In a piece for the Daily Beast, William Jelani Cobb laments that the arrest for Trayvon Martin's killing took 46 days and came only after a public uproar.
A Gallup poll last week highlighted the sad but predicable racial divide in perceptions of the Martin case. Seventy-two percent of blacks felt that race was a factor in what transpired that night in February, while just 31 percent of non-blacks agreed with that sentiment. But to the extent that those numbers reflect something beyond a cause for pessimism, they show our different understanding of history. For many whites, the Martin case is a sad but isolated incident; for blacks, it is part of a matrix of suffering that stretches back to the days when black men were hung in public for sport. This is a divide between those who feel that the past is best left in the past and those who know that history is interred in the shallowest of graves.
Three weeks ago I started a daily ritual, tweeting the date and the number of days that had elapsed since the death of Trayvon Martin without an arrest. It was meant to be a small effort to ensure that the case remained at the forefront of our minds. The tweets elicited statements of despair, solidarity, frustration, and more than a few racist tirades. Thursday will be the first morning that I do not begin my day by pointing out that the accused killer remains at large. I would like to say it’s a relief. But all I can think is that it’s pathetic it ever had to be done in the first place.
Read William Jelani Cobb's entire piece at the Daily Beast.