In the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death and the acquittal of George Zimmerman, we ask: Is it possible for black men to avoid being profiled?
Tony Award-winning choreographer and MacArthur Genius Bill T Jones says he makes it a point to be extra-polite to the police, something he learned from watching his father while growing up in the South.
In the mid-90s, Jones was pulled out of his car by a police officer and accused of being an armed robber. It was only when he and his partner produced a recent issue of Time magazine that the cop relented: there was Jones, on the cover. The headline was “Black Renaissance: African-American artists are truly free at last.”
Still, when Jones was about to leave, he turned to the police officer and, remembering what he’d been taught by his parents, thanked him.
"It felt like it was almost in our DNA, as black Americans," said Jones. "You have to be careful, because they are looking for a reason to shoot you."
Listen to what other black men have to say on the matter, and why the very notion of modifying one’s behavior or clothing is reprehensible to others: "Trayvon Martin and the Threat of Black Manhood"