Trayvon Martin: What should black parents advise their kids? What are the lessons for all parents?

As federal investigators are sorting out what exactly happened to Trayvon Martin, the young African-American boy shot and killed while walking through a neighborhood, I am wondering what parents are telling their kids? I am wondering what conclusions they are drawing about the participants and what advise they are offering to their teens and kids?

I have read several interesting perspectives on the story that I wanted to share with you and get your reaction. Our own Gracie Bond Staples talked with African-American parents about the rearing African-American boys in particular.

From the AJC’s story:

“…According to a 2010 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, homicide was the leading cause of death for black males age 12-19.”

“In the weeks since young Trayvon Martin was gunned down in a gated community in Sanford, Fla., those truths have weighed heavily on black parents.”

“(Marlyn) Tillman, a community activist and empty nester, lives in a middle-class, predominately white Snellville neighborhood.”

“Ruben Brown, 48, lives with his wife and 14-year-old son in Atlanta and, while not the suburbs, it is hardly the ‘hood. But like Tillman, he knows their middle-class status in no way equals safety when it comes to his son.”

“Although worries about the safety of adolescents are not the province of just black families or parents of boys, Tillman, Brown and other parents say raising black boys is perhaps the most stressful aspects of parenting because they know they’re dealing with a society that is fearful and hostile toward them, simply because of the color of their skin.”

“At 14, Brown said his son is at that critical age when he’s always worried about his safety because of profiling.”

“ ‘I don’t want to scare him or have him paint people with a broad brush, but, historically, we black males have been stigmatized as the purveyors of crime and wherever we are, we’re suspect,” Brown said.”

“Black parents who don’t make that fact clear, he and others said, do it at their and their male children’s own peril.”

“ ‘Any African-American parent not having that conversation is being irresponsible,’ Brown said. ‘I see this whole thing as an opportunity for us to speak frankly, openly and honestly about race relations.’ ”

“Morehouse College associate professor Bryant Marks agreed, saying parents need to be vigilant in raising their boys, make them aware of how they are perceived in this country and give them the skills they need to survive.”

“ ‘Have the conversation about the police, tell them what to do when they are on foot or in a car,’ he said. ‘That conversation needs to happen. It acknowledges the bias out there, but let them know that they can succeed in spite of all of that.’ “

“Regardless of a family’s class or education, the challenge of bringing young black males safely to adulthood must be tremendous, said Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center.”

“ ‘On the one hand, should they tell children to run when they are faced with suspicious and possibly dangerous circumstances such as a car following them, or should they stand still for fear that their running will be interpreted as some sort of evidence of guilt,” he said. “It’s a horrible, horrible Catch 22 for any parent or child on the street.’ ”

Which leads me to the ABC News report about how Martin was on the phone with his girlfriend when he thought he was being followed. She told him to run. But he told her he would not run.  I wondered if that was from something his parents had told him about the Civil Rights era? I wondered if it was a pride thing or was he told never to run so he didn’t look guilty?

From ABC News:

“He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. He said he lost the man,” Martin’s friend said. “I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast. I told him to run, but he said he was not going to run.”

Eventually, he would run, said the girl, thinking that he’d managed to escape. But suddenly the strange man was back, cornering Martin.

“Trayvon said, ‘What are you following me for,’ and the man said, ‘What are you doing here.’ Next thing I hear is somebody pushing, and somebody pushed Trayvon because the head set just fell. I called him again, and he didn’t answer the phone.”

The final story I found particularly compelling is from The Washington Post. It talks about how the Trayvon Martin case reminds people of the 1960s when civil rights workers would vanish in Southern towns.  Here is an excerpt:

“It feels like the not-so-long-ago ’60s, back when getting federal authorities to move quickly was often difficult. But this is a different era, however tragically similar the outcome.”

“The Trayvon Martin story has multiple layers: a black victim, a Hispanic man who did the shooting in Sanford, Fla. In Washington, the head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, Thomas E. Perez, is Hispanic. The attorney general of the United States, Eric H. Holder Jr., is a black man. The man who occupies the Oval Office, Barack Obama, is an African American. “

“And yet, even that arc of progress — while admired — hasn’t softened emotions and feelings.”

“ ‘It reminds you of Emmett Till,” said Bernadette Pruitt, an associate professor of history at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Tex., who has written about Southern racial history and can’t stop thinking of Trayvon Martin and his family. ‘This so-called post-racialism is a figment of our imagination. Race, unfortunately, is still the barometer by which everyone is measured.’ ”

So I am wondering if parents are feeling this echo from the past and explaining it in that framework? I am also wondering if they are using it as a teachable moment about history?

If you are an African-American parents what are you telling your boys (or girls)? What lessons should all parents be sharing with their kids from this?

203 comments Add your comment

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TrishaDishaWarEagle

March 23rd, 2012
12:38 am

Getting pretty sick of the double standard in the news that puts any story with a black victim in perma news cycle and and the sstoy of two blacks who douse a white kid in gasoline and set him on fire, gets a passing note.

And why do blacks always bus themselves somewhere and march..oh well..Trayvon memorial skitle sales must be big..

JATL

March 23rd, 2012
12:41 am

I think all parents should be horrified by this death. I am. I have two lily-white boys, but I worry about something insane like this happening to them when they’re older. I heard an opinion piece today on the radio that really rang true about Trayvon Martin. Ultimately -and according to the phone call and the friend on the other end -Trayvon was SCARED. The person offering the opinion started off talking about how her 8 year old still crawls into bed with them on occasion due to some scary thing or feeling poorly, and how in a few short years he’ll be a teenager, but at the bottom of it all -this teenage boy was scared of the freak following him. Wouldn’t you be scared if a strange man was following you, disappeared, and then suddenly was on you again? I would be scared to death! It breaks my heart that this was a scared kid who didn’t really know how to react to being followed and cornered. I also look at some of my sons’ friends who are not lily-white, and I think of them as teenagers, and this whole incident makes me feel even sicker.

I hate the race card. I almost always roll my eyes when it’s “played.” However, this was racial. There’s no two ways about it. If Trayvon was white, I sincerely do not believe that guy would have given him a second look -much less shot him! I see too many posts in our neighborhood email ring by people who freak out every time black teenage boys are walking down the street. God forbid they have on a white t-shirt or a puffer jacket. That seems to send these idiots into even more of a frenzy. HELLO -you live in a gentrifying intown Atlanta neighborhood, and you get alarmed at this? They are probably neighbors, but it’s this type of thinking that caused the Trayvon killing. Automatically suspecting for absolutely no reason. I tell you the only guy who scares me in our neighborhood is the mentally off meth head who is very white and VERY creepy. Funny -there are almost no posts about him. So, sorry America, but yep, we still have some BIG problems in the racial department.

I don’t know what the “teachable moments” are here. Are there any? Unfortunately the only one that comes to mind for African -American parents to tell their kids is, “Don’t trust white people. You never know which ones are out to get you -even in 2012.” I used to assign an essay topic to my students when we would read “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” about which one is better -the devil you know or the devil you don’t know? Had you rather be faced with the Klan in their silly outfits (but at least you know what they’re about) or some person who smiles and is nice, but stabs you in the back in private because of your race? While I’m certainly happy not to see a bunch of Klansmen around, I think we have far to many of the “smilers and backstabbers” than we even realize.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

March 23rd, 2012
12:46 am

The reason people suspect black males is because..surprise,..look at the crime stats…black males commit disproportional numbers of crimes….is that guilt by association and collective punishment? sure, but that’s better than being victimized by being naive and pretending its not you who will ever be a victim or not that black kid who is a perp..

blackbird13

March 23rd, 2012
12:55 am

is that guilt by association and collective punishment? sure, but that’s better than being victimized by being naive and pretending its not you who will ever be a victim or not that black kid who is a perp..

TDWE:

So let me get this straight: your cowardice and paranoia justifies collective punishment?

So let me get this straight

crabapplejoe

March 23rd, 2012
1:25 am

First of all the shooter is not “white”…….his father is Jewish and his mother is Hispanic…..have you seen the photos. So this is essentially a hispanic on black situation. The Hispanic guy, who is 5′4 confronted the black guy, who is 6′3 about what he was doing in the ‘hood……the black guy chimped out and started beating the Hispanic guy and then he got shot……why is this a national story?

blackbird13

March 23rd, 2012
1:26 am

JATL:

The race card is still needed because racists remain in positions of power, especially in the south.
I can go on Facebook and in a short time find dozens of self-identified police officers with racist comments on their pages. In fact, I have made it a project to do exactly that. After identifying the officer, I notify their departments. If nothing is done, I notify the local media. In cases of dangerous sounding rhetoric, I skip that and go higher up immediately.
Why am I revealing this? Because I hope others take it up.

The Rational Poet

March 23rd, 2012
1:48 am

So, the next time a black person shoots a white person I assume all these folks will be rallying for justice – right? Will Sharpton come to town with his dog and pony show next time some black young men break into cars in a white neighborhood? Will anyone be loading up buses the next time some black man robs a white teenager on the Georgia Tech campus? What is that saying about people who live in glass houses not throwing rocks?

blackbird13

March 23rd, 2012
1:56 am

What you don’t seem to get, irrational poet, is those black people would be arrested immediately if caught, and no way would a white kids body be left unidentified for days while the police took his assailant’s word that it was self-defense.

The Rational Poet

March 23rd, 2012
2:11 am

What I don’t think a lot of people get is that this is a horrible situation involving one man who made some terrible decisions that resulted in another’s death not institutional racism. The idea that someone should be arrested without proper evidence should be appalling to anyone that believes in the rule of law. The legal system includes processes that need to be followed to assure that everyone’s rights are protected. At the end of the day this situation will be resolved without all the grandstanding and hollow rhetoric.

blackbird13

March 23rd, 2012
2:28 am

I would say it’s too early to say this is “not about institutional racism,” because the investigation of that police department is just beginning.

Fair

March 23rd, 2012
4:09 am

Because I’m black…. I am so sick of hearing that crap…Mrs. Black America, Black Coaches Association, United Negro College Fund, BET, and the list goes on and on…don’t see any Mrs. White America, White College Fund, WET. How is that right?

Jeff

March 23rd, 2012
4:26 am

I cannot comprehend what the situation is like to be a young black man. Trying to raise one to be a man has to Boone of the more difficult things to do. I have tons of respect for the parents who are making an effort. I can put aside the politics of both sides of any argument because this is still a young boy who, by all accounts that I’ve read, was not doing anything wrong.

At the end of the day, someone’s son is gone.

white MAN

March 23rd, 2012
5:53 am

the white folks should get in buses and head to the campus of Georgia Tech where our white college kids are being targeted by BLACK GANGSTER’s every week and we should protest that, where is the media & public outcry ????? double standard if you ask me !!!!

Lady

March 23rd, 2012
6:01 am

Why is everything race, race, race. This is what is keeping racism alive and well in this country. No one can dispute that this was a horrible evident. Why not all the marches and rallies to stop the black on black killing, the drive by shootings that take place daily, the innocent killing of children due to gun fire. Why is this not as important to the blacks. If this had been a black on white killing would there have been such an uproar. NO. Why not the uproar when 4 blacks kidnapped, raped and murdered two whites in Knoxville, TN. Maybe whites need to start these rallies too and cry racism and hate crimes everytime there is a black on white killing. Why doesn’t King, Jr., Sharpton, Jackson, etc. lead marches to stop the killing of blacks on blacks. No that doesn’t generate them the publicity that they so much need. WAKE UP AMERICA. And YES this was a horrible incident no one can deny that and a decent young man lost his life but all these marches, etc. is not going to change a thing all it is doing is keeping racism alive and well in AMERICA. And you know what so what if this man called this young man a *****. Do you not think that the whites are called names all the time by the blacks. BIG DEAL. You know the saying sticks and stones can break my bones but names can never hurt me. And people who live in glass houses shouldn’t be throwing stones.

BlondeHoney

March 23rd, 2012
6:18 am

TWG, I see you’ve attracted all the trolls from Jay and Kyle’s blogs today with this topic. Sigh.

OpenEyesCANSee

March 23rd, 2012
6:21 am

First off @whiteman. Wipe the froth from your mouth. The issues in Ga. Tech’s campus have gotten considerable coverage and “public outcry” in Atlanta news and media, SO MUCH SO that the State house has proposed measures and debate to AMMEND the Ga. LAW to allow GUNS ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES!! I Guess viewing the world through that often distorted “white” lens of yours throws all reason out the door. As for loading up buses and “protesting”, WHY DON’T YOU ORGANIZE THE EFFORT?? I must INFORM YOU THOUGH…It’s not only YOUR “white college kids” who are being victimized every now and then at Ga. Tech, it’s the Asian, Hispanic and yes…BLACK ones too! You see… the criminals are targeting GT students because of the prestige and idea that if you are at GT, you likely have the best outfit of electronics and a little cash. Your overtly RACIST mind though cannot rationalize that far out though. Finally, let’s go one better. Why don’t you take your bhs ride RIGHT INTO the “Black community” and tell them EXACTLY how you feel?? Go on down to SWATS, West End or BANKhead and give them so-called “BLACK GANGSTERS” a piece of your mind!!! My guess is, YOU WON’T!!! Why??? You are a F/G COWARD who likes to sit back and stir up hatred in everybody else with the same lynchmob mentality of the 1950s. You make everything a “double standard” that is not YOUR “standard”. Sadly, that’s what “white privilege” does.

shaggy

March 23rd, 2012
6:28 am

Theresa,

your filter ate my post, probably because I used a scientific term for humanity. Retrieve it if you want. It does explore a different outlook.
I even copied and re-posted it….gone.

Truthpaste

March 23rd, 2012
6:58 am

Those that have to question why race is always a factor, hasn’t lived with it like those that see it every day.

3d

March 23rd, 2012
7:09 am

Most white folks wouldn’t dare walk into Pittsburg, down Candler Road or Bankhead inside the perimeter.

Any guess why for all of those screaming racism?

catlady

March 23rd, 2012
7:09 am

Well, if my children were young I wouldn’t be discussing this at all, unless they brought it up. I would also be watching what they are exposed to much more carefully!

Raising a son, whose BF is black, made me talk to him extensively about what his friend could experience, and my son also, if with him when someone tried to start something (even the police). A good example of the unfairness of the world. (BTW, the friend’s parents are wealthy and among the elite in Athens, GA, but the guy and his brothers still got hassled by the police). ALL of our children need to be careful, black or white or Latino, male, female, or gay!

Cutty

March 23rd, 2012
7:25 am

I am honestly disturbed by the racist comments of some of the people on here. You wonder why things are the way they are especially in Georgia. The problem with this case is the fact that the police took this guys word for what happened and did nothing about it. Even though the 911 tapes show he stalked the kid. The message is that a black life isn’t worth the trouble of investigating. Its unfortunate when anyone is killed whether its a black killing another black, black killing white , white killing black, latino killing white etc. But the police showed that they didn’t give a f*ck about this kid.

MrDan

March 23rd, 2012
7:29 am

70% of black kids are born out of wedlock. When that figure was around 30%, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan described it as “epidemic” and would create enormous problems. Well guess what? To quote the Rev Jeremiah Wright, “America, your chickens have come home to roost”. This country is descending toward 3rd world decay, and that’s why most people feel the best thing they can do today is buy a gun to protect themselves and their family. If you read and watch, this paper, ABC News, and other liberal media outlets will use this tragic incident to try and illustrate an “absurdity” of over-zealous gun rights laws. But what they don’t understand is there is a real concern by people of all races of a society where lawless youth and gangs are running rampant. And you can’t just say, here, take my money or my life because I understand you didn’t know who your real father was. As we like to say in the mountains, “that dog just ain’t gonna hunt”.

JoeDon

March 23rd, 2012
7:37 am

Too bad. YOU, black people, need to look inward and fix YOURSELF, but first find a national leader capable of leading and moving YOU forward. No, not Obama (the Divider-in-Chief) and not Sharpton (a loud-mouthed race baiter)…but someone along the lines of King. Face it, in every “bad” statistical category where it comes to crime, prison populations, broken families, welfare dependency, lack of education, etc., etc., etc., YOU lead the way. YOU set the conditions for YOUR own failure. Enough of this victim crap that YOU scream every time something “bad” happens to one of YOUR own.

Don't Tread

March 23rd, 2012
7:39 am

Dress like a thug, and at some point someone will think you’re a thug. Maybe the circumstances would have been different if Martin has dressed differently. (No, I’m not saying he’s at fault for picking the wrong clothes.)

If you’re driving down Ponce at night and see a woman wearing a short skirt and high heels standing at a corner, do you assume she’s a prostitute? Some people would say yes, because she fits the stereotype. But she may just be dressed up for a night on the town and waiting for the light to change.

Jeff

March 23rd, 2012
7:43 am

Thank you catlady.

Really?

March 23rd, 2012
7:47 am

“The message is that a black life isn’t worth the trouble of investigating. Its unfortunate when anyone is killed whether its a black killing another black, black killing white , white killing black, latino killing white etc. But the police showed that they didn’t give a f*ck about this kid”

What are you talking about!? It is worth the trouble of investigating and that is why the prosecutor has now gotten involved. The police didn’t arrest that man because at the time, they did not have the evidence to do so. You have no idea how the police felt about that poor boy. Seeing a child killed effected them just like it did you but they literally could do NOTHING about it at the time. Doesn’t even mean they won’t come up with the evidence to arrest him tomorrow. I’m sure they would be HAPPY to. Shame on you.

David

March 23rd, 2012
8:04 am

I do not know the complete circumstance in which this young man lost his life,but one thing that has not been mentioned is what was this 17 year old kid doing out at such a late hour and why have his parents not been held responsible for that;also was this young man as my former youth pastor used to say “where he was suppose to be,doing what he was suppose to be doing,when he was suppose to be doing it.” If and only if this young man was a victim of a malicious act then my heart goes out to his family but if he found himself doing things he was not suppose to be doing then while it is sad he lost his life every action has its consequence. Why also have those in the media and in the African American community automatically convicted the Police Chief for investigating this incident automatically convicting him of not doing his job,it seems to me the they have already given this young man a pass which may or may not be deserved.

emommy

March 23rd, 2012
8:06 am

I was hesitant initially to comment, as I knew that this topic somehow bring out the trolls and turn into a bash session. But I could not remain silent. So, here it goes. By way of background., I am an African American mom who lives in an upper middle class neighborhood with my Latino husband and kids. I think that we as a country have somehow reached the conclusion that racism and bias and racially motivated behavior no longer exist just because there have been some significant advancements for people of color and we now in fact have an African American president. This belief is absolutely wrong. With President Obama’s election, I think that some of the racial biases have become less hidden and more pronounced and open. With some of the rhetoric and baiting that is going on in the media currently during this election cycle, those biases and prejudices are becoming even more pronounced. I often wonder WHEN will our country move past the very small issue of race and ethnicity and stop allowing it to be a stumbling block? Why is this issue relevant? Because, as a person of color (whether it is acknowledged or not by the wider media), there is a double standard. Ordinary events such as a traffic stop or simply walking down the street in a predominately white neighborhood can become a different experience, simply because of assumptions and simple biases and stereotypes that are out there. As a parent of children of color, it is necessary (althoughunfortunate) to provide our kids with guidance on how to respond when stopped (even for just minding your own business) by the police, how process it when people step away in an elevator when they see your son who is of colocr (and yes I’ve actually seen this happen and been shocked and saddened) and honestly, how to survive in a world where you are often initially judged on a threshold issue such as color. As a mom, I am saddened at times to have to even discuss this with the kids, but as they get older, it becomes a necessary survival tool, with Trayvon Martin’s death being a prime example of why it can mean life or death. Instead of denying that racial prejuduce and stereotypes remain, why can’t we do the work together to ensure that the next generation isn’t STILL quibbling over the same trivial issue?

K's Mom

March 23rd, 2012
8:07 am

@TDWE I am embarrassed that your screen name uses my beloved War Eagle.

@JATL perfectly said.

Although the shooter seems to have used a slur, I am unsure if this was indeed racial or a complete nutjob, wannabe rent a cop playing out a Hawaii 5 0 fantasy. Much like JATL I get weary of the race card, but in this case it may just get justice for a dead CHILD. I wear hoodies to the park several times a week and I am a 37yo white woman, so I do not understand why that makes this child threatening. And have any of you not seen skanky white kids at the mall that make you hold your purse tighter, I have in Alpharetta at Northpoint (I hate that mall because of it).

One of my dear friends is black and has 3 biracial boys…I hate that she will have to use this as a lesson for them and my white boys will get a certain pass by society.

OpenEyesCANSee

March 23rd, 2012
8:12 am

@JoeDon says Black people “lead the way…” yet @JoeDon LIT “the way”. Frankly “F” you @JoeDon.

jacket22

March 23rd, 2012
8:15 am

I am so sick and tired of every time a black person is shot it becoming a national news story..every time it happens the dead person was a saint or an angel yet they were doing something they were not supposed to be doing or they were somewhere they shouldn’t have been or basically as in this case being a typical thug black male disrespecting anyone and everyone, he was simply questioned as to who he was and why he was there. Had the little thug been smarter and answered the question he would be alive but no he had to buck up, mouth off and start a fight…got his but shot for his trouble. everyone of these blacks that are marching and mouthing off on the news just see this as an opportunity to get on the television..they have no clue what happened yet they claim to know the shooter left home that morning with the intent on killing a black teenager..where were they when that BLACK man shot and killed the grocery store clerk for no reason? I tell you where they were at they were at home not giving a crap…Black people are the most racist people on the planet, regardless of how many crimes a black person commits they justify it by saying it was just because someone somewhere repressed them and forced them to steal, kill or whatever..Ever notice it’s never ever the white people who are marching, crying, whining or anything when a black man, cop, or not shoots a white person? WONDER WHY? ITS BECAUSE BLACK PEOPLE ARE RACIST IDIOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!

ernie

March 23rd, 2012
8:18 am

you know what i used to like black people until i moved to atlanta. black people really got some nerve. whites arent afraid of blacks they just want nothing to do with them. most all of them are loud, rude, disrespectful, they think they are entitled to everything because of slavery 200 years ago, and being mistreated 60+ years ago. they all copy one another, every black man i see has dreadlocks now and days and wears true religion jeans, they think selling dope, shootings, being arrested and running from the police, and spending money on rims, cars, and clothes is cool. rap music is annoying, its annoying that they wear skinny jeans and thick rim glasses because they think they are little wayne. get over yourselves, and start tipping at the restaurant where you will spend 150 dollars on a tab and tip 5 bucks or nothing. if the blacks want respect they need to respect themselves first. whites dont hate you and keep you down, you do a good job yourselves, and blacks make fun of other blacks for their skin color, they call each other red, yellow, black, brown, blue and purple. bottom line is that blacks are the most racist race in this country. when they look out for their own its ok but if white people look out for one another theyre racist.

emommy

March 23rd, 2012
8:18 am

@JoeDon and all who made inciteful comments, here’s a thought question: How would you feel if in an ordinary situation, like simply walking down a street or walking in a mall or store to shop, someone looked at you (without knowing you) and drew their own conclusion about who you are as a person, based on your skin color or ethnicity? If you have never experienced that, and I would daresay that most people of color have at least once in their lifetime, then you have NO idea how Trayvon Martin’s family or any person of color feels…race card or not.

JB from East Point

March 23rd, 2012
8:24 am

It doesn’t matter what your race is, dress like a ‘hood and you will be thought of as a ‘hood. People dress in the way in which they want to be perceived. You can read a book by the cover. You never hear of well dressed AAs getting into these situations. Why would someone wear a hooded sweatshirt on an 80 degree night? He was up to no good. “Yes, officer, I was just going to the store for sweet tea and skittles”. How many times have you seen cops or bait car and the suspect says, “what, I wasn’t doing anything.” Someone needs to tell these kids that they aren’t going to be a rapper or a producer, focus your efforts on doing well in school and dress for success. Dressing like a rapper only gets you into trouble no matter your race.

Thomas

March 23rd, 2012
8:25 am

Florida law as written protects the shooter. I am sorry to see any unjustified criminal activity resolved this way. I think Black Americans should also be outraged at the fact in Chicago alone last weekend 3/16,17 18th 40 blacks were shot and 9 died including a 6 year old girl . The shooters? black thugs. Where are the buses and the million people outcry against this atrocity?

Where is the outrage and contempt against blacks on black crime?

homeschooler

March 23rd, 2012
8:25 am

I think he wasn’t arrested immediately for a lot of reasons. One being that the shooter had obvious signs of physical injury, indicating self defense. Later, when more details came out, like the fact that the shooter followed the individual when told not to.

I do think Trayvon was scared of the guy following him, but I don’t think he was a scared little kid. I think he was a tough kid whose reaction was to put his hood up and walk slow until the guy approached him and then turn around and beat the crap out of him. He told his girlfriend “I’m not going to run”. I’m not saying he was wrong for doing this. Some times I wish more kids would be taught to fight instead of run. I just think the combination of a over zealous (probably prejudiced) guy and a ready to fight kid resulted in a horrible tragedy.

Now, notice I said prejudiced. Many people prejudge black males because of what they have seen and experienced. This is different from being racist which is one who believes his race to be superior. Being raised in the south, I know a lot of prejudiced people. I know very few racists.

I heard Erik Erickson (sp?) on WSB yesterday talking about how he knows racism is still alive because he has seen people assume that his black friend dressed in a suit was parking cars. (is that racism or just ignorant people who are not around educated black people). He also said that he has seen taxi drivers drive past his black friend and then immediately stop to pick him up. Is that racism or have these taxi drivers been robbed or not payed or received no tip from black people so they choose not to pick them up. That’s prejudiced not racist. Ask any person who has worked as a waitress, who tips better, white or black people. Even black restaurant workers I know say that black people are bad tippers and waiters would rather wait on white people. (prejudiced not racist)

Did anybody see the movie “Up in the Air” with George Clooney when he told the girl to get behind the Asian people in line at the airport. I hated that movie but loved that scene. There is racism and there is prejudice and there is bigotry and stereotyping and they all mean very different things.

The only way to change (and is will take many, many more years) this is for hard working, high valued intelligent black people to make changes in their own communities. The blacks need to stop perpetuating the race issue and teach their children what whites have been teaching their children for years. Skin color does not make a difference. It is the way you act, dress and carry yourself. Have high integrity, make friends with like mind people who have the same values. Sure we will still have issues for a while but it can be overcome.

One of the saddest things that every happened to me as a white DFCS case manager was to watch a video called “A Girl Like Me”. You can find it on youtube. Little black girls (very recently) were given two dolls one black and one white and asked who the good one was. They reluctantly (and it will bring tears to your eyes to watch) pick the white doll. I asked two black male colleagues how, in this day and age, that can be possible. Aren’t black children constantly told they are equal and good and beautiful. The guys told me that it doesn’t matter what you tell them, they see all the nicely dressed, sweet white teachers at school and all the perfect white families on TV and then they see their uncles and brothers selling drugs on the street corner. These guys basically told me that any time I was nice to a black child it could perpetuate their belief that whites were the “better” race. That crushed me. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are not going to help. They just make things worse.

Wow, sorry this was so long. I just had a lot to say.

bert

March 23rd, 2012
8:26 am

I love these shirts the people are wearing “am i next?” yea probably by your own race.

  

March 23rd, 2012
8:30 am

The race card is still needed because racists remain in positions of power, especially in the south.

Hogwash.

independent thinker

March 23rd, 2012
8:30 am

Folrget about the black wnd white part of this travesty of justice. Too many people have guns legally who are unfit to own guns due to the NRA opposing all restrictions. Couple that with “stand your ground” laws passed in 21 states and anyone could be the next Trayvon Martin, Ever hear of road rage? All the shooter has to tell the police is the other driver chased and threated him and they can walk away with immunity. No wonder that killings that were deemed justified self defense tripled in Florida after the law passed. Regulate who is fit to own a gun and punish severely the gun dealers who sell in bulk to criminals cheap guns and hold owners responsible when their gun is used in a crime unless it was stolen, and repeal the license to kill laws Then the violence will diminish. But thanks to the NRA, a biased Supreme Court that mis interpreted the second amendment, and a president that is scared to take on this issue and it will only get worse.

usually lurking

March 23rd, 2012
8:32 am

Thank you emommy. We have the “walking while teenaged” talk with our sons on a regular basis (we are white, non-Hispanic, FWIW). The attitudes expressed by the trolls on the blog today make me very sad. I agree with emommy that the racial biases have indeed become more open since President Obama was elected.

Really?

March 23rd, 2012
8:32 am

Here here, Homeschooler!

jacket22

March 23rd, 2012
8:33 am

hey emommy get an education and some common sense please..everyone does the same thing we all draw conclusions of people we don’t know regardless of their race. Have you ever been in a Mall, school, work, standing on the corner, driving down the road and simply looked at someone you didn’t know and thought something about them? Of course you have and if you deny it you are not only stupid you are a liar as well.

JoeDon

March 23rd, 2012
8:35 am

For OpenEyesCANSee, well said…I also expect that your comments are about as deep as you can articulate the subject.

For emommy, thanks for the compliment. but you misspelled “inciteful”; it’s spelled “insightful”, which is a perfect positive descriptor of the comments that I wrote!

☺☻Have A Smile!

March 23rd, 2012
8:35 am

How would you feel if in an ordinary situation, like simply walking down a street or walking in a mall or store to shop, someone looked at you (without knowing you) and drew their own conclusion about who you are as a person, based on your skin color or ethnicity?

Actually I have, and I’m white. I’ve had my share in hateful looks, physical threats (including with shiny razors), physical assaults, and much more in my lifetime from blacks. And I’m not a trouble-maker by nature.

The difference is I don’t whine and b1tch about it as if I’m in an “oppressed minority.”

Everyone’s experience is different. However playing the race card achieves nothing, and is a pathetic excuse for avoiding the root of the problem(s), whatever person, group, or race they may be.

Suck on that for a while.

Van Jones

March 23rd, 2012
8:46 am

This has been bugging me for days… Why, when being followed, would someone put their hoodie on? It limits vision and hearing plus makes that person look like they don’t want to be identified.

I’m not faulting this young man for it but, rather, wondering why he would do it.

Me

March 23rd, 2012
8:48 am

@K’s Mom — I concur with you on the poor use of our War Eagle symbol… Otherwise, I cannot weigh in as I’m not African-American, my kids are all grown, and I don’t know what advice I would provide. I will state, however, that I think, to whatever degree, that there will always be remarks and actions predicated solely on race. It shouldn’t be that way but I think it always will. As far as the incident in Florida, I wasn’t there so I don’t know what transpired.

Name (required)

March 23rd, 2012
8:55 am

Are you really “African”-American if you, your parents, your parents’ parents, and their parents were born in the US?

The Black Hand

March 23rd, 2012
8:57 am

I think we should bring back segregation and put an end to all of this! Its obvious that there will always be racism in the world, especially down south, by the comments on this story!

The same weak white boys that talk big behind a computer screen would keep a zipper on their mouth in the presences of a black man!

My solution to this problem is segregation, we must become a self contain race, black businesses, black banks, black schools, black hospitals, black neighborhoods, EVERYTHING BLACK!

Oh yeah, exceptions will be made for black snake loving white women but not the fat ugly ones, yall can keep those and wife’em like only white men do!…LMAO

Cutty

March 23rd, 2012
9:00 am

The problem is that too many folk place an entire race into a group. I am black and I don’t care about the violence that goes on in chicago, Atlanta, etc. I don’t live there. I have no more connection to them than a stranger at walmart. You folks have to understand that 95 percent of all folk are decent people and they want the same things that you want (house, car, job, family) and strive for that. The impression that I get is that we are a race of thugs and criminals who live off the government and cry racism. That is no more true that the perception that people have of white southerners in that they are racist,uneducated, ignorant, and incestous people. My father always told me not to judge any man that I didn’t know. again I am black and I wouldn’t walk in certain areas of the city at night.