We Are Not Trayvon Martin

Abby Zimet

In respectful deference to the #WeAreTrayvonMartin movement, Joseph Phelan, an Irish-Italian 30-something New Yorker, started a We Are Not Trayvon Martin site to explore racism, white privilege, and a failed system for which he and so many others feel they bear some responsibility. Over a thousand people have posted often pained accounts of being "untouchable, in a way that Trayvon never was."

"I am not Trayvon Martin. I am a 23 year old blonde white woman. Last night I walked around my family’s upper middle class, gated community smoking marijuana with another young white woman. We made no attempt to conceal this fact, and we were politely acknowledged by security guards ‘patrolling’ the area. We were not stopped by anyone at any time. We were neither quiet nor considerate of our neighbors, but we were invisible, even untouchable, in a way that Trayvon never was."

"As a white man, I am part of the racial and gender demographic most likely to commit a violent crime, and the least likely to go to jail for it.  Sometimes strangers ask me to watch their purses while they go to the bathroom.  I am not Trayvon Martin.”

"I am a beautiful white female. I have had every advantage this type of identity can afford. BUT my kids are Trayvon Martin; half-rican Jews, or Zulu-Jews, as I affectionately write in the box when asked their race/ethnicity. I have witnessed first hand the red carpet rolled out for me, only to be yanked away unapologetically when my black husband shows up. Everyone still thinks my kids are cute and gorgeous, but I know when they reach six-foot-four the story could change.”

"I am not Trayvon Martin. I am a 22-year-old upper-class white female. I have red hair and a trust fund. I speed on the freeway, and have never been ticketed. When I walk on the street, men offer to drive me home. Police officers smile and wave. Everyday, people trust me with their children. They do not know that 2 years ago, I daily transported heroin across state lines. I could be in prison, just like any other junkie. I am not Trayvon Martin, but was the person he was suspected of being."

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