Streams

MICROPOLIS: Trayvon Martin and the Threat of Black Manhood

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Million Hoodie March in 2012 (bogieharmond/flickr)

In this episode of Micropolis, we ask whether it's possible for black men to avoid being profiled. For some black men, the answer is yes, but it involves making compromises -- in terms of clothing, language and manner -- that others find detestable. 

Growing up in the South, Tony Award-winning choreographer and MacArthur Genius Bill T Jones said he learned to be extra-polite with the authorities by watching his normally-assertive father turn deferential whenever the sheriff came around. 

In the mid-90s, Jones was driving down the Palisades with his partner when they stopped on the side of the road. Before they knew it Jones was being pulled out by a police officer and spread-eagled against his car. The officer told Jones he was wanted for armed robbery in Chicago, and it was only after Jones and his partner produced a recent issue of Time magazine that the officer realized his mistake. There was Jones, on the cover of the magazine. As they parted ways, Jones turned to the cops and, not forgetting what he'd been taught, said "Thank you."

"It felt like it was almost in our DNA, as black Americans," said Jones. "You have to be careful, because they are looking for a reason to shoot you."

Listen to the full Micropolis segment above.

Editors:

Karen Frillmann

Tags:

More in:

News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
Get the best of WNYC in your inbox, every morning.

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.

Sponsored

Latest Newscast

 

 

Support

WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public

Feeds

Supported by