Trayvon Martin

I don’t care how dark the image is, and I don’t care how badly a 17-year-old tries to look tough. He’s got a baby face. I had a baby face when I was seventeen. I grew a beard. I looked like a baby-face with a beard. (I look like a baby-face with a beard today, 31 years later. Beards are awesome, but ineffectual.)

There’s only one way that a grown adult could have found Trayvon “suspicious-looking” and threatening, and it starts with r and ends with acism.

What does Trayvon Martin look like? To me, he looks like a sweet boy, probably awkward around girls, too smart for his own good, and desperate to be something he’s not. Of course, now he’s dead, which is something he authentically is, and always will be.

I’m a white dude who lives in a majority black neighborhood (cf. the fictional Ernest Valdemar, Francophone resident of Harlem, NY) in a major metropolitan center; I live just down the street from a magnet school for inner-city high achievers, and I see kids like Trayvon all the time on the sidewalk outside my condo, usually full of high spirits and bravado, which, last time I checked, are not capital offenses.

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