My Son Doesn’t Look Like Trayvon

by Dan Cantor

You’ve heard the story already.  A young, unarmed black man was shot and killed, in a place he had every right to be. The tears of parents and friends flow.

But I’m not talking about the murder of Trayvon Martin in Florida. This story is closer to home.

A few weeks before Trayvon was killed, Ramarley Graham was killed in the Bronx. He was all of 18. The NYPD saw a black teenager “adjusting his waistband,” saw something that seemed to their eyes suspicious, and ended up chasing him into his own home. He was shot to death attempting to flush a bag of marijuana down the toilet. The police thought he had a gun. But like Trayvon Martin in Florida, Ramarley Graham was unarmed.

I’m a 56 year-old white man with a 20 year-old son. My son spent his high school years traveling around New York City at all hours, and never once was he stopped and frisked. He always wore hoodies. I always told him to “keep safe,” but if I’m telling the truth, it never occurred to me to worry that he might be stopped and questioned and frisked. I never thought for a second that he might fall victim to a police “mistake.” And I never gave him a lecture about how to be deferential to the police. Not so for black and brown parents. Every parent loves and wants to protect his children, but the ability to do so is not equal.

One of the reasons that we created the WFP was to tell the truth, as we saw it, about our society and economy. The truth is, Trayvon Martin’s death wasn’t an isolated act of vigilantism. And Ramarley Graham didn’t die because of a mistake. They died because we live in a nation where young men of color are stopped, and sometimes killed, because somebody decides they look suspicious. It is hardly news to say this, and of-color leaders and activists across the country are mobilizing with a sense of anger and righteousness that is entirely warranted. But what is new and welcome is that more and more white people are reminded or learning for the first time what the persistent existence of the color line means to millions of our fellow Americans.

It’s two different worlds. If a middle-class white teenager visiting his father were shot to death by an African- American “neighborhood watch” leader, would an arrest be likely? Or, as in Florida, would the shooter walk free and be allowed to keep his concealed carry permit?

Public safety is crucial to every community — black, white, Latino, Asian — and we need a vigilant, well-trained police force. But there is a law-and-order culture in our nation that has crossed the line. The dominant society is afraid of young of-color men, and instead of asking ourselves why and what might be done about it, we endorse policies that keep the problem under control. Until it isn’t.

In New York City, Police Commissioner Kelly defends his policies aggressively. He argues that “stop, question and frisk” has taken guns off the street. He says that it has helped reduced crime, and that communities of color are the main beneficiaries.

But Kelly’s line of argument is a dead-end. It’s a vision of a society that will never deal with racism – not just the individual prejudice and preconceptions of the Florida “watchman,” but the ingrained structures of a society in which life chances are determined at birth. It’s not Kelly’s fault; we ask the police to deal with problems the rest of us want to ignore. We have decided that there is no way for our society to create job opportunities, education and healthy families that will set young men down a promising path to adulthood, so we focus immense resources on policing and jailing them instead. We stop-and-frisk because we aren’t able to educate-and-employ.

There are a lot of young men growing up in tough circumstances, but – again, let’s tell the truth – it seems toughest in the black community. Deindustrialization. Residential segregation. The lure of the informal economy. A prison-industrial complex that requires ever more prisoners and lobbies for absurdly harsh sentencing laws. It’s a toxic combination, and the results are not surprising: there are now more African-American men in prison or on parole than were held as slaves. America’s “original sin” has not been expiated.

This is a serious challenge. At the Working Families Party, we spend much of our  energy on the shared interests of people of all races. We ask working-class and middle-class people – white and of-color, citizen and immigrant – to unite and work together. We want a society in which all people have a chance at a decent, productive life. That means excellent schools, jobs that pay living wages, parents with the time and inner resources to raise healthy children, taxes that stop the obscene selfishness that now characterizes American society. But we’re kidding ourselves if we don’t acknowledge the serious and exceptional problems faced by of-color Americans.

New York City Council Members Jumaane Williams, Melissa Mark Viverito and Brad Lander have concrete proposals to reform stop-and-frisk that deserve support. And it may sound utopian, but Mayor Bloomberg should convene public hearings in which young people, beat cops, social scientists, employers, unions and elected leaders come and testify about their experience and their ideas on ways to reduce crime and increase opportunity. It won’t be perfect, but it can be a step forward.

The killings of Trayvon Martin and Ramarley Graham and too many others to name are a stain on our nation’s honor. Let’s learn from it, and act on it.

Dan Cantor is the Executive Director of the Working Families Party.

Discussion

51 Responses to “My Son Doesn’t Look Like Trayvon”

  1. Judith Bendewald says:

    This is a powerful, well-written piece by Dan Cantor. I like your idea about Mayor Bloomberg convening public hearings where all parties can testify and learn. There are so many good programs in this city, but most of them operate on a shoestring, programs where young people & adults can work together and express the issues. Irondale Ensemble in Brooklyn works with teens through drama to express & create the issues the youth are facing. Dialogue at any level is worthwhile.

  2. Robert Weingarten says:

    Excellent article.

  3. Kristin Norderval says:

    Well said. “stop-and-frisk” should be ended. Just as police spying in Muslim neighborhoods and community groups should end. The racism of the law enforcement and the justice system endangers and impoverishes us all and is a blight on this country.

  4. Brittany Porter says:

    Wholeheartedly, tear-facedly agree. I am a young white woman who’s been livid about 21st century Jim Crow since long before the killings of Trayvon and Ramarley.

    It is time for white folks to wake up and see the problem for what it is–to change our roles in racism, and help reform our communities, inside and out, wherever we live.

    I am thrilled to read these words from the WFP director and this greatly reinforces my commitment to the party. I wholeheartedly hope that WFP can be a party of, by, and for all people of this city, with proper composition, representation, and power on behalf of people of color and others who would most benefit from its policy initiatives.

    Let’s get those hearings started!!

    Not another dead body!! Not in my name!!

  5. David Schwartz says:

    Great statement! Let’s mobilize WFP behind the effort to reform stop and frisk.

  6. Leslie says:

    Beautiful article, thank you.
    Although these incidents NEVER called for bullets, what ever happened to shooting someone in the leg, NOT in the chest or head, if they appeared to be so threatening?

  7. James Cannings says:

    Well written and said Mr. Cantor. Its no different that the below story. The answer to this issue to aggressively push for law enforcement to be made accountable for their crimes against humanity.

    On November 19, 2011, my father, 68-year-old Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., was shot and killed in his home in White Plains, New York.

    My father was a 20-year veteran of the Westchester County Department of Corrections and proudly served the United States of America as a Marine. He stood about 5 feet, 9 inches tall, and he suffered from a heart condition.

    The events that led to his killing began around 5 a.m., when his medical alert device was accidentally set off, sending a call to the City of White Plains Department of Public Safety. Everything that happened after that was recorded by an audio device installed in my father’s home as part of his medical alert system.

    When the police arrived at my father’s home, he and the staff for his medical alert service told them that there was no medical emergency and asked them to leave. And yet they insisted that my father let them into his home, banging loudly on my father’s door for over an hour. On the recording, the police can be heard calling my father a “nigger.”

    Ultimately they broke through his apartment door and first shot him with a Taser. He was wearing nothing but boxer shorts when the police began their assault against him. Shortly after that, he was shot with two 40-caliber rounds and killed.

    My family is asking the Westchester County District Attorney to bring a criminal indictment, and we call on the United States Department of Justice or the New York State Attorney General to prosecute this as a hate crime.

    Will you sign our petition? Click here to sign and please share with your friends:
    http://signon.org/sign/justice-for-kenneth-chamberl.fb1?source=s.fb&r_by=1697944

  8. P. Holcomb says:

    Thank you for acknowledging the truth. Very few do so, and to read about one in the White community doing it is refreshing.

  9. Deborah Peretz says:

    Thank you for such a thoughtful and moving piece. I will certainly pass it along.

  10. mspaap2u says:

    I could not have said this any better.
    Much respect to you for caring.

  11. eric mayr says:

    You are quite right in our assumptions, however your vision only perpitrates vulnerability. I mean if everyone had a gun and was able to use it it would save the tax payers millions of dollars and make the police obsolete. It is a proven fat in those states who have stand your ground laws crime is practically negligible. Criminals do not confront people who they think are insane or might be carrying. Kelly is on a power trip and must be removed before we are all imprisoned with fear. Women fear guns men do not.

  12. Richard Wagner says:

    What does Society expect? We want children educated, so we provide free schools, but if a child isn’t learning by the second grade, the parent(s) should be called in to find out if there is a problem at home. If there is a home problem, perhaps the school should provide a “study hall” after regular school hours with professional help to aid the child and perhaps the parent if they can’t read. We must do something to help!

  13. Susan Robin says:

    The police do racially profile people of color all the time, and it’s not right. They also profile people for other reasons. My son is white. He used to have long hair. We had a problem with drug dealing in our neighborhood, and the police came around for a short time. My son was constantly stopped and harassed by the police, because he had long hair, and they ASSUMED that he was carrying marijuana on him.
    One day, my son and his friend went to a grocery store in our neighborhood. My son’s friend bought Mike’s hard lemonade. It was all legal, as my son’s friend was over twenty one. My son was not twenty one yet, but he was not going to drink it. He had just tagged along. After they left the grocery store, the police stopped them, and harassed them, because they ASSUMED that my son’s friend was buying the alcohol for some underage teenagers, and was going to give it to them, even thought there were no underage teenagers with them, except my son, who was not going to drink it anyway. My son’s friend got scared, and threw the alcohol into a garbage dumpster in our co-operative apartment complex. My son decided to leave his friend and go home. When my son was near our courtyard, a police officer stopped him, pushed him and yelled at him about where his friend was. My son told him that he did not know where his friend was, and that he was going home. The police officer left, and my son came into our apartment, thoroughly upset. I was very upset, too, because I did not think that the police had the right to just walk up to my son and harass him like that. The police use any excuse to bother young people, and overextend their power. Now, they are shooting innocent teenagers for no reason! This has got to stop!

  14. Mary Fran says:

    Excellent. My only question is why you didn’t mention the insanity of the political support for gun ownership and carrying? Without a loose cannon man walking around with a gun, this would never have happened.

  15. Eric A. Kuzmuk says:

    A superbly well written and well considered commentary. What makes our police so trigger happy? Too many times we learn of them shooting first and justifying those shots afterward. It is a very scary place for all of us when the police are so reckless so essentially fearful of us.

  16. Dan Icolari says:

    Thank you for your statement.

    We’re proud to vote on the Working Families Party line and proud to support it financially as well.

  17. Alberta Harbutt says:

    I have a long list of comments, mostly
    about how the police do not require
    sufficient education about cultures,
    about different groups and how to under-stand how they function, about why a cop or several shooting 50 bullets into the
    chest of one man doesn’t have to stand
    trial and pay a serious penalty: just dismissisng such a cop from the force is
    a joke. Basically I think the police dept should have their men graduate from
    college, and have been trained in a million of issues of which they are totally ignorant.

  18. Diane Spear says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful post. I appreciate that President Obama pointed out that if he had a son, his son would look like Trayvon Martin. He made a good point. I love that Dan Cantor made the point that his son doesn’t look like Trayvon Martin, and that although Mr. Cantor’s son has privileges conferred upon him due solely to the color of his skin. Mr. Cantor is still concerned about the inequality young men and women of color face. My daughter gets a free pass in society because she’s white–no one would profile her as being suspicious–and I’m concerned about the outrageous statistics of people of color I whine bars. There are many reasons why, as Mr. Cantor points out. One of the reasons is the failed war on drugs, which turns a public health issue into a criminal justice war that is waged overwhelmingly on people of color. Privileged white teens generally have talented defense lawyers, hired by their parents, who can broker a deal to drop or reduce charges, or trade rehab for jail time. Not so, for teens of color, whose parents generally are paid cents on the dollar, and these teens are represented by overworked public defenders with few resources. So many points of inequality, while the greed of our system continues….I support the WFP because it goes beyond “business as usual.”. Thanks, Dan!

  19. Barbara Kagan says:

    Thank you for writing about Ramarley Graham. I have thought of him several times over the last week although I did not know his name. Although I agree we should be alarmed about the apparent injustice in the Martin case, we should ask why the Graham case did not become a nation wide media frenzy.
    Ridiculous behavior ensues on both sides in the heat of the media hype. We do not know what happened between Martin and Zimmerman, now it’s not likely we ever will.
    In my heart this week was a close friend who lost a young son to gun violence in a working class town outside of Boston about 5 years ago. My friend is black but I never inquired the color of the shooter. What difference can that make when you’ve lost your child to a gun. In the face of all discussion about Zimmerman’s color and ethnicity we should face the truth that prejudice has no color. People discriminate against their own, and others. It doesn’t matter what percentage Zimmernan is Hispanic, what’s clear is that he’s the one who introduced the gun into this situation and Trayvon is the one who paid. I support the public hearings idea. If Mr. Bloomberg won’t do them than perhaps a committment to hold these hearings from WFP’s next mayorial candiate would be in order.

  20. janet capron says:

    Whatever can be done to stop the “stop, question and frisk” I would like to support.
    Stricter gun laws? Yes. “Stop, question and frisk” no.
    It’s a wonder the whole black community isn’t up in arms over these crimes.

  21. Richard P Faust says:

    Of course.

  22. Timothy says:

    A Note from Kenneth Chamerlain Jr….. My Father did not look like Trayvon, instead he was killed in his home, unarmed by White Plains Police using a racist name for my father.

    Dear friends of WFP,

    On November 19, 2011, my father, 68-year-old Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., was shot and killed in his home in White Plains, New York.

    My father was a 20-year veteran of the Westchester County Department of Corrections and proudly served the United States of America as a Marine. He stood about 5 feet, 9 inches tall, and he suffered from a heart condition.

    The events that led to his killing began around 5 a.m., when his medical alert device was accidentally set off, sending a call to the City of White Plains Department of Public Safety. Everything that happened after that was recorded by an audio device installed in my father’s home as part of his medical alert system.

    When the police arrived at my father’s home, he and the staff for his medical alert service told them that there was no medical emergency and asked them to leave. And yet they insisted that my father let them into his home, banging loudly on my father’s door for over an hour. On the recording, the police can be heard calling my father a “nigger.”

    Ultimately they broke through his apartment door and first shot him with a Taser. He was wearing nothing but boxer shorts when the police began their assault against him. Shortly after that, he was shot with two 40-caliber rounds and killed.

    My family is asking the Westchester County District Attorney to bring a criminal indictment, and we call on the United States Department of Justice or the New York State Attorney General to prosecute this as a hate crime.

    Will you sign our petition? Click here to sign and please share with your friends:

    http://www.moveon.org/r?r=273615&id=38418-20893858-nk03DQx&t=3

    The petition says:

    This petition is regarding the upcoming grand jury hearing in the case of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., an unarmed elderly black citizen who was shot to death by the White Plains Police Department.

    This case not only brings into question the policies and practices of this department; but it is an open question whether it was inevitable, particularly in light of the audio tapes and video tapes witnessed by Mr. Chamberlain’s family members and attorneys where racial slurs and expletives were used before ultimately shooting him twice in the chest and killing him.

    It is imperative that those tapes be made available to the grand jury, and that all other evidence be presented as well. I am concerned that secrecy so far—for example, the names of officers involved have not been released—bodes badly for transparency in this case as it moves forward. Nor am I aware of any public statements about the case from elected officials calling for openness.

    Members of Mr. Chamberlain’s family and community—and a much wider circle of people who need to know there is fairness in the criminal justice system—seek reassurance that, no matter what the verdict, the process has been open, honest, and just.

    We, the undersigned, implore Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore to no longer allow police misconduct, brutality, or criminality to happen in this community and ask that these officers be indicted and charged with murder and civil rights violations

  23. Tita Beal says:

    and the young man in California… and this military veteran:

    - November 19, 2011. Kenneth created his petition on SignOn.org, a new site that allows anyone to start their own online petitions. You can read more about his father’s death here.

    We demand justice for Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., a 68-year-old veteran killed in his home by police.

    Sign the petition
    Dear MoveOn member,

    On November 19, 2011, my father, 68-year-old Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., was shot and killed in his home in White Plains, New York.

    My father was a 20-year veteran of the Westchester County Department of Corrections and proudly served the United States of America as a Marine. He stood about 5 feet, 9 inches tall, and he suffered from a heart condition.

    The events that led to his killing began around 5 a.m., when his medical alert device was accidentally set off, sending a call to the City of White Plains Department of Public Safety. Everything that happened after that was recorded by an audio device installed in my father’s home as part of his medical alert system.

    When the police arrived at my father’s home, he and the staff for his medical alert service told them that there was no medical emergency and asked them to leave. And yet they insisted that my father let them into his home, banging loudly on my father’s door for over an hour. On the recording, the police can be heard calling my father a “nigger.”

    Ultimately they broke through his apartment door and first shot him with a Taser. He was wearing nothing but boxer shorts when the police began their assault against him. Shortly after that, he was shot with two 40-caliber rounds and killed.

    My family is asking the Westchester County District Attorney to bring a criminal indictment, and we call on the United States Department of Justice or the New York State Attorney General to prosecute this as a hate crime.

    Will you sign our petition? Click here to sign and please share with your friends:

    http://www.moveon.org/r?r=273615&id=38418-637754-SkOPBQx&t=3

    The petition says:

    This petition is regarding the upcoming grand jury hearing in the case of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., an unarmed elderly black citizen who was shot to death by the White Plains Police Department.

    This case not only brings into question the policies and practices of this department; but it is an open question whether it was inevitable, particularly in light of the audio tapes and video tapes witnessed by Mr. Chamberlain’s family members and attorneys where racial slurs and expletives were used before ultimately shooting him twice in the chest and killing him.

    It is imperative that those tapes be made available to the grand jury, and that all other evidence be presented as well. I am concerned that secrecy so far—for example, the names of officers involved have not been released—bodes badly for transparency in this case as it moves forward. Nor am I aware of any public statements about the case from elected officials calling for openness.

    Members of Mr. Chamberlain’s family and community—and a much wider circle of people who need to know there is fairness in the criminal justice system—seek reassurance that, no matter what the verdict, the process has been open, honest, and just.

    We, the undersigned, implore Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore to no longer allow police misconduct, brutality, or criminality to happen in this community and ask that these officers be indicted and charged with murder and civil rights violations.

    Will you sign the petition? Click here to add your name, and then pass it along to your friends:

    http://www.moveon.org/r?r=273615&id=38418-637754-SkOPBQx&t=4

    Thanks!

    –Kenneth Chamberlain Jr.

  24. Diana LaMar says:

    Thanks for your thoughtful letter.

  25. Faith S. says:

    The terrible circumstances must start with educatibg the young and decent affordable housing. Bext must be jobs, jobs, jobs. Good, well-paying jobs-none of this minimus wage crap.
    Our President is attempting to go in this direction but the Yahoos, well they’re Yahoos.
    We must attempt to get everybody to vote in the next election so that the Yahoos fail.

  26. Faith S. says:

    The terrible circumstances must start with educatibg the young and decent affordable housing. Next must be jobs, jobs, jobs. Good, well-paying jobs-none of this minimus wage crap.
    Our President is attempting to go in this direction but the Yahoos, well they’re Yahoos.
    We must attempt to get everybody to vote in the next election so that the Yahoos fail.

  27. Vivian Warfield says:

    Stop and frisk because we are not able to educate and employ…this says it in a nutshell.

  28. Joan says:

    I am in total agreement with what is written here but I would like to add another aspect to the changes required: the training that our police receive, as that is part of the problem. And yes,
    of-colour police are implcated in these types of shootings. I am sad that since the shooting of Amadou Diallo ore than 1-0 years ago, the situation has barely changed, if at all.

  29. Jon Hart says:

    Thank you for your statement and your insight.

    Jon

  30. Debbie says:

    Thank you, Dan. I couldn’t agree with you more & I am delighted to hear about the proposals to reform “Stop-and-frisk”. I also agree that Mayer Bloomberg should convene hearings for all members of society to attend. Brilliant idea! thank you so much for all that you are doing.

    Debbie Kennedy

  31. Viney says:

    The large and growing number of Americans who are people of color deserve for these issues of racism, racial profiling and endemic injustice to be addressed by society at large. Institutionalized racism must be addressed if we are to truly be a nation of freedom and opportunity for all. This is a good first step.

  32. Gareth Bryant says:

    This is a very important article & I applaud the person who wrote it. It is very important to spread awareness about racially biased crimes against Non-White youth, by individuals, as well as by law-enforcement.

  33. Carol Wheeler says:

    Let’s keep in mind that it’s not just children–I’m sure you know about the 68- year-old man in White Plains who turned his medical emergency button on in his sleep in his own apartment and ended up shot dead by police. These hearing should definitely be held; it could help a lot, at least in raising awareness.

  34. Lorrane Borden says:

    I learned about this when I was in the stratosphere of owning and running a business and having a driver to take me where I had to go. For many, many years I was never in a subway or a bus, but was driven, waited for and took cabs everywhere I went to outside of the chauffeur life. One day, my driver’s wife called to find out if her husband came to work, because he hadn’t been home the previous night. My lawyer called the police stations and told me that he had been picked up and spent the night in jail. When the driver arrived at the office, I was so relieved and it was then that he told me that this wasn’t the first time. He was picked up when he was waiting for a bus. I was appalled. He shrugged his shoulders and told me that it happens often.

    I loved this man. He was my friend and buddy. He never complained, he was always wonderful. When my mother who was already stricken with alzheimers, he spent hours with her. When he drove my clients around when they came to visit from other states, he found that he had a battery of friends when they returned. I always got wonderful stories about the great things he did for them, including finding the cemetary of one of these clients’ families.

    I was appalled and this was 25 years ago. I thought it had gone away, but it did not. It’s only worse. I love what you wrote and fully understand it.

    I have a wonderful friend who I recently met and am now doing work with. She’s black,beautiful and brilliant. She grew up in the company of the strong ladies of the families who always had tea gatherings. Through her I have met little boys who have grown up in this atmosphere. I cannot bear the fact that we as a country are falling farther and farther down. It’s outrageous. Thank you for your article. I am with you 100%…and all my travel now takes place in subways and busses.

  35. Velma Hullum says:

    As a mother of three Black males, I have spent a many sleepless nights worrying about my boys being in the wrong place and getting arrested by the police. As Black Mothers, we try to teach our boys how to survive as a Black male. It’s sad that we are unable to protect them.

  36. Kuros Charney says:

    A brilliantly argued, consciousness-raising article. Well done.

  37. burt shachter says:

    In my social work with teenagers Black kids revealed to me how whites avoid them because they feel threatened. Some would cross the street to lessen proximity. The Stand Your Ground law gives license to those who FEEL threatened to kill such kids. The law is outrageous.

  38. Anthony in Manhattan says:

    but the sons and daughters that do not look like Trayvon are routinely warned to not goto Harlem or the Bronx alone at night. Daughters that do not look like Trayvon are warned to not jog in Central Park alone at night. It is well accepted, in guide books and from locals for non-blacks to not goto various neighborhoods alone wearing flashy clothes or flashy jewelry. a dialogue needs to start here.

  39. eliza migdal says:

    THanks for this article. I agree with it all. I don’t want to live in a world that stops and frisks people to keep me safe or that gets plea bargains out of innocent people by making trials too difficult or makes money off prisoners. I don’t want to be kept safe by sacrificing other people’s rights. I’m all for dialogue/hearings–whatever it takes to make our city more equal and just.

  40. Barbara Kagan says:

    I am stepping out on a limb here to say we are seeking the truth not knee jerk reactions.
    To the social worker: a teenage boy of any color does not know the reason someone crosses the street or if someone feels threatened – they can only know their own feelings. There may be many reasons for young Black men to feel
    isolated but every White, Hispanic, Chinese face does not conceal an enemy. Sometimes a person may just need to cross the street.

    I’ve never seen it written anywhere but advice to not wear flashy expensive items at night in many parts of Central Park could be wisely directed to people of any color. Anyone who writes a travel guide book ‘for whites only’ would be foolish,
    in many ways.
    You don’t think children and adults ‘who look like Trayvon’ are ever warned about the Bronx?
    There is no such thing as reverse racism, there is only racism.
    We have to seek the truth and justice for everybody.

  41. Rosa Mary De La Cruz says:

    I was very touched by both incident that I almost cry especially the for litter Tryvon. I am a single mother living a NYCHA projects with a 10 year old son which I prey to God everyday when I dropped him off to school. I closed my eyes and say” God here is my son protect him with you blessed wings. Unfortunately, we are living in a society where there is no love or repect for life.

  42. rs says:

    I am grateful for the beautifully written letter. Also the one from Anthony, about warnings children who do not look like Trayvon (and women) are given about not going to the Bronx and Harlem.
    There is so much fear. For all the races.
    My son did not look like Trayvon. He was mugged and bloodied several times growing up in ‘good’ neighborhoods and ‘bad’ in Manhattan. His own solution was to move to another country to raise his family.
    So many tears…
    We must continue to raise our voices for all children to make our country what the Constitution promises. We are better than this.

  43. dee says:

    if a dog was shot the shooter would be arrested. in a white supremacy system, blacks are the target. they have no country to call, no calvary to come to their aid. america will pay bacause blacks are God’s first people on earth, the mother’s and father’s of civilization. but in America, in Africa and around the world, they’ve encountered the European, who’s system of white supremacy is determined to wipe blacks off of the face of the earth, like they tried to do Jesus. Kill the seed and prevent the rise of a black Messiah, in the words of the cointel pro FBI people, back in the 60s. The police were formed, in Amerikkka, to police the hills and mountains around plantations and in towns, to detect free running blacks. Nothing has changed. God is not pleased. Trust that.

  44. JM Beda says:

    The next time you people,the ones that commented, need help please remember who you will call in an emergency, & then tell them what you think of them.
    I’m sure none of *you people* ever made a mistake or said something you later wished you never said.
    Give it a rest and let the Police do there jobs.

  45. Bobbie Burke says:

    I was quite moved by this well written and insightful article. I am a 50 year old American woman with the physical appearance of a white woman. Actually my ethnic background is mixed, and should not
    have any bearing upon my opinions on this matter, at any rate. I fear what the future holds if Mitt Romney becomes our next president. If we notice that this nation still labors under the horrible weight of racism now, we will find that the future is full of nonsense just like this.

  46. Rex Reynolds says:

    Good article BUT if you really want to tell the truth – which you aren’t – then you should recognize that economic status plays just as much a role in all this as race does. I am white. Male. 61 years old. I live n an older predominately white neighborhood. BUT the average home cost about $30,000. Because my neighborhood is considered economically blighted, we get hassled by the police constantly. I am an employed, great grandfather yet I get stopped by the police and detained for over half hour because I don’t drive a nice new car then I must be suspicious. It has happened to me 3 times. I see young people of all colors pulled over and detained. We get no regular patrols other than on busy main streets. Yet upscale neighborhoods get regular patrols and they do not get stopped and detained for no reason. It is an economic issue. It may be also be a race issue, but I am not alone in KNOWING that we would be treated differently if we lived in a “better” neighborhood. I liked your article but you really need to be honest if you are going to head up your organization. Otherwise you just espouse the views of someone who has feelings of guilt and insecurity. I would love to join your group but until you actually do tell the truth you are no different than any other other group who hides behind a smokescreen of words that have little meaning.

  47. Nathan says:

    I want to be safe. Cops must be able to do their job. So they Need to be able to check out people. As long as the number one getup of people who kill others is young black men then they will get frisked. As long as Muslims are trying to kill us they should be watched. As long as near naked young girls are selling their bodies and spreading desease they and their customers need to be arrested. Its not profiling its based in truth. If a young man dresses like gangster climbs a fence to be in a gated neighborhood then he has made more than one bad decision.

  48. Lynn says:

    I wish to add to these messages that the police will also not discriminate who they shoot. Many years ago, in the 90’s my nephew’s friend was shot who was white, in the Pelham section of the Bronx. He was on a roof in a housing project. I don’t know the details but he also did not have a gun and was shot by a security guard.

    I am white and female and have also been stopped by a security guard on my way to classes and asked to clean out my pockets and bag. When I asked why, he answered, “if you were innocent, you wouldn’t be asking questions.” He eventually let me go. I am not from money so don’t assume my family sued or was able to fight back. This was a black security guard by the way. And I only bring this up because this issue TRANSCENDS RACE.

    It is about class because the rich can buy their way out. And yes, black and brown people are statistically poorer and getting it worse.

    But ALL people, white people included have to know any of us can be targetted. We are all Trayvon, even if we don’t look like him. We have to have security but we ALL have to be aware as to what makes a fascist society. None of us are safe with poor police training, poor job screening, a blue code of silence and nepotism.

  49. MCost says:

    “We stop-and-frisk because we aren’t able to educate-and-employ.” – Amen!

  50. meka says:

    This is why need to all help each other so that we don’t have to be afraid of our neighbors.

  51. Eric Mayr says:

    The best case senario in NYC is to have everyone carrying. We would not need as many police and there would be less crime. Think of it if Trevon would have been carrying there would be one less person in jail at 800 dollars per day of my tax money.Also there is one prisoner for every three not in prison, what does that tell you about law enforcement. Think about this states that have the law have a lower crime rate than us. Kelly is afraid that when cops and ordinary citizens are on equal footing the police loose their power. Wake up weapons do not kill people do.

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