Instead of exploring this issue . . .
Dr Phil attempted to Define Deviancy Downwards. Isn't the normative standard among the Black population to dump their kids somewhere and walk away from them? No, it isn't. Most of my longtime African-American friends came out of strong Baptist home environments. They represent a very large chunk of the Black population. They maintain more normative standards of parenting and child rearing.
By the traditional normative standards of a very large percentage of the African-American population and by virtue of some common sense, Trayvon was on that evening a "wayward youth in need of adult supervision." While the situation may not rise to a legalistic level, most adults should be able to recognize what has happened to the discussion of this case.
What is the predominant concern of the mainstream African-American family? Among my Black friends over the course of many years, one topic that often arises among African-American women is the thought:
Am I being too overly protective of my son
in light of the potential perils that may await him?
Youngsters need to learn to make choices and decisions; they learn from their mistakes, but the cost of my son making a poor choice may be too dear.
If I am too overly protective of him, he won't be able to learn from his experiences in making choices.
Over a long period of time, I have sat in on countless discussions about this topic, sometimes lasting until the wee hours. It is an often painful topic.
The Trayvon Martin situation deviates from the above mainstream template in one notable way:
It was the father, Tracy Martin, who was the custodial parent that night, not a maternal figure.
I honestly cannot imagine any Black mother I've known simply dumping their son in a strange place and then just walking away from him, leaving the kid to his own devices. To begin with, there is a long list of social signals such mothers are concerned about, trying to avoid taboo signals in order to avoid anticipated trouble or misinterpretation and emphasizing more positive social signals. Yet, even under the best of circumstances, a mobile phone device could be misapprehended as a weapon.
Happily, on that ill-fated evening, little Chad who was left behind all alone, did not stick his finger into an electric socket or drown the hamsters in the toilet bowl.
Unfortunately, the outcome for the teenager Trayvon was not so felicitous.
Continued . . .