Over the last few days, the story of Trayvon Martin's death has sparked outrage, making headlines everywhere… weeks after he died.
And the outrage comes not long after the world decided that KONY 2012 was our number one mission.
Which has left a lot of people asking, why does Kony matter while the Trayvon Martin murder almost went completely unnoticed?
Trayvon was a black teenager, living in a gated community, who went for a walk in the rain while wearing a hoodie then was gunned down by a neighbor for being suspicious. Trayvon was armed with a bag of Skittles. Weeks after his murder, people took notice… maybe a few million.
Kony is a war criminal in Africa. A bunch of white guys told some Ugandan kids that they were going to save them from him. So they made a video about how everyone needs to see Kony's picture and now hundreds of billions of people have watched it and everyone you know has a Kony t-shirt and bracelet.
I can't say I disagree with the frustration over white people feeling a sudden and impassioned call to do something about the man who has hurt so many children in Uganda… while turning a blind eye to the way we treat black children here in America.
On one hand, I understand that Kony is carefully crafted marketing for an activist campaign. Invisible Children, the organization behind Kony 2012, made a 30 minute video to create a sense of urgency in the matter. They told you what the problem was. They told you what you could do. They told you when and where and how to help. Then they told you to tell your friends.
Whereas Trayvon was a news item. Just a story of "this is what happened". No instructions. No manipulation of your emotions to maximize your desire to get involved. And no context for why this is something that should matter to all of us. Even white people. Even people who don't live in gated communities. Even people who do live in gated communities without rogue neighborhood watchmen. There was never an action item instructing people to make Trayvon go viral. He was just a headline… just a senselessly dead kid and the not-charged-with-any-crimes man who killed him.
But should there be a difference? Should we have less passion for Trayvon than we do Kony? People are mad, but should they be madder? Is this a matter of too-close-to-home? Do we like fixing the broken people far away because it's easier than facing our problems at home? Why do people have such a hard time admitting that race and gender and sex are still real issues in 2012 America when it seems so hard to ignore? Is this too much to unpack on a Tuesday Afternoon?
The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3pm ET.