The murder of Trayvon Martin, who was fatally shot in Sanford, Florida by a keystone cop type, is the Emmett Till case of 2012.
A teen Black male is in danger on American streets, in his neighborhood, in the suburbs, and on urban streets.
A young Black Male Walking (BMW) should be very careful. His mere walking is a danger sign. Walking in jeans and sweats and a hoodie could be a death sentence. The reason –– because he’s Black and only because he is Black.
America has a problem –– the perception of the Black Male. Even with a Black male occupying the White House, the fear factor and the disrespect looms.
The President of the Untied States said, if I had a son, he might look like Trayvon Martin. The resemblance is clearly there –– clean cut, bright shinning face.
He could have also said, maybe if I weren’t in the White House, I, too, would be under the same threat, minus Secret Service protection. Or he could have also said, when I was his age, it could have been me.
A Washington Post reporter said we are living in a post-racial society. The comment was stimulated, I am sure, because President Barack Obama is in office and some might think that, therefore, race issues have vanished.
Wrong. And we knew it was wrong when she said it. Try walking the streets as a young Black man and you’ll find out quickly the state of American racism. The police are afraid of the children. The children are afraid of the police. Both are quick on the draw.
Trayvon was walking in his housing complex in Florida. He was walking in a gated guarded community. He went to the store. He had candy in one hand and tea in the other. He was talking on his cell phone. He had on the clothes of youth, a hoodie, that is, a sweatshirt with a hood.
Did it cost him his life?
Instructions To Live By
A front-page story in the Chicago Tribune asked “What black parents are telling their sons” as they navigate from teenager to adulthood and as they travel the streets in normal life.
This is a Black problem. It is not a class problem or an education problem; it is a defined race problem. It is a problem that Whites may not understand, however, it is real.
It is not new that Black parents provide their sons social instructions on a special code of conduct for Black men. The Black men in the South of yesteryear were told to get off the sidewalk if approaching a White person. They were told never to look a White person in the eye and to drop their heads while talking.
Today, parents tell their children to walk in twos or threes. They prepare them for the police stop.
Instructions are to stay in the car, keep your hands on the wheel. Do not argue. Get out of the car with your hands up and in front of you. And for no reason at all ever put your hands in your pocket. It does not matter that you don’t have anything in your pockets; it matters only what the police officer thinks. He thinks you have a weapon.
True Black Male Tales
I know a Black male who was the top officer of his company working in a major downtown establishment. He forget his briefcase late one evening, filled with work for the weekend.
He did not go back in the building after hours because the guards did not know he was coming. He is never without suit, shirt and tie, always looking like a fashion plate.
But he did not go back into the building because he is a Black male, and he didn’t want the guard, the White guard, to get confused and mistakenly consider him a burglar and shoot him accidentally in the dark. He left his briefcase and drove back into the city the next day while the sun was shining and went to his office.
I know another Black man whose teen child wanted to visit the mall with his buddies for his birthday, without parents. They wanted to just hang by themselves. His father gave him and his buddies instructions. He drove them to the mall and they agreed where they would be picked up at a specific time.
He made sure they were nicely dressed. He told them to be polite and for no reason loud. He told them to go into the stores only where they wanted to purchase an item and to make it clear that they were there to buy. He told them not to laugh too loud.
This was their first venture without parents. He was scared to death, explaining to me, you have no idea what could happen over absolutely nothing. He was on pins and needles, often with phone calls to his son’s cell to check on the group’s safety and whereabouts.
I know another Black male who will not wear a jogging suit or jeans and t-shirt. He is suited at all times. His complexion is dark. He is a successful business owner, works odd hours and is always low key and polite, no matter what. He says a screaming Black man, a Black man with the wrong hat, the wrong suit of clothing, can cause upset and death.
I have a White neighbor who was alarmed when she saw a Black male in the hallway. She went and told another White neighbor that a Black man was in the building. She was correct. He was a United States Congressman.
I had to tell her she would probably see other Black men in my home and that she could not call the police as though she was in danger when she saw someone walking through the halls.
The young Black male in American society is threatened, and is a threat, all in one package. It is ridiculous, yet Black people understand it and live it. Women understand it. Men understand it most of all and adjust their style to accommodate.
A maniac, George Zimmerman, killed Trayvon for no reason other than his own prejudices. He has yet to be arrested. This is the tragedy of the tragedy.
America at large is up in arms for the murder and rightfully filling the streets in protest. Trayvon could have been anybody’s child, and any Black boy in America.