Saturday, March 24, 2012

Body Image & Our Sons: Justice for Trayvon Martin

When the name Trayvon Martin is uttered, what images or ideas come to mind? For George Zimmerman it was:

up to no good
on drugs
hand in his waistband 
(alluding to concealed weapon)
something is wrong with him
they always get away
f*$king coons

However, the fact is that Trayvon was:

An African American teenager
Talking on the phone with his girlfriend
Holding a bag of skittles and an ice tea
140 lbs opposed to Zimmerman's 250 lbs
Wearing a hoodie in the rain
Walking to his father's home 
(in a predominantly white neighborhood)

Why is there a MAJOR mismatch between the facts and Zimmerman's stereotypical representation of Trayvon? Some people like Geraldo Rivera argue that Zimmerman was just an overzealous "nutty neighborhood watch guy." Rivera says that, "The hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon's murder as George Zimmerman." Rivera also believes that Trayvon, and other minority boys like him, are trying to stylize themselves as gangsters, and consequently are setting themselves up for people perceiving them as such. 

However, I argue that the hoodie is only given value based on who wears it. For example, Geraldo never said that white boys with hoodies are viewed as threatening. It is the black skin beneath the hoodie that makes the hoodie a threatening symbol. I do not believe that Zimmerman would've stopped pursuing Trayvon if he was wearing a polo shirt, or Abercrombie and Finch apparel. Based on the phone call, Zimmerman obviously saw someone who did not belong in his neighborhood, and he wanted to carve out his own idea about "justice" before Trayvon, like so many skittle toting, girlfriend talking, walking-while-black boys got away.

I think who got away and continues to get away is George Zimmerman. Instead of wasting away behind bars, he's in the comfort of his own home, and his own bed. Blaming Trayvon's murder on a "hoodie" is a cheap shot. Racial profiling and violence is responsible for Trayvon never reaching adulthood, never kissing his girlfriend or mother, never again playing football, never having the opportunity to go to college, and never starting a family of his own. 

It saddens me that this murder was just a twenty-five minute drive from my parent's home. Trayvon could have been any of my friends, relatives, my father, or my boyfriend. Just like President Obama said, "If I had a son, he would have looked like Trayvon." I believe we need to start seeing Trayvon and other boys like him as our sons. So many of our black men, many unfairly prosecuted, are wasting away behind bars, while Zimmerman and others like him roam free. Will this stop if our men stop wearing hoodies? OF COURSE NOT! Will this stop if racist perpetrators are held accountable? YES! Help bring Trayvon's murderer to justice by signing the petition, and as always stay black and beautiful! 


  1. Hey girlie,

    Agree with what you said - already signed petiton and also circulating it.

    Stay black and beautiful too xxx

  2. As blacks we will need to secure our children financial futures. Put authority into their hands. Let them lead the way through tough education. and own a part of this land because we are entitled to it.