Sunday, July 14, 2013

Trayvon Martin According to Dave Chapelle

Kids need structure.

A 17 year old young man is dead, and it could have been avoided.
Was it because of Racial Profiling? Maybe.
Was it because of Appearance Profiling?  Yes.
Should this happen again. No.

Let comedian Dave Chappelle make sense of this for us:

Trayvon Martin's death is no laughing matter.

What Dave Chappelle is saying is if you dress like a "Ho", you will be viewed as such.
Similarly, if you dress, walk, and act like a probable criminal, you will be viewed as such.
This can all be avoided; parents and adult mentors can make the change. 

I have five children -- all of whom have been 17 year olds.  Like me, at 17 they were all mediocre to good students, charismatic, beloved by many classmates and very, very strong athletes.  At 17, any of us could have knocked a guy like Zimmerman on his butt.

My kids were a lot like Trayvon.

Where their paths deviate from Trayvon is that they did not dress or act in a suspicious manner in neighborhoods where they were not known -- or even in their own neighborhoods; ultimately, they did not physically assault grown adults when under scrutiny for wrongdoing.

At one time or another, all of us have found ourselves in compromising positions; the solution was not to get in the face of the questioning individual, and it definitely did not entail assaulting the adult. 

Race and ethnicity of a kid are irrelevant, whether White, Black, Hispanic, Asian or Martian. 
If you are unrecognizable and conceal your face by wearing a hoodie at night in a community in which you are not a resident, then you are a suspicious outsider.

Kids are setting themselves up to be "profiled" as someone to be monitored.  Period.  They may as well be wearing a ski mask or pantyhose on their head. Lest we forget the Sag, which showcases kid's underwear for the world to see.

[By the way, that style derives from young prison inmates; Snopes explains it as new inmates being issued oversized uniforms; a prison administrator suggested the look as deriving from new prisoners being required to provide instant sex on demand by more established inmates.  Either way, it is not a look for a new kid that assures on-lookers that he is on the up-and-up. The style is from PRISON!]

If you disagree, chances are you are not a property owner; you may be a bad parent, or perhaps, not a parent at all.

But if you are a parent, we suggest you provide your children with some framework.
A colleague, Colin Powell, offers this lesson: Kids need structure (TED Talk here)

We'll reference The Guardian in this link for some tools provided by prominent African-American bloggers