Trayvon Martin Tragedy Could Spur the Emergence of a “National Anti-Racial Profiling Fund”

There’s much expectation that outrage and anguish over the Trayvon Martin tragedy will spark a “movement” to combat racial profiling and focus the nation’s attention on finding solutions to the problem. [See the previous blog post: A Potent Anti-Profiling Movement As the Silver Lining From the Trayvon Martin Tragedy.]

A movement could emerge in the form of a grassroots effort led by students and young people, possibly with funding from a few affluent people. Or, a group of not-so-affluent people could pool financial and other resources to jump-start one. A few groups have already been formed but it is obviously too early to determine what sort of movement will ultimately emerge.

Color of Change has demonstrated the possibilities and potential in this regard with its successful campaigns against Glenn Beck and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), among others. And, the use of online and social media to generate national awareness and trigger outrage and action in the Trayvon Martin case portends great possibilities.

Ideally, a broad-based, large-scale “National Anti-Racial Profiling Fund” that has widespread support across all segments of Black America would be most desirable and effective. Such a large national organization would have the sizable resources and clout necessary to combat racial profiling and its root causes.

Conceptually, most blacks will galvanize around an all-out assault on racial stereotyping/profiling. Thus, they would be willing to invest in a fund they believe can accomplish this task because the cause is powerful and compelling, it resonates with African Americans of all classes, and the social returns on their investments would be substantial–as Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson observed:

“For every black man in America, from the millionaire in the corner office to the mechanic in the local garage, the Trayvon Martin tragedy is personal. It could have been me or one of my sons. It could have been any of us…” (Trayvon Martin and dangerous times for black men).

What Would A National Anti-Racial Profiling Fund” Do?

Unless it obtains substantial initial funding from a generous benefactor, the Fund would have to rely on limited resources until it establishes a solid reputation. Then, once it establishes credibility, it will be able to pool funds from large numbers of people. To establish credibility, the Fund would need to focus on strategies that can be implemented with limited funds.  This may include using online and social media and other low-cost but highly effective approaches to execute campaigns such as those to:

  • educate, inform, and facilitate a sustained and constructive national discourse;
  • change negative and false perceptions and mindsets about African Americans;
  • change beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that perpetuate racial stereotyping/profiling;
  • take on the politicians, think-tankers, talk-show hosts (Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, etc.), other media personalities, and racists who continually perpetuate racial animosity and prejudice;
  • exercise black consumer power (including “economic boycott power”) to dissuade companies from sponsoring such race-baiters and race-based haters, who are getting even wealthier by spewing racial venom and inciting hatred; and
  • take on black people, including high-profile athletes, celebrities, media personalities, reality TV stars, and other public figures, whose behaviors perpetuate racial stereotypes and animosity.

Related: