In the wake of the recent shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, there has been an outpouring of reaction to the fact that the shooter, George Zimmerman, remains a free man. Although no weapons were found on the 17-year-old and various audio accounts suggesting Zimmerman leaving his car and following Martin because he looked “suspicious,” Zimmerman claims self-defense in a case that has drawn national attention. While many have shared their view on the incident, GlobalGrind.com‘s Editor-in-Chief Michael Skolnik recently shared a unique perspective as a Caucasian man in an op-ed entitled, “White People, You Will Never Look Suspicious Like Trayvon Martin.” Here’s what Russell Simmons‘ political director had to say.
I will never look suspicious to you. Even if I have a black hoodie, a pair of jeans and white sneakers on… In fact, that is what I wore yesterday… I still will never look suspicious. No matter how much the hoodie covers my face or how baggie my jeans are, I will never look out of place to you. I will never watch a taxi cab pass me by to pick someone else up. I will never witness someone clutch their purse tightly against their body as they walk by me. I won’t have to worry about a police car following me for two miles, so they can “run my plates.” I will never have to pay before I eat. And I certainly will never get “stopped and frisked.” I will never look suspicious to you, because of one thing and one thing only. The color of my skin. I am white.
I was born white. It was the card I was dealt. No choice in the matter. Just the card handed out by the dealer. I have lived my whole life privileged. Privileged to be born without a glass ceiling. Privileged to grow up in the richest country in the world. Privileged to never look suspicious. I have no guilt for the color of my skin or the privilege that I have. Remember, it was just the next card that came out of the deck. But, I have choices. I got choices on how I play the hand I was dealt. I got a lot of options. The ball is in my court.
So, today I decided to hit the ball. Making a choice. A choice to stand up for Trayvon Martin. 17 years old. black. innocent. murdered with a bag of skittles and a bottle of ice tea in his hands. “Suspicious.” that is what the guy who killed him said he looked like cause he had on a black hoodie, a pair of jeans and white sneakers. But, remember I had on that same outfit yesterday. And yes my Air Force Ones were “brand-new” clean. After all, I was raised in hip-hop…part of our dress code. I digress. Back to Trayvon and the gated community in Sanford, Florida, where he was visiting his father.