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Saturday, March 24, 2012

It could be any black kid, at any time
Posted by Jill | 6:01 AM
Jesse Taylor tells a harrowing story of being thirteen and black in America:

I had an orthodontist appointment one afternoon, and my mother and I were running late. The orthodontist was out in a white suburb of Dayton - you could try to find something resembling a medical specialist in our neighborhood, but it would probably be right alongside the Sublime fan club and the people jogging with small dogs - and a healthy drive away. The leeway was two minutes after check-in to get a token, ten minutes to avoid paying a late charge, the latter of which I couldn't have cared less about.

We rushed to the orthodontist, and pulled in to the parking lot, right next to the path to the front door. I got out of the car, and noticed another car pulling in behind us. My mom, rifling through her purse, told me to go and check in before I was late, and then shooed me away. "Go! Go!"

As I took a step, I heard a loud voice yell at me, "Get back in the car!"

I looked over, and saw that the car behind us was a black police cruiser. No sirens, no lights, nothing to warn us of any impending trouble. Just a cruiser that pulled in behind us, and was now yelling at me.

I bent over and shot a look at my mom, silently asking what the fuck was going on. She looked up at me, still not aware the cop was behind her, and said, "What? Go inside!"

I stood up, and looked over at the cop, a younger white woman, tense and inexplicably angry, and saw her standing behind her open door, gun pointed at me. "Get. In. The. Car."


As great as the temptation is to turn the murder of Trayvon Martin into a "Spartacus Moment" and en masse start wearing "I Am Trayvon Martin" T-shirts, the fact of the matter is that if our skin is white, we aren't. That's one of the reasons it's been so strange to watch people like Jonathan Capehart and Harold Ford on TV the last few weeks. These are men who are successful profesionals, but they now know that if they had been in casual wear walking down a street in Florida on a February night, and had encountered George Zimmerman, they too might have ended up as bullet-ridden corpses on the street, dead for the crime of being black men.


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