In 2006 I wrote an article called "Here Comes The Neighborhood" describing a community meeting in a newly gentrified neighborhood in Nashville and articulated how the unchecked fears (on the part of the new residents) put all young black males in the neighborhood — who were between the ages of 12-17 (wearing a hoodie) — at risk. The outrage that followed the publishing of the article was unyielding and it appeared that some were more offended by the suggestion that racial profiling had occurred than the fact that their internalized fear of young black males put an entire community in jeopardy.
If Trayvon Martin's killing were an isolated incident, there would not be millions of people marching in protest while wearing hoodies and petitioning to change the Florida Law that allows anyone to shoot someone because they 'felt scared'. And lest we assign all outrage and blame on Zimmerman, let us be mindful of what inspired the act and the laws that prevent him from being accountable. The same internalized fear that allowed Zimmerman to feel threatened by an unarmed child are the same internalized fears harbored by those who allowed him to walk away.
A line from Secours' 2006 story seems especially prescient in light of the murder of Martin. Discussing suspicion of black men in hoodies, she writes, "It gives new meaning to the phrase 'fashion police.' "
Secours is developing what she calls the "White Privilege Pop Quiz." Check out a sample question after the jump....
4) How often have you been warned by parents or family members about getting stopped by the police or law enforcement and coached on how to behave or what to say in order to avoid being perceived as dangerous or menacing?
A) frequently B) sometimes C) rarely D) never
If your answer is C or D then there is a good chance you are someone who experiences white privilege on a daily basis.