We are not Trayvon Martin

My friend Joe Phelan is getting some attention for a blog he organized on the spur of the moment Saturday night, irked by the “We Are Trayvon Martin” protest theme of people who will not, in fact, ever know what it’s like to be profiled, stalked, and assaulted simply for who they are.

“I mean this in the White privilege kind of way,” Phelan wrote the night of the acquittal. “What happened to Trayvon just will never happen to me. I won’t claim to be Trayvon, but I will claim to be in solidarity.”

So what started as three posts on tumblr Saturday night has now grown into an archive of hundreds of posts and serious thoughts about what it means to be white or black in America.

“I am not Trayvon Martin.  I am alive,” one person wrote. “I have had the opportunity to marry a wonderful partner and have a beautiful child.  I know the joys of having a career that I love. He will not get to do any of those things.  I got to be 18, 21, 30 years old and am still living.”

Take a look; it’s worth your time if you’re interested in a respectful and helpful conversation about race.

More Trayvon Martin coverage:

* Mark Pinsky, a veteran court and religion reporter, says the roots of the tragedy lie in the political history of the South: “Part of the problem with the trial, apart from the prosecution’s now widely acknowledged blunder in overcharging Zimmerman with second-degree murder, lies with the Florida legislature, and the political climate that sent its members to Tallahassee. In particular, with the lunatic — and, I would argue, racist — manner in which it has defined self-defense. You can start a fight for any reason, and if you begin to lose the altercation, and feel you are about to suffer grave body harm, you can kill the other person with total immunity.” (Full disclosure: Pinsky wrote a nice blurb for my book, but we’ve never met; look at me, dropping names all over the place today! I also once met Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka)

* “Stand Your Ground was not a factor in the Zimmerman verdict,” Reason Magazine person Radley Balko said, speaking for many. “Stop perpetuating this myth.” Among the perpetrators of this myth: Juror “B37,” who told Anderson Cooper that Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law helped lead the jury to its not guilty verdict. “Well, because of the heat of the moment and the Stand Your Ground,” the anonymous woman told Cooper. “[Zimmerman] had a right to defend himself. If he felt threatened that his life was going to be taken away from him or he was going to have bodily harm, he had a right.” What is it like to be wrong so often, Radley Balko? Is it … frustrating?

* Los Angeles joins Oakland as a site where verdict protests have turned violent. Hey, Californian protesters: what you’re doing is the opposite of helping.

* If you’re not following the New Black Panther Party’s Twitter account, you’re missing out on some good, old-fashioned lunacy. Today they even mentioned the Kerner Commission! That takes me back.

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