In 2007, I was a 17 year old boy in high school who at first impression could be profiled as a criminal. I wore baggy clothing, had a foul mouth, and I fit the physical profile of guys who commit crimes every day. A lot like Trayvon.
After Trayvon’s death, white supremacist, Klanklannon, hacked into Trayvon’s email to try and find more pictures of him with gold teeth and smoke, things that would “justify” killing him as he made his way back to his family unarmed.
But what he found was college scholarship applications. Yes, Trayvon Martin had hopes of going to college to study aeronautics. He was also taking honors courses in high school. Even though Trayvon and I are a lot alike, that’s where we differ. He was actually achieving more than I did and had much bigger dreams as a junior in high school.
Another way we differ, is in the opportunity to live out our potential. I’m sure a neighborhood watchman wouldn’t have picked me to obtain a degree 5 years later, start a non-profit, write a book, and go on to reach thousands every day. And he didn’t pick Trayvon either, so sadly we’ll never know what his story could’ve been.
All of this to say, even if you don’t consider yourself racist, be careful of the stereotypes you draw based on looks. Everyone isn’t what they seem, but everyone deserves a chance to prove that.
- Derrick Jaxn