Trayvon Martin and Racist Violence in Post-Racial America

Hoodie Politics: Trayvon Martin and Racist Violence in Post-Racial America
Today marks the 37th day since the death of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African American who was gunned down by self-appointed neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in Orlando, Florida. Mass spectacles along with fantasies of post-racialism have diverted public attention away from what thousands of protesters and anti-racist educator Tim Wise, among others, unequivocally call a murderous act—with many of the “colorblind” media instead fixating on the ubiquitous “hoodie,” of all things, and its alleged symbolic power to trigger life-threatening fear and brutal violence. Zimmerman has not yet been charged, benefiting perhaps from police ineptitude or corruption and most certainly from Florida laws that have recently expanded an individual’s right to “self-defense”—even if it means shooting and killing an unarmed boy.

In a new essay, Henry Giroux connects the death of the 17-year-old Trayvon Martin to the hidden modes through which racism continues to operate in US society, arguing that the ongoing criminalization of poor minority youth entails the “massive suffering and needless deaths among many youth in America.” A virulent racism and embedded forms of cruelty now join forces with escalating violence on a planetary scale that threatens to culminate in a disastrous, unprecedented, and increasingly global war on youth. Read the article…

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