The Value of a Black Life

Since the news of his tragic death, the media has been trying to dive into the life of teenager Trayvon Martin. Who was he? What type of person was he? What kind of life did he live? Now, some might view these questions merely as digging deeper into the world of a young man whose life was taken far too soon. However, I am too much of a realist, and a society analyzer to even allow myself to be fooled into believing that the media has completely altruistic intentions behind their crusade into their interest into the life of the slain teen. As cynical as it may sound, I believe that much of the reason behind the recent news coverage on Martin’s life and past run ins with authority figures is to reinforce negative propaganda against Blacks, to throw dirt on the teen and to reinforce the age old adage that “that Black guy had it coming”.

An example of some of his past transgressions which have been dug up are that Martin was suspended from school last month for having a baggie in his book bag that contained marijuana residue. There apparently was no actual marijuana found. Then there is the report that Martin was suspended two other times from school. The first time was for missing school or being tardy. In October, Martin was suspended with friends for writing “W.T.F.” on a hallway locker, according to a school report obtained by the Herald. A security guard looking through his backpack for the graffiti marker and instead found women’s rings and earrings and a screwdriver, described by the staffer as a “burglary tool.”

While these may sound like small offenses of the average rebellious teenager to some, to the less forgiving, these are clear signs that this boy was a hoodlum who was headed down the wrong road in life and although no one necessarily wanted him to be killed, perhaps in some capacity he deserved to die. He deserved to die not only because he committed these acts but because he just so happened to be a Black male, which ratcheted the severity of the crimes to fatal repercussions. I ask you why is Black life so easily disposable at the slightest offense and how much longer must we be judged so harshly?

We have a right to know more about who we are mourning some might say. Why shouldn’t we know about the real person? Why should his life be glossed over with a wand of perfection free of any transgressions? I absolutely agree with this. The public does have a right to know more about the young man that they are mourning. My only issue with this is the root of this curiosity and for it to not be done at the expense of belittling the value of his life.

The media is not digging up these incidents as a window into this young man’s life out of sheer interest. They are doing so to smear his name. There is an agenda behind their curiosity and it does not benefit the late teen or his family. The agenda is to perpetuate the idea that because he was not a perfect teenager he was a stain on society’s otherwise clean slate and we are better off without him. As if to say “See, look at all of the very bad things he did. Look at the path he was on. His death is justified as he was a troublemaker.”

I say these things not to promote that this child was an image of teenage perfection or that he was not a work in progress. I write this to remind everyone who reads articles about this young boy’s life that paint him as a thug that there is an angle behind every venomous word that is said about him. Every inch of dirt that is dug up about his life is a component of an even more dynamic task. I ask that you are not naive enough to believe that the reports are coming from a genuine interest in this child’s life and I implore you to look at the bigger picture here. Trayvon Martin’s behavior was no worse than that of a White teenage boy living in the suburbs. However, the White teen runs less of a risk of being killed because of the color of his skin. Therefore his childhood antics will not make world news coverage.

How soon we forget that there are forces in this world who do not see the value in a Black person’s life. Who would much rather save or protect the life of a dog than that of a person of color. Who see Black people as literal menaces to society needing to be rinsed away. Those who see the death of Trayvon Martin as one to celebrate with no questions asked. Yes people, we are in a deplorable state in our society as the only way it seems that a Black person who is a victim of any crime can receive genuine sympathy, much less positive coverage from the mainstream media is if they have a squeaky clean record in life. If a Black victim had too many tickets for jay-walking then he somehow deserved to lose his life. Remorse for people of color is only given to those who are free of any major or minor offenses. Yet still remains unbelievably impossible to truly attain. Forgiveness is given sparingly.

La’Juanda “LJ” Knight
“If You Don’t Say It, I Will”


  1. Regardless if this latest info about this young man’s past was added, the end result or silent thoughts of many would be the same. The other week or so it was Kony 2012. Some people are delighting that so many became involved and other aspects of the story were presented. What’s important is that people are taking a stand and unifying on this case! I am so proud of how our young people, college students are protesting various causes after being horrifically dumbed down! Many people will still read between the lines or lies. Just like Trayvon’s murderer attacked a police officer and there were previous complaints from his gated community about him being too aggressive. It’s just like when Bill Cosby’s son was killed, it can happen to anyone’s child and this is what is at the heart of this story and THEY know it!

    The evening news don’t report about crime in upscale to middle-class white neighborhoods and the burbs, or the current rise in heroin and other drug addictions or that burglaries are commonplace, especially, nice white hoods. No one talks about how white people deal with their rebellious teens. How they’re housed in residential treatment programs that their insurance often pays for or even public assistance. We don’t have privy to their world and the SAFETY NETS why we look so out of control. The kinds of programs they have for their teenage moms, I’ve seen them firsthand and they’re amazing safety nets! Charges are dropped because they want a stupid kid to have a chance at life. While we quickly become three time losers.

    But, fortunately, this case is about racial profiling and regardless of anything, the murderer should not have gotten out of his car and followed this young man and waited for the police to come.

    What happens to us usually has a way of eventually happening to them. Job loss, unemployment, lack of opportunity, hopelessness even after really trying and doing the right things (company loyalty, devoted and fully vested blue collar workers, college degrees, good credit, marriage, parental involvement, etc.)…sounds familiar, right, now law school grads pass the bar and work at bars! School teachers can’t get jobs.

    “What goes around comes around!”

  2. I glad you brought up the fact that they (white people) make sure there kids are protected from stupid mistakes, example here in New York last year these white college students were caught selling drugs out of their dorm to police officers. Guess how much time they receive, ZERO!and it won’t appear on the record so later on in life it will not prevent them from getting a job. Guys we r talking about a felony. White man’s justice Black man’s Grief.

  3. There is no value on a black life even when being murdered by a white criminal. When you can kill a black child and tell the police “self defense” and simply walk away without so much as spending one night in jail that says a lot about the value of a black life. That animal hunted Trayvon down like a dog and and has the nerve to claim he he was defending himself. I hoped jusice will be served.

  4. The question is what value do we put on black life. When we can sit here and watch time after time on the news and even the stories that don’t make the news of young black men killing one another and all we can say is that doesn’t even make any sense. But these white guy and it is wrong kills a young black man and we shut the media down.

    Where is our protest in our own communities. Why don’t we show are own youth that there is value in their lives. Where are the men in our commuities. If this young man was killed by another black man none of this would have even taken place. So what happens next do we go back and bury our heads in the sand and act like nothing is going on in our communties or do we actually get involved.

    I can’t understand why black on black crime does not enrange us but as soon as it’s a white on black then we are all up in arms.

  5. Race still matters. Diversity does not work. The more things changed……

  6. regardless of what is going on, God will give Trayvon and every black male like emmitt till and others who were slaughtered mercilessly by those who became judge jury and executioner. Well written article and i encourage you to continue spreading the truth behind the media’s shenanigans. God will uproot the unrighteous because it is not just to keep those suffering at the hands of a group of people who have gotten away with murder for too long. And Denise i agree, the more things change, the more they become the same.

  7. Extra judicial killing has been a well documented case of abuse of power by law enforcers to brutalize innocent people.
    Everyone should be held responsible for whatever action they take regardless of their position or line of duty!

  8. I completely agree with all of this. My heart breaks for his mother. This poor child was a clear victim of racial profiling and it’s sad that such crimes are still commited today. Then they want to bring out Zimmerman’s so-called “black” friends who are trying to beat it into our heads that he is not racist and that he “feels bad, and is now scared for his life”. Good damnit you need to be in fear of losing your life everyday until you are finally dead. That child plenty of life ahead of him and you took it away because you are an ignorant racist b@stard. I will not feel sorry for that fat bigot, he deserves punishment to the fullest extent of the law!

  9. George Zimmerman MURDERED this young man regardless of what he has done in his life.

    Please SIGN the Petition at

    Zimmerman was told not to follow Trayvon and he disobeyed that directive. Zimmerman claimed Trayvon attacked him and broke his nose and had him bleeding from the back of the head. They have no pictures of these Alleged bruises, the Police said they didn’t take any pictures and his so called “Bloody shirt” which he said came from Trayvon breaking his nose is NOWHERE to be found.

    This whole situation and how it is being dealt with and the fact that Zimmerman is still on the Streets is Sickening.

    Please Sign the Petition at

  10. “Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.”
    Malcom X

    “I believe in the brotherhood of man, all men, but I don’t believe in brotherhood with anybody who doesn’t want brotherhood with me. I believe in treating people right, but I’m not going to waste my time trying to treat somebody right who doesn’t know how to return the treatment.”
    Malcom X

    “I don’t mean to go out and get violent, but at the same time you should never be nonviolent unless you run into some nonviolence. I’m nonviolent with those who are nonviolent with me. But when you drop that violence on me, then you’ve made me go insane, and I’m not responsible for what I do.”
    Malcom X

    “We declare our rights on this earth… to be a human being, to be respected to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.”
    Malcom X

    “I am not a racist. I am against every form of racism and segregation, every form of discrimination. I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of their color.”
    Malcom X

    “When a person places the proper value on freedom, there is nothing under the sun that he will not do to acquire that freedom. Whenever you hear a man saying he wants freedom, but in the next breath he is going to tell you what he won’t do to get it, or what he doesn’t believe in doing in order to get it, he doesn’t believe in freedom. A man who believes in freedom will do anything under the sun to acquire… or preserve his freedom.”
    Malcom X

    “You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one is at peace unless he has freedom.”
    Malcom X

    “Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.”
    Malcom X

    “Power in defence of freedom is greater than power in behalf o tyranny and oppression.”
    Malcom X

  11. Even IF Trayvon whooped his a$$ he deserved it. In orded for Trayvon to do all of that Zimmerman had to have put the car in park, turn off the car and get out and come within arms length of him after being told to back off. Then to call him a f@ck°ng coon was uncalled for. I’m from NY and if some punk was following me and then got out his car and began to step to me. He would be lucky just to get a punch in his face. If anything, Trayvon

  12. Even IF Trayvon whooped his a$$ he deserved it. In orded for Trayvon to do all of that Zimmerman had to have put the car in park, turn off the car and get out and come within arms length of him after being told to back off. Then to call him a f@ck°ng coon was uncalled for. I’m from NY and if some punk was following me and then got out his car and began to step to me. He would be lucky just to get a punch in his face. If anything, Trayvon was defending himself. His a$$ should be in jail and race is the main issue.

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