Walking While White: Elderly Man Beaten After Saying ‘Remember Trayvon’
April 6, 2012 by Sam Rolley
Dallas Watts, a 78-year-old veteran from Toledo, Ohio, did not allow weapons in his house while his children were growing up, so he doesn’t own a firearm . But, after being beaten by six juveniles aged 11 to 17 last Saturday in the name of Trayvon Martin, he says he will buy a gun and obtain a permit.
Watts’ story is a bit ironic.
According to the Toledo Blade, the elderly man was on his way home from a convenience store at about 4:45 p.m. on Saturday with not skittles and iced tea, but two bags of pork rinds that he planned to feed his dogs for treats. It was then that he was approached by a group of six boys, some of whom were white and some black.
Watts recounted that one of the youths pointed at him and ordered the others to “take him down,” to which Watts said he replied, “Why me? Remember Trayvon! Remember Trayvon!”
“I meant it as a peaceful way,” Watts said. “What happened to Trayvon, I was not responsible for, I live 1,000 miles away! But they kept saying, ‘Kill him! Kill Him! Kill him!’ because I’m a white man.”
The elderly man’s remark reportedly set the youths into a rage as one punched him in the back of the head knocking him to the ground, at which point he was drop-kicked in the chest. One of the boys then allegedly placed his foot on the back of Watts’ neck as another shouted, “Kill him.”
According to a police report, the boys then began kicking him ruthlessly and repeatedly and shouting, “[Get] that white [man]. This is for Trayvon … Trayvon lives, white [man]. Kill that white [man].”
When a bystander shouted at the boys, they reportedly ran away.
Of the remark about Trayvon Martin, Watts said he was simply trying to reason with the boys before they beat him.
“All I meant by saying ‘remember Trayvon’ is to remember what happened to him, don’t duplicate it here,” Watts told Toledo Blade. “The only reason I mentioned Trayvon, that was my defense, don’t pick on me. I am not your enemy.”
Only three of the juveniles have been charged in relation to the case. The 11-year-old and 17-year-old are charged with robbery and are being held by authorities. According to Fox Toledo, the third was charged with disorderly conduct. The 17-year-old was facing a previous felony assault charge stemming from a shooting that occurred March 18, according to reports. Local police are still investigating the incident.
“You don’t pick somebody’s body up off the sidewalk and let somebody else give him a lick to kick the ribs,” Watts said. “That was malicious intent. That was a hate crime and I want them punished for it!”
Watts, who is battered but expected to make a full recovery, has reportedly contacted a lawyer and is working to file hate charges with the U.S. Attorney General’s office. Toledo detectives on Wednesday, however, said that they do not believe the attack was racially motivated despite Watt’s allegations that the youths repeatedly made verbal references to his being white, according to reports.
An interview with Watts from Fox Toledo:
A recent article penned by the Southern Poverty Law Center discussing the Trayvon Martin controversy declares, “Walking while black — merely being black — still seems to be a crime in this country.” And, “Black youth are seen as bad kids — ‘combatants,’ in the words of one police chief whose officers routinely mace school children as a means of discipline.”
According to Watts’ account of his ordeal, walking while white—merely being white—was his crime in the eyes of the youths who beat him. And, according to his account, for being white he was viewed as racist. But the police say “case closed” on the possibility of hate being the motivation in the attack.
It has been said by scholars who study race relations that the term “reverse racism” means nothing, as racism is racism. Perhaps in light of the recent heavy focus on race in the Nation, they should re-examine the term for a new meaning: Being viewed as a racist for simply not belonging to a minority race. Regarding the case of Martin, many people have pondered whether the story would have so captivated—and in some circles, enraged— the Nation if George Zimmerman had been portrayed as a man of white and Hispanic descent rather than simply white in initial media reports.
White, frail, elderly, bald, sporting a long beard—or as one clever commenter to an online story put it: looking nothing like Barack Obama’s could-be son—Watts will likely get little support for his hate crime charge from the same type of people who are so adamantly seeking justice for Martin. Justice may well be blind, but often the people who demand and administer justice in America certainly are not.