I AM NOT TRAYVON MARTIN
Sign in to YouTube
Sign in to YouTube
Sign in to YouTube
Published on Mar 31, 2012
My thoughts on whiteness, privilege, and activism in the wake of Trayvon's murder.
I AM NOT TRAYVON MARTIN.
I AM NOT TROY DAVIS.
and to the middle class, white, socially concerned activist who wears a shirt emblazoned with those slogans, you are wrong.
I know you wear that shirt to stand in solidarity with Trayvon, Troy, and other victims of injustice. The purpose of those shirts is to humanize these victims of our society, by likening them to the middle class white activist wearing it. And once we've humanized the victims, this proves to us the arbitrariness of their deaths and thereby the injustice at play.
But the fact of the matter is that these men's deaths are anything but arbitrary. The fact that the real Troy Davis and Trayvon Martin and countless other victims of oppression are buried under 6 feet of cold dirt while we middle class white activists are alive, marching, and wearing their names is an indication that our societal system is working exactly as it's intended.
A more accurate t-shirt to display on my white body would be "I AM GEORGE ZIMMERMAN." Zimmerman and I were indoctrinated in the same American discourse where we learned that the "other," particularly black men like Trayvon and Troy, were less human and were to be feared. Society taught me that as a little white girl, I must preserve my purity and goodness, and that the presence of young single males threatened it. Society taught me that being in the presence of a BLACK man compounds that threat exponentially. I have been taught that male, black, bodies are an immediate threat to my safety and the well being of society as a whole, and Zimmerman was taught the same damn thing. We're all taught it.
I look at George Zimmerman and think, "there, but for the grace of god, go I." Had it not been for a decent education, intense critical thinking, and some truly excellent parenting, I would never have questioned the societal norms that Zimmerman and I were both taught, and I would have ended up feeling his attack on Trayvon was justified, just as he did, and the state of Florida does.
If we are to effect real change in the wake of Trayvon's murder, we have to realize this. Realizing that you more closely resemble a homicidal oppressive force than a helpless victim is a really uncomfortable thing to do. I know. But wanting to identify with the victim is weak, and immature when it is not an accurate representation of reality. Real change is effected when we own up to our actions, our privilege, and our complicity with the system that murdered Trayvon and countless others.
Us privileged activists have to realize just how easy it is to be Zimmerman, and work to change this. Subvert stereotypes. Make it harder for others to buy into the bullshit that we're fed our whole lives about race, class, gender, and other people by identifying and critiquing these messed up norms. Force adults to confront these norms, and raise children without indoctrinating them with the same old bullshit. Use your privilege to actively dismantle this messed up system. Listen to marginalized people like Trayvon's family and Troy's family and insure them access to the discourse. Listen to them, stand in solidarity with them. But do not, I repeat, DO NOT claim to be them.
Standard YouTube License
- 7:39 Double Standard: Black Men Named Trayvon Get Killed all the Time, But The Left Doesn't Careby PJ Media Featured 311,785
- 4:42 The POWERFUL words of David Banner on Trayvon Martin.by Heru Duenas274,227 views
- 3:29 FINALLY... A Mainstream Journalist Speaks Truth on the Trayvon Martin Travesty!by Lipstick Radio1,381,780 views
- 9:52 Ryan and Tilmon "I AM Trayvon Martin Film Tribute"by Tilmon Keaton Ryan Carson22,258 views
- 12:31 Dick Gregory on the killing of Trayvon Martinby Carlos QC102,702 views
- 5:13 Trayvon Martin is Jahvaris Fulton illuminati Freemason Zimmerman Trial!!by PayDroV84,240 views
- 12:51 TeutonicWarriorChick - Nobody is Whiteby feszordenmark33,201 views
- 10:19 The Trayvon Martin The Media Didnt Want You To Know! By BILL WHITTLE Pt 1by Tommy Ponders187,380 views
- 8:22 SUSPICIOUS (Trayvon Martin was murdered by George Zimmerman) Re-enactment Short filmby mikemcmahonx303,400 views
- 14:32 Trayvon Martin 911 Call [SHOCKING FULL] Murder Caught on Tape | Killed By George Zimmerman #3by nizzyd612,041 views
- 2:36 Trayvon Martin 911 Call [SHOCKING SCREAMS] Murder Caught on Tape | Killed By George Zimmerman #2by nizzyd415,261 views
- 9:31 Tim Wise: On White Privilege (Clip)by ChallengingMedia829,795 views
- 5:20 Watoto From The Nile - WARNING (Dedication to Trayvon Martin)by Watoto From The Nile93,837 views
- 4:08 Melissa Harris-Perry Gets Mad About Murder Of Trayvon Martinby NewsPoliticsInfo59,380 views
- 2:30 Howard University Trayvon Martin "Am I Suspicious?" Campaign Videoby CourtScrub414,480 views
- 4:17 Trayvon Martin Final Phone Call With Girlfriendby The Young Turks870,236 views
- 3:53 The Blunt Truth about The Trayvon Martin Caseby StormCloudsGathering503,502 views
- 3:05 BOOM! Trayvon Key Witness Dismantles State's Case Against Zimmermanby jim hoft258,535 views
- 8:25 Why Was Trayvon Martin Killed?by ATLAHWorldwide124,194 views
- 7:47 I AM TRAYVON MARTIN!! #justice4trayvonby thomasadrianna21,923 views
- Loading more suggestions...