White Supremacy

flesh colored crayonI remember when there was a “flesh colored” crayon in my Crayola box.  It never occurred to me as a five year old that there was anything wrong with this.  

It wasn’t until I was in the second grade that “flesh” was changed to “peach.”  (And in other skin color related crayon news, “Indian red” was changed to “chestnut” in 1999.)

Some of us with white skin take offense when reminded that we are the privileged race.  Ours is the default skin color.  

Note how many people describe people as “that black guy” or “the Asian woman” when we don’t usually ascribe skin color or race to someone if he’s a white guy or she’s a white woman.  I love that Zadie Smith intentionally identified only the white people by their skin color in White Teeth.

So, as I write this on the 25th birthday of my oldest child, I am thinking about Trayvon’s parents who will never celebrate their son’s 25th birthday.  I’m trying to get my head around the fact that his killer was not even found guilty of manslaughter.

Let’s say that Trayvon was carrying weed and a gun instead of Skittles and tea the night he was killed.  Let’s say he even had a criminal record.  Who cares? The truth is that he was walking home to his father’s house from a convenience store and someone shot him because he was black.

That’s basically why he was shot.  A “suspicious-looking” white kid would not have been shot by George Zimmerman.

Crayola started making  multiracial crayons twenty years ago but we are still judging people by their skin color.  I do it.  You do it.  

The truth is that white skin color remains privileged.  For every college applicant who gets a break for being “a minority” there are countless times that that same minority kid has endured unfair judgment against her because of her skin color.  

I don’t know what to do about this.  It makes me feel sick to think you can shoot someone for walking while black.  

Of course Trayvon Martin fought George Zimmerman.  Zimmerman was following him for no reason.  Who wouldn’t be afraid?  

This is a tragedy.

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5 responses to “White Supremacy

  1. Charles Smith

    “The truth is that … someone shot him because he was black.”
    Thank you for clarifying the truth. Its a shame that you weren’t on the jury so that they could have an unbiased opinion to guide them. Shame on you for pronouncing ‘truth’ from your bully pulpit.

    I enjoy your blog and follow it regularly. We disagree on points fairly often, but I appreciate your point of view – usually. Not today.

    • Thanks for your comment, although we disagree. I can’t get my head around a kid who is dead after simply walking home from a convenience store after a candy run. Does this verdict mean that no one was responsible? That Trayvon was responsible?

  2. Not just a tragedy, but also a travesty…

  3. Charles Smith

    What the verdict means is that people who have been presented with the actual evidence made a considered decision based on facts rather than the tidbits released via the media.

    I agree that this entire situation was a tragedy, and I wish that it had never happened. Is George Zimmerman innocent of any and every thing? I doubt it. He probably made some bad decisions in, among other things, choosing to follow Trayvon Martin. But is he guilty of of murder or even manslaughter? According to six people chosen to give an objective assessment of the situation in its entirety, no, he isn’t.

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