While I realize there will always be racism and prejudice, it is daunting when something as tragic happens like the death of seventeen year old Trayvon Martin. This situation boils down to one word, stereotyping. We all do it, rather we want to admit it or not, but our preconceived notions should never cause us to take the life of another.
Personally as a black woman I have been trailed in stores. Rather I'm "dressed to the nines," or in the infamous hoodie that brought injustice to Trayvon ,my skin instantly makes me a target when I walk into many stores. The worst experience I ever had was at a plus size clothing store, where I was followed from the moment I walked in the door, yet never acknowledged by the sales associate. Sometimes it seems like my money isn't good enough.
I've also been on the other side of this situation. I worked in retail for several years. Occassionally I found myself trailing "suspicious" African American women with oversized bags who looked to be up to no good. Sometimes I was wrong, often I was right which my job a whole lot harder. We've got to do better my people. That doesn't negate that fact that I was wrong, we are all wrong when we stereotype. We never know who someone is or what they are going through, everybody isn't "Jimmy the crackhead," ready to take advantage of you. Underneath those hoods are college students with white collar dreams, hungry teens try to stay warm waiting for the city bus which always seems to run late, someone's dad just tryna' pick up milk for the kids, don't pierce them with your eyes. Don't misunderstand me, have some wisdom, I am not instructing you to be friend everyone that you see on the street, simply have some compassion. We are all Trayvon Martin to some degree. We have stereotyped and been stereotyped.
I wasn't there so I don't know the full story, but it is evident by his phone call with his girlfriend that he was scared. I guess skittles and ice tea proved to be a dangerous cocktail.
Sound off, what do you think?
Najeema Iman, I AM Curly Locks