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March 27th, 2012
02:32 PM ET

Opinion: What the death of Trayvon Martin says about being a black man in 2012

Editor’s note: Rob Smith is a writer, lecturer and openly gay U.S. Army veteran. His work has appeared in USA Today, The Huffington Post, Metro Weekly and Slate.com. He is contributing to "For Colored Boys ...," an anthology to be released this spring. He is also launching the  IamTrayvonMartin project on You Tube.  He can be reached at www.robsmithonline.com and twitter.com/robsmithonline.

By Rob Smith, Special to CNN

(CNN) - In some ways, I suppose it could be considered a good thing that I wasn’t racially profiled until my sophomore year of college.  For some young black men, it happens even sooner. My personal style has always leaned more towards Carlton Banks than 50 Cent, and I’ve never really been a fan of baggy jeans or fitted caps. That night however, I’d taken it upon myself to throw on a hooded sweatshirt as it started to rain. It was early evening and I found myself leaving class and walking in a parking lot behind an older white woman who was heading to her car after what was presumably a long day at work.

Lost in college-kid thoughts of midterms and summer internships, she barely registered to me until she immediately stopped in her tracks, as if I’d shouted her name. She then began to shriek in a near-hysterical tone, admonishing me for having the audacity to walk 10 feet behind her after dark. “Don’t ever do that! Ask your mother! Ask your sister! Don’t do that because it’s scary!” Initially, the episode registered as little more than bizarre to me, but as I finished my walk home, it became more apparent to me that the triple threat of my dark skin, stocky build and dark grey (fraternity!) hoodie was just too much for this woman to bear. Until that point, I’d never really thought of myself as an imposing or physically threatening guy, but to this poor lady I may as well have been the Unabomber.

Being profiled is a black male rite of passage that I was somehow inoculated from until that evening. Although I was vaguely aware of it before, I somehow made the mistake of thinking that my style of dress, “upward mobility,” or college education made me somehow exempt from the social cost of being a black male. It is not a mistake I’ve made since, nor is it one that the New York Police Department or cab drivers in this city will ever allow me to make again. Every black male from the mailroom to the boardroom and everywhere in between seems to have a story about being profiled in this way, and my experiences have been fairly innocuous compared to the horror stories I’ve heard.

None of these, however, is more horrific and shocking than that of the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin just a few weeks ago in Florida. The death, and the way the local police force handled it, is the greatest nightmare of every black American male who has, by virtue of growing older, made the transition from cute black boy to scary black man.

The latest on the Trayvon Martin case

When I leave my apartment to live my life as a black man, I do so with the full awareness that I could very easily be murdered on the street at anytime and few people would care, particularly if those involved were in law enforcement. I do so with the full awareness that in society’s eyes, my life is worth less than that of others. I’ve been on the receiving end of enough hard stares from police officers and have read enough stories about the Sean Bells and the Amadou Diallos of the world to know just how little my life is valued if I do happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’ve seen enough news cycles and investigative reports to know just which lives are valued the most in American society in 2012, and they are not of black men.

Trayvon Martin isn’t just the victim of a loose cannon and an inferior local police force, he’s the victim of a society that criminalizes black men based on little else than the color of their skin. He’s the victim of a society that sees his life as less valuable than that of a teen of virtually any other race. He’s the victim of a society struggling with reconciling an ugly racial history with the undeniable march of progress. He’s the victim of a society that can make big news about a video that purports to bring attention to black children being killed on another continent, but is all too silent when a black child is murdered right in our own backyard.

With his death, he has also become a symbol of the pain and frustration that comes with being a black man in a society that seems to value our existence less than that of others, and a cautionary name to be uttered from the lips of every mother or father who has the responsibility of raising a black boy in America.

I often wonder what it is like to just be. To not exist under the weight of what society expects me to be, under the weight of wary eyes, quickened steps and lowered expectations. To not have to think twice about what I’m wearing or whether I look “angry” when I simply don’t feel like smiling or whether I’m going to be stopped and frisked for the crime of existing while black after dark. Trayvon Martin’s death is a constant reminder that I may never know what that is like.  Trayvon’s death is a reminder of the ultimate cost of being a black male in 2012, though every day we all pay a price.

The opinions expressed are solely those of Rob Smith.

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Filed under: Black in America • Gender • How we look • Race • What we think
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. intodeep

    this whole situation is not rite!!!

    April 1, 2012 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
  2. Laura

    As a Hispanic woman married to a Hispanic man who have lived through and continue to live through racial profiling, stereotyping, and what I like to call "quickly being misjudged", I had to ask myself why do my husband and I not feel the same way the writer Rob Smith says black men feel. Our answer...We don't feel that way because we make a choice every day to not allow what others or society to determine who we are and how we conduct ourselves. We choose to look past the historical hardships our race has experienced and continues to experience. We choose to look past the hardships that we have lived in our personal lives as well. We choose to learn from them and make a choice to be better for ourselves. We refuse to give others the permission to allow us feel as if we are not important. We refuse to give others permission to allow us to feel that we are whatever wrong conclusion they have made about who we are.

    March 30, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. whosurdaddy

    How offen do you see Asians got shot at late night? At late night when I see bunch of Black kids I walk away keep distance as far as possible. Blacks need to take care their own reputation first before you call people racist.

    March 29, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ruppert

    @JOSE0311

    I have been reading you comments and you just sound like a moron. I can assume that you are a "latino" because of your name or you are going to tell me that Your family has been in the US for "generations" ? And your statement that black and Mexicans commit most of the "crimes" is just out of place.

    March 29, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Twit Happens

    My late husband had one web foot. Isn't that strange that he would have a web foot and only one? We used to laugh about it but then he saw a duck without a web foot and he felt better. I would like to share this with the families involved in this tragic story.

    March 29, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ron

    Where was CNN in the Christopher Newsome case in Knoxville, TN? They didn't spend days telling about the black on white crime. Nor do they take time to tell about the black on black crime. CNN is so quick to paint the "white devil" but slow to talk about the "minority devil." When they do talk about him, it all goes back to the "white man." It's odd how they are painting Zimmerman as guilty and racist, but they have no evidence yet. The disclaimer at the end of an hour of painting him as the devil is unbias journalism. Then they plug "black man in America" half way through the show, come on. Just try to be unbias and use facts. Don't fan the hate with speculation and racial profiling.

    March 29, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Not About Zimmerman

    You assume all people have experienced the healthy and trusting relationship with the police department that you have obviously been LUCKY enough to grow up with. Its easy to have all the answers standing in the same shinny shoes you have lived in all your life... Try to keep in mind that everyone doesn't get to live life in shoes as nice as yours.

    March 29, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jeff

    Opinions? I have none until the truth comes out. Actually I do have an opinion, while this is a tragic event, I see no tears or protests for the thousands of others kill in the name of racism.. In fact all I see are a bunch of people advocating racism in all directions. Trying to talk since into the Mob or the New Black Panthers Party is like trying to place chess with a Pigeon. Eventually the Pigeon is just going to crap all over the board and knock the chess pieces down.

    March 29, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  9. Noah Wilson-lynch

    First and for most, this is a tragedy and God bless Trayvon. I truely feel for him. I am also appalled by the actions of his parents. 1.They only released old pics of him, why? were they so ashamed of him? I do not understand that. 2. They are now making money off of his death, it is just wrong. I do not buy the "we are gonna help others dealing with the same thing" 3. suddenly, they have all this time to devote to Trayvons memory, why did they not devote that to him the first time he was suspended? Maybe if they had, he would still be here. True colors have shown and I think Trayvon would be ashamed of both of them..............

    March 29, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  10. Dot

    Disagree with most of this post but I'm up for picketing the studios, you coming?

    March 29, 2012 at 3:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. Yal

    Stop blaming everyone else and start being responsible. My statements are aimed at those families who believe it starts and ends with just birthing a child. There are some great black families out here kudos to you and those who only show up once they realize an oppurtunity to enterprise of a tragic situation shame on you.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Yal

    It's a tragedy for both sides. Zimmerman was overzealous and Trayvon was no angel. As a black man and a parent I try my damnest to teach my kids right from wrong and nothing bothers me more than when my community suddenly has a voice and exercises it for the wrong reasons. I am even more disgusted by the false prophets, reverends of hate Sharpton and Jackson who only always show up with "red eyes" stoking the flames of fire trying to line their own pockets. I'm left wondering what Dr. King would think if he were here. As far as we the citizen the recent back and forth racist jabs are unnecessary and ugly let the courts do their jobs.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • KlBell

      The only reply if have for your comment is AMEN.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • correct

      good post good to hear someone who isn't palying the "race" card ...more guys like you ..and less jessees and al's..and we all have a chance to advance..PS..i am white ..red headed ..

      March 28, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • Aan

        Don't Re-nig in 2012 does that somehow have nhiotng whatsoever to do with the tea party?? Also, how is it patriotic in the tea party's eyes to make Obama a 1-term president above all else before any progress in job creation and economic recovery? Most likely, if Obama were to bring down unemployment to 0%, revive the economy, and restore America's image in the world's eyes, the Republicans, the Tea Party, FOX/Faux News and the rest of their ilk would STILL be unimpressed because they can't wrap their heads around the first African-American/biracial POTUS succeeding, at least in some ways. After all, the Right's fearless leader Limbaugh wanted Obama to fail from square one.Getting back to the Trayvon murder, since he has been cited to just have a bag of Skittles and an iced tea from a convenience store, the stand your ground law doesn't pan out at all for Zimmerman, not to mention that a hoodie doesn't pose a threat since you can see one's face in it, as opposed to the hoodies the KKK wears On a personal note, Trayvon being armed with a bag of Skittles sort of reminds me of when I was on a movie date 10 years ago with a lady friend, where I made a flirty comment to her and she punched me fairly lightly on the shoulder with a bag of Skittles that didn't make me angry, or much less want to kill/murder her since I'm better than that and don't have a history of domestic violence against women Now, if only Zimmerman would MAN-UP and come clean with the truth of how hot under the collar he was that night he went after and murdered Trayvon Martin.

        April 17, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Devil's Blood

      I concur hundred percent

      March 29, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Timmy

      Very well said sir....enough said!!!!

      March 30, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joe

    Shawn Tyson, 17, received two mandatory and consecutive life sentences after being convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, said Dennis Menendez, chief information officer for the 12th Judicial Circuit.....
    ....profile?...you tell us....

    March 28, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. KBell

    After reading the comments left here I have to say that I am amazed. As a black male the level of racism isn’t shocking by any means. Not just the racism I see and have come to expect from SOME of my non black American counterparts, but also from my black or African Americans. How can we expect or fight for an end to racism if we as a people keep it alive on our side. What some call “Reverse Racism” is still “Racism”. It all MUST STOP. What we have before us is not unlike what has happened a thousand times. Not only has this happened and is still happening to African Americans it is also happening to White, Latin, Asian, Jewish, and all other cultures that share in this melting pot called The United States of America. For every race and culture there is a group that will hate, oppress, and oppose them. The need to hate is what we should be fighting against. Do I think Mr. Zimmerman is racist? My answer is, it doesn’t matter what I feel. What matters is that justice is served so that we as a nation separated can move on and work on bringing our differences (whatever they may be) together so we can create a strong and great America.

    March 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Russ

      Very insightful and succint! Most of the reactions to this tragedy, and certainly the most idiotic and hateful comments have more to do with the hate and fear in the people making the comments than what may or may not have been in Zimmermans heart. How can we lament vigilante actions by Zimmerman, and publish an addrss via twitter which turns out to not even be his address. This is mob rule run amok. Let the investigators do their work, and prosecute for any laws that were broken. BUT – the people in Zimmerman's neighborhood have a right to feel safe also. People have made an isssue about how many times Zimmerman has called the police in the last few months. I wonder if the problem is not how many times he called – but how many times the police were needed and were not there. Why did Zimmerman feel the need to have a gun? When all of these issues are addressed then we can quit burying our young men. We can stop all this finger pointing, name calling and hate speech.

      March 28, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • KlBell

        @Russ. You are asking a couple of million dollar questions. Yes the residents in that and all neighborhoods need to feel and have the right to safety, but unfortunately an armed person volunteering as neighborhood watchman is not a good idea. Sadly we need more respectable and honest policemen and law makers to patrol our streets and make laws that will do more to prevent and keep our families safe. Hate will go away when it is seen for what is is and we stop making excuses for the reasons we do and say the thing we say and do. As with almost everything that has to do with what makes us who we are hate is learned. We need new teachers.

        March 28, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • correct

      good post ..i agree with you and i am white

      March 28, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Extremely well put.

      March 29, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. just a guy

    Yeaaa, i got treated the same way by a black teller. I am white. Sucks dont it.

    March 28, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  16. bl4ck0utsUn

    Manslaughter! No matter how you slice, dice, filet, or cut it! Doesn't matter if Trayvon, was black, white, brown, yellow or red! The momment Zimmerman equated hoody with criminal, he made the mistake of acting out of pregitis and fear! Trayvon, like any victims, deserves the respect of the media and the courts, he is not on trial! Simply he was a 17yo boy who went out to buy candy; was followed by a 30 something burly man, just as our writer of this article explained the fear of that woman, Trayvon must have been frightened! He faught for his life! Unfortunately, Mr Zimmerman, with no authority, training, or right to apprehend, put himself in a sittuation he had no bussiness being in with a firearm! If you carry a weapon, you better hope it's chocolate; you may have to eat it! Mr Zimmerman needs to be held accountable for his actions! The only person who had the right to claim self defense, was that frightened child!

    March 28, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • spikerass

      I agree wholeheartedly; if you carry a gun, you had better be ready to eat it! That however; goes for white, black, red or blue. My question, why do so many blacks in the inner cities carry them? They must have a reaso, please explain that to me. Is it to protet themselves from the whites? I don't think so, whites will rarely go into the inner cities anymore.

      March 29, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  17. Dot

    I think some are missing the point. Facts or not – racism or not someone is dead because of perceived threat. A perceived threat that is popularized daily by how black people are portrayed. I would be just as outraged if the shooter was an older black man who shot a young Hispanic boy in the same situation. Mainstream culture vilifies anything that exist outside of itself. We have a sinking feeling of the threat of the other. What people who have never received this kind of bias will have a hard time understanding is that it's a daily occurrence and it's real. I'm a black male in the law enforcement field and when I'm off duty it happens to me. It's not a thing of hate it's a reaction to the bias we receive everyday. What we're told, what we watch, even what we see anecdotally that play into our bias. Saddens me to see people not even willing to have the discussion.

    March 28, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  18. john

    Trayvon wasn't a man.. He was a kid.. As for his parents. If he was suspended from school. He should have never been let out of the house. That's called being a parent. Sending a message to your son.

    March 28, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Mel

    Seriously, can we get over all this black white crap. Just the other day two black kids threw gas on a white kid and lit him on fire. Didn't hear about that one did ya? Plus, Zimmerman is hispanic, so why is the finger getting pointed at the white community. It happens in both races all the time. Do I believe it needs to stop, yes, but you people sitting here making up assumptions as to what happened doesn't help! Just shut up and let the courts decide. Don't cry about growing up as a black male, we all have grown up in our own skin and it has been rough for ALL of us. If you are not a Judge then you have no business commenting on the events that happened, so SHHHHH!

    March 28, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not About Zimmerman

      The fact that you think life has been equally "rough" for all people is both amusing and part of the problem. Its not always about race, but when people act as though race has no bearing it allows them to maintain the status quo.. Truth is it is a "white mans world" so I completely understand why some would like to avoid any conversations that might ask us as a society to look at certain things a little bit closer. If I was winning a "game", I would not want to stop and change the rules to make it more fair for you either. I get it.... I do......

      March 29, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Steve- Illinois

    The incredibly high crime rate by black men wouldn't have anything to do with this stereotype, would it?

    March 28, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • jay12312

      It would be nice if that was brought up in the press a little more. This stereotype does not come for no where.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • Steve- Illinois

        Stereotypes, like old sayings, are based on a certain amount of truth. Such as "Good enough for Government work" didn't come to be because of the hard work ethic of the average government workers.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Erek

    None of you know what happened. To: "Ghost of Cesar Chavez". You know what it would take to convince me that this was done out of racism? HARD EVIDENCE!!! Yes the murder of a boy is sad. I'm am sorry his parents have to deal with this, however, you are simply jumping on the bandwagon. You have absolutely ZERO idea why Zimmerman killed Martin. It may have been an accident, it may have been racist, Zimmerman might be telling the truth, Martin's girlfriend may be telling the truth. You have NO idea. Until he has been judged by a jury of his peers people need to drop it. Again, none of you have any idea what happened that night, and we may never know. But labeling Zimmerman as a "racist" when you know none of the facts or what happened is just as bad as people talking bad about Martin when he's not here to defend himself.

    March 28, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Erek

      Also, one thing i forgot to mention. Similar to what jim bignall said, there are people getting killed all over the US. How can you people pick this one murder over all of the other ones? Because right before he bought a tea and skittles? Because it is a racism issue? I am baffled how you people can pick this ONE murder case and turn it into a national ordeal with accusations being thrown around when no one knows anything about it except for the two young men that were there. For example, there were 14,748 murders in the United States in 2010. How many of those were national deals such as this one? What is wrong with this country today...

      March 28, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  22. Rusty Shackleford

    It's funny that people are wondering why Trayvon's character is being looked into. It happens in cases like these. You have to know both parties involved to see what might have been in each other's minds at the time of the incident. I will not take sides as I wasn't there and neither should all of you. To jump on one side or the other is a sad thing without knowing all of the facts. Hell, there's already a tribute album coming out for Trayvon. Do you think any of the musicians involved know this kid personally? Probably not but because it's the way that most of America is leaning so it's ok. What would happen when the evidence goes the other way and it is found the he was the initiator of the attack? It's known the Zimmerman followed him but that's not a crime. He was looking out for his neighbors and was curious about someone he didn't recognize. If Team Trayvon wins, it'll be ok and life will move on, if Team Zimmerman wins I'm sure there will outcry and rioting at this point. But whatever the outcome, He is the person who will pass final judgement on the guilty not the courts.

    March 28, 2012 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
  23. jim bignall

    Black kids are getting killed pretty regularly in Detroit. Drive bys, fights over cells phones, drugs, houses gettingsprayed with gunfire and innocent kids being killed. Where is all of this outrage we are seeing in Florida. I guess some people pick the easy convient target to protest for. Take your hoodies and protest against these black on black crimes.

    March 28, 2012 at 5:17 am | Report abuse |
  24. DQ

    Mr. Smith I can attest the panic and paranoia of being near a hooded man who looks like the unabomber. I walk my 90lb pit bull and chihuahua through the mesa everyday and there is a Hispanic male who walks the same route always in a hoodie and he even wears similar sunglasses as the Unabomber. One day without my dogs I had to walk past him on the trail. I didn't want to be rude and run the other way but after I passed him I got chills, sweaty, nervous, and began to cry as if he was gonna chase me. I was scared... of what I don't know it was mid-morning. I haven't walked without my dogs since. Some things just creep a person out.

    March 28, 2012 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  25. Jacob

    As a 21 year old caucasian male I cant imagine the trials that a African American male goes through. I just cant accept the fact that these "suporters" of Trayvon are in this for justice or for the propaganda. I've grown up in a household with parents who told me to never judge the color or nationality of a person. My father is a police officer in prodominately black neighborhood but he doesnt arrest every black male. He arrests those that do wrong. And this is my point: African Americans are so quick to point the racist finger at ALL white people. The media only fuels this belief. There are some of us who care about who you really are and not if your skin color is black blue yellow or green.

    March 28, 2012 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  26. GoDucks73

    As a 38 year oldwhite male who grew up in Long Beach Ca., all I know is... to be Black/Brown in this country is a dangerous situation. Listenening to the neighborhood parents each morning reminding their children what not to say and what to do in case something happens. I was always told to stay as close to my friend "Michael" as possible during our walk to school, riding bikes or playing in the park. The daily routine that people go through to make themselves less of a target by law enforcement has been only a myth in certain communities. This can no longer be hidden, for 30 years now I have grown bitter, disgusted, ashamed and embarassed to exist because people don't believe it...well it's the truth. We all know it, but are unwilling to accept it, because acceptance means taking accountability, and most Americans can't handle the consequences of that accountability.

    March 27, 2012 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  27. THE GHOST OF CESAR CHAVEZ

    Let us pray for the memory of Trayvon Martin and for spiritual peace to come to his family and to our communities. I don't want my kid to be the next Trayvon Martin.

    March 27, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  28. THE GHOST OF CESAR CHAVEZ

    Some here complain that the outrage over the young man's death is becoming an anti-white thing. I don't think that's true. Zimmerman is described in the media as Hispanic. I am Hispanic. I find what Zimmerman did criminal and, even though I will acknowledge that I know all the facts are not clear, I want to see Zimmerman face a jury and explain what he did, and if he is guilty, pay. And yet, whatever it is we feel, for or against Zimmerman or Treyvon, a family is still left with a son who went out to buy skittles and ice tea and never came back to his family. Isn't that the bottom line, regardless of how much either side pulls at facts, justifies, denies, or whatever? A teenager (who cares if he smoked pot and had some school suspensions, I had a class mate in HS who smoked pot and she got wait listed to Princeton, I got suspended a couple of times in my school career and I went to an Ivy League school) ends up dead because some guy had to go out and play cop with a loaded gun and no regard for the 911 operators call for him not to follow the boy anymore. I think the incident, the death of this human being, is tragic enough that anybody with half a heart and a little respect for life will see that what Zimmerman did was wrong. He killed a child. A big child, OK, a child who allegedly beat him, OK. I have been threatened by teenagers, but I never have I killed one of them. Why did the adult in this case harrass a kid who went out to the store to buy candy? How did it turn from going to the store, walking on the street, to being chased and shot dead? Who chased? Who killed? Zimmerman did. So stop twisting, justifying, hating, and character assassinating the dead boy. He is no longer here to defend himself. Show respect for the mother and the father of the boy. Zimmerman, have you apologized to the family yet? Your actions killed this boy. Zimmerman, face a jury of your peers.

    March 27, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kelly

      Nice to see that you have stopped typing in all caps, but ya still feel the need to mention your education in every post.. Anyway, both Zimmerman, and the young lady that Treyvon was speaking with on the phone, say that Zimmerman lost Treyvon and was enroute back to his car when Treyvon confronted him. So you tour statement that Zimmerman "chased and shot" Trayvon is misleading at best. And it is CNN that is fanning the flames of racial tension. They initially referred to Zimmerman as White, because it is easier for the media to demonize a White man. When they discovered their mistake they began referring to Zimmerman as White-Hispanic. Even Ruben Navarrette agrees that that is just plain race baiting. When has CNN ever used that term before??

      March 29, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Chloe

      unarmed teenager was bilogednung him in the face at the time he pulled the trigger, then it is both excusable and lawful, whereas bilogednung a neighborhood watch leader for looking at you actually is both inexcusable and unlawful. That the bludgeoner was 17 is morally and legally irrelevant. But let's allow them to try this in court, shall we? Still your comment begs a question: Does the race of a lynch mob matter? Or is any lynch mob inexcusable?joesix' comment is ironically a continuation of liberal subject-changing when they can't address the point. Thanks for an additional illustration of cosmoscon's point.

      August 3, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  29. dontbow

    Maybe if he wasted a pot smoking piece of trash he wouldn't put himself in the position where he would get shot. More anit-white hate from CNN.

    March 27, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • THE GHOST OF CESAR CHAVEZ

      What a heartless comment. How insensitive of you. May God forgive you.

      March 27, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  30. huey p newton

    This is a wonderful article and just by a few these racist comments posted goes to show how very true your statements are excellent article brother

    March 27, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Daryl

    I am saddened by the level our society will stoop to when listening to and buy into a one sided emotional outrage thereby trying a "innocent until proven guilty" individual in the court of public opinion – an emotional arena lacking most of not all logic. All too often I see this happen within the black community. Note I said within, not all.
    Then you take prominent public personages who use this incident, correct information or not, to further an agenda of specific choice. It demonstrates us as Americans at our worst.
    When all is said and done, I highly suspect a number of individuals will wish they had paused instead of jumping on the bandwagon without thinking or seeing things through. Due process has yet to have its day in this "mess".

    March 27, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Mary

    There are the marchers the ones that are an obstacle on the lives of succesfull blacks, that stay away from this use and misuse of the death of an almost 18 year old, 6.4 feet football player. From a mother that trade marks his dead son name, that Trayvon like to be a burglar ,proof the tools and women jewelry found in his position in the school and was suspended , one of the 3 times he was.
    I have black teen live in my high scale complex, none would be caught with hoodies, pants falling, etc, they are polite and helfull.
    On weekeds I work downtown in a Hospital and the guys white and black with hoodies make me afraid, why cover and hide when it is hot , they look sneaky.

    March 27, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Your idea of sneaky is tradition in Islamic cultures. No wonder Islamic cultures require men to accompany women that wear traditional clothing like the hijab to prevent their women from being harassed from ignorant vigilantes. I haven't heard of any white kids wearing hoodies on skateboards getting killed by overzealous neighborhood watch men.

      If justice is not served, one thing is for certain. Every clan, gang, and vigilante organization will use this instance to kill in prejudice, without action of the law.

      March 27, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tendofreak

        "Every clan, gang, and vigilante organization will use this instance to kill in prejudice, without action of the law." Hence that is why Florida has the "Stand Your Ground" clause. Let em bring it on and there will be a few more dead.

        March 28, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Wladimir Thomas

    The responses expressed clearly shows how blinded many continue to be in our society. Yes, we have made tremendous progress as far as race relation in the United States. However, there are still some who clearly believe that those who are of African ancestry are not to be respected or can never be equal to those of European extraction. We experience overt racism for much of the history of the United States. Since the Civil Rights movement, we've gone from overt to covert racism. This article illustrates what men of color go through on a daily basis. Those of you on the other side have chosen not to see it because of the blinders that you walk around with. Mr. Zimmerman saw Mr. Martin as a threat because of his perception of young men of color.

    March 27, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • THE GHOST OF CESAR CHAVEZ

      And the worst thing about this is that Zimmerman acted, based on his racism, he killed a boy. And what's even worse, the boy is dead, a mother and a father grieve, and many blame the boy and are now starting to assassinate his character and justify Zimmerman. How is this murder justifiyable? The boy went out to buy candy and ice tea. He was walking the street. What great crime did he commit? How does his past (having smoked mariguana or having a school suspension) even come into the equation? Did Zimmerman know that this boy had smoked mariguana at some point in his life? Is smoking mariguana or having a school suspension reason enough to be harrassed by a stranger with a gun? Are these pieces of information, which we now know after the murder, reasons that justify Zimmerman for killing a boy who went out to get candy and tea? Please, what does one have to do to convince some of you that racial violence was a factor here? What does one have to do to convince people that this was a crime? I guess the answer is that this crime should have been committed against a white child for all of you sceptics to show some sympathy for this boy. How sad that some of our fellow Americans are so heartless. How encouraging that some many more of us feel compassion for Trayvon Martin and demand justice for him and his family. Zimmerman, face a jury of your peers and own up to what you did.

      March 27, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • jsmoulder

        How do you know he is racist? You don't so be quite and stop the race baiting.

        March 28, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  34. What a joke

    I'm so sick of this self pity racism bs. I feel bad for what happened to the kid but what this has turned into disgusts me. This has turned into nothing more than an anti white racist movement.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • THE GHOST OF CESAR CHAVEZ

      And yet we are still left with a black child who went out to buy skittles and ice tea and never came back to his family. Isn't that the bottom line, regardless of how much either side pulls at facts, justifies, denies, or whatever? A teenager (who cares if he smoked pot and had some school suspensions, I had a class mate in HS who smoked pot and she got wait listed to Princeton, I got suspended a couple of times in my school career and I went to an Ivy League school) ends up dead because some guy had to go out and play cop with a loaded gun and no regard for the 911 operators call for him not to follow the boy anymore. I think the incident, the death of this human being, is tragic enough that anybody with half a heart and a little respect for life will see that what Zimmerman did was wrong. He killed a child. A big child, OK, a child who allegedly beat him, OK. I have been threatened by teenagers, but I never have I killed one of them. Why did the adult in this case harrass a kid who went out to the store to buy candy? How did it turn from going to the store, walking on the street, to being chased and shot dead? Who chased? Who killed? Zimmerman did. So stop twisting, justifying, hating, and character assassinating the dead boy. He is no longer here to defend himself. Show respect for the mother and the father of the boy. Zimmerman, have you apologized to the family yet? Your actions killed this boy. Zimmerman, face a jury of your peers.

      March 27, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • AC

      Hmm...I bet you are not black either.

      March 28, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Jovette

    If this hispanic man did something good he would be black man... I dont understand I am not saying he is not wrong and shouldnt be in jail but to make this a racial thing is outrageous this is a JOKE already!!!!!!!

    March 27, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Justice Has Occured

    Touching story. But a cute black boy can kill you just as dead as a scary black man. Though I now know of one who will not be able to do any more harm.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • THE GHOST OF CESAR CHAVEZ

      May God forgive you for your racist comment. The boy went out to buy candy and ice tea and the racism that you express found him, embodied by Zimmerman, a racist man like you but with a gun. What did this boy do to deserve this? How would you feel if it was you being chased, harrassed, pointed and shot at with a gun? Man, your comments make me realize that there are some bad, heartless people in our country.

      March 27, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mac

        Your quick to condemn someone only on what the press says. You can’t wait for the facts to come out. You have a basis that you clearly show, and we can now see where it comes from.

        March 28, 2012 at 6:24 am | Report abuse |
      • University of Rochester Black Male

        Everyone actually has the 5th amendment right to not respond to questions by the police...(Zimmerman was not a police officer any way.) But 5th amendment right to self-incrimination...Your conterfactual argument could be valid but you must be open to the question: if Zimmerman would have listened to the people "saying you dont have to chase him", would the shooting have occured? A reasonable person would not have chased after a kid on a "HUNCH" that he might be up to no good...he had zero probable cause. Zimmerman in the wrong 100% – Educated Black Male

        March 28, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • AC

      You said "a cute black boy can kill you just as dead as a scary black man" and now you know of "one" who will not be able to do any more harm...who did harm here? What harm did he do? None, your ignorance is what is wrong with the poeple of this society, your comment does more harm than MANY black people will ever do.

      March 28, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |