There is no one answer, if there is an answer at all. Preventing profiling really requires changing the minds and hearts of the profilers themselves. What advice could Trayvon Martin’s father have given him to avoid his murder?
A system of racism and white supremacy perpetrated by profiling, surveillance, intimidation, detention and, ultimately, violence toward our young men further infantilizes African American adults, in general, and emasculates African American men, in specific. We are still “boys” as men, and “gals” as women.
We have never been able to protect our children from the slavers, the traders, the lash, the lynchmen, or the police. All of these bad actors have contributed to the transgenerational uncertainty of just making it home every night.
African American families once lived with the uncertainty of whether loved ones would be captured, sold or lynched on the way home. Now we live with the uncertainty of whether children and fathers will be harassed, captured or killed by the police on the way home.
Historically, we have had no real advice for our children. We could only say: “Keep your head down, don’t look the Man directly in the eye, and don’t say anything to white women.”
When in the store: “Look but don’t touch.”
When confronted by the police: “Always keep your hands visible and follow directions.”
These few words have been the protection we have offered our children.