Site Meter

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Trayvon Martin and a 1973 "Fable"

So, been over a year since I posted--naughty boy. With Trayvon Martin case in the news so much of late, thought it appropriate to republish an excerpt from and summary of "A Fable" by Larry Darby, originally appearing in the 1973 edition (vol. no. 3) of an annual called The Black Position, ed. by none other than Gwendolyn Brooks. Here it goes: "Once there was a black cat who ventured out of his part of the jungle. While gazing about the streets of the outer jungle, he was spotted by two pigs. Said one pig to the other,... 'What's he doing around here?' 'Must be looking for trouble' responded the other. 'Let's check him out.'" So far, a familiar scenario, played out thousands of times every day throughout the U.S. for decades on end. Even the dialogue fits George Zimmerman if you make it his interior dialogue (or his 911 call). The two pigs go on to ask the black cat "What you doing around here?" and accuse him of "looking for trouble." The black cat defends his freedom to travel where he chooses, and asks to be treated with respect. The pigs take this as confirmation that he's a troublemaker, and eventually attack the black cat with clubs. Though Darby's "fable" ends differently than the Martin saga, its reference to the survival instinct might well describe what caused Martin to act as he did when feeling understandably under immediate threat of bodily harm. Sadly, when it turned into a gunfight, he had none. The moral for today as I see it: 1) As the Preacher in Ecclesiastes says, "There is nothing new under the sun." 2) When black people "stand their ground," their resulting death is viewed as justified and in a twisted logic, the nonblack who found the black person's presence suspect and went looking for trouble is granted the right to "stand his ground" when threatened. Go figure.

No comments: