Trayvon & The Hoodie Protests

Discussion in 'General Education' started by EdEd, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Mar 23, 2012

    Not sure if this exactly belongs in the general education forum, but I think it's closely related enough that I thought I'd post here.

    Basically, most of us have probably seen the news and seen responses on FB and other social media in response to the death of Trayvon Martin in FL. Over the past few days, a lot of thoughts have been stirring around inside my head, and finally came out in a FB post I made a few minutes ago. I thought I'd share, and see your thoughts:

    "My response to the "hoodie protests."

    First, I've hesitated writing this for a few days, and finally decided to join the FB discussion of the recent events in FL and subsequent responses on FB and elsewhere.

    First, what happened was a tragedy - no denying that, and my post is not meant to lessen the importance of the situation. However, for all those concerned with injustice and racism, we need to dig deeper.

    First, while the situation in FL is tragic, tragedy happens on a daily basis in every city across this country on a far larger scale each and every day. How many children receive sub-par educations, no support from caregivers, or are exposed to routine community violence - just as a few examples? Where are the protests for those kids?

    Next, the "hoodie protests" are no doubt powerful because of how visually engaging they are, and expressive of a very real issue that occurs in many communities, but I'd ask those putting on hoodies in protest: what's next? Next week, when the hoodie pictures aren't flooding our timelines anymore, where will you be? How many of us protesting will return to our normal lives, doing things like going out and ordering bottle service for hundreds of dollars when schools remain under-funded and families face hunger issues down the street from us?

    Please hear me: I'm not against people making a big deal of this situation or participating in the online protest through wearing hoodies or asking tough questions. I think both are great, and I'm 100% supportive. But, what's next? How will you take the next step in making our communities better? Because the reality is that wearing a hoodie online is about 0.01% of what it will take to achieve true change. Asking questions like, "Why hasn't Zimmerman been arrested?" are a lot easier than asking questions such as, "Why do second grade Black males read at lower rates than White males?" Tougher to ask, tougher to answer, and even tougher to do something about.

    So, don't take off your hoodie, but while you're wearing it, get online to sign up to volunteer for a project that you care deeply about. In other words, take some time to think about how your life reflects your statements in this case. Do you live your life on a daily, weekly, and yearly basis in line with your passion for community change? Or, is this just a passing trend for you?"
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Mar 23, 2012

    Harry Chapin recorded a piece on one of his albums. Like so much of Harry's work, it wasn't a song, just a story.

    He told the story of a Thanksgiving canned food drive. How the principal and the teachers and the parents and the kids got all excited about the drive. How they brought in cans of corn and peas and stringbeans, turkeys and stuffing and cranberrry sauce and gravy. How there was a wonderful Thanksgiving bounty, and no one would be hungry for Thanksgiving and they were all pretty proud of themselves.

    Until someone asked: "What will those people eat next week?"





    Band aids are good for minor cuts. But when the problem is on the level of a hemmorage, band aids aren't of much help. They make the person who offered them feel better, but they don't help the patient.
     
  4. JustMe

    JustMe Guru

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    Mar 23, 2012

    In the canned food drive sort of situation, it's more about (in my opinion) teaching children that there are great needs and that those able should give. Pretty valuable stuff, I think.

    I think the "hoodie" sort of situation serves a similar purpose for young people. It can be the beginning of activism.
     
  5. lovebeingteach

    lovebeingteach Companion

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    Mar 23, 2012

    Totally agree!
     
  6. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Mar 24, 2012

    Definitely some interesting takes on the situatio Alice & JustMe. Hopefully if the responses are just bandaids, they will teach some valuable lessons that will last beyond this one situation.
     
  7. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Mar 24, 2012

    I agree with this.

    Think of any era or movement where there has been great change. Look at the Civil Rights era of the 60's. Great change comes from many many millions of small changes. There are people and actions that have become symbols for the movement - Rosa Parks, Dr. King and the Million Man March - but who knows that those people weren't inspired by a simple action like wearing an armband, a letter to the editor, etc. I don't think the best sociologist, historians, psychologists, linguists, or activists could ever tell us how social change really happens. If a million people wear hoodies one day and it inspires 5 people to go out and make a different, and 100 more to write a couple letters, and a 100 more to just change their viewpoints a little bit, hasn't the protest been successful?

    Did anyone read this op-ed in NY Times by Charles M. Blow? He was on Bill Maher talking about it last night. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/o...-of-trayvon-martin.html?_r=1&ref=charlesmblow Basically he mentions that as a black teen in this country, you have to be hypervigilant about moving too fast, putting your hand in your pocket, being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And as a father of black teens he is constantly fearing that something will happen every time they leave the house.

    As a white female, I know what it's like to be hypervigilant about my tone of voice and the way I am perceived, because I have some character traits that are often unacceptable for a female and I often fear being labeled "The B word." But I don't know and can't understand what it is like to be in constant fear that those words or actions could get a bullet in the back of my head. What a burden for those kids. Some of whom are MY kids. And if wearing a hoodie and carrying some Skittles on Monday helps just one of MY kids understand that I am on his side, I'll do it.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Mar 24, 2012

    This is my point.

    If wearing the hoodie and carrying the Skittles are the beginning and end of the protest, then it's not about Trayvon, it's about you wanting to be part of something bigger.

    If the hoodie protest leads to discussions about perception, about the applications of the "Stand your Ground" law, about the racism that still exists in this nation, about the fact that "walking while being black" is NOT a crime, then I can see its value.

    But if it becomes about hoodies and Skittles-- if all people know about the case is that something bad happened to a kid wearing a hoodie carrying Skittles-- then I'm really not sure it's accomplished a whole lot.
     
  9. Cerek

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    Mar 24, 2012

    I guess I've been out of the loop. I've missed most of the news and furor over this. I had to do some quick research online to learn about it.

    From every angle, it is a terrible tragedy and one that should never have happened. I do believe Zimmerman should be arrested and I'm glad to see higher levels of authority have stepped in to conduct the investigation. One news article I read, though, stated it will be difficult to convict Zimmerman because there is a significant lack of forensic evidence. No eyewitness accounts, just the conversation Trayvon was having with his friend and the 911 tape - which has not been released. According to the same article, some parts of the tape will help Zimmerman's case and some will hurt it.

    The most important thing is that a thorough investigation be conducted and it appears that is occurring by sources outside any ties or loyalties to the Sanford community.

    I understand the purpose of the protests and I'm sure Trayvon's family appreciates the nationwide show of support. I think the protests can serve a useful purpose, but I also agree with EdEd that the protests themselves won't accomplish anything other than making the protesters "feel good" about themselves.

    As for Zimmerman, it is important to remember that the lack of arrest does NOT mean he has been cleared of suspicion. The article that addressed the issue the most stated the authorities probably have enough evidence to indict Zimmerman, but not enough to get a conviction. It is very possible the investigators are waiting until they feel they DO have enough evidence to get the conviction before actually making the arrest.

    Zimmerman has given no indication of being a flight risk. I feel it is much better for investigators to make sure they have all the evidence they need FIRST, then make the arrest. I know the public is crying out for the arrest "RIGHT NOW!", but those same protesters will be crying out even more if Zimmerman were arrested and subsequently released due to lack of evidence. In that case, they would be screaming "Cover UP" and never accept the fact there was not enough evidence to gain the conviction.

    The main thing is to make sure the death of Trayvon is not ignored or swept under the rug and that has been accomplished. The best thing to do now is let the investigation run its course and, hopefully, result in a conviction. If that happens, Zimmerman will spend a lot more time in jail than if he were arrested prematurely.
     
  10. KinderCowgirl

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    Mar 24, 2012

    This is my thought too. So many kids walk around living in their own little bubble-I'm impressed when they take on any kind of protest on their own for something real. And just the attention it's getting is probably opening more people's eyes to the situation, which can't hurt either.

    People feel helpless-there isn't much we can actually do in this situation. The one I saw last night they weren't wearing hoodies but were on the school football field spelling out his initials with themselves. I believe that's a way of remembering him and bringing attention to the cause.
     
  11. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Mar 24, 2012

    Exactly! There's not much I can do to help this family in Florida on a personal level, but I can join them in solidarity so that they are aware that there are other people out there who are listening, who are watching and who will stand beside them until justice is done.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Mar 24, 2012

    I have to start by saying I'm not on Facebook and I'm not privy to all the discussions there.

    I think there's a lot we as teachers can probably do, and a lot that families can do. And a lot that concerned people of all ages can do.

    But we, as teachers, are in a unique position to effect change at the grass roots level.

    Perhaps an alternative: let's look at the self-defense law that seems to be a part of the issue.
    http://www2.tbo.com/news/politics/2...efense-law-sponsor-stands-his-grou-ar-384495/

    I can see the value in thousands of letters about whether or not the law (and others like it) may need to be changed.

    We could talk about how security personnel are hired-- how is it that someone who has the capacity to ignore the directions he was given over the 911 call is a neighborhood watch captain? Should local neighborhood watch organizations have some sort about rules about screening or weapons or something???

    We can talk about perception-- about how we react to people who don't look like us. And we can do it when our kids are young enough that they don't already have pre-conceived notions about the danger some seem to think is inherent in skin color.

    There's so much that can be done to alleviate the poverty that has a tie-in to some of the OTHER cases where something similar has happened.

    We can talk about the times when it's important to "stand your ground" and about all the times when the best reaction to a perceived threat is to remove yourself from a situation, or to ask for help from someone better prepared to deal with the perceived threat.

    At the very least, I think that everyone who buys Skittles as part of this movement should be campaigning Wrigley to make a donation to some sort of a program for minorities. Then perhaps each Skittles buyer could match the amount they spent on the candy in a donation for a similar program. Likewise Old Navy or some of the other manufacturers of hoodies. Awareness is great. Action makes a difference.

    How about a scholarship fund for minority kids in Trayvon's name? With Wrigley and Old Navy (and anyone else who makes hoodies) asked for a percentage of their March revenue to get it started??

    I don't think we need to feel helpless. I think we need to help.

    Again, wear your hoodies if you feel it helps. I just think that, with a little creativity, perhaps other alternatives might help more.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
  13. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Mar 24, 2012

    You are all over-analyzing this. It's very simple.

    A murder was committed because the murderer felt that the law gave him the right to do so.

    The murderer was not arrested because the police felt that if the murderer claimed protection under that law, then they could not arrest him.

    It has nothing to do with minorities, underprivileged youth, hoodies or skittles. It's all about a law that effectively legalizes murder. The victim in this case could have easily been an aggressive panhandler, an odd looking homeless or disabled person, or a mouthy cyclist angry about being passed too closely.

    The fact is that people "feel threatened" all the time. To allow anyone to shoot to kill under such circumstances means that virtually anyone can justify killing someone and that is just plain wrong.
     
  14. JustMe

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    Sarge, I would have a hard time telling his parents this case has nothing to do with the fact that their son was a black teenager.
     
  15. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    Mar 24, 2012

    "But we, as teachers, are in a unique position to affect change at the grass roots level." Alice

    We are in a unique position to abuse our "unique position to affect [sic?] change at the grass roots level" as well. I'm here as a teacher, not as a "community organizer." I intend to teach English on Monday. What the students wear, within the rules, or snack on is of no professional interest to me. If they're not in class, I'll mark them absent. If this issue comes up, in connection with a work or idea under discussion, we will discuss it in that context. That is my job.
     
  16. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Mar 24, 2012

    My sincere apologies for the typo. It's been corrected.
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Mar 24, 2012

    The 911 tape has been released. You can google it or find it on YouTube.
     
  18. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Mar 24, 2012

    Well there have also been several neighbors who can be witnesses due to what they heard and saw after the fact. Some people heard Trayvon screaming and pleading for his life. That's also on the 911 call. It's more than just that one call with Trayvon's friend so that article is lacking. All witness accounts as well as the 911 calls and Trayvon's phone records that the police tried to keep secret (hey weren;t they delaying the release of the 911 call as well---hmmmm) back up that Zimmerman was the aggressor and highly unlikely that his life was in any danger. It's said that he also used a derogatory racial term on the tapes.

    This case is no doubt about race, plain and simple, and I'm relieved that a huge amount of people of all races can admit it and are out protesting as well.
     
  19. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Mar 24, 2012

    So for those working in high schools who have interacted first hand with teens who seem to be interested in this case, do you get the sense that they are invested in learning more and becoming active, or that it's just a fad for them in being a part of a movement?
     
  20. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Mar 24, 2012

    I think it is about race and the enforcement of this particular law. The law was not intended to apply in cases like this, as I understand it. What exactly was it about the situation that made the gun owner feel threatened? The hoodie? Come on. And why did the gun owner follow the kid? That doesn't sound like behavior of someone who feels threatened. Neighborhood watch organizations aren't there to stalk strangers, nor are they there to brandish weapons, or use them, for goodness sakes.

    The poor family of Trayvon. This was a despicable incident.
     
  21. KinderCowgirl

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    Mar 24, 2012

    I was going to respond that even if people did that, I doubt anything would change. That's the mentality of the South. We literally have at least one case a week here on the news (nothing as tragic as this). A few months ago a man shot and killed a 16-year old who was breaking into a neighbor's house-self-defense?--many believed he wasn't really in danger of anything himself. We had one just yesterday-two 40-something brothers who got in argument over a fence and one shot the other "in self-defense".

    But I was researching this a little and it's actually more scary than I thought. First I discovered that Florida issues twice as many carry permits as Texas does (right there an eyebrow-raiser). Now this is Fox as resource :rolleyes:, but I thought it was very interesting-I didn't know this was their law in that state-that's just crazy-maybe it is something that can change through this tragedy: http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/dpp/news/investigates/florida-concealed-weapons-permits-020112
     

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