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Trayvon Martin: America's double standard for our children

Updated on April 3, 2012

Trayvon and his girlfriend

Trayvon Martin
Trayvon Martin

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.


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    • profile image

      jaidatoofresh 5 years ago

      this is bullshit that man took another persons life because he a freaking skittles and some good ole tea! Smh bulshit i will would that ass....

    • glmclendon profile image

      glmclendon 5 years ago

      Good read. This brings to point, a crime had been comitted. Each time we try to roll out the carpet of black crime and white crime.

      You can not bring a life back and we must understand that. The more you try to justify the fact this case has not been handle correctly, the better off we will all be.

      If a policeman had done the shooting, he would have been put on desk duty and a grand jury would be called.Whether the cop was black or white.

      This man, George, has not been arrrested he is walking around with his gun and at this point nothing has been done.

      If the court finds he did the right thing, so be it. We had our day in court. If you let him walk and never go to court then the case will never close.

      No one has the right to take the life of another, if that happens the courts must step in and do their duty.

      Sdtay Well

    • LHwritings profile image

      Lyndon Henry 5 years ago from Central Texas


      Habueld, once again, you're right on target with an incisive article that gets straight to another of the central issues in the Trayvon Martin case. I've voted this Up and Useful.

      Another thread, posted by what seems to be another of the white racists that have crept out from under the stones to defend Zimmerman, tries to make a parallel with the killing of a couple of white youths by a black criminal. But the perpetrator (a young black thug) in that case was caught, charged, and convicted.

      This highlighted for me another aspect of the double standard running amok in this country, as I pointed out in my response:


      If you're trying to imply some kind of parallel with the Trayvon Martin case with this comparison, there is none. The problem in the Trayvon-Zimmerman case is that the killer, George Zimmerman, not only was not charged with a crime, a crime was never considered, no investigation of his background was made by authorities, and he is still roaming scot free (now with a huge contingent of predominantly white racists trying to rally to his defense).

      The double standard here is that blacks (especially young black men) can be picked off with impunity (including by white cops), whereas blacks not only will be ferociously hunted, captured, charged, and convicted, but will often be hounded, arrested, and convicted on the flimsiest of circumstantial evidence.

      Furthermore, unlike the case you cited, Zimmerman was not a hardened criminal but rather a Neighborhood Watch volunteer acting in a semi-official capacity. But he has a record that suggests a pattern of occasionally violent and racist behavior.

      I believe the evidence clearly shows that (far from "standing his ground") Zimmerman pursued Trayvon, confronted him, provoked an altercation, and shot him -- all within a few doors of where Trayvon was staying in the complex.

      All that should be enough to prompt a Justice Dept. investigation, no matter who is president at the time.


      As I've commented elsewhere, what's thoroughly disgusting is all these people (mostly white racists) mobilizing to portray the dead Trayvon as some kind of career drug-dealing hoodlum and to defend Zimmerman's right to pursue, stalk, confront, and then shoot to death this young man, just a few doors from where he was staying (with is dad and dad's girlfriend), because Zimmerman didn't like the way his victim looked.

      It's absurd to envision this same crowd agitating with such enthusiasm on behalf of an armed black Neighborhood Watch volunteer who, say, had similarly tracked down and shot a likewise innocent white youth. In that hypothetical case, the shooter would be in a cell and the clamor on the extremist right would be to kill the shooter as fast as possible.

    • Gracefulwriter profile image

      Gracefulwriter 5 years ago from Northern Virginia

      Great article. I, too have taught older teen students (in college). I also understand how young these young people are. In today's America, children feel so equal, especially in suburban neighborhoods. Many have mixed racial backgrounds and feel equally white as black. They don't have the caution that I had (40 yrs ago) about white people. It's not bred into them because we want to see generations heal. Then the bandaid is ripped from their psyches. Their white friends from safe, the African-American children feel confused. I was also a law enforcement officer who watched young, African American males used as fodder for an economic system desperate for jobs for our white brothers in upstate PA and inner cities, hence the construction of jails and prisons in outlying areas to make-up for the loss of industries, like coal. Thus, we nourish the corporate~prison~industrial complex to our detriment and death. Keep preaching, brother, there's an answer in unity and an end in sight.

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

      habueld, a well written article, I wish we could silence the issue of race here but the media, and two men I have watched stir race for a solid two decades, Sharpton and Jackson, have turned an issue that is being tried in the media

      I couldn't set on a jury if asked, too much media, but,

      If I had not heard all the 911 tapes, NBC accused of altering one, I could have sat on the jury, listened to the tapes as evidence and brought a guilty verdict against Zimmerman and would have, providing all I've heard on the tapes is accurate and in order. I made the case that the "stand your ground law" lost it's credence when 911 told Zimmerman, "we don't need you to do that" after his asking should he follow or pursue. I do think that if the shooter gave chase and Trayvon was whipping his ass, he should be vindicated by the law. Not that it will help him now.

      Don't short sell Trayvon's ability to win that fight had the table been even [no gun] I was a Marine at 17, 6 ft 4 in. I humped an M-60 and had ammunition wrapped around any and every place it would fit in the jungle and kicked some ass as a string bean, I'm not casting any doubt with that statement.

      I am a concealed carry certified man and do so, and I can guarantee you that those I know would never have taken the idiotic actions of Zimmerman, he sadly is an example that does not represent a responsible person and is now going to represent those of us who have carried all our lives and never had a direction that we couldn't take to avoid a fist fight much less a gun fight.

      Sadly cases where innocent life was saved by an armed citizen go unreported in the news in an effort of misinformation to America by the media that can no longer be called news. They have an agenda, every single one of them and sadly this time they want to tear down bridges to join and bring back a race war, Sad. I lived in California when the Rodney King riots broke out and 60 were killed, 1,000 plus wounded and a billion dollar neighbor hood burned, and it helped nothing.

      I pray we do not return to those times. Pray for Trayvon's mother and consider how she feels and how an explosion of violence here could add many more deaths as part of this memory.

      'nuff said, great write,

      Peace and blessings,


    • habueld profile image

      Bruce Bean 5 years ago from Riverside, CA

      Did you hear about the 2 16-year-old white girls and their group of male friends who stabbed a taxi driver to death. No. There are bad kids of all races. Trayvon Martin wasn't one of them. Seriously.

    • Cassie Smith profile image

      Cassie Smith 5 years ago from U.S.

      There is another story of a 17-year-old Black kid, Shawn Tyson, and he shot to death two white British students last April. Obama didn't reach out to the British parents. Tyson started was convicted and serves a life sentence without parole. There are some 17-year old Blacks that don't act like kids but are actual murderers.