It doesn't happen very often that I think the New York Daily News provides an important contribution to the national dialogue but this cover does exactly that. (Please take a moment to look.) Creating an explicit connection between Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till, Michael Donald, Yusef Hawkins and others puts race in the forefront of this situation. Right where it should be.
As hard as it is for some of us to acknowledge, race is the defining element of the Trayvon Martin story. It was race that created the initial decision of George Zimmerman to find Trayvon suspicious and it's race that deeply animated the actions of the police, the broader community, the attorneys on both sides and probably even the jury.
In one sense, this is perfectly clear. Tall, skinny White teenagers like my son just don't frighten grown men. Tall, skinny Black teenagers like Trayvon do. Enough so, that millions of Americans seem to have decided that George Zimmerman undertook reasonable actions throughout his confrontation with Trayvon.
This reality is heartbreaking but not shocking. Not when we take a moment to recognize just how deeply feared and mistrusted Blacks (particularly men) are in our country. That fear and mistrust is why Trayvon is dead and Zimmerman is a free man. It's also why Emmett Till, Michael Griffith, Sean Bell and so many others fit into that hoodie on the cover of the Daily News. For millions of Americans, it fits us all.