I’ve been following the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case along with the rest of America. I’m sad. I can’t believe he got away with killing an unarmed teenager. Actually, I can. There’s a whole history of court cases with juries acquitting killers of African Americans. I don’t have words really to unpack it, and to be honest there are others who’ve already said it better. It’s pretty clear to me that this case is complex and has unearthed a lot of fear and frustration with racial profiling in America.
So here are a few excellent articles I recommend you read:
The verdict reminded me yet again how fragile safety is for a black boy in a hoody. How precarious freedom might really be for my extroverted, energetic, and compassionate son. I saw again how the world won’t grant him the benefit of the doubt under some circumstances.
After the verdict, my cracked heart and the oozing sadness gave way to a moment of relief. My son will be staying in Burundi for the school year. He’ll be in a school, neighborhood and country of black beauties, all sparkling in the African sun. -Kelley Johnson Nikondeha
I can’t look an African-American parent in the eye for thinking about what they must tell their sons about what can happen to them on the streets of their country. Tonight, anyone who truly understands what justice is and what it requires of a society is ashamed to call himself an American. -David Simon
George Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin because he perceived him as dangerous. The defense argues he was, the prosecution argues he wasn’t. No one, of course, argues that Zimmerman approached Martin with kindness, or stopped to consider the boy as anything other than suspicious, an outsider. Ultimately Zimmerman shot and killed Martin. A lack of empathy can produce national tragedies. But it also drives quieter, more routine forms of discrimination. – Jason Silverstein
I thought my son would be much older before I had to tell him about the Black Male Code. He’s only 12, still sleeping with stuffed animals, still afraid of the dark. But after the Trayvon Martin tragedy, I needed to explain to my child that soon people might be afraid of him. -Jesse Washington