Most of the time when someone says they have an open mind, they really don’t. It’s just important to them to act as if they really do. Every now and then— certainly not often—you put the germ of an idea into an actual open mind and much to my pleasant surprise it takes hold.
For example, I received the following question from someone wondering why I said the Trayvon Martin case is just the latest example of Walking While Black.
How is the claim that Martin was killed just for “Walking while black” not a claim of racism? Or am I misunderstanding what you are trying to say?
Because Black teenagers get killed all the time for Walking While Black. It just that usually its by someone else who’s Black as well and nobody pays any attention.
When Amadou Diallo got shot 41 times what was he doing besides Walking While Black? What was James Byrd doing wrong when three White men chained him to the back of their truck and dragged him to his death but Walking While Black? What was James Anderson doing when Deryl Dedmon and his friends beat him, taunted him and after Dedmon smashed his truck over the auto worker bragged later, “I ran that nigger over?”
Is Walking While Black totally unlikely?
When the NYPD disproportionally stops Black males under their “stop and frisk” policy despite the overwhelming number of them being completely innocent, what is the justification besides Walking While Black?
It’s an old game and Black men lose every time.
When George Zimmerman, a wannabee Dirty Harry who had a pattern of calling the cops whenever he saw a Black male he considered suspicious, decided he would ignore a 911 dispatcher’s caution not to follow Trayvon Martin, what crime had the unarmed teenager committed besides Walking While Black?
It could have been Will Smith, Clarence Thomas or Barack Obama under the hoodie that night and it would have made no difference to George Zimmerman. ANY Black man would have been a moving target to him. All that would have mattered is that asshole was in his neighborhood and didn’t belong there.
And that’s all it takes to justify killing someone who’s Black walking somewhere they aren’t supposed to be. They used to call them sundown towns. Places where if you weren’t White you better not be when it got dark. Now they call it Sanford, Florida.
It didn’t start with Trayvon Martin. It won’t end with him either. That much I can promise you.