How to Talk About Trayvon
Monday, July 15, 2013 - 11:06 AM
A jury found George Zimmerman "not guilty" in the shooting of Trayvon Martin over the weekend. The reactions were passionate, with anger mixed with opinions about the legal case, gun laws and race. We explore ways to have "the talk" with children about the verdict.
On the Brian Lehrer Show, Patricia Williams, a Columbia University Law School professor and columnist for The Nation, analyzed the decision and discussed the reaction -- from protests in New York and Los Angeles to a move by the U.S. Justice Department to relaunch their hate crime inquiry into the matter.
And one online commenter known as "Truth from Becky" summed up her view with this: "No pursuit, no gun, no one dead."
NPR's Code Switch tackled the question of how many African-American families were dealing with what they call "the talk" about how to conduct oneself in public, especially around the police or anyone who may consider a young person of color as suspicious. One father said he would put an earlier curfew on his son. One mother said she knew her son was considered a suspect but now it seemed even worse.
"A lot of people looked at this trial as a referendum on these big social issues but the trial was never going to resolve itself in a way that would necessarily move the needle on any of those things," said Gene Demby lead blogger for Code Switch. "Trials are really bad proxies for those big, big conversations. They don't build consensus and they often don't clarify big issues."
One parents identified as "UESsir" said he discussed with his children why people were so upset over the verdict.
"I told them that people want to see justice for the loss of a life but in some cases there is no blame to be had. I told them that it is important to understand all the details before getting angry and overreacting to a verdict. In this case, people want to believe it is just about race and a boy "being hunted" when in reality it was a situation where the "stand your ground" law came into play and the jury made an informed decision."
A father named Walter who called the Brian Lehrer Show said he told his sons that "democracy is not a spectator sport" which is why he took them to a rally in Newark on Sunday.
Parents: tell us how you are talking about the trial with your children. Have you had "the talk?"