Soledad O'Brien Is Right: Trayvon Martin Is Today's Rosa Parks


soledad o'brienSoledad O'BrienLast night, CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien held a town hall-style show Beyond Trayvon: Race and Justice in America in which a wide-ranging group of people -- from professors to moms -- discussed the implications of the Trayvon Martin shooting and what it says about the state of racism in America.

After the show, O'Brien talked to reporters about her on take on the Martin case.

She said,

I actually get the sense that it's more like a Rosa Parks case [than other shootings have been]. There is this case that is so clearly defined in a lot of people's minds that it sets the bar for them ... people said, 'if this could happen to Rosa Parks, it could happen to anybody.'

And she's right.

Trayvon Martin did nothing wrong but walk down the street at night ... while black. George Zimmerman would like you to believe otherwise, but his claims of being in fear for his life and physically injured are become less credible by the second (that's if you ever believed him at all).

Zimmerman has yet to be arrested and Martin's parents are still grieving their dead teenage son and hoping justice will be done. But even if Zimmerman is arrested and tried, we'll never be able to rectify what happened that night unless we get to the core of the problem. Racism still exists in America, and it's much more rampant than any of us want to believe.

We've seen it rear its ugly head in the weeks since the shooting. Bloggers, the media, twitter-ers, have all been quick to jump on the "it's not racism" bandwagon. Spike Lee has been the recipient of oodles of racist tweets after his twitter snafu last week. Geraldo Rivera was lambasted for blaming Martin's hoodie. President Obama himself commented on the case.

Here's the thing: George Zimmerman probably didn't see Trayvon Martin walking down the street at night and think to himself, "Ooh, there's a black kid. I hate black people. I'm going to kill him." If he did, we can all agree that's all kinds of messed up. But it's unlikely (so let's give him the benefit of the doubt). More likely: He was suspicious. And then he acted in a way that totally crossed the line -- and for which he should be held culpable.

Let's get back to that suspicious part -- because it is very, very important. Why was he suspicious? By all accounts, Martin was doing absolutely nothing out of the ordinary (let's give him the benefit of the doubt too). So ask yourself this: If Trayvon Martin had been a white guy wearing a suit -- but otherwise behaving the same that evening -- would George Zimmerman still be walking around a free man?

Doubt it.

Even sadder, the 17-year-old would still be alive.

Zimmerman was suspicious because Martin was black. And that's why he's now making up all these lies about what really happened. Because he realizes it. He had no good reason to shoot the teenager. But he didn't act alone. Movies tell him to be suspicious of black people, our country's history tells him to be suspicious of black people, institutional discrimination and prejudice tells him to be suspicious of black people. Racism is still very much a part of America's DNA.

Rosa Parks was kicked out of her bus seat over 50 years ago and yes, America has made a lot of progress since then. But the Trayvon Martin case shows we've got a lot of work to do.

Do you think the Trayvon Martin case is about race?

media, racism, crime


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Torra... TorranceMom

Uhhhh . . . Soledad must be talking about another Rosa Parks because I see zero similarities between the two.

bills... billsfan1104

This is so getting out of hand. Trayvon is no where near Rosa Parks. Funny how this case has come to light because the family hasnt seen jsutice done, and between them and media and race pimps lile Sharpton and Jackson, they act like they are the only people on the world who hasnt had justice done.

Jewel... Jewell211


Rosa Parks, really?

Come on, your eyes!!

jasmi... jasmineg86

other than they both were doing tasks relatable to most (sitting on a bus and walking down the street), there really isnt a draw between the two cases. i guess a case could be made that they both were "straw that broke the camels back" moments for a population of disenfranchised people- but so was oj, and i so dont want to purposefully draw that parallel.

i can tell you without a shred of doubt- it is not the media blowing this up to be about race. anyone who interacts with minorities online will tell tumblr, twitter, facebook, etc were ablaze with outrage long before this story made national headlines. it became a story because of social networks and the people on them that are tired of being disposable and to blame in any case. something goes wrong- its the minorities fault- either in charges or bringing it on themselves. it happens over and over. to know this reality while hearing america is "post racial" is INFURIATING and this case is a huge deal as a result of these feelings.

as far as "they act like they are the only people on the world who hasnt had justice done", billsfan- ummmmm.... ANY injustice is unacceptable. are you seriously suggesting because its not the first, we should be quiet? how about NO.

bills... billsfan1104

Jasmine, not all. What I am saying is that they have acted like they are the only people who have never gotten justice for their family and they have also acted like it was just black people that this happened. Many.people of all races have suffered the same thing.

count... countrygirl670

billsfan-   Yes, many people of all races have "not gotten justice for their family."  And some of them quietly accept it.  And some of them (like Natalie Holloway's mother) take their concerns to the media.  Did you feel this way about Natalie Holloway's parents? How about Amanda Knox's parents?  Do you perceive something about these parents that makes them less deserving of having their son's killing adequately investigated?   Why don't you tell us why these people are not worthy of taking their concerns to the media, like many parents of other races and ethnic groups have done. You have an unsavory habit of bring race into areas where it isn't relevant...








count... countrygirl670


And for you to say "they have also acted like it was just black people that this happened [sic])" sounds frankly, ridiculous.  You're just race-baiting, pure and simple.  These people never implied or stated anything remotely suggesting that this situation has never happened to any other people but black people.  Perhaps you are reading something into their statements that isn't there due to some bias on your part?  Lastly, enough with the "race pimp" line.  I get it- you saw someone say it on Faux News, and it struck you as oh so clever.  But really, it just makes you sound like a conservative parrot, as it is clear from your limited grasp of the written language that you could never come up with such bon mots on your own.

Waltz... WaltzingMtilda

@ countrygirl "But really, it just makes you sound like a conservative parrot, as it is clear from your limited grasp of the written language that you could never come up with such bon mots on your own"

And there you have were making a nice counterpoint until you had to be insulting. Fine, you didn't like what billsfan had to say , so you had to call him(her?) stupid?

bills... billsfan1104

Country, i dont watch Foxnew, so thanks for assuming. I have called them piverty and race pimps for the lingest time.

Trayvons family, the new Blank Panthers and so forth all made this about race. Not me. I get why they are seeking justice, but they are not foing it in a positive manner. They are race baiting and making this all about race and we do not know the facts yet.

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