Beating Up White People Won't Bring Trayvon Martin Back

Alton Hayes III
In the grand tradition of an eye for an eye, an 18-year-old black man is being charged with a hate crime after he allegedly attacked a white guy in a Chicago suburb, supposedly because he was angry about the Trayvon Martin case. Police say Alton Hayes III ran up on his victim, who is 19, threatened him with a tree branch, and demanded “empty your pockets, white boy” before rifling through his belongings. He and his accomplice—he managed to lure a 15-year-old juvenile into this foolishness—then tossed the poor dude to the ground and punched him in the head and back. Hayes chose his assaultee at random, he said, simply because the man was white and oh, because Hayes is upset about Trayvon’s death.


I wish you could see my expression. Imagine, if you can, my face balled up in “get the heck outta here” merged with a little “you big dummy” with just a twist of “this is the lamest reason ever to ruin your life.” That would probably sum it. 

Now, all of the sudden, everybody wants to be a vigilante for some reason or another. This is no better than George Zimmerman. Worse, actually. At least Zimmerman was a neighborhood watchman. This dude is just an aspiring thug and is clearly the keeper of the non-existent Physical Beatdown Committee on Neanderthal Behavior for Justice and Equality. Arbitrarily beating up on white people does not suffice as a response to Trayvon's Martin’s murder. It does nothing to rectify the racial tension pigeonholing the nation, that’s for sure. It doesn’t honor or respect the legacy of Trayvon or his family. And it doesn’t make his own people—who he ultimately was supposed to be representing, since he made this a black vs. white thing—proud or the least bit impressed.

We have to come up with more constructive ways to vocalize and express our frustrations than with our fists, hands, cars, firearms—whatever. And that’s just not in this case, but across the board. At least we can breathe a sigh of relief that he didn’t shoot the man. Not to suggest that all young, black men are toting guns, of course. (Don’t even try it.) But this is 2012 and just about anybody setting out to commit random acts of violence, whether they’re white, black, or Cambodian, are usually strapped. I wouldn’t be surprised if Amish folks are packin’ heat these days.

More from The Stir: George Zimmerman Deserved Charge of 2nd-Degree Murder (VIDEO)

Because of the lack of game plan and the amateur nature of the crime, I do believe the attack was spontaneous and intended to scare the victim more than actually harm him. Yet I’m not convinced this was even a futile and clumsy attempt at righting a wrong so much as it was a reason to shake down some innocent bystander for his pocket change at 1:00 in the morning.

Theories don’t matter. Now he’s charged with attempted robbery, aggravated battery, and of course, the hate crime, all felony offenses, and seeing as though he’s 18 and an official adult—and oh yeah, just another young, black man entangled in the criminal justice system—his impulsive decision was a really, really, really thoughtless move. It’s certainly not what Trayvon would’ve wanted for a fellow black teenager.

Do you think there will be more outbreaks of racially charged violence as the case progresses?  

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