A "hobo" clown at heart, down on my luck (previously but not now), but eternally optimistic :o)
Apr 2, 2012
Trayvon Martin, A Tragedy
It was a tragic event caused by a neighborhood watch so full of himself that he became judge, jury, and executioner. Below is a summary of an excellent April 2, 2012, Time Magazine article titled "How to Stay Alive While Being Black." It is so sad that this mentality is still with us in this day of age.
Many black families have been forced into uncomfortable but necessary conversations since the Feb. 26 killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. His death and the release of the uncharged shooter, George Zimmerman, have reminded many of how vulnerable we still are. The icy cold wind of racism has crept into our homes and made the hairs on the backs of our necks stand up. Blood memories of strange fruit have been stirred. Young black boys have been reminded that they are walking targets for hate. What do you say to them about what happened to Trayvon? Here's a start:
1. It's unlikely but possible that you could get killed today. Or any day. I'm sorry, but that's the truth.
2. If you encounter such a situation, you need to play it cool. Keep your wits about you. Don't worry about winning the situation. Your mission is to survive.
3. There is nothing wrong with you. You're amazing. I love you. When I look at you, I see a complex human being with awesome potential, but some others will look at you and see a thug--even if their only evidence is your skin.
4. You will have to make allowances for other people's racism. That's part of the burden of being black. We can be defiant and dead or smart and alive.
5. Be aware of your surroundings. Especially when it's dark. Or bright. Some people are on the lookout for muggers or rapists. You need to be on the lookout for profilers who are judging you. Don't give them an opportunity to make a mistake.
6. If you feel you are being profiled and followed or, worse, chased by someone with a vigilante streak--if you are hunted in the way it seems Trayvon was, by someone bigger than you who may be armed and hopped up on stereotypes about you--then you need to act. By calling the police.
7. What if it's the cops who are making you feel threatened? Well, then you need to retreat. I don't mean run away. I mean don't resist.
8. Never forget: As far as we can tell, Trayvon did nothing wrong and still lost his life. You could be a Trayvon. Any of us could.
Toure is a columnist for TIME Ideas and the author of Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?, a New York Times notable book for 2011