Folks reacted to the Trayvon Martin tragedy in a number of ways, many taking advantage of social media. In fact it's pretty safe to say that without social media, Zimmerman would never have been charged.
But some of the reactions themselves contain interesting politics.
Take this video, shot by Howard University students:
The message is a powerful one. Young black males come in a number of different shapes, sizes, and flavors. Simply because one chooses to wear a hoodie or some other piece of clothing should not in and of itself render him "suspicious."
But listen carefully. The argument they're making is actually something very different. And that argument becomes very clear when you think about the type of statements you DON'T hear anyone say:
"I'm an unemployed black man who takes the bus to work everyday to look for a job. Do I look suspicious?"
"I've been a garbage man for the last five years. I pick up your trash every Tuesday. Do I look suspicious?"
"I like getting high. In fact, I'm on the way to get some weed now, with some money I borrowed from my mom. Do I look suspicious?"
Now because it was cold and I thought I'd be watching my son at soccer practice I wore a hoodie and sweatpants yesterday evening. After I dropped the zipcar off and was walking to the Metro to go home I passed a young sister. As I was walking beside her, I noticed her tense up. Hard.
In response I laughed. And kept walking.
I COULD have said "I'm an Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins. I'm not trying to jack you."
But I didn't. Because that only creates space for those of us on the "right" side of the class divide. It doesn't create much space for the people on the "wrong" side, who should ALSO be given the benefit of the doubt.