Kenneth Bone, the questioner from the second presidential debate whose red sweater and unassuming air won the hearts of so many Americans on Sunday, might not be the lovable teddy bear that some people think he is.
Bone, an apparent avid user of the online forum, Reddit, has called the death of Trayvon Martin "justified," in a thread about Martin's killer George Zimmerman and his attempt to auction the gun he used to shoot the unarmed black teen in 2012.
"From what I read about the case, the shooting of Trayvon Martin was justified, but from what I've learned of Zimmerman through statements, interview and behavior, he is a big ole shit bird," Bone wrote in the Reddit thread, according to a Gizmodo report.
He should get some points for calling out how morally corrupt Zimmerman has proven himself to be since his 2013 acquittal in Martin's case. But Bone's belief that Zimmerman's actions were justified — a belief that is undoubtedly shared by many — is part of the reason activists started the Black Lives Matter movement.
Racial profiling — a tactic often used by police and, in Zimmerman's case, neighborhood watch vigilantes — happens when black and brown people are stopped, questioned, arrested or even killed for no good reason other than the color of their skin. That's what happened to Martin, the hoodie-wearing teen who Zimmerman described to police as looking like he was "up to no good."
Nationally, African-Americans are 30% more likely than whites to be pulled over by police, three times as likely to be searched, twice as likely to be arrested and twice as likely to be shot by police, according to law enforcement data recently cited by President Barack Obama.
Too often, those interactions prove to be fatal for people of color. Bone would be hard pressed to find a law enforcement expert to tell him that suspicions based on stereotypes and racial bias are justified when it comes to police violence or extrajudicial killings.
Perhaps Bone should find a Reddit forum that will school him about race and policing — in addition to the forums he's posted in about mixed-race women, Power Rangers and vasectomies.