"17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a Neighborhood Watch captain inside his own gated Orlando, Florida community on the basis that the black teen "looked suspicious"… …Martin was killed while returning home from a convenience store, where he bought snacks including iced tea and Skittles candy requested by his 13-year-old brother, Chad."
Weeks later, the man who is known and admitted to having killed Trayvan hasn’t even been arrested yet because the police claim that it can’t be proved that the gunman did anything illegal.
This is why I don’t think it’s funny when a certain white “friend” of mine constantly makes “jokes” about how “I look like a terrorist” and “I look like I’m about to do a drive-by shooting”.
Let me ask you, “friend”…
- Have you ever had products snatched from your hands by suspicious shop employees who think you’ve come into the store to steal things while leaving your friend who happens to a different color from you alone?
- When you were in elementary school, did you ever give your friend a birthday card only to have their racist parents personally threaten to beat you up?
- Did you ever walk into a store you’ve been shopping at for years and have the silent alarm pressed on you the moment you walk through the door because the clerk assumes you’re going to rob the store, resulting in you being held against a wall with your hands up by gun toting police officers with the authority to legally kill you on the spot?
- Did you ever have to worry if you’re about to get shot or dragged to death after two guys drive up and shout “Nigger!” at you as you’re walking to your friends house?
- Have you ever watched a store owner put a “HELP WANTED” sign in front of their shop, only to go in and be told that “all the positions already filled and I just forgot to take the sign down”, only to then have one of your white friends go into the same store a WEEK LATER and end up employed there? (this has happened to me more than once)
- Have you ever gone into a public restroom and have someone sitting nearby hawk phlegm all over the doorknob so you get it all over your hands when you leave? (This happened to me on a train when I was nine. The guy then started harassing my mom when she confronted him about it.)
- Have you ever been ignored by waitstaff in a diner that’s within eyeshot of your own home who act like you’re invisible as they seat and serve other customers who all happen to be a different color than you?
- Have you ever had a groundskeeper of the college you attend call campus security on you and attempt to physically confront you because they saw you walking to your own car in the parking lot and thought you were going to mug them?
(FYI: no, I don’t live in Alabama or Arkansas, or even in a “red” state. I live within negligible commuting distance of New York City)
If even a third of this stuff had ever happened to you, I don’t think you’d find it funny or cute to repeatedly make jokes that I “look like a terrorist” because of the way I dress or say that “I look like I’m about to do a drive-by shooting” as I’m waiting in my car to leave campus with my friends and go to a restaurant.
I never personally considered you a friend. I don’t really dislike you either. Perhaps I should, but I don’t. In any case, being a friend is more than being able to shoot the shit about Power Rangers and Yu-Gi-Oh.
I know you aren’t racist. Or at least I don’t believe you’re racist, having written and performed some of the most beautiful, passionate poetry against discrimination and racism I’ve ever read or heard.
I think you just have a lot of growing up to do, even if you are a highly accomplished, productive person who I can generally get along with.
So between the “terrorist” and “drive by” comments, those, and other things which aren’t related, but don’t do much to make me eager to interact with you, I really have no reason to expose myself to you any more than absolutely necessary.
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