In my previous blog titled “Trayvon Martin” I had hoped to raise the question of what George Zimmerman saw that made Trayvon a “real suspicious guy” according to his police call.
Many responded with comments on my post that George Zimmerman couldn’t be racist because he took a black girl to prom, helped a black homeless man, tutored black kids and had a great grandfather that was black. I may respond to these specific “proofs” in a later blog.
But first, let me stick with the intent of the original blog. Maybe I wasn’t clear. Maybe people have their preconceived notions that need to be wrestled with some more.
To respond to people’s concerns, I do not believe that George Zimmerman was a flat out racist. Being racist would give the impression that a person hates someone else based solely on their race. I have no reason to believe this is the case with George Zimmerman. I believe that it was more than just the race of Trayvon that considered him to be a “real suspicious guy”. This is what I ask that we return our discussion to.
My guess of what made him a “real suspicious guy” to George Zimmerman was a factor of the following three things combined: Trayvon was 1) Young 2) Black 3) A Man. Each of these individually may not have caused much suspicion to George on that rainy night in February. But they were not individual realities. They were combined into one reality.
If George saw a black female walking through his neighborhood, he probably would not of viewed her as being “real suspicious”. If George saw a white teen, he probably would not of viewed him as being “real suspicious”. If George saw an older black man, he probably would not of viewed him as being “real suspicious”. But George didn’t see those people. He saw a young, black man and he viewed him as “real suspicious”.
Sister, do you clench your purse tighter when you walk past a young black man down the street?
Brother, do you lock your car doors when you see a young black man crossing the street?
Police officer, are you more likely to pull over a car simply because it’s being driven by a young black man?
Store clerk, do you pay extra attention to a black young man who comes into your store?
These things are noticed and are painful to young black men.
Can we discuss the reality of this? Not just with Trayvon Martin but with thousands of young black men across this country? How do we create a culture that doesn’t view a specific group of our population as “real suspicious” but rather the following…
What would you add to this list in describing young black men?