*Kyle Rittenhouse and Trayvon Martin were both the same age-17 years old. They both had some dings on their record. They both wound up in a much-watched courtroom drama. There are of course a couple of differences. Martin was Black and slain. His killer, George Zimmerman, was arrested, tried, and acquitted. Rittenhouse is white.
Like Zimmerman, he was arrested for murder, and tried, but with much debate about whether a jury would convict him on anything. The bigger story is not just the much-debated alleged racial double standard in the pronounced stretch over backward judicial and legal tilt toward Rittenhouse. It’s how martin and Rittenhouse have been perceived and depicted by much of the media and the public.
With Martin, there was the non-stop barrage of veiled and not so veiled hints, innuendoes, digs, and crass, snide, accusing comments, remarks, slander, and outright lies about Martin’s alleged bad background. Here were a few of the choice shots taken at Martin in the wake of the killing. He had gold teeth. There were alleged Facebook defiant shots of him giving gang signs and flipping off. He was much bigger (and more menacing) than the stock angelic pictures of him. He had “nonviolent behavioral issues in school” and he was suspended for ten days, and his suspension may have been due to violence. He had tons of unexcused absences. He listened to rap and endlessly texted and talked on his cell phone.
Then the professional baiters and bashers took over. Fox Networks Gerald Rivera slurred that his Hoodie got him killed. TV and radio talker Glenn Beck branded him possibly a dangerous troublemaker. Just as predictably, then-President Obama’s sensitive and thoughtful statement of concern about Martin stirred a fresh round of Martin (and Obama) bashing up to and including GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich. He accused the president of stirring up the racial pot by speaking out.
The savage assault on Martin had two aims. One was to deconstruct him as supposedly not the innocent choir boy the press depicts him. The even more devious and insidious aim was to exonerate Zimmerman for the murder. If enough filth could be tossed at Martin to cast doubt and suspicion about his character and motives, then maybe Zimmerman had probable cause to kill.
With Rittenhouse, it was a far different story. I was struck repeatedly by how many times the word “kid” was used within and without the media to describe him. Here’s a guy who packed an assault weapon, traveled to another state, and then gunned down two men and wounded another. Kid? At no point during the Martin drama did I ever read or hear any commentator routinely describe Martin as a “kid.”
This essay/article by Earl Ofari Hutchinson continues HERE.