Things would be different if Trayvon was white!!
Really? I don't think so. Note the similarities, particularly this from the prosecutor:
“I just hope it’s not a message to this community,” she sniffed, “that
you have the right to shoot an unarmed 17-year-old kid for breaking into
What did Yogi Berra say? Deja vu all over again.
If I had a black son, he'd look like...
This. Oh, jeez! Is this racist??!! I don't care what color your son is. What of the content of his character? How does a parent let their kid get to a point where the kid suffers outcomes such as Trayvon Martin's? I know my kids do not dress or behave in a manner anyone would call "suspicious". That's because of how I sought to raise them. Which leads me to...
Profiling is GOOD!
Way back when I was in high school, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, there was an event day at our school called "50's DAY". Everyone was encouraged to dress like they did in the 1950's and the day culminated in a 50's Dance that night. In a very uncharacteristic move for me and my chums, we all bought into this particular school spirit episode and dressed and acted the part all day long.
So there I was, Vitalis in my mop, T-shirt with a pack of Luckies twisted in the sleave and blue jeans with the cuffs pulled up (couldn't afford a leather jacket, damnit). With mirror shades upon my face, and an unlit Lucky in my mouth, I strutted my way from class to class. A shop teacher, who happened to also be a bishop of some Christian denomination, grabbed me, the ciggie and hauled me off to the office. Upon my arrival, I immediately came into range of the school cop (with whom I had some contact in the past), the dean (ditto) and the principle. Still in the clutches of the bishop, the cop said, "What do we have here?" I said to him, "Yo, Ken! What's the problem wit dis guy?" as I pointed to the bishop. "You'd better watch yourself, young man! Don't make things worse!"
It dawned on me right away that my get-up had the officer fooled. I pulled off my shades and mussed my hair and said, "Wait a minute! It's me! ART!" I could see that they then realized who I was and they began to laugh! "OH! It's 50's Day!" "Yeah!" I said. "Just showing some school spirit, like you guys say I should!"
I was profiled. I was dressed like a 50's greaser and they treated me like one. Naturally I sued them and that's why I'm the rich man I am today.
No. I just dealt with it and realized that how one dresses and acts gives off impressions we don't always intend, and more importantly, sometimes they do.
Profiling is the learned lessons of our experiences. To ignore those lessons can needlessly put us in jeopardy. It isn't judging a book by its cover. It is recognizing that the book in question very much resembles the one with which we were hit, and greater scrutiny is in order to confirm the presence of danger or eliminate the need for concern.
But the reverse is a lesson well learned also. If I wish to deflect attention, I dress to blend in, act in a manner that does not draw attention and basically, "be good". Those whose duty it is to stand guard against bad behavior will look away from those who do not trigger their profiling sensors.
But while dress and behavior don't guarantee criminal activity is imminent, they do naturally activate those sensors some among us insist we should ignore. And when we do ignore them , another terrorist bomb explodes, another mass shooting occurs, another rape, another robbery, another mugging...and some actual cases of well behaved, good students of character are scrutinized, detained, arrested and sometimes killed when mistaken for someone else. Was Trayvon one of these? The known facts don't suggest such, but for the sake of the incident on that dark, rainy night, his dress and manner played a major role in the final outcome. Had his parents made an issue of how he dressed, behaved and carried himself, and had he accepted those teachings, none of this would have happend. That bishop shop teacher didn't haul everyone to the office.