Lessons in Race From a 14-Year-Old: Part One

Trayvon Martin is dead, and George Zimmerman is free. No matter how many times I see that phrase, I’ll never be able to take comfort in in its implications. But, as a lifelong resident of the American South, I can’t say I’m not in the least bit surprised. In the story that follows, it will become abundantly clear why

In the summer of 1988 I was managing a movie theater in a small town about 30 miles outside the city of Atlanta. The theater — the sole movie house within a 20-mile radius — was situated in the center of a lengthy strip mall shopping center, a place that, on the weekends, served a the central social hub for the towns teenagers and twenty-somethings. Weekend nights saw a steady stream of youth walking or cruising the parking lot for hours on end, showing off their cars and clothing, shouting greetings to friends, enemies, or wannabe acquaintances, and, scoring the occasional romantic hookup. Read the rest of this entry »