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Trayvon Martin T-shirts: American outrage, size XXL

April 02, 2012|By Richard Fausset
  • Tamarii Cummings hugs his mom, Pat, at a rally in Miami on Sunday to call attention to the death of his cousin, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Tamarii Cummings hugs his mom, Pat, at a rally in Miami on Sunday to call attention… (Robert Sullivan / EPA )

Reporting from Atlanta — Concerned citizens have taken to blogs, Twitter and Facebook to post their concerns about the case of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed teenager slain by a neighborhood watch captain in a Florida townhouse development.

They have also, famously, posted them on their backs.

The Trayvon Martin protest T-shirt has become a staple at rallies across the country, and it's difficult to think of another item of clothing more representative of the nation's twitchy zeitgeist in April 2012. Sometimes it seems as though the old-fashioned medium of cotton has done as much as the Internet to spread the memes associated with the tragedy through the country -- and the world.

Some riff on the imagery of Skittles (the snack Martin was bringing home from a convenience store on the night of his shooting), or decry the perceived persecution of people (such as Martin) who wear hoodie sweatshirts. Others, perhaps borrowing from last year's failed campaign to spare the life of Georgia death-row inmate Troy Davis, simply proclaim, "I am Trayvon."

Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, is seeking to trademark the "I am Trayvon" phrase, along with the phrase "Justice for Trayvon." Meanwhile, a mix of outrage and the entrepreneurial spirit is fueling numerous variants.

The Miami Herald reports that a man named Joseph McCollum was selling a shirt at a Sunday protest with Trayvon's face inside the 2008 Obama campaign logo, featuring the president's comment about the case:

"If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon."

On the Web, the company redbubble.com sells a hoodie with a version of a "Neighborhood Watch" sign, which warns, darkly, "WE IMMEDIATELY MURDER ALL SUSPICIOUS PERSONS."

Over at shirtscope.com, $14.95 buys you a simple design with a simple math-inspired statement: "HOODIE (does not equal) HOODLUM."

An EBay vendor named phototshirts1002012 offers a design featuring a likeness of the shooter, George Zimmerman, who has not been charged with a crime, due to Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law.

The shirt reads: 'STAND YOUR GROUND in the PENITENTIARY."

The Smoking Gun website, meanwhile, reports on the existence of a T-shirt with Zimmerman's image paired with the word "cracker" -- along with a couple of demeaning expletives, in an apparent reference to a song by the rapper Plies.

Zimmerman's mother is Peruvian. The Smoking Gun notes, wryly, that the shirt-makers, if nothing else, are "[e]xpanding the definition of 'cracker,'" a term usually reserved for non-Latino whites.

Not to be outdone, an EBay seller named zissou23 offers a black T-shirt with a big image of a handgun and the phrase: "I AM ZIMMERMAN." Smaller text proclaims: "STAND YOUR GROUND."

RELATED:

Trayvon Martin marchers: 'We want an arrest. Shot in the chest'

Like Trayvon Martin? Unarmed teen shot, killed by New York police

Conservatives warn against rush to judgment in Trayvon Martin case

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