I don’t do this often, but I’m doing it today: sending you to a different site to read the story, because it’s a Storify and it won’t embed here. But it’s an important story and you will be very, very glad you read it. A fifteen-year-old girl was on the brink of suicide when her real life enemies jumped on Twitter to encourage her to do it. That’s when Anonymous and Rustle League stepped in. I’ve never been prouder of them.
I! AM! THE 99%!
HOODIE UP in solidarity with Trayvon Martin and all young people who have been targeted, hurt, or lost their lives as a result of racial profiling.
Trayvon Martin was a 17-year-old African American high school student. He lived with his mother and older brother, and wanted to to study aviation. He was visiting his father in a gated community in Sanford when he was shot by the neighbourhood watch captain, George Zimmerman. Trayvon was wearing a hoodie, on foot and un-armed; he had been to the store during a break in the NBA game to get Skittles and iced tea. Prior to shooting him in the chest, Zimmerman had called the police to report Trayvon’s “suspicious” behavior (walking while black??) and insisted on pursuing him. Police have not arrested Zimmerman because he claims that he killed Trayvon in self-defense, under the protection of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Police also did not contact Trayvon’s family and registered him in the morgue as John Doe, in spite of having his cellphone in their possession when he was pronounced dead.
The hoodie is a symbol of how we are NOT subject to the same treatment, how some of us have to expect violence and negligence, not safety or protection, from institutions like the police because of systemic racism. In spite of how common and “trendy” the hoodie is, it retains associations with “danger” and “criminality” when worn by people of colour, especially those who are perceived to be poor/of lower economic class and therefore “not belonging” in particular areas.
Cultural racism means that mainstream society feels entitled both to treat people of color on the basis of racial stereotypes (which erases one’s individual character) AND to have ready access to people of color’s personal/private identities at all times (which makes one’s individual body hyper-visible).
Racial profiling in the form of policing, surveillance and incarceration affects many youth of color in the Lower Mainland from Arab, Muslim, South and/or Southeast Asian communities, and especially Indigenous and Black communities, who are already over-represented, with growing numbers, in Canada’s prison system.
STAND UP AND REMEMBER.
MAKE YOUR STORIES HEARD.
Links to check out:
Video of parents of Trayvon Martin speaking
Video w/Brian Jones
Dress! Code! In! Force!