• author
    • Jesse Loren

    • July 14, 2013 in Columnists

    Walking while black

    On July 11, at 4:30, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania,  little Jocelyn Rojas was reported missing.

    A young boy and his friend, who looked a lot like  Trayvon Martin,  heard news that a girl had been abducted, so they rode  bikes around the area in search of her.   They joined the police and about 100 first responders who all looked for little Jocelyn.

    You might say the boys in Manheim Township were acting like real Neighborhood Watchmen.

    When they identified the girl in the passenger seat of the perpetrator’s car, they pursued the car while on their bikes.  Imagine the adrenaline in their systems.  Imagine their moral fiber!    I imagine them pumping their little hearts out to keep an anonymous stranger safe.

    Upon being chased by two kids on bikes, the pervert who abducted Jocelyn pulled over and kicked her out of the car.

    Little Jocelyn ran toward  bicyclist Tamar Boggs, who kept her safe until the police arrived.

    These boys are heroes.  They deserve a parade.  Shake a pom pom!  Give a toast to the odd  story when everything goes right for an innocent child (the young boy who looked like Trayvon, Jocelyn, Tamar Boggs).   This is the best of society.  When no prejudice or hatred colors an action and everyone does the best of his or her ability within the moral fibers of society.  Yeah!  Go us!  Everyone wins!  A little girl gets to grow up and live her full life!  Two heroic boys will tell their grandkids about their selfless act of bravery.

    I think it matters that the girl was white and the boys on their bikes were black.  This case demonstrates what happens when racism and hate doesn’t mask itself as white privilege.  To me, Jocelyn’s story is the story of a child who is made safe by the brave kindness of strangers.  Trayvon’s story is the story of a child who is murdered by the cowardly act of one stranger.  The hero for Jocelyn is a dark skinned teen.  The victim for Trayvon is himself, a dark skinned teen.

    Here’s what separates Tamar Boggs from Trayvon Martin.

    It was daylight when the boys were on their bikes.

    Two boys riding bikes in the summer heat do not need to wear hoodies to stay warm.


    Tamar Boggs was one of 100 other first responders pursuing the safety of a child.

    He was not a vigilante.  He acted as a citizen and waited for the police to make decisions of authority.


    Tamar Boggs was never charged with the crime of walking while black (WWB).   George Zimmerman found Trayvon guilty of the crime of walking while black and otherness.  That alone allowed his righteousness to fire his gun.

    What I hope for Tamar is that he never, ever has to have the vile feeling of being looked at like a criminal.  I hope he never has to feel the dirty feeling sent to him by others who see WWB as a crime.   I imagine in another era, lanky Tamar would have been accused as the perpetrator just because of the color of his skin.

    Oh Tamar, you have reminded me of everything good and right in this world.  I hope the judge and jury in the Zimmerman case can do the same, but it isn’t Pennsylvania, it’s Florida.

    The beauty of the Jocelyn Rojas case is:  Jocelyn is safe. Tamar and his friend are heroes.  And ugly racism never colored the outcome or the trigger finger of those involved. I don’t think Trayvon’s murder will be treated equally.

    Jocelyn Rojas news can be found at:




      • melinda carroll

      • July 14, 2013 at 9:16 am
      • Reply

      Racism is not just a “White” thing. There is racism in every culture….

    • I followed this story and would hope it is publicized daily as a reminder that there are wonderful people and restores my faith in humanity. But I also worry what this young man will do when and if faced with this as he grows up. I hope his heart stays pure.

      • davidlacy

      • July 14, 2013 at 10:39 am
      • Reply

      @ melinda, I agree with the saying: “Racism = Prejudice + Power, No power? Then it’s just prejudice.”

      Yes, racism exists across the globe, but it really lies in the hands of the oppressor.

      • davidlacy

      • July 14, 2013 at 10:40 am
      • Reply

      At least as far as it applies to institutionalized racism, in this setting, Florida’s dysfunctional laws.

      • Power exists in many forms, whether it’s governmental, social, or inter-personal. In each case the power holder has the ability to oppress. So yes, even if it’s just a black man and a white woman (to use an arbitrary example), the black man can express racism, prejudice, and discrimination. The point is that the oppressor can be anyone, not just a specific group.

    • It’s always us white people that are so quick to deny any racism. Meanwhile, we are the benefactors of racism. No one ever follows me around.

      • Jon

      • July 14, 2013 at 7:50 pm
      • Reply

      Why did you have to ruin an excellent show of humanity by injecting the race card? The FBI investigated Zimmerman & said that he was not a racist.

    • Tamar Boggs “waited for the police to make decisions of authority.” Trayvon could have waited too. He’d be alive if he had. Evidence shows that, instead, he attacked Zimmerman. There are more differences than you listed in your article.

      • rob

      • July 15, 2013 at 6:49 am
      • Reply

      Wow you took a great thing and turned it into your own form of disrespect. These boys did a great thing there was no need to bring race or anything relating to trayvon martin into this you have completely overshadowed what they did by acting like this you ahould have just left it with the story of what these two PEOPLE did.

      • Jesse

      • July 15, 2013 at 2:45 pm
      • Reply

      Jon and Doug, First of all, for Jon, do you really think the FBI could say Zim wasn’t racist, even after he made racist statements after murdering Trayvon? You are misinformed. Doug, when the little girl ran to Tamar, he waited for the authorities. He didn’t do as Zimmerman, first stalk a kid because he was black and in his neighborhood, then enact his own self fulfilling prophecy; when the kids got scared and reacted to being stalked, Zim shot him. The worst thing about the interchange was the gun. Zimmerman should have never had a gun. If he truly was part of neighborhood Watch, they discourage being armed. Lastly, here’s what should have happened:
      Zimmerman- “Hi my name is George Zimmerman. I make it my business to know everyone in this neighborhood, are you new here?”
      Trayvon- “My dad is here visiting his girl friend and I am going to the store for some skittles.”
      Zimmerman- “Oh, so you are just visiting. Have you seen any suspicious activity?”
      Trayvon- “No I have not.”
      Zimmerman- “Peace”
      Trayvon- “Yeah Peace man.”

      • Jesse

      • July 15, 2013 at 2:47 pm
      • Reply

      Rob- Trayvon was a black kid getting skittles. He was just as innocent as any other kid. Unfortunately he was stalked and Zimmerman had a gun. It’s too bad you can’t see the injustice of a kid’s murder. He had his whole life ahead of him. What a tragedy.

      • Jesse, the problem here is that we don’t have the full story, so each side has a distinctly different idea of how the events went down and they treat theirs as gospel. TM might have been going home after a skittles trip, or he might have been munching skittles while he cased local houses for future burglaries. We just don’t know.

        Sure, GZ stalked TM, but that’s not a crime. TM reacted to the stalking, as he had a right to do, but his reaction is his to own. It’s doubtful that TM got scared because of the beating GM took; scared kids usually don’t break people’s noses with repeated punches or knock their assailants to the ground. We have evidence that TM threw punches, and we have evidence that TM was on top of GM throwing punches. We have evidence for these things.

        If indeed this is what TM did, then he has to own his actions. Being stalked doesn’t give him the right to assault anyone. Also, GM repeatedly announced that the police were on their way; we have evidence for this via the various recordings. TM easily could have waited for the police to arrive.

        We don’t have any evidence that TM was executed or assassinated. The evidence points to self-defense.

      • Jesse

      • July 15, 2013 at 8:07 pm
      • Reply

      Doug, we do know Zimmerman has a history of racism and violence. We do know that had GZ not been carrying a concealed weapon, he would not have been embolden to pursue or shoot TM. Here’s a nice summary for you: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/15/6-decisions-trayvon_n_3600690.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

      • Jesse, I see the violence, but it’s mostly minor and questionable. However, I don’t see the racism. Not in that article, nor in the TM case. He identified TM as black, but he didn’t use any pejorative language that I know of. Also, if we are going to look at histories, we need to also look at TM’s history. He’s likely not the innocent little boy that everyone is so eager to believe, as summarized here:


      • Jesse

      • July 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm
      • Reply

      Doug, Trayvon is the victim. His background doesn’t matter any more than Jocelyn’s background. Are you immune to the felony charges against Zimmerman and his violent past? Maybe you just forgot that part? Also, you cite an Atlas Shrugged site. Really, have you read that trash? What a hate filled, poorly written book. I can’t believe you would link to such nonsense. Also, isn’t it funny how whites don’t see racism. (It’s not racist when we doit)
      Clearly Zimmerman said “Fucking punks. These assholes always get away,” before he murdered Trayvon. He said it to dispatch, maybe you didn’t listen to anything that didn’t support your judgment. He judged the boy and was emboldened to stalk him.

      Hey, I’m going to make a prediction for you. Remember how OJ got off for killing his wife? He couldn’t stay out of trouble after that and has ended up in jail. The same self-righteous, above the law-mental disorder is alive and well in Zimmerman. This wasn’t the first time he was accused of felony behavior and it won’t be the last. When he does end up in jail, his life will catch up with him. Just remember when it does Doug, he murdered a boy. He could have stayed in his truck. He could have gone unarmed. He could have not confronted the teen. He could have stayed home. He could have used words and introduced himself and his intentions. He didn’t. He has a vigilante mentality and he was emboldened by the stupid laws of Florida. He’ll be guilty of a violent crime again within the next 5 years. All said and done, it’s too bad Trayvon didn’t get to grow up and become a man. He was robbed of his life. His father was robbed of a son. I hope that never happens to you.

      • Anyone can be charged with anything. Unless charges stick, they can’t be used as damning evidence. There are thousands of cases where someone’s past history can’t be used against them in court. Also, if you’re going to place value on history, then you have look at TM’s history as well, not just GZ’s history. TM was a _participant_ in this. His “victimhood” is just a matter of semantics. For every “GZ could have” that you list, I could list a matching “TZ could have” that would be just as valid.

        Stalking someone, in this instance, isn’t a crime. It doesn’t give anyone the right to lynch GZ. He profiled TM as a possible perp, but not necessarily as a black perp. I’m sure if the hoody-wearer’s skin was white GZ wouldn’t have done anything differently.

        Everyone profiles people, for multiple reasons, to varying degrees. It’s a fact of life.

        As I said before, we don’t know the whole story, and we don’t have all of the facts. We never will. All we have are some of the facts, and two general prevailing theories. Neither the pro-TM side nor the pro-GZ size have the right to define their view as “The Truth”.

        There is a “The Truth”, but we will probably never know what it is. We can guess which is more likely, though, based upon the direction the facts point us. But we have to look at the facts _analytically_, with logic, not with our heart or emotions. Emotion doesn’t lead to justice; only logic can do that.

        You can say “he murdered a boy” all you like, but that doesn’t make it The Truth. Even if GZ actually does murder a boy at some point in the future, we will never know The Truth about TM. Maybe GZ _did_ murder TM…the jury didn’t declare a verdict of Innocent, after all. Not Guilty doesn’t mean the same thing. But we won’t know whether GZ is a murderer unless/until some damning evidence is discovered, if it ever is. And even then it can’t be used to put him in jail.

        Likewise, I can say “TM was casing houses for future burglaries” all I like, but I can’t prove it. All either you or I have to go on is their past behaviors.

        This is all moot anyway. The real problem now is getting everyone to acknowledge that no single person, group, or race owns “The Truth”. Until we do, it will continue to be as if each side was talking in a language that is incomprehensible to the other.

      • M-W.com lists the following as one possible definition for the word “myth”: a person or thing having only an imaginary or unverifiable existence

        In this sense, both the Self-Defense view and the Murder view of this incident are “myths”, since they are unverifiable. Proponents of one myth have little hope of converting others to their myth. All we really can do is discuss the facts and evidence of the case.

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