was once told that the decision-makers of our society often hope the public will lose interest in important issues before they are forced to do anything about them.

The devaluation of black life in the U.S. is an issue that is important to many Americans. People of color empathize with the victims of racism and their families. Our white allies see the injustices and stand beside us, hoping to help in our efforts to bring about meaningful change.

Trayvon Martin was a household name for a long time following his murder in 2012 at the hands of George Zimmerman. The public was enraged at Zimmerman’s acquittal in 2013, and Florida’s Stand Your Ground law faced scrutiny as Martin remained a household name for weeks. It wasn’t long, though, before Martin’s name got lost in the shuffle.

People returned to their ordinary lives: class, work, civic organizations or family; all institutions more familiar and salient to them than the devaluation of black life in America. The fire that had so passionately burned for social justice is reduced to embers unless a new incident becomes a prodder and pokes at the coals.

So many high-profile examples of racism and discrimination have taken place in just the last few months.

The shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, was the catalyst for new conversations about racism and violence in America. People compared the case to the Martin shooting in its demonstration of the utter lack of respect for the lives of young black men.

Allies in the U.S. and around the world used social media platforms to voice their support for Brown, his family and the struggle of African-Americans for justice and equality.

The public outcry against racial profiling and suppression of the media by law enforcement made national headlines. People were vocally and visibly angry with the system.

Another African-American male, John Crawford, was recently killed while holding a toy rifle in an Ohio Wal-Mart. Ohio is a permissive open-carry state, so it would have been completely in Crawford’s rights to carry an actual gun if he had proper licensing and chose to do so. People were enraged when Crawford’s right to bear arms and his right to life were both ignored when a 911 caller falsely perceived Crawford as a threat for his possession of a BB gun.

Most recently, Darrien Hunt was killed by police officers in Utah after 911 callers described him as “suspicious” for doing nothing more than walking by their businesses on a Wednesday morning.  Police shot him for brandishing what they called a sword, which his mother described as a harmless toy souvenir. Hunt’s mom, who is white, is certain that she knows why her son is dead, saying, “They killed my son because he’s black. No white boy with a little sword would they shoot while he’s running away.” 

It’s easy to be angry when stories like these are in the headlines, and this anger is important. Without it, there will never be the groundswell of public support needed to enact substantive social and political change.

However, social and racial injustice exists throughout America and manifests itself on a daily basis. To change this cycle of injustice, we must remain angry and insistent that racism in America is brought to an end.

The morning my parents left after settling me into my residence hall room for my first year at UF, I remember the warning my dad gave me. He told me to be careful and to always remember that there were things other people could get away with that I couldn’t because I am black. 

That made me very angry.

Ferguson is no longer a trending topic, and the anger that Michael Brown’s shooting caused has begun to fade from the public consciousness.

Our inability to remain continuously angry about these issues is a major obstacle toward the change sought by advocates for social and racial justice.

TehQuin Forbes is a UF sociology junior. His columns appear on Mondays.

[A version of this story ran on page 6 on 9/15/2014 under the headline "Social justice requires continuous anger"]

(4) comments


Power concedes nothing and we have only choice to stand up and demand our equal rights and respect. We have seen this justice system since MLK and the so called black leaders sharpton jackson and I could go on and on they are seen by the younger generation as sell outs to this system.Now lets look at the school system difference. public schools in poorer communities. School sack lunch consist of peanut butter and jelly sandwich fruit milk. schools not in poorer communities. plate lunches consisting of full coarse meals smoke from your plate just going straight up in your nose. Poorer communities learning equipment old books with some having pages torn out of them. non poorer schools computer labs make up the classroom. Now you take a child of the same age starting their education under these two contrast environment. Is this equality. In a society which at one time was held up to be the beacon of Light to the world. We are in a position where there is more diversity here And we can all recognize That we can complete being that beacon of Light that the world look to us for but we must first look at each other with respect and equality we don't have to always agree but as long as we respect our diversity is our strength because of the contrast as long as the contrast consist of equality which brings balance which brings harmony which brings peace.
Now as long as those who want to live in total division then know this much you are the ones that bring the unbalance of negativity to the point you are the destroyers of the earth.
And down in the heart of hearts of us all we want the same thing.
Justice=Peace Abundance and Happiness for All
And this is not black versus white this is rich versus poor


>Trayvon Martin was a household name for a long time following his murder
Hey, moron. The definition of "murder" is "the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another". The shooting of Trayvon Martin was not unlawful, nor was it premeditated - therefore, it wasn't murder. You can't just change the definitions of words to fit your narrative.

>The public was enraged at Zimmerman’s acquittal in 2013
No they weren't. 48% agreed with the verdict vs. 34% disagreeing. (http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/july_2013/48_agree_with_zimmerman_verdict_34_disagree) You can't just say stuff if you don't have the empirical data to back it up.

>Florida’s Stand Your Ground law faced scrutiny
No it didn't. Stand Your Ground had nothing to do with the Zimmerman case, since neither the prosecution nor the defense claimed it. If someone is bashing your head into the concrete, you're allowed to shoot them, no matter what state you're in.

>Ferguson is no longer a trending topic
Yeah, and rightly so. Because people realized that Michael Brown was a thug who robbed a store, assaulted the store owner, and attacked a police officer in a span of 15 minutes. The "racism" angle always evaporates from these stories once the true facts come out.

By the way, where's your article about De'Marquise Elkins, who MURDERED (correct use of the word) a white baby last year in Georgia? Oh, you only care when it happens to black people? You are such a racist moron.

Jeremiah Tattersall
Jeremiah Tattersall

>Murder, is unlawful and the judicial system acquitted him of murder. TehQuin clearly isn't talking about the legal jargon of murder but how he, and many others, feel about the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

>There's more to empirical data than plucking numbers haphazardly to support your preconceived notions.

>SYG played a roll in jury instructions.

>Michael Brown was not a thug, the video did not show that, and your usage of racially coded language is telling.

>De'Marquise Elkins is going to die in prison for his heinous act. Was it racially motivated? You're grasping at straws to prove a null hypothesis.


>TehQuin clearly isn't talking about the legal jargon of murder but how he, and many others, feel about the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
Crack open a dictionary and look up the meaning of "murder". The correct definition is not "legal jargon" - it is never appropriate to use the word unless someone has been convicted of it. You don't get to change the definitions of words to support your preconceived notions.

>40% think Zimmerman's shooting of Martin wasn't justified, 26% think it was
That's a different question. TehQuin specifically says that "the public was enraged at Zimmerman’s acquittal", which my data shows that they weren't. Your data asks the question "Should the shooting have happened?" which is different from "Now that the shooting already happened, did the jury make the right choice?" While the majority of the public does answer "no" to your question, they answer "yes" to mine.

>SYG played a roll in jury instructions.
Prior to the passage of Florida's stand your ground law, the standard jury instructions from the judge would have included a statement that a person had a duty to attempt to retreat using "every reasonable means" before using deadly force. Since Zimmerman's head was being bashed into the concrete, he had no reasonable means, which is why Zimmerman's defense team ultimately did not seek a pretrial hearing for immunity from prosecution based on the stand your ground law.

>Michael Brown was not a thug, the video did not show that
How did it not show that? The video clearly shows him walking out of the convenience store and shoving the clerk out of his way multiple times, despite the clerk's protests.

>Your usage of racially coded language is telling.
Racially coded language? If you're talking about the word "thug", crack open a dictionary. The definition is "a violent person, especially a criminal". Again, crack open a dictionary. If there's nothing about race under the definition of a certain word, that word has zero to do with race.

>De'Marquise Elkins is going to die in prison for his heinous act. Was it racially motivated?
I'm going to go with no, since there's no evidence of that being the case, just like there's no evidence of Zimmerman or the Ferguson cop having racial motivations. However, TehQuin only talking about blacks getting killed, and not whites, is definitely racially motivated.

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