not a young black male, he would be alive today. Despite the verdict, it’s clear that George Zimmerman would never have confronted a young white man wearing a hoodie. He would, at the very least, have listened to the cops and stayed back. Trayvon Martin is dead because Zimmerman believed that “these guys always get away” and chose not to wait for the police.
Trayvon Martin’s death shatters the convenient myths that blind us to reality. That reality, as the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board wrote, is that “black men carry a special burden from the day they are born.”
Both the prosecutor and the defense claimed that the trial was not about race. But Trayvon Martin was assumed to be threatening just for walking while being young, black and male.
That is the reality that can no longer be ignored. Through the years, gruesome horrors — the murder of Emmitt Till, the shooting of Medgar Evers in his front yard — have galvanized African Americans and public action on civil rights. Trayvon Martin’s death should do the same.
What it dramatizes is what Michelle Alexander calls “the New Jim Crow.” Segregation is illegal; scurrilous racism unacceptable. But mass incarceration and a racially biased criminal justice system have served many of the same functions. Since 1970, we’ve witnessed a 600 percent increase in the number of people behind bars, overwhelmingly due to the war on drugs. Those imprisoned are disproportionately African Americans. The U.S. now imprisons a greater percentage of its black population than South Africa did at the height of apartheid…
…There are three possible reactions to this reality. African Americans can adjust to it, teaching their children how to survive against the odds. We can resent it, seething in suppressed fury until we can’t stand it anymore. Or we can resist, assert our rights to equal protection under the laws, and challenge openly the new reality.
We need a national investigation of the racial context that led to Trayvon Martin’s slaying. Congress must act. And it’s time to call on the United Nations Human Rights Commission for an in-depth investigation of whether the U.S. is upholding its obligations under international human rights laws and treaties. Trayvon Martin’s death demands much more than a jury’s verdict on George Zimmerman. It calls for us to hear the evidence and render a verdict on the racial reality that never had its day in court at the trial.