A Rude Awakening

Note: Before reading, know that this article is not a question of ethnicity, age, or any other demographics. It’s a question of respect. I am NOT here to point fingers, to make my case, to voice my verdict of innocent and guilty. What I am here for is to have a conversation on OUR reaction.    

With the close of the Zimmerman Trial, many people are jumping to their own conclusions about justice, sentences, and motivations. To make it simple, here is what I have discovered from the case itself:

All we have here are two angry, lost, and confused people. Trayvon Martin, age 17, and George Zimmerman, age 29. No one is truly sure what happened in Florida the night of February 26th, 2012. But what we are sure of is that someone has tried to exploit it and make a profit. And we see that in the creation of the Angry Trayvon App.

The developers of Trade Digital, Inc., created the above named game, in which a teen in a hoodie takes his baseball bat across the country and violently attacks people out on the street. Under the description of the game, it stated:

“Trayvon is angry and nobody can stop him from completing his world tour of revenge on the bad guys who terrorize cities everyday. Use a variety of weapons to demolish Trayvon’s attackers in various cities around the world. If you want to dominate the leaderboards across the world, then make sure you collect the money the bad guys will drop once you kill them.”

Why does it always seem that people are able and willing to profit out of misery, suffering, and despair? Instead of putting the pieces back together, companies and developers are further ripping them apart by exploiting these tensions. Even within our smartphones, the festering wounds of pain continue to be wretched open by those operating seemingly outside of our morality.

Fortunately, there are enough people out there to see through the lies and the exploitation of Trayvon Martin. On Change.org, a petition was created for the removal of the Angry Trayvon App with the following statement:

“This application unnecessarily promotes violence and exploits the unfortunate death of Trayvon Martin. The death of this young man is NOT A GAME.  This developer is using the Google Marketplace to exploit the death of an unarmed teen for profit while simultaneously promoting violence.  Given the unfair depiction of a deceased minor who perished as a result of gun violence, we are asking that this application be moved from the Google Play marketplace immediately.”  

And yes, a small victory was earned when Angry Trayvon was removed from the Google Play Marketplace, showing that we, the people, can create change in the world. But this profiteering does not limit itself to the affairs of the Zimmerman Trial.

In this week’s edition of Rolling Stone Magazine, the front cover is not of Jay Z or Robert Downey Jr., it’s of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger brother behind the Boston Marathon Bombing. With an attempt to gain the ‘full story’ of Dzhokhar, Rolling Stone has created a piece that cries sensationalism. As for their so-called justification, here it is straight from the article:

The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens.”

The fact that the online edition of the article is simply called “Jahar’s World” is seemingly an insulting oversimplification, both to the American public and to Dzhokhar himself. When getting beyond the front page and reading the rest of the article, Dzhokhar is portrayed to first be a sweet compassionate boy to then being an outright Islamic extremist his entire life, depending on how the editors wanted to frame his story at the time in the article. The only thing complete I found about this article was just how absurd journalism (or what they are passing it off as) truly is. No Pulitzer for you, Rolling Stone.  

In this modern age, we can create super heroes and super villains at the click of a mouse, the flash of a camera, or the dial of a phone. The fact that people are so willing and able to contort the images of Trayvon and Dzhokhar makes us truly aware of just how vulnerable teens are in the media just for a few more dollars. Good guy, bad guy, it’s not our choice what colors we are painted in the history books. It’s theirs.

Will you stand for this any longer? It may be a rude awakening, but understanding what is going on is crucial to understand how and why it’s happening. So awaken yourself, and awaken your society. It’s now or never.

 (Lauren is a Feature Editor of The Global Conversation. She lives in Wood Dale, IL, and can be reached at Lauren@TheGlobalConversation.com)

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