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Trayvon Martin: On Racism and Ignorance

March 30, 2012

Whatever you might think about what happened on Feb. 27 when George Zimmerman pulled the trigger and fatally shot Trayvon Martin is your opinion.

But, there are a few things I think are worth mentioning.

This blog post is about to get uncomfortable.

That’s the population’s general reaction when the subject of race comes up.

Why was Zimmerman following the 17-year-old?

The Merriam-Webster Learner’s dictionary defines stereotyping as the act of “believing unfairly that all people or things with a particular characteristic are the same.”

Was Zimmerman stereotyping people who wear hoodies or was it the color of Martin’s skin that drew his attention?

These are questions we probably won’t have answered for a while.

But, let’s not try to pretend that we live in a post-racial United States because we elected our first African-American president.

Statistics on racism are hard to come by because people do not openly admit they are bigots, but I did find these in a CNN article.

“Asked if they know someone they consider racist, 43 percent of whites and 48 percent of blacks said yes.

But just 13 percent of whites and 12 percent of blacks consider themselves racially biased.”

Just this past week this story made headlines when some Hunger Games fans were disappointed because one of the characters they liked was actually black and not the little white girl they had pictured in their heads.

I wanted to write about this case because I came across this excruciatingly biased article on

It listed the ways in which Martin was not innocent. Tattoos. School suspensions. Let’s not forget his Twitter account.

Though his Twitter account pains me to no end because of his crappy grammar and use of slang; it’s not indicative of someone who is violent.

It’s indicative of a crappy school system and teenage culture where it’s cool to be stupid. I can say this because I am a product of Miami-Dade County Public Schools and because I was a teenager once. I uSeD tO TyPE LyK DiS.

The Editor-in-Chief of Wagist has since responded with an update about their coverage.

But, still, it all goes back to stereotyping and the beliefs we cultivate about others.

Just because someone is tattooed all over doesn’t mean they are a bad person.

Chicago Protest for Trayvon Martin

Chicago Protest for Trayvon Martin.
Photo Credit: Debra Sweet

Just because someone can’t write for their life doesn’t mean they deserve death.

And just because a black boy is walking the street by himself doesn’t mean he is going to jump you.

Martin has become the face of a necessary campaign. These issues need to be confronted. If not for Martin, then for the countless other men who have been killed while black and unarmed. The Root published this slide show of these victims.

This isn’t Jim Crow. This isn’t the Civil Rights movement. This is our own stupid judgement and reactionary society causing this mess.

It’s the 21st century. This shouldn’t be happening.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Meghan Chandler permalink
    March 30, 2012 8:35 pm

    Thank you for this post. For multiple reasons. 1. You led me to the completely biased article at I can’t believe that people call that journalism when it is riddled with so much opinion. 2. You highlight the real issue: stereotyping people based on very little evidence. 3. I am currently beginning to work on a project focusing on this case and hoodies in particular. A lot of the information you gave has given me more of a focus for this story. Thank you!

    • March 30, 2012 8:50 pm

      Thank you for reading. Good luck with your project. Let me know where you post about it so I can see the details and what you find.

  2. Meghan Chandler permalink
    March 30, 2012 8:59 pm

    I will make sure to do that! Thank you for the quick response! Again, I really do appreciate your posting!

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