How to Talk to Young Black Women About Trayvon Martin


In the wake of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, many are writing about how to talk to Black boys about this tragedy. But, how do we talk to young Black girls and women? With a nod to writer/comedian Touré for his “Eight talking points about the potentially fatal condition of being Black,” here, then, are seven talking points for young Black women:

1. You are not the problem, although sometimes you may be made to feel like you are. One day you will grow up and become aware of all the “research” out there that blames Black women for the ills of the Black community. You will learn about everyone from Senator Daniel Moynihan of New York (who saw the possibility of you growing up to raise a child on your own as the major cause of our community’s problems) to Life Always, (a pro-life group which insists that the most dangerous place for a Black child is in your womb).

I hope that you will recognize this for what it is: an offering of Black women as a scapegoat for a society where being Black is still one of the most dangerous things that you can be. Trayvon Martin has taught us that the most dangerous place for Black boys is not your womb or your household. The most dangerous place for Black children is still the streets of America.

2. It is okay, even wise, to nervously clutch your purse when you run into a Black man on a dark, deserted street. This is the same nervousness you should feel when you run into any man on a dark, deserted street. Do not fall prey to the characterization of Black men as inherently more dangerous than their counterparts of other races. You know better.