THE COLOR OF A THUG: Who’s Watching the Real Threats to Our Society?

| March 23, 2012

The Trayvon Martin murder has affected me on a person level.  President Obama eloquently stated, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”  Trayvon Martin was brutally murdered by a gun-toting, self-appointed, neighborhood watching captain, George Zimmerman.  Trayvon’s last breath was used to beg and plead for his life.  But, George Zimmerman was adamant that this “one” would not get away as “they” all seem to escape justice.  While I am not ignorant of the fact that black-on-black crime is a problem, the Trayvon Martin story still begs the question: Who’s watching the real threats to our society?

As the story unfolded, the news media has attempted to baptize Zimmerman as a Hispanic.  After all, Hispanics are more like to commit these outrageous crimes, right?  Or, that Zimmerman was an altar boy.  Of course, we all know that altar boys wake up every morning without sin, right?


The Virginia Tech Massacre is but one example of real threats to our society.  On April 16, 2007, on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, in two separate attacks, Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and wounded 25 others.  While Cho’s bad behavior began well before Virginia Tech, his play and writings at the University caused concern among teachers and classmates.  In another example, on June 26, 2011, James Craig Anderson was brutally murdered at the hands of Deryl Dedmon.  Dedmon admitted that he suggested to his friends that they go find a black man to harass and further revealed that he and his friends would harass black people just for kicks and would also target the homeless or drunks.  Before being sentenced to two life sentences, Dedmon stated, “I was not raised in the way that I acted that night. I was raised in a godly house.”  Of course, Dedmon’s statements are laughable at best and didn’t pass muster with the Judge.


Regardless of Dedmon’s prison-induced revelations that he wasn’t raised in “that way”, the Seung-Hui Cho and Dedmon crimes show that thugs have no color.  Systematic poverty, home-grown racism, and extreme wealth are ample breeding grounds for the birth of a thug.  It is my prayer that the death of Trayvon Martin sparks an open and honest dialog about the true impact of profiling.  In years past, it was a running joke that it was dangerous to drive while Black, but today, it also appears that it is dangerous to walk home carrying a bag of skittles and a can of ice tea, and whispering sweet nothings to a crush, while Black.  As a hoodie-wearing Black attorney, I hope that I am not considered “suspicious” simply because of the color of my skin.  Let’s begin watching the real threats to our society and begin to understand the true “color” of a thug.

I have one last question:  Do these students at Howard University School of Law and Harvard University Law School look suspicious?

Harvard Students Wearing Hoodies

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