ByWhen a Neighborhood Watch guard shot Trayvon Martin in February 2012, a chorus of civil rights activists concluded that he had been killed because of his race. Michael Skolnick, the political director for hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, spoke for the consensus in an article he titled, “White People You Will Never Look Suspicious.”
I will never look suspicious to you. Even if I have a black hoodie, a pair of jeans and white sneakers on … I will never watch a taxicab pass me by to pick someone else up. I will never witness someone clutch their purse tightly against their body as they walk by me. I won’t have to worry about a police car following me for two miles, so they can ‘“run my plates.”’ I will never have to pay before I eat. And I certainly will never get “‘stopped and frisked.”’ I will never look suspicious to you, because of one thing and one thing only. The color of my skin. I am white….
Skolnick spoke for those who rushed to condemn the Watch Guard, George Zimmerman, calling him a racist and killer in advance of the evidence, and demanding his arrest. It was the pervasive theme of the outrage even though Zimmerman was of Peruvian descent and not “white.” To make the racial case, Zimmerman’s accusers labeled him a “white Hispanic,” and disregarded the fact that he was Latino with a great-grandfather who was black. Speaking for the many, Congressional Black Caucus member Hank Johnson claimed that Martin was “executed for WWB in a GC—Walking While Black in a Gated Community.” It was the unmistakable implication of President Obama’s own statement on the case: “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.” For the already convinced, Trayvon Martin was killed not because of anything he had done, but because he was a black man in a racist culture, and therefore racial prey.