As he watched the trial of George Zimmerman, Immortal Technique says he was particularly troubled by some of Zimmerman’s testimony. Zimmerman, who was found not guilty July 13 of second degree murder and manslaughter, was accused of murdering Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012.
“[Zimmerman] said, ‘I wouldn’t change anything,’ and I can’t understand that, even if you didn’t do it on purpose, which is what he claimed, because there is no doubt in anybody’s mind that he killed Trayvon Martin,” Immortal Technique says in an exclusive interview with HipHopDX. “That was never what the defense was arguing against if we are going to look at it ‘legally.’ They never argued that he didn’t pull the trigger. They never said that Trayvon killed himself instead of Mr. Zimmerman. No, they said that he killed him in a struggle that ensued on the floor. If he is not the aggressor, why wouldn’t he want to change anything about that?”
Even though people have protested before, during and after the trial because they believe that the 17-year-old Black Martin was singled out and killed by the Hispanic Zimmerman for racial reasons, Immortal Technique says that race played a part in the trail, but that a bigger force was also in play, namely that Zimmerman’s father was a judge.
“It wasn’t so much about racism as it was about people who had the ability to use those connections they have in a court system,” Immortal Technique says. “I’ll put it this way. Let’s say a regular White guy in New York gets stopped by the police for a DUI, it doesn’t matter. You’re going to jail. They don’t give a fuck about you. They are trying to make a quota. They got bills to pay. How bout this? Let’s say that a Black lieutenant or sergeant’s son is caught drinking and driving. They are going to give that kid a little more consideration.”
When Zimmerman was charged on April 11, 2012 with the murder of Martin, Immortal Technique also gave an exclusive interview to HipHopDX. “This arrest is a step in the right direction, but it exemplifies that local police are either complicit in this mentality or just are too inept to realize that their lives are no more valuable than the life of a Black child that is specifically demonized in the media, and has been way more than any person of the Muslim faith ever has been since 9/11,” the rapper said at the time. “If you have ever been the victim of that discrimination as a Middle Eastern person or a Muslim, then welcome to my world, you got—as Paul Mooney so eloquently put it—’your nigga wakeup call.'”
In his new interview with HipHopDX, Immortal Technique says that his perspective has changed since he made the comment last year. “I think it’s a parent wake-up call more than it’s a Black person wake-up call even though it is a Black person wake-up call,” he says. “I’m not going to say it isn’t. I’m not going to call it a nigga wake-up call because I don’t think that we should even put the Martin family and that word in the same sentence. I say this much, that it is a wake-up call for Black people, but it’s also a wake-up call for parents. Parents, you’re going to have to have an honest discussion with your children about where they are and what they are walking through. You’re going to have to have an honest discussion about the value of people’s lives and how some people see it and where you are and to be mindful of your circumstances.”
Immortal Technique says that those circumstances include the perpetrators of other violent acts against Blacks. “The next Black person that dies in America is not going to be killed by a half-White, half Hispanic fake want-to-be cop,” Immortal Technique says. “He is going to be killed by a Black man. So you’re offended by what? You’re offended by people who hate you enough to kill you, or are you offended by people like you, who hate yourself enough to kill yourself? That’s the question we need to ask ourselves. This needs to be catalyst for people in the ghetto who are killing each other over blocks that they don’t own, over gang issues that are from their parents’ generation and not theirs. This is a wake-up call for them, too, because you have to realize that the clock is ticking and now you’re all on the chopping block, too.”
Immortal Technique says he hopes that the Trayvon Martin case spurs Americans to have honest discussions about race and for people to think about their own perspectives regarding race. “This is what has to change: If we’re offended by the White establishment’s champion, then this is the person they championed to be honest, it’s very sad,” he says. “We’re offended because someone did something of that nature and killed someone, then why aren’t we offended when some of our own people kill each other? We should be just as offended at what’s going on in Chicago right now when they had to send in the Goddamn National Guard. We should be just as offended at what’s going on in Detroit with those killings. We should be just as offended as the majority of everything else that’s happening in terms of violence against our own people. We shouldn’t look at that as the norm, either. If we feel guilty for looking at this as the norm, shouldn’t we feel even more guilty for looking at that as the norm? Like, ‘Oh…another nigga killed. Another nigga shot another nigga. Oh, that’s just the way it is.; Really, you’re mad at the fact that one person got away with killing a Black person, but you’re not mad at your mentality of, ‘Well, a Black person killed another Black person, that’s just how it is.’ We need to change that.”
Additional Reporting By Justin Hunte