By: Gennie DePass

In his 1903 book The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. DuBois stated, “the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line”. It is now 2012 and over a century after DuBois’ famous remark. However, our society still is filled with a tremendous amount of racial tension. These tensions have elevated recently, due to the murder of Trayvon Martin, 17 of Sanford, Fla.

Martin was returning home from a quick trip to the corner store when he noticed he was being followed by someone and mentioned it to his girlfriend, whom he was talking to on the phone at the time.

The person that was following him was George Zimmerman, 28 of the same town as Martin. Zimmerman the local neighborhood watch captain was patrolling the neighborhood and called the police when he saw Martin. It is documented that Zimmerman claimed Martin looked suspicious and was possibly drunk or high. Police told him not to follow Martin, however Zimmerman disobeyed and ended up confronting Martin and eventually shot him dead.

When interviewed, Zimmerman claimed there was a struggle and that he shot in self-defense. However, Martin was unarmed and 911 tapes reveal that he was screaming for help and pleading for his life.

Racial stereotypes are still widely present in our society today and the story of Trayvon Martin personifies this. Martin was unarmed when police officers searched his lifeless body. His pockets only contained a bag a skittles and an ice tea, which he had just purchased at the store. Martin is not the only young black man out at night to be considered up to no good. The same story can be said of Sean Bell and countless other black men that are the victims of racial stereotyping.

Black leaders, such as Reverend Al Sharpton are continuing to fight against the racial injustices in our society. Sharpton publicized the death of Martin on his show and is one of the many big names advocating for the incarceration of his alleged killer. Sharpton is even going as far as travelling to Sanford to ensure justice is served.

A rally has been organized in order to unite people together and get out Trayvon’s story, which unfortunately is the same story shared by so many nameless black men in America.