Trayvon Martin Updates

image of the Miami Heat professional basketball team in their black team hoodies
The above picture was tweeted by Miami Heat player LeBron James last Friday.

There's not a lot of news to share about the case itself, which is still being investigated by Florida state, the FBI, and the Department of Justice. George Zimmerman still remains free, and questions about the whereabouts of Trayvon's mobile phone remain unanswered. I do, however, want to pass on some recommended reading:

H. Samy Alim: Breaking the Silence Around Racial Abuse—"For many of us—and this is a point that has been ignored thus far—this case is a focal point because it is a way for us to tell our stories without exposing our own fear and vulnerability. We regularly silence our pain, ignore our fear, avoid dealing with the hurt. But in this case, because there appears to be so much evidence of racial abuse and misconduct, coupled with the fact that he was just a young boy, we feel empowered to speak out on behalf of Trayvon—even if we cannot yet speak out on behalf of ourselves. This is precisely my point. We are Trayvon Martin. So not only must we speak out when the victims can no longer speak for themselves, but by breaking the silence around racial abuse, we can begin a healing process that addresses our collective hurt and humiliation and restores our humanity."

Thanks to Shaker Checarina for passing along that piece. Those of us who are white need to read that piece and then answer this question: How am I going to create safe spaces for people of color to tell their stories of racial abuse, in which I am able to listen non-defensively? When people tell their stories, we need to STFU and hear them.

Francie Latour: A More Perfect Union for Trayvon—"Even with deeply unresolved racial divides, we have to find our common stake in this thing, and follow the instruction manual we were given: we the people, in order to form a more perfect union. ... I will never understand why a boy with a bag of candy and his entire future in front of him would need to be sacrificed for such an act or process to commence. But now that it has happened, perhaps we can begin to pry apart the fingers that seem to be stretched so tightly over America's closed eyes, and begin to see racism for what it is and what it does. Trayvon's parents are crying out for that, as are growing numbers of Americans rallying in support of them."

Maudlyne Ihejrika: Angela Bassett charges racism in Trayvon Martin's death—"We have a president from the South Side of Chicago. But we would be wrong to think that we have reached the promised land."

Incredibly, a headline saying "charges racism"—as opposed to, say, "highlights manifestly obvious racism"—is not, actually, the worst headline I've read today. That honor would go to the Washington Post for: "Trayvon Martin's death has put spotlight on perceptions about hoodies." Yes, let's keep talking about our national perceptions about hoodies.

And finally: After Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and others criticized President Obama for his statement on the case, Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, who, to put it politely, no one has ever accused of racial tolerance, said this weekend: "We all know there's a racial component to this, and when the president highlights it, I don't think it adds a whole lot. But nobody suggests that the president's insensitive to the 17-year-old if he'd been white. I think the criticism by our guys was a little off-base." When Lindsay Graham obliquely calls your actions racist, you have derailed.

Please feel welcome and encouraged to leave additional links and recommendations in comments.

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