May 6, 2021: A note about this piece. I wrote it in 2013 as I was starting journalism school. My understanding of systemic racism at that time was undeveloped, naïve and uninformed. I didn’t see that in trying to write a piece about overcoming racism I was actually reproducing racist stereotypes.
When the piece aired, listeners gave me critical feedback about how it was racist. I regret writing this piece, and it no longer reflects the way I think about race and racism – but I value the feedback I received. It helped me to become more informed about structural racism and to understand how I benefit from and participate in it. - Sukey Lewis
The story of Trayvon Martin got me thinking about an old myth. Most of us are familiar with this myth: it is the myth of the dangerous black man, the scary black man, the barbaric black man, which has been perpetuated since truly barbarous slave traders first brought African men and women to work in American fields.
Since that time, there have been civil rights advancements not only in the law, but also in the minds and hearts of those of us who struggle with this myth.
Still, the myth lives on. Our prisons are stuffed to bursting with this myth, and families are broken under this myth. Big myths are stubborn things, but the small facts of our lives are more stubborn still.