The Trayvon Martin case has me thinking about Emmett Till and the horrifying experiences of African American boys who enter a town where a heightened level of racism is normal. The cases offer prima facie proof of institutionalized racism: doing normal things – walking, flirting – is a publicly-sanctioned death sentence.
The Wordle word-image above is made from Malcolm X’s April 3, 1964 speech in Cleveland, better known as “The Ballot or the Bullet” speech. In this speech Malcolm X observes that being Christian, or playing by America’s formal rules, offers no real protection:
“Whether you’re educated or illiterate, whether you live on the boulevard or in the alley, you’re going to catch hell just like I am.”