George Zimmerman hasn't yet been convicted in the killing of teen Trayvon Martin. In fact, based on evidence recently released during the discovery process of the trial, it's not even clear whether Zimmerman or Martin threw the first punch, or whether Zimmerman's actions were motivated by self-defense.
But that isn't stopping Malcolm X High School from naming a day -- today -- "Trayvon Martin day," which is devoted to educating students about bullying, social injustice and general safety. And if the teacher quoted in the video report from Washington's ABC7 below is any guide, the fact that this name more or less assumes (unfairly) that Trayvon Martin was slain out of racial animus isn't causing these educators any discomfort at all.
"I don't think it's important for them to comprehend both sides," says Jay Harrison-Coleman, the principle of Malcolm X Elementary, in the video.
To that end, the teachers are really pushing the students to identify with Martin -- something they apparently believe those students already do, despite being quite young to follow the news. And then there's this dubious quote:
"The children at Malcolm X know the name Trayvon Martin," Coleman said. "They know the incident. They know because of what they see in the news and what they experience every day."
The news part makes sense, but "what they experience every day?" One could be forgiven for thinking Coleman is suggesting these students feel as though their lives are in constant danger. And if that's the case, then a day focused on safety probably is a good idea, but why associate it with an unresolved case? Why not call it Medgar Evers day, or an MLK seminar, or perhaps even (to use the school's name, and also address the issue of black on black crime) Malcolm X day? After all, as the Blaze reported in April:
Black-on-black crime is a sensitive subject in this increasingly polarized nation. While covered in academia and occasionally addressed by talking heads on television, some believe it rarely, if ever, receives the type and depth of attention it deserves. Instead, critics argue that this national tragedy is usually swept under the rug by powerful interest groups and individuals more concerned with elevating their own racially-driven agendas than addressing the real issues at hand. The Trayvon Martin case is only the most recent example of this grim hypocrisy.
Indeed, statistics support a very different narrative than the one usually offered by “race hustlers,” as Pastor C.L. Bryant calls them, who routinely portray an America where members of the black community are selectively targeted and brutalized by white racists.
A 2007 special report released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, reveals that approximately 8,000 — and, in certain years, as many as 9,000 African Americans are murdered annually in the United States. This chilling figure is accompanied by another equally sobering fact, that 93% of these murders are in fact perpetrated by other blacks. The analysis, supported by FBI records, finds that in 2005 alone, for example, African Americans accounted for 49% of all homicide victims in the US — again, almost exclusively at the hands of other African Americans.
More to the point, if these students follow the news regarding Martin so obsessively, wouldn't the message be confused in the event that Zimmerman is found not guilty? Especially considering measures like this:
Coleman said that every adult who attended the seminar would receive an Arizona Iced Tea and each student would get a bag of Skittles.
The staff here hopes this day makes the students at Malcolm X understand that someone always cares. Coleman specifically is calling on more parents to volunteer and get involved.
"We want to send a message to stop the bullying and bring about a happy spirit," Coleman said. "A sense of bonding within the community and within the school.
"I think it's important for them to understand that life is precious."
That last part can be agreed to by anyone. However, the method of making that message known is, in this case, highly questionable.