By Ayman El-Sayed
As a father of two sons I was immediately shocked and saddened to hear about the murder of Trayvon Martin. He was a 17 year old kid who was walking home from his local grocery store when a wanna-be cop shot him to death. The killer George Zimmerman said Trayvon looked suspicious to him and called the cops to report him. The cops told him to wait but he attacked Trayvon instead and shot him twice. Trayvon did nothing wrong, was unarmed and was on the phone with his friend when he told her a man was watching and following him. What makes this tragedy even more disturbing is that this man has not been arrested or charged with the crime.
What we can gather from the information we have on this murder, George Zimmerman racially profiled Trayvon and made assumptions about the young man based on his background. This is something as a father of two Arab and Muslim boys I fear may happen when they become teens and young adults. When someone judges you based on your skin color, religion or background it can lead to dangerous consequences as we have witnessed with Trayvon Martin.
Too many stories have been on the news lately of police racial profiling Black and Latino communities with “Stop & Frisk” as well as profiling and spying on Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities. Profiling deems your identity suspicious and therefore you are suspicious whether or not you have committed a crime.
I fear that my young boys will be profiled and harassed simply for having Arab names and for identifying as Muslims. What if a cop or some armed individual makes certain assumptions about them and confronts them. When you are judged and profiled by someone because of your background you are automatically guilty in their eyes and turned into a criminal even though you were just minding your business and walking home like Trayvon Martin was.
Trayvon Martin’s skin color clearly played a role in his murder as well as in most cases that are similar to his. Even though you can be profiled for many different reasons the fact remains that if you are black or dark skinned the more chances people will profile you and question you and your intentions.
Police departments throughout the US have tried to justify the use of racial profiling and have relayed the message to our society that it is alright to racially and religiously profile Americans who are not white and who have the wrong religion or skin color according to them.
By not jailing George Zimmerman and cops who have done the same things we are being told a child’s life is worth less if they are African, Arab, Asian, Latino, Muslim, etc.
In order to prevent another young man from getting killed like this we have to stand up and speak out against profiling of people in general. It should not be tolerated and should be considered a crime itself. Our law enforcement agencies need to stop this racist and dangerous practice at once.
From one parent to another I stand in support and solidarity with the family of Trayvon Martin in their tragic loss. I hope they get the justice they deserve and will play whatever part that I can to help them get that justice and to bring awareness on profiling. The worst news to ever receive as a parent is that your child has been killed.
Please help the Martin family by signing the petition to prosecute the killer of their son: http://www.change.org/