They felt under attack, as if society considered them the enemy. This is how the legendary rap group Public Enemy was born. Their logo: A young black man in the crosshairs of a gun sight. But what about that long road traveled, which took a black man all the way to the White House?
Opinion: Obama's mistake on Trayvon Martin case - CNN
I can hear some of my white friends now: What evidence is there that Trayvon Martin caught George Zimmerman's attention — and his bullet — because of his race? Lynching is a relic of the past, so why are you teaching your son to be so paranoid? There is a difference between paranoia and protection. Much evidence shows that black males face unique risks: Psychological studies indicate they are often perceived as threatening; here in Philadelphia, police stop-and-frisk tactics overwhelmingly target African-Americans, according to a lawsuit settled by the city; research suggests that people are more likely to believe a poorly seen object is a gun if it's held by a black person.
Yes, it was way back in when year-old Emmitt Till was murdered in Mississippi for flirting with a white woman. But it was last Wednesday when a white Mississippi teenager pleaded guilty to murder for seeking out a black victim, coming across a man named James Craig Anderson, and running him over with his pickup truck. Faced with this information, I'm doing what any responsible parent would do: Teaching my son how to protect himself. Still, it requires a delicate balance.
Steve Bumbaugh, a foundation director in Los Angeles, encourages his 8- and 5-year-old sons to talk to police officers, "and to otherwise develop a good relationship with the people and institutions that have the potential to give them trouble. I think this is the best defense. And that can contribute to dangerous situations. I am and more than pounds, son.
You probably will be too. Depending on how we dress, act and speak, people might make negative assumptions about us. That doesn't mean they must be racist; it means they must be human. One morning I left our car at the shop for repairs.
Obama on Trayvon: "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon" (VIDEO)
I was walking home through our quiet suburban neighborhood, in a cold drizzle, wearing an all-black sweatsuit with the hood pulled over my head. From two blocks away, I saw your mother pull out of our driveway and roll towards me. When she stopped next to me and rolled down the window, her brown face was full of laughter.
Jesse Washington covers race and ethnicity for The Associated Press. Copyright The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Show more text. Show transcript. Show discussion. Life on NBCNews. Trayvon Martin, my son and the Black Male Code 'Always pay close attention to your surroundings, son, especially if you are in an affluent neighborhood where black folks are few' Below: x Jump to video Attorney defends Martin shooter video x Jump to discuss comments below discuss x Next story in Life related.
In this undated photo provided by the Martin family, Trayvon Martin holds an unidentified baby. Martin was slain in the town of Sanford, Fla. Since the slaying, a portrait has emerged of Trayvon Martin as a laid-back young man who loved sports, was extremely close to his father, liked to crack jokes with friends and, according to a lawyer for his family, had never been in trouble with the law.
Let me tell you a story, son, about a time when I forgot about the Black Male Code.
Video: Attorney defends Martin shooter Open in new window. He was followed, shot and killed by year-old George Zimmerman. The details of the case, now infamous five years on, remain deeply shocking. The fact that Zimmerman followed Trayvon against the advice of the police. The fact that it took 44 days for an arrest to take place and then only as a result of a national media campaign.
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And the fact that, in July , Zimmerman was found by a jury of six women, five of whom were white not guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter. With Fulton and Martin taking consecutive chapters to tell the story, it unfolds like a true-crime serial: labyrinthine, episodic and appallingly real.
They never intended to take five years to write it, but their anguish made it impossible until now. Six days after the trial verdict, President Barack Obama delivered what many consider to be his most eloquent address about race. Another way of saying that is, Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.
The American Dialect Society declared blacklivesmatter its word of the year in Racism, racial profiling and gun control were critical issues during the presidential campaign. Yet since Fulton and Martin wrote the book, the US has changed again.
How do they feel under the current administration? Is she more scared for black people now? Meanwhile, the image of Trayvon in his hoodie continues to symbolise a sweeping and amorphous civil rights movement.
We feel strongly that the laws that pertain to African Americans are different to the laws applying to other individuals. With all these other killings and police brutalities, I feel as though a systematic racism is plaguing this country and we have to take the blindfolds off. Racism is alive and well in America. For Fulton, the message the not-guilty verdict continues to send to the US and the rest of the world is stark. Neither of them wanted a life of activism. We are just average people and this could have happened to anybody.
This was forced upon us.
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