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Trayvon Martin’s Death: This White Woman’s Reality Check

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Trayvon Martin’s Death: This White Woman’s Reality Check

Every single day for seven months out of each year my fourteen year old son leaves our home wearing a hooded sweatshirt. He loves Skittles and tea. Never once have I worried he would be shot and killed for walking down the street and talking to a friend on a cell phone. Not one single time. Most days, I am ashamed to admit, I don’t even remember what a privilege that is.

White privilege? Um…yeah. My kid is white and he wears a hoodie, and when he and his friends cross the street between the closest snack vendor and our neighborhood, nobody stops them to ask what they are doing. They are not assumed to be up to no good, nor does anyone think they don’t belong here. They are white kids in rural Tennessee. They belong here–whatever the hell that means–and that turns my stomach inside out.

Occasionally, I do worry that he or his sister will be treated badly because I’m a lesbian, but even in our very conservative and sometimes close-minded town, I most often feel that they will be safe. Of course, you can’t tell by looking at my children that their mother is different from the other mothers. The same cannot be said of Trayvon Martin and his mother.

Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old in a suburb of Orlando, Florida, was shot and killed by a man who, even after being told by the 911 operator to back off, pursued him and shot him in the chest. His killer, self-appointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman, claims he was protecting his property and that ultimately, this was an act of self-defense.

This won’t happen to my son because he is white.

No, my son is not bulletproof. Do not misunderstand me. Bullets care not for the color of my son’s sun-kissed skin, or his feathery blond hair. If someone shoots him in the chest — much less from a distance short enough that they could have instead reached out to shake hands — he will die… just like Trayvon Martin died.

But people who hold guns care deeply about the color of my son’s skin — as do teachers and neighbors, executives and stay-at-home moms, and every other person from sea to shining sea. . . even if they don’t want to.

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Christy Diane Farr

Christy Diane Farr is a catalyst. If that sounds like something you want more of in your life, visit 'The Greenhouse' at SeedsAndWeedsCoaching.com and join the Wildflower Evolution on Facebook.

427 comments

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3:09AM PDT on Apr 29, 2012

Joni M.,

Get it right - white people represent only 10% of the earth's population. Therefore, they are the MINORITY - not the world's people of colour: red, yellow & black.

Peggy B.

8:41AM PDT on Apr 8, 2012

Thanks

12:30AM PDT on Apr 8, 2012

I am in a very interracial neighborhood. Some people call this a "transitional" neighborhood, because if you go a couple blocks east, it gets worse, yet if you go west, it's better. Going north, you run into the park and hit working class people. Go south, and it's dotted with the same, or with slightly better.

I'm actually glad that there is someone from all people represented in my neighborhood. It teaches my son that people are people. We all bleed red, and a mother mourns for her child. If you're going to have stereotypes, make them the good ones.

3:46PM PDT on Apr 5, 2012

If that Florida law was not present or pass by Jeb Bush,that would NOT have happened.Out of the the 50 States,Florida is the State to have that "Stand yur ground crap"amazing what Republicans would pass into law with thinking if it would be abuse.

6:15PM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

About 2 months ago, someone told me, that we no longer need Afirmative Action.

This current, unfortunate situation is a perfect example, of why we need Afirmative Action, as much as we ever have.

If there is anyone, who does not comprehend this, the explanation if too complicated for your brain to rationalize.

12:36PM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

Thanks for posting.

9:11AM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

Thank You, I really appreciate your article! It is really important to grow in Love and Compassion and start to believe in a better world free of hate and fears!

8:47AM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

Thank you for writing and sharing. I wholeheartedly support the repeal.

http://elephantsinthailand.org/

9:08PM PDT on Apr 1, 2012

@ Joni M You perhaps take your own advice and suspend your judgement until the case comes to trial (if it ever does). To the rest of the world watching from the sidelines, it certainly has racial overtones. And racially inflammatory names like "coon" I thought had been removed from the language.
So many things and ideas Americans have a right to be proud of but the racial segregation aspects of your history is not one of them.

The article above was so eloquent and thought provoking but some of the comments in response have been so bigoted and intolerant (and incidentally off topic) e.g.. let the military do the fighting like in Afghanistan and Iraq. Fine as far as it goes but when you have an armed general populace, you are going to have fighting among yourselves.

We are all humans and when wounded, we bleed regardless of our skin colour.

4:58PM PDT on Apr 1, 2012

Thanks for this excellent article. For us white people, there is so much priviledge built into our culture that many of us never realize how profoundly priviledged we are. When I walk down the street, not only do I feel safe, I don't wonder if other people cross the street because they are afraid of me. If you're white, it's easy to pretend that the media is just playing the race card. But the sad fact is that racism is a poison embedded in all our lives whether we want to acknowledge it or not. The race card was dealt centuries ago and the game has been crooked ever sense. Black people can't "play" the race card, they just have to live it.

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