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August 24, 2013

Looking for the White Trayvon Martin

White Martin Black Zimmerman What If Max King

I’m not sure exactly when this was created. 561hiphop.com posted it on May 8th, 2012. The Grio put it up on May 15th. I don’t know if you’ve come across it before but I saw it for the first time yesterday on Atlantic Wire in a post having to do with conservatives being on the hunt now for “the white Trayvon Martin.”

Forget for a minute that the seventeen-year-old Martin was simultaneously memorialized and immortalized in the original diptych, the companion to the famous hoodie photo, at a younger age. (Although the Martin attorney told WAPO Trayvon was actually sixteen in the original Hollister t-shirt shot, Poynter dates it more likely to 13 or 14.) One thing significant about its appearance yesterday is that the reverse-race version has now proven its illustrative value beyond Zimmerman’s trial. You don’t earn that kind of endurance without hitting a significant chord. But what, exactly, does the illustration have to offer the right?

Conceptually, I get that the conservatives are looking for a white correlate to Martin. When you superimpose that intention onto this illustration, however, doesn’t it render the point ridiculous on its face?

(photo-illustration credit via 561hiphop: Max King; diptych 2: AP Photo/Handout-Martin Family; Orange County Jail; unattributed; unattributed.)

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