Verizon’s ‘You Don’t Know Me’ PSA aims to squash stereotypes of young men of color
The new company initiative also introduces young men to STEM careers
Verizon’s director of education programs Justina Nixon-Saintil looked at her sons. They were average, fun-loving teen and preteen children who enjoyed wearing hoodies, playing games and simply being kids. While thinking of her well-mannered and educated sons, she also thought about how they were perceived by those outside of her home.
Then she began to think about other African-American teen boys whose lives were cut short for doing things any normal teen should be able to do without being prejudged. Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old who was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer while wearing a hoodie and walking down his street, was one of the first who came to mind.
It was these thoughts that inspired Verizon’s powerful #YouDontKnowMe public service announcement, which highlights innovative inventions and the potential young black and brown men have while attempting to crush the stereotypes that these children often face in life.
The video opens with a young black man walking down a street, head covered by a gray hoodie, reminiscent of Martin. “Look at me,” a voice says in the background. “What you perceive creates an illusion of who I am. You don’t know me.”