Letter: Cheap stereotypes by columnist Sturm
Cheap stereotypes from Sturm
When Melanie Sturm decided to weigh in on the Trayvon Martin killing, she missed an opportunity to have an intelligent discourse regarding the “stand your ground law” (“Genuine justice goes beyond ‘Justice for Trayvon,’” Commentary, July 18, The Aspen Times).
Originally, Florida’s self-defense law included the language that a person had a “duty to retreat” from a confrontation when outside one’s home. Now an armed man can allow a confrontation to escalate until a teenager is dead. Let’s debate that.
It also is disappointing that once again, Sturm uses her column to just recycle what Bill O’Reilly and other Fox pundits have to say. O’Reilly loves to use the argument about blacks murdering blacks in America’s inner cities. Of course we recognize the scourge of gang-related killings in our inner cities. However, comparing the ethnic culture of drug-related violence in our inner cities with the lives of hard-working, middle-class Americans such as Trayvon’s family makes no sense.
His mother is a college-educated woman who has been employed for more than 20 years by Miami-Dade County. His brother is a college student, and it is reported that Trayvon was determined to follow him to college. This middle-class American family, living in a middle-class American suburb, had the expectation that their son would be treated as any other teen in their neighborhood.
But Sturm continues the stereotyping of Trayvon by calling him a “school-suspended, pot-smoking teen” — in other words, a punk. Shame on you, Ms. Sturm — shame on you. Do you really think that if you interviewed our Aspen High School kids you wouldn’t find a couple of white teens who have smoked pot and been suspended for it? Are they punks?
Sturm once again resorts to stereotyping when she refers to the Trayvon supporters as a “mob.” This “mob” is engaged in peaceful protests demanding that the “stand your ground law” be replaced by sensible self-defense laws. I suppose Sturm would regard me as part of that mob, as I also believe the “stand your ground” law should be changed.
As a white mother and grandmother, I cannot even begin to imagine what a black mother must feel knowing that her child could be shot through the heart in a nice middle-class neighborhood in America simply because of his skin color and his choice of clothing. The only people who believe race was not a factor when Zimmerman profiled and followed Trayvon and described him as a “f—-ing punk” an “a–hole” and a “suspect” is the right-wing party that turned an American tragedy into a political football.
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