We’re Definitely Not All Trayvon Martin

Pointing out our differences becomes an unlikely tool for solidarity.
Messages calling for social change have taken a new twist. (Photo: Robyn Beck/Getty Images)
Jul 18, 2013· 2 MIN READ
A Bay Area native, Andri Antoniades has previously worked as a fashion industry journalist and a medical writer.

Since well before the start of the Zimmerman trial, “We Are All Trayvon Martin” had been established as an activist rallying cry. But in recent days, a new movement’s emerged out of it—one that’s still a show of solidarity, but with a foundation that’s more honest and certainly more accurate.

Increasingly, images like this one are populating social media feeds.

The sentiment “I am not Trayvon Martin” has since spawned its own namesake Tumblr, where visitors continue to leave their personal stories of privilege and what it’s afforded them.

Some of those excerpts are below...

I am not Trayvon Martin. I am a white girl in London. It would be insulting to pretend that I know what it’s like to be a black teenager in my country or in the USA. Many people recently have come to the press to say they “get" what it’s like, but they don’t. That’s part of the problem. Until we accept that we have no idea what black people face in terms of prejudices and police searches, then we will always be the problem. Solidarity.

… I can pass as white and straight even though I am neither. I am othered as weird, nerdy and being slightly short, skinny and quiet, I am perceived as many things but rarely if ever as a threat. I am aware that my body and phenotype gives me privilege to not be bothered, be rude and do clandestine things and not even be noticed. As someone with this privilege and being involved with social and environmental justice processes and struggles for liberation, I aspire to be accountable to this.

My son is not Trayvon Martin. He is four years old with white skin and green eyes. And I make people nervous when I speak to him about race, bigotry, equality, and gay rights. But it starts now. I want him to be fully aware of his societal birthright to wear what he pleases and walk where he pleases without unnecessary suspicion trailing him. I also want him to stand up for others in the face of hatred and prejudice. That is my best defense against the ignorant, the hateful and the fearful.

I am not Trayvon Martin, but my son could be…I am white and he is black. He is 11 years old, but the size of a 17 year old. On the football field and the basketball court, that size is an advantage, and everyone wants him on their team. Going to elementary school in our predominantly white town, it is a distinct disadvantage. We have been on the receiving end of ridiculous judgments by white parents. It hurts. It hurts him. and it hurts me…My son wants to play in our neighborhood at night with his friends. He wants to use his Nerf guns with the other boys. “No,” I say. He doesn’t understand that a dark, large figure at night with a fake gun could be shot in an act of “self defense.” So I hold him close, and pray his life will be full and not deterred by the idiotic judgment and hatred of ignorant people…