Trayvon Martin, the criminalblackmale
Being perfectly willing to pick at an old scab, I’ll highlight this column in The Guardian about the start of the George Zimmerman trial. Mr. Zimmerman’s attorneys are attempting to paint a very specific picture of the young victim. Reniqua Allen writes:
I should know better. When things like marijuana and school suspensions become associated with a black male life, they don’t often read as part of a story of an impressionable (if imperfect) youngster trying to find his way in life, as they may have been if Trayvon looked different (i.e. white), but as scary and dangerous. The young black thug persona isn’t a complicated character, it doesn’t require us knowing details about one’s specific character or persona, it doesn’t require nuance or context, but serves to help us understand one specific thing: that blackness is to be feared.
We know the young, black thug. Most of us have encountered (and most likely feared) him. We’ve clutched our purses and wallets tighter in his presence, regardless of our own race or ethnicity.
I don’t know if Mr. Zimmerman should be found guilty, though I do have my thoughts on his degree of responsibility (which I won’t share right now). However, I don’t know how I don’t see how this strategy makes Mr. Zimmerman more sympathetic. He couldn’t have known about the pictures on Martin’s cell phone that night, so, what? Mr. Zimmerman just assumes that every black teenage male is an “aspiring street tough”?
I’m more likely to think a racist went hunting for a black kid, not less.