Back to school … and ‘Trayvon Martin dialogs’

Back to school … and ‘Trayvon Martin dialogs’

The two faces of Trayvon Martin
The two faces of Trayvon Martin

Now, class, repeat after me: “Cracka.” No, Connie, not “cracker.” That’s something you eat. Try again …

OK, my bad. That’s not all what the San Diego Unified School District has in mind for its “Trayvon Martin dialogues” this fall. The Daily Caller explains:

Middle and high school students in San Diego, California will be encouraged to vent their frustration that the world lacks justice when they return to school and participate in the ‘Trayvon Martin dialogues’ this fall.

The board of San Diego Unified Schools unanimously approved a proposal recently to establish classroom forums to discuss the death of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager who was shot during an altercation with a Hispanic man, George Zimmerman, in Florida last year. A jury recently acquitted Zimmerman, who claimed that Martin struck first and shot him in self-defense.

Some teens, the sponsors of the program submit, harbor “feelings of fear, anger, and skepticism that they will live in a just society.” One could easily make the case that those feelings are as much if not more a product of the untoward reaction to the outcome of the Zimmerman trial by adult celebrities like Jay Z or Stevie Wonder or athletic role models like Atlanta Falcons receiver Roddy White.

But the die is cast, and not just in classrooms of San Diego. In July, I reported on teaching materials at, which included a question on racial profiling, even though a rigorous FBI 2012 investigation found no evidence that racial bias was a motivating factor in the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

But the public education is not being confined to young people. The NAACP is attempting to sway “grown-up” hearts and minds into petitioning the Florida legislature to pass a Trayvon’s Law. The law would not only “end racial profiling” but seeks repeal of the state’s stand your ground law. Never mind that — again — this particular law has disproportionately benefited blacks in the Sunshine State.

The “Martin dialogues” accordingly invite forum participants to condemn (not debate!) “stand your ground” laws and “allow students to talk about the world view that prompted George Zimmerman to confront Trayvon Martin.” But whose world view? The one promulgated by Al Sharpton and his ilk, which holds that blacks are ongoing victims of white oppression and that affirmative action doesn’t go far enough? Forgive my cynicism, but I see no reason to present an alternative formulation.

TDC notes that Marne Foster, a San Diego school board member and sponsor of the proposal, said that she has three black sons and that any one of the could have suffered a fate similar to Martin’s. “They are still living in a time reminiscent of Emmitt Till,” she said. Unfortunately, it’s self-fulfilling prophesies like that that are sure to produce more Trayvon Martins and, it follows, more “dialogs.”

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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