A 17-year-old boy was shot by a 28-year-old neighborhood watch captain in Sanford, Florida. The teenager was black. The killer is Hispanic.  But the only thing that media seems to want people to know is that the predominantly white police department is racist for not arresting the killer, and black elites — along with the press — are playing the race card.

Black leaders such as Rev. Al Sharpton (host of MSNBC’s Live), Roland Martin (CNN contributor), and Rev. Jesse Jackson all believe that the Trayvon Martin case is all about racism.  Sharpton recently compared Trayvon Martin’s hometown to the segregationist policies of historical Birmingham, Alabama:

“’Sanford is a beautiful city’…but ‘you are risking going down as the Birmingham and Selma of the 21st century.’”

Jackson even went as far as to compare the City of Sanford’s political leaders to Pontious Pilate, the Roman Governor that allowed Jewish authorities to crucify Jesus.

CNN Contributor Roland Martin said:

“’This, folks, is war. This is war on racism. This is war on bigotry. This is war on stereotypes. This is a call to arms. This is time for the soldiers in the battle for social justice to stand up and say ‘I report for duty, sir’…. This is for the many other nameless, faceless out there.’”

Black leaders should know better than to use racially inflammatory language. This is not a white versus black issue. The Martin case is about a deranged individual who killed a boy. Period.  George Zimmerman roams free because of an incompetent police department, not racism.  The media should target incompetence and crime instead of racism. There is a difference.

Former NAACP leader C.L. Bryant accused black elites of using the Treyvon murder for political gains, saying that “his family should be outraged at the fact that they’re using this child as the bait to inflame racial passions.” Bryant voiced his outrage with all crime. He stated, “Why not be angry about the wholesale murder that goes on in the streets of Newark and Chicago?’ he asked. ‘Why isn’t somebody angry about that six-year-old girl who was killed on her steps last weekend in a cross fire when two gang members in Chicago start shooting at each other? Why is there no outrage about that?”

Many deaths like Trayvon Martin’s go unreported. Take Cedric Bell, a 16-year-old kid who was shot in the head in a Chicago neighborhood after walking out the front door of his friend’s house. Allison Lockhart, the mother of Bell’s friend, didn’t cling to racial hysteria.  “They’re not in the gangs, but by them being on this side of Ashland, if you live on this side of Ashland, they’re going to go after you…They don’t care whose life they take,” she said.  Lockhart was concerned about crime, not race. Did the press give Bell enough (or any) attention?  If we were to apply the media’s logic in the Martin case to all the other similar crime cases, wouldn’t there be hundreds of examples of authorities being categorized with the same racist undertone as Sanford’s?

How about the 13-year-old Kansas City student who was set on fire by two black men?  Did he get the amount of press that Trayvon Martin got?  No. This story was initially reported on February 29th, 2012, yet received very little attention.

There is a clear double standard and that’s the crux of the problem. If the media wants to make the Trayvon Martin case about race, they have a responsibility to report all crimes that could be racially mishandled. The Kansas City case could easily be perceived as a hate crime. The Bell example could also be seen as a hate crime, since gangs are racially incendiary. The media should report both cases and should not ever play the race card. It’s dangerous.

My point is this: the Bell and Kansas City shootings are not racial crimes. I didn’t bring them up to insinuate that they were.  They just show how crimes like Trayvon’s murder happen every day and typically go unnoticed by national media.  George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin because he is a murderer. Bell was shot in the head because there are serious gang problems in Chicago.  The 13-year-old in Kansas City was set on fire because there are lunatics who commit such crimes. That’s it. For President Obama to speak about the case and say that his son would look like Trayvon Martin is ridiculous. The Martin case is not a national crisis.  There are many families that lose their children every day. Where is the sympathy for all of the others who lose loved ones to homicide, Mr. President?

This is not a conservative or liberal issue. Trayvon Martin proved that the media is always waiting to make race a conflict, and showed that contemporary black leaders love to be demagogues. It’s unfortunate that our leaders and the media apparently believe that some people are just not worth mentioning.

The media needs to be fair and leaders, such as Barack Obama, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Roland Martin need to pay attention to the cause of the crime and address the disintegration of families and culture.  It doesn’t need to take the life of a young man to figure this out.

This country doesn’t need more Martins or Bells. It needs to be proactive to find the root of the problem. The media needs to address the causes of crime, not perpetuate racism.

Alex Uzarowicz | Knox College | Galesburg, Illinois | @AUzarowicz