I Am Not Trayvon Martin: Some Thoughts on White Privilege

 
photo by LaDawna Howard
photo by LaDawna Howard
A note about this post:
This is a blog about writing. Here, for the past 19 months I’ve documented the experience of working on my first book, The Saltwater Twin and Other Mythical Creatures. I’ve written about research, procrastination, setbacks, pep talks – basically held forth on whatever I’m thinking as I chip away at this manuscript. But sometimes something happens that sort of knocks everything else out of your brain and becomes all you can think about. A colleague of mine has a gardening blog. In a recent post, he reflected on a plant called Snow on the Mountain, green spaces, contemplation and privilege. And Trayvon Martin. So I’m taking a cue from him and allowing myself to express some thoughts that are currently crowding most everything else out of my brain.
 

Last Sunday morning saw a proliferation of hoodies on my Facebook home page. Hoodies and status updates shouting, “We are all Trayvon Martin!” Or sometimes, “We are all Trayvon’s mother.” These were posts by liberal, thoughtful white people — teachers and homemakers, professors and artists. I get the point. It’s a show of solidarity. And even though it’s just Facebook — even though you’re not, say, marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965 — still you’re showing up and saying you’re sickened by the blatant racism and brutality of this incident. You’re sickened by the fact that some people are still protesting that racism has nothing to do with the murder of an unarmed seventeen year old black boy. At least that’s what I think you’re saying. But after I closed my laptop and went on with my day, I felt unsettled about all the well-intentioned white people on Facebook shouting “We are Trayvon.” Because it’s not enough. And it’s not the whole picture.

Continue reading I Am Not Trayvon Martin: Some Thoughts on White Privilege

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