Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Battling stereotypes is exhausting

  • Article by: TRESSIE MCMILLAN COTTOM , Slate
  • Last update: September 25, 2013 - 8:54 PM

“He’s engaged to be married, he has a dog and a cat, he was driving a Toyota Camry, he survived an accident, had 3.7 GPA, a chemistry major. This is not someone who posed a threat to the officers or anyone else, this is an everyday American.”

A 3.7 GPA. They want us to know that their dead friend, son, brother, and cousin had a 3.7 GPA.

Ferrell may have been too hurt, too in shock to whistle Vivaldi to all the people he encountered the night he was shot. It may not have helped if he had, through slammed doors, over police sirens and gunfire.

But even in death his family is whistling Vivaldi on Ferrell’s behalf, signaling to us that he was a student, and, by extension, a human being whose death should matter.


Tressie McMillan Cottom is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at Emory University. This piece is adapted from her blog, tressiemc.


  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


  • about opinion

  • The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.

  • Submit a letter or commentary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters