Trayvon was killed by a man who made a judgement to pursue and then ultimately shoot and kill a teenager based off his his personal perception of that child.
Let’s not get off focus here, folks.
Don’t get me wrong. I love how people are rallying together with their hoods on to show support for Martin’s family. It’s definitely bittersweet to see the legions of young people calling for justice for one of their own. Mothers of all colors are thinking of their own children. And they’re thinking about Black children. And they’re getting an education about what it means to be Black in America. Trayvon’s death is at least forcing us to deal with the not so undercurrent of racism that plagues our country, and that Black people deal with on a daily.
We just need to stay on topic.
This injustice isn’t about a piece of clothing. It’s about our society having such a deep rooted fear of Black men that people will try to justify a murder by appealing to our sense of fear.
It’s a dark and stormy night, out of the shadows comes a big, black, menacing figure wearing a hood.
This injustice is about living in a society where a man can, against the instructions of police officers, get out of his car, chase a teenager down, shoot and kill him, and then claim self defense after the teen (allegedly) defends himself.
Of course I couldn’t defend myself against this Big Black Menace! I had no choice but to shoot him!
But, as long as we cling to this issue of the hoodie, we’re taking the spotlight away from what’s really going on. All of this discourse about what Trayvon was wearing isn’t what we need to be talking about. Because, we all know (and if you don’t know, you need to know) if Trayvon was a White boy, wearing the exact same hoodie, in the exact same neighborhood, at the exact same time…he’d still be alive right now.
I’m just asking that we don’t spend so much time personifying the hoodie that we forgo the serious conversations about race in America that we need to be having. I recognize that discussing our fears is difficult, and using the hoodie in countless metaphors is easier, it’s more comfortable. But comfort isn’t going to stop our Black boys from being killed. Being comfortable isn’t going to honor Trayvon’s memory. And, as comfortable as our hoodies are, they aren’t going to make a difference unless the people wearing them are doing something to create change.