Yesterday, I received an e-mail from someone suggesting that perhaps we should begin to sport buttons like those that became so ubiquitous in the case of Troy Davis last year. You know the buttons, right? The ones that said: “I am Troy Davis.” The ones that aimed at solidarity with an unjustly executed man, but which, on the lapels and t-shirts of white people seemed, to me at least, more banal and offensive than anything else, since we were not, in fact (and would not likely ever be) in the position of Troy Davis. And while in this case too, I understand the sentiment and appreciate the real compassion underlying the suggestion — or the no-doubt-soon-to-be-witnessed insertion of Trayvon Martin’s name in many a Facebook profile handle — I feel that perhaps we who are white should remind ourselves, before we jump on either bandwagon, that unfortunately, we are much less like Trayvon Martin and much more like George Zimmerman.
And that is the problem.