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When rapper Lil Wayne used offensive lyrics that included the name of Emmett Till, it sparked a conversation about whether or not much of this generation actually knew him or why or how he died.

Now, this generation has an Emmett Till of its own, Trayvon Martin. The circumstances of their murders have some eerie similarities and the fact that one happened in 1955 and the other almost 60 years later in 2012 makes it more significant.

The more I see and learn over the years, the more I’ve come to believe that some things will never change, no matter how much progress we make or who’s in the White House. That post-racial America conversation that everyone wanted to have makes less sense than ever. I’d be foolish to say we’re in the same spot that we were in the 1950s as African Americans, but I’d also be foolish to pretend like we’re any where close to not needing all of the laws that have been put in place to protect our civil rights.

The Stand Your Ground self-defense law in Florida is responsible for putting a gun in the hands of a man who wasn’t fit to handle an altercation with a young black man because of his pre-conceived fears—or maybe even hatred.

Emmett Till’s murderers felt that the 14-year-old had overstepped his bounds when he allegedly flirted with a married white woman.

Guns Turn Cowards into Brave Men  was originally published on

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