Friday, March 23, 2012


I'm sure everyone has heard about Trayvon Martin by now.  He is the young black man who was killed by a neighborhood watch captain, in Florida (where apparently neighborhood watch captains carry guns?)   Trayvon was a teenager who got hungry while watching a basketball game on TV and walked to the corner story to buy Skittles and iced tea.  George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch of the gated community where Trayvon's father lived, called the police (for what?  Because a black teenager was in a gated community?) and was told to wait for police.  He didn't, and accosted Trayvon, ending up shooting him.  He said that he did so in self-defense, so the police let him go.  Apparently it didn't matter that Trayvon was unarmed and 100 pounds lighter than the white man who attacked him.

I don't have much new to say about this except that, even never having met this young man, I am broken-hearted.  I have thought about the chance of this kind of thing happening to one of my former or current students, especially when I've heard kids joke about running away from the police.  The reality is that if I ran away from the police, I'd probably get in a lot of trouble.  If a black man or boy did so, he'd probably be dead.  If I walk down the street in a hoodie, people assume I"m cold.  If they do it, they're dangerous. 

Here's some more reading about it.  Honestly, I'm too sad to have a lot of coherent thoughts.

Trayvon Martin Could Have Been One of My Kids

Why is it All Right for a Neighborhood Watch Captain to Shoot an Unarmed Black Teenager? 

Trayvon Martin case: George Zimmerman, mystery gunman

Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, and the protection of 'police murder' in America

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