Trayvon's Dad: 'My Kid Was Perfect to Me'

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 Today, Monday, is the beginning of jury selection for the second-degree-murder trial of 29-year-old George Zimmerman in the shooting death of 17-year-old high school student Trayvon Martin. The trial comes just ahead of Father's Day, and The Root spoke with Tracy Martin, Trayvon's father, to ask him about the son he knew and loved.

We discussed the media war with Zimmerman's defense team and what advice Tracy Martin would offer African-American fathers in a society all too prone to finding black and brown boys suspicious. The family attorney, Benjamin Crump, also offered insights into the facts of the case, racial profiling, "Stand your ground" laws and what an acquittal or conviction would mean in a supposedly postracial America.

The Root: If you knew then what you know now, would you have told your son anything different about what it means to be a young black man in an American society that treats him as suspicious? What would "the talk" sound like? And do you have any advice for African-American fathers raising sons?

Tracy Martin: You can't prepare your child to contend with the warped mentality of someone else. You can only teach them to be good and live by the laws of the land. George Zimmerman acted in a deranged way -- and all the evidence supports that. I know how society negatively portrays black boys, and my son Trayvon wasn't naive. He wasn't blind to stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination. But I shouldn't have to tell my child to fear walking to the store to get snacks just because he's black. Read the rest here.