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

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2109780,00.html#ixzz1qj7B9rpO


  1. Sad to say, that's STILL America in this day and age.
    I actually had a co-worker who was more upset that the media was calling Zimmerman a white man because he said it made white people look bad.
    I said, At least it doesn't make them look dead.

  2. The whole thing is so sad.... like being slammed back into the 60's. Wow! We were talking at work the other day about how could parents ever explain this to their kids.

  3. The whole incident is tragic. We are parked about 40 miles from Sanford. At one time that was our planned retirement home.

    But as of today, there has been no arrest and the Government is in charge, State along with the FBI. I await the facts and dispise that anyone is tried in the media. If the shooter is as described he should be tried and hanged. If not? (I am not with the media on this, I have been wrongfully accused & convicted twice in my 73 years, with no recourse. I believe in equal justice for all.

  4. This is, of course, a touchy subject matter. In the end, there will be no true winners. A life was ended regardless of what transpired that fateful night. I personally do not agree with the way the Media is "engaging the prosperity of the facts" in order to sensationalize the story and/or try it on air. That is a matter for the court system and whether or not a person believes in justice, the media is not aiding in keeping it balanced for a proper and willful jury selection, that's for certain.

    That being said, innocence of a different nature was stolen away. But then, in the world, at any given moment, a man of color, a person of a lifestyle choice, a child in the wrong place at the wrong time is having their innocence stripped from them even as I finish typing this comment here.

    Most are quick to judge before knowing all the facts and right now, the media is the source of that information and I, for one, believe little they report because once again, they tend to ramp up the effects for ratings.

    That does NOT mean I believe Zimmerman is innocence or guilty. Or that the young man who died was in the right or the wrong that night. It simply means I fear that the effects of this will be long felt even after the media has worn out its welcome with this story and moved on the next piece of 10pm "breaking news" melodrama.

    That's all I have to say other than the entire situation is profoundly impacting on both social and emotional levels.

  5. The idea that any of us could be a Trayvon is what brings this home to so many people. Women are followed just as he was, and even white men who are different can meet his fate in a world where guns and killing are acceptable for no reason. It's so sad to me that I don't even have the words to talk about it. What's worse are the people who defend Zimmerman.

  6. I can remember how irritated I used to be when Andrew was little and Thomas would tell him to keep his hands out of his pockets when he was in a store. I was a bit incensed at this, being white, and a bit naive at the time, but I was respectful about it. Then I read an article by a black female columnist about teaching her young black sons not to have their hands in their pockets when they were in stores. Somehow the way she wrote it I could see it so clearly and, though still angry that a thing like that is still necessary to teach our children of color, I understood better and could deal with it. It really wasn't something to get all "het-up" over, and it might have saved Andrew at the least a hard time, and possibly something even more.

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  8. We must remember that what we hear is usually wrong. Just about everything that was originally said by the media is now falling apart. Hysteria and protests sell the news calm factual accounts do not.

    Until all the real evidence and real scientific truths are brought out in a court of law it is all conjecture. Mr. Zimmerman may not be the spawn of Satan as the media has painted him. So, Mr. Martin may not be as pure of heart as he is being touted as being.

    We, as the Public can not be swayed by all rumors. We must wait for the real answers. Although at times very slow, our system of justice will bring out the truth.

    I am sorry to see this article by Time point only to advice for Black Americans when it should be directed to all Americans. It fits the Asian communities of New York City and the Barrios of Los Angeles just as it does the other areas of our Country. If we are to be one Nation with one soul then we must cast aside those feelings and ideas of oneness and move to thinking that we are all one and what happens to the one happens to the many. This entire incident is sad and hopefully we will all learn from it. The outcome may in some ways shock us all. It is tragic that the death of one young man and the judgement of another have separated us once again on racial boundaries.


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