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Black parents issue warnings to children that others don't

Posted March 23, 2012

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— The shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in Florida last month highlights the fears many black parents have about racial profiling and their own sons.

George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer in a gated community in Sanford, Fla., said he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26 in self-defense, but civil rights advocates are calling for his arrest. They note the Zimmerman was following Martin, who was returning home from a convenience store, and that the laid-back teen had no weapon.

President Barack Obama called the incident a tragedy on Friday and said it needs to be fully investigated.

"I think all of us have to do some soul-searching to figure out how something like this happened," Obama said. "That means that we examine the laws and the context for what happened, as well as the specifics of the incident."

NAACP members say youths shouldn't be targeted because of race NAACP members say youths shouldn't be targeted because of race

The context is clear to civil rights advocates. State NAACP President Rev. William Barber said black teens are always at risk of being considered criminals.

"We live under the burden that, when our young men leave the house, we have to tell them things like, 'Don't have anyhing in your hand. Don't take off and run,'" Barber said.

The NAACP is holding a regional meeting in Raleigh this weekend, and Martin's death is a hot topic.

Tennessee NAACP leader Gloria Sweet-Love said black mothers have to have conversations with their sons that other mothers don't.

"We teach them that, if they're stopped on a traffic stop, that you put (your) hands on the top of the wheel so that you will not be shot on a country road," Sweet-Love said.

Comilla Sampson's son, Shaquille, is 16, and she said she worries what happened to Martin could happen to him.

"I constantly tell him that you're being looked at, you're being judged," said Sampson, secretary of the South Carolina NAACP.

She said she wants to change the way people look at teenagers like her son, and Sweet-Love said no child of any race should be at risk just walking down a street.

"That's what we plead – that the people of goodwill stand up and say this is wrong, this has to stop," Sweet-love said. "We've got to stop race-baiting. We've got to stop hating each other, and we've got to love each other because we're all God's children."

31 Comments

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  • davework Mar 27, 8:51 a.m.

    "The "stand your ground" law doesn't apply because Zimmerman was the instigator thus should lose his legal claim of self defense, even if Martin really did have the upper hand on him and was beating him up."

    Accounts say he was walking back to his truck when attacked. Therefore not an instigator. But it doesn't matter - no matter how many new facts come out about this case some folks are already committed to their hysteria and "protests" so facts won't matter going forward.

  • southerntalent Mar 26, 4:57 p.m.

    http://www.examiner.com/charleston-conservative-in-charleston-sc/new-trayvon-martin-picture-photo

    show us full length photos of trayvon that are current

  • Lightfoot3 Mar 26, 11:28 a.m.

    "However, Florida (along with 22 other states, I think) have the “Stand Your Ground” law that may benefit Zimmerman" - Moonlight


    The "stand your ground" law doesn't apply because Zimmerman was the instigator thus should lose his legal claim of self defense, even if Martin really did have the upper hand on him and was beating him up.


    "Let the parents & family grieve stop publicizing it and hopefully the judicial system will hurry up and take control" - awood2


    The judicial system had already swept it under the rug. Publicizing it is what has caused them to reconsider. The local police REALLY botched this one.

  • awood2 Mar 26, 10:37 a.m.

    This incident is horrific. Instead of mourning a loss our society wants to politicize it. That is shameful. We need to understand that we need to put aside our differences and need to protect our children from evil, from whatever form it takes. With the lack morality in our society all parents (all ethnicities) need to worry about their children.

    Could not have said it better! Everyone, even the president needs to stop making it about them. Even he put his two cents worth in it. A child is dead for no reason. Let the parents & family grieve stop publicizing it and hopefully the judicial system will hurry up and take control. I saw where this man now fears for his life. I don't blame him..I would too.

  • Moonlight Mar 26, 10:22 a.m.

    "We teach them that, if they're stopped on a traffic stop, that you put (your) hands on the top of the wheel so that you will not be shot on a country road," Sweet-Love said

    …I’m a white female and have been taught the same thing. Isn’t that just a general rule for all?

    Anyway, with that being said, Zimmerman appears to be in the wrong. Even if there was a “scuffle”, that doesn’t mean you have the right to shoot someone. However, Florida (along with 22 other states, I think) have the “Stand Your Ground” law that may benefit Zimmerman. I don’t think any legal system can ignore laws they already have in place but after this incident, I’m hoping they revisit this law and get rid of it b/c it is ridiculous.

  • Lightfoot3 Mar 26, 10:00 a.m.

    "Black parents issue warnings to children that others don't" - article


    I remember warnings that White parents issue to children too, that others don't. In my area, it was pretty common to warn white kids that if they got in an argument with a black kid, to be very careful because other black kids would jump in and gang up on them.


    As for Zimmerman, while I think he definitely profiled Martin because of his race, I'm not convinced he's inheritably racist. I think it's more of a case of stereotypes than racism.

  • nowon_yuno Mar 26, 9:12 a.m.

    I'm disgusted by this case, and anyone that feels racism isn't a very big part of Trayvon's MURDER is in denial

    I usually wait to have ALL the information before convicting someone in the court of public opinion. But thats just me, my knees are never jerky

  • mramorak Mar 26, 8:24 a.m.

    Does anbody realize that they're great loving white people all over this nation!!!!!

  • Fireflies Rock Mar 23, 7:58 p.m.

    George Zimmerman needs to be charged with first degree murder. This unarmed teenager was killed in cold blood for no apparent reason. This poor innocent kid is now dead, his family and friends are grieving about his tragic death and people here are getting all defensive and losing sight of the issue here. I'm disgusted by this case, and anyone that feels racism isn't a very big part of Trayvon's MURDER is in denial. I'm a mother, white, with teenage boys, and I grieve for Trayvon's mother's horrible loss.

  • tgroth Mar 23, 7:55 p.m.

    This incident is horrific. Instead of mourning a loss our society wants to politicize it. That is shameful. We need to understand that we need to put aside our differences and need to protect our children from evil, from whatever form it takes. With the lack morality in our society all parents (all ethnicities) need to worry about their children.

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