In case you’ve been under a rock, race relations have come to the forefront once again. This time, it’s not someone calling the First Family out of their name or the kid in The Boy’s class who taught him the word “Jigaboo”. This time the issue of race relations have taken on a whole new spectrum.
How does one describe the Trayvon Martin case?
I have a son and *HE* could be Trayvon. My son is at the prepubescent stage where he’s moody, cranky, sweet, and, adorable all in a five minute span. When he gets annoyed, he pulls the hood of his favorite Navy sweatshirt on his head and stomps off to his room. The Teen wears a pink Outer Banks hoodie to cover bad hair days, hiding what she calls a “mess.” The Mister proudly wears his Cubmaster hoodie, using the hood when his hat is elusive and he has to do something outdoors. I pull up my hoodie when I run and get caught in the rain.
My family does not own spring or fall coats. We wear hoodies. A hoodie is more convenient than a coat: there’s no hat to find and if it gets too hot or too cold, the hoodie can be adjusted to fit the weather. However, I’m rethinking the idea of letting the kids wear their hoodies.
Looking at pictures of Trayvon, I find it hard to believe he was only 17. Maybe because anyone under 21 looks like a kid to me, I thought Trayvon was much younger. Regardless of age, a young life was cut short by an over zealous neighbor who disobeyed an order from the police to leave this young man alone and let the proper authorities handle the situation. George Zimmerman continued to follow Trayvon, then shot him, claiming self defense. Unless Zimmerman had diabetes, the only thing that would have caused harm was the Skittles and Iced Tea Trayvon was carrying.
I don’t like that Zimmerman has the freedom to go into hiding, just as much as I don’t like that the Black Panthers have placed a ‘bounty’ of $10,000 for his capture. I don’t like that social media is able to sway the powers that be so that this is reviewed differently, but I don’t like that this is the only way to get attention to this issue.
One thing I do like (despite a friend telling me I was being too Republican. To you, my friend, Stuff It!) is that people, my people, are rallying around a meaningful purpose. We aren’t on TV hollering about the lack of chicken at KFC inevitably rioting and destroying our neighborhood. People are educating themselves, having some conversations about race, and demanding that justice be rightly served.
It’s bad enough I have to teach my children the art of shifting. Shifting is when you have one “face” for your friends and family, and another “face” for dealing with those outside of your race. My son has told me that he KNOWS he gets in trouble more than some of the White kids in school because he is Black. The Teen has described that she feels her school caters to White students for success and leaves the Black students to fend for themselves. I am hesitant to let The Boy become a Boy Scout and join a troop closer to home because of the racism that still exists in The Boy Scouts of America. I won’t even go into the story of how The Mister was stopped and questioned when a thin light skinned young Black male was wanted for attempting to rob Wawa. The Mister is way past young, on the far side of thin, and not quite as light as the man eventually caught. Now, I have to also teach my children lessons my grandmother used when she was younger. There, I draw the line. It’s 2012 and my children have to go back to yes’m and no’m? Not on my watch.
America, we got to do better.
As if the loss of a young life isn’t bad enough, now ‘revelations’ about his past misdeeds are coming out. He was on suspension from school for either tardiness, having a baggie that MAY have contained marijuana, or spray painting something. Does this matter? In my Good Book (the Bible) we are to forgive. Bringing up innuendo doesn’t do anything but muddy the waters and cause confusion. Bringing up his misdeeds is a (say it together) distraction from the bigger issue. A young man is gone forever. Trayvon’s mom said it best: “…they’ve killed my son and now they’re trying to kill his reputation.”
Let’s not let this young man die and we go back to business as usual. Let us really have the conversations we need to have and heal as a country.
Despite their protests, everyone posed for the following picture to show that we could all be Trayvon.