The sad truth is that whether you’re a teen wearing a hoodie or an adult donning a three-piece suit, much of society still views black men as suspects. Your college degree and high-paying position will not keep you from being racially profiled. In 1995, after stepping off my commuter train in New York’s Grand Central Station, I was frisked in full view of my fellow passengers by two white police officers who suspected me of carrying a gun. It turned out that the perp they sought was 5-foot-10 with a mustache, beard, and dreadlocks. The only things we had in common: our gender and our race.
Four decades after the death of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. we unfortunately continue to be judged by the color of our skin instead of the content of our character. In that respect, we are all Trayvon Martin.
When you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation and walk into a hotel elevator only to have a white woman clutch her purse and recoil in fear, you’re Trayvon Martin. When you’re a renowned Harvard college professor arrested on your front porch for simply asserting your rights as a homeowner, you’re Trayvon Martin. When you’re the president of the United States slated to give a speech to an elementary school in Texas and parents keep their children home citing you as a negative influence, you’re Trayvon Martin.
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