Trayvon Martin: America's double standard for our children
Trayvon and his girlfriend
Black boys are viewed differently in our society
Trayvon Martin did everything right the night he died and George Zimmerman did everything wrong. Yet, in the eyes of some, because of his skin color, he should have behaved differently and he would still be alive. I teach high school in San Bernardino. I deal with mostly African American and Hispanic children. Yes, I said children who range in age from 14 to 18 and it is appalling to me that some people on the blogosphere feel that Trayvon Martin was an adult who needed to act differently during the altercation with George Zimmerman than any other child on the planet. I have heard that if Trayvon had just been polite to George Zimmerman, he would still be alive. That amazes me because we would not expect any other child to be polite to some stranger who is following them.
Let’s look at this in a different way. Suppose Trayvon was a 17-year-old white girl who decided to walk to the store at 7:00 pm on a spring afternoon. Let’s suppose that Zimmerman started following her. What advice would you give her? I will tell you what you would say. You would say run if you can, but if you cannot fight as hard as you can and scream so that people can hear you.
That is exactly what Trayvon Martin did. He started to run and George Zimmerman continued following him. When Zimmerman caught up to Trayvon a second time, Trayvon decided that he needed to fight. This is what we teach our children. We teach them not to talk to strangers. I teach my daughter and the girls at my school to never approach a strange car or person and if they come after you to fight tooth and nail to stay out of their car because we know what happens once a person is in an abductor’s car; their chances of dying increase.
Trayvon Martin was following the rules that he had been taught about strangers since he was in preschool. He was trying to avoid a stranger; yet, some Americans are saying that his actions were not self-defense. He should have been polite. He should not have had on a hoodie in the rain. Maybe, he should have put on a suit. Or maybe he is black and black males are looked at differently than other children in our society.
Parker Center in Los Angeles is named after Chief William Parker whose belief was that young white juvenile delinquents could be rehabilitated but that young black boys who were tempted by crime were incorrigible and already hardened criminals. That is the mindset of many Americans about this case. Trayvon was not a child but a criminal. It does not matter what evidence there is to the contrary. He was a 6’3” beanpole. He loved airplanes and was excited about his prom. Yet, in the minds of many, Trayvon need to act differently and Zimmerman would not have shot him.
This is the heart of racism in America. This kid is not considered a kid because of his age and his race. So, what he should have done is said, “Hello, sir.” “I’m not doing anything kind sir, I’m going to go see my father.” If he had, George Zimmerman would not have confronted him and the aggressive Trayvon would not have had to jump the big man with a gun and knock him on his butt.
Bull. Trayvon Martin called his girlfriend and told her he was scared because someone was following him. She told him to run and he did. Zimmerman even says on the 911 tape, “Sh*t, he’s running.” When Zimmerman kept following him, Trayvon decided not to run and to “STAND HIS GROUND.” He fought what he thought was a stranger and when he got the best of Zimmerman, he was killed.
We tell our children all the time to not to talk to strangers. We tell them to go to the nearest adult. Then we tell them that if you can’t run to fight. That is what Trayvon Martin did and now he is being vilified because most Americans do not consider black teens children. They are adults by proxy. Trayvon was a scared child
If he were a 17-year-old blue-eyed girl, we would have said he did everything right. However, he was a 17-year-old boy whose skin color made him a man in the eyes of some. How horrific. Arrest George Zimmerman.