The following is my submission to the We Are Not Trayvon Martin tumblr, It’s a way of pointing out to those who don’t understand, all the ways in which those of us who were born with the privilege of having light skin in America take for granted the benefits that grants us. Benefits of the doubt that Trayvon Martin was not given.
I am not Trayvon Martin. I am a 32 year old white woman who looks as pale as as a goth and cannot get any darker even if I try. I can move freely wherever I want in the world without anyone thinking that I might be a criminal. When I locked my keys in the car at a gas station in rural north Georgia while in college, I had half a dozen men, including the gas station owner, help me to break into my car. I was a white woman, a damsel in distress to be helped, all of them at the ready, even the gas station owner who I later discovered was a Klan grand dragon, because even though I was an outsider, I was a helpless white female outsider. The gas station I could go to because it was safe for me, even though my black classmates had been warned not to head that far down the road in that direction alone lest someone decide they did not belong and start shooting.
I am not Trayvon Martin, and I wish I lived in a country where Travyon Martin wasn’t either. And where Emmett Till wasn’t Emmett Till, and Amadou Diallo wasn’t Amadou Diallo, because we never learned their names through senseless injustice and they lived long and happy lives and had families and grew old.