General Snobbery
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Tuesday
Mar202012

No Apologies: On The Killing of Trayvon Martin And Being "Good"

In the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin, there's no safe place. There's no real excuse to cling to. None of the usual dismissals work or fit. It's just bad. Real bad. And sits there and stares at you with it's cruelty and unfairness and ugliness and says, "Take this."

Take this load. And pick it up.

Just take it. And accept it. And choke back the lumps in your throat. As it has happened before. And it will happen again. And again you will be told to "take this."

Take this burden and just accept it as your burden. It's just "how it is." You're all statistics. Take these statistics. And black people get shot everywhere everyday by everyone. Police. Non-police. Crazy people. Bigots. Their parents. Other kids. Just take it. It's part of your Life In America, Black People. Accept this tragedy and go through the motions of appealing to people's decency and demanding justice and having protests and press conferences and crying and asking why and demanding answers and then eventually getting that bad dead cold thing that just sits there and says, "Take this."

Here's your load. Pick it up.

Pass it along to the children, so they can carry a bit of it too. Let it weigh down on their worlds. Let it rob them of their childhood and innocence. Tell them to take it, so they grow up faster and accept the unfairness in life and just give up. Be cynical and fatalistic. Be cold when it happens to the next person. Or be cold themselves when they do it to another person. And as they rob that person of what was once robbed of themselves and that person asks them why or looks for recourse or retribution or answers, they can stare back unblinking in the shadow of our common oppressors and say, "Take this load and pick it up."

But I'm sorry. I'm not going to pick up this shit anymore. It's not mine.

A long, long time ago when I was young my parents told me I had to be the best to make it in this world. Averageness was something only the white and the male could afford and as a black woman, I was neither. You had to take pride in how you dress and how you spoke and how you behaved. You had to be "good," because good things happen to those who are good and bad things happen to those who are bad. And that's the lie your parents tell you because no one should tell the truth to you when you're that young. You really don't need to know. Otherwise you'd never bother.

Who wants to deal with someone already jaded at age six?

And so I was good. I was so very good. I didn't curse. I got good grades. I've never been in a fight in my life. The one time I got Saturday detention was because I was chronically late for a third period class in an over-crowded school where the only time you could go to your locker was during lunch to switch out books for the second half of the day and my locker was on one end of the crowded school, far from the other.

My teacher didn't believe me when I told her I couldn't leave lunch, go to my locker, then wade through the hallway crammed with kids to make it on my class on time.

She told me I was lying. She said she walked it once just to see what I was talking about and timed herself. But since she had to be in class waiting for me and other students, I highly doubted she did that at the height of the lunch rush.

It didn't matter that I loved my Spanish class and was an A student and never caused trouble and had no reputation for someone who would ever be tardy for anything as I was obsessed with being "good." She just didn't believe me. My mother had to get involved and my locker was eventually moved to a place easier for me to navigate to.

I was never late for third period Spanish again. No one apologized.

That same year, the eighth grade, my history teacher moved my seat in the front of the class to the back with a pair of boys who harassed me, teased me and made trouble with me every day. Then, because I'm near-sighted, my vision worsened and I needed new glasses. I couldn't read the blackboard. I told my teacher of both, the harassment and the inability to see.

He, oddly, agreed I was being harassed, but thought I was "weak" to complain. As for my inability to see, he told me I was lying.

Even though I wore glasses. We got a doctor's note from my optometrist that I needed new glasses and should sit up front until they were ready.

The teacher suddenly decided everyone in the class could sit where ever they wanted. 

He never apologized. 

My mother, far more blunt than I, called it what it was. I was black. My teachers were white. The school was mostly white. It was racism. Even though all my teachers, even the jerk ones, thought I was a bright and talented student who was polite and respectful. They would lose my extra credit homework on purpose rather than add it towards my grade, lest I test higher than whoever they would always hope would beat me when the boys would play the girls in History Bingo.

But as annoying as all this was for me. For other kids in my public school experience it was far worse. Boys who defended themselves when picked on by bullying the school ignored until it got to a breaking point? Suspended. Kids who fought back or spoke up when they were being picked on, abused, harassed or marginalized? Sent to the "alternative school."

But see? In my child mind, I tried to rationalize this. They were "bad" because the talked back or actually hit their tormentors. I was "good" because I took the abuse. And my "goodness" was rewarded in that I graduated in the top 25 percent of my class, but was still judged with the same suspicion all black kids were judged by at my school.

What difference really was there between I and my peers who had dropped out or wound up in halfway houses or jail other than I picked up the load and just thought about Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King, Jr. the whole time? I picked up the load and they wouldn't. But who could ever want that load of shit? The only difference was I still believed goodness would be rewarded. If we all, as a people, were just "good" they'd have to stop accusing us of lying, assuming we were "bad" or criminals or ignorant. W.E.B. DuBois and the Talented Tenth and lead by example and all that rose colored lens malarky.

That if we're just "good" we'll be safe. If your son doesn't listen to hip hop, goes to the church camp, gets A's and Bs in school, is polite, says "sir" and "ma'am," if he's a good kid, he'll be safe. That's the bargain black parents make with their children.

If you are "good" the gangs and the violence and the racism won't get you. You will be safe. You will live to see 25. You will have a great life. Opportunity will abound for you. We will be proud of you. The community will be proud of you. You will be Barack Obama and Michelle Obama and life will be beautiful if you just want it enough.

Just be "good." Be good, Trayvon Martin. Stay in school. Listen to your parents. And you'll be safe.

But that's a lie. No one came make you safe. No one can save you for that day some sick person just decides you're the bad guy because you're black and carrying a bottle of ice tea and some Skittles and he self-appointed himself neighborhood watch and some black teenage boys aren't good, therefore ALL BLACK PEOPLE ARE NOT GOOD. And you are a black person. And you're a boy. And you had on a "hooded sweatshirt." So, you're dead now.

You lose.

Sorry. You didn't follow the rules. It wasn't good enough to be "good." Why didn't you just apologize to that man for existing as he had you on the ground, gun pointed at you? Say you were sorry for being born black and apologize for all the black people in the past who may have ever thought of robbing that neighborhood or doing whatever things George Zimmerman, 28, thought black people in Sanford, Fla. were doing in his neighborhood.

Maybe if you'd just taken it and accepted that it's Zimmerman's world and only his comfort matters and not yours, you would have got it. Maybe your parents could have been more paranoid. Kept you locked up in the house until you turned 25 (gotta keep you from being a statistic). And then ...

And then ... What? Then what?

If you have a child, what do you tell them? Especially him. What do you tell him? How do you tell him as his mother or his father or his grandmother or grandfather that you, the person he loves and trusts and believes in more than anyone in the world, that you can keep him safe? How does he believe you now? He knows you're full of shit now. He's on Facebook. He's heard and read about Trayvon. Someone who looked like him. Someone who was "good." How do you tell him that if he just stays in school and is "good" it will be OK? How do you tell him to handle something like this? Not a cop, just some guy. Some crazy self-appointed neighborhood watch guy with a gun who thought he was Batman that night? If you're a good parent you tell your kid that if some guy, some scary guy is following them, you tell him to run and if he can't run, to defend himself. Bad men in cars to terrible things to children and teens. You tell your son, if you can't run, if you can't get help, do whatever you have to do to stay alive. Fight, run, call out for help, make yourself trouble. Go down fighting, if you're going down. Don't do the thing the stranger in the car with the gun wants you to do.

But that doesn't keep you safe.

And the cops are so worried about how Zimmerman feels and thinks -- and their precious "Kill Your Neighbors" laws, but not how a 17-year-old would react to a stranger following him in his car at night. Not how anyone in Trayvon's situation would react.

I know how I, as a 5-foot-3-inch woman, would react to some strange man following me in a car.

The cops say maybe Trayvon would have done something "differently" if he could do it over again.

Do what? Not be born black in America where black men are viewed with suspicion no matter their age?

People, and by people I mostly mean our society as a whole, tells us that if we just do the right things and follow the rules we will be safe and our kids will be safe. But these things are lies. The onus is not on the victim to wear a longer skirt when she goes out on night. It's on the guy who thinks it's OK to rape her.

The impetus is not on the kid walking home from the 7-11. But on the self-proclaimed, gun-wielding, one-man-neighborhood watch, calling the Sanford Police more than 40 times in the last year. It is not Trayvon's job, or your job or my job to make bigots feel more comfortable with us because there is no way to get their comfort. It is a lie.

No amount of goodness will fix it.

You could get rid of every thing that has ever made you feel embarrassed, every black person you ever felt fulfilled a stereotype. It doesn't matter. Because racism is illogical. Bigotry does not need a reason to fear and act on that fear with violence. There is no different clothing you could wear. There is no different accent you could take on. There is no grades you could get that could change them. Because it doesn't matter.

We can't Jackie Robinson our way out of this. Some people just want to hate you. And they don't want to change. But they really enjoy you going through the gymnastics trying -- because it takes the weight off them.

Don't apologize -- Because it doesn't matter.

In St. Louis, my hometown, folks in the county would say, it wasn't that they didn't like black people it was the "quality" of the black people. Why? If it were Cosby-esque doctors and lawyers moving in next door in the suburbs they'd feel just fine.

Then, when my family and tons of other black professional families moved to the 'burbs, they fled to O'Fallon and St. Charles anyway

But you said doctors and lawyers were "OK?" I guess bigots lie. It wasn't really about the "right" kind of black people. Ha ha. You were "good" too, weren't you? Cute. Didn't mean anything. Didn't mean a damn thing.

My favorite book, Invisible Man, tells of Anonymous and there is a letter in that story that haunts me as it haunted the unnamed narrator that says "keep this nigger boy running."

And that's what they do to us. They keep us running. They keep telling us it is us. That if we just made ourselves a little different, it would all go away. If we're just good. 

And then, in our goodly and true lives, they give back to us the corpse of a 17-year-old boy and say --

Take this.

Pick it up.

Before Trayvon's murder. Before now. Before I was even 25. I realized it didn't matter what I did. It didn't matter what any of us did. And so I decided, I was just going to live my life, however I saw fit. And that was my protest to an unfair world. That I didn't care about their "rules" anymore, whomever "they" may be, because their rules were lies. I would be good to those who were good to me. I'd do what was right for myself and those I loved. I wasn't going to be ashamed of who I am because it might check a stereotypical box.

Still, though. I wondered. 

A woman, much older than I, who I've known most of my life, used to say "I feel like my purpose in life is to make white people mad." I used to think that what she said sounded really silly. She was born under Jim Crow (hence her tendency to talk of white people as if they're monolithic) and was a long-time housewife. All she'd ever done was marry a nice guy and have lovely children. She'd lived a quiet, sweet sort of life, isolated from most of the drama anyone -- white or black -- ever has to deal with. I thought the statement was awkward and short-sighted and weird. I would smirk and brush it off. What the hell was that supposed to mean? You're not Angela Davis, I'd think. No one is shaking in their boots at night, worried about the fur coat wearing black housewives of Florissant, Mo.

Then, in a conversation with a friend of mine, Dr. Jason Johnson, I told him of what she said and he actually argued my pampered housewife had a point.

To paraphrase: "When you really think about it," he said. "What she did ... falling in love, getting married, staying at home and raising her children ... that's not what she and her ancestors were brought to this country to do. We weren't brought here to go to college, fall in love, get married and live our lives. We were brought here to work and live the lives others wanted us to have."

Jason said our lives as free people is a protest to this society that criminalizes a boy just for being black.

Our love for each other. Our community. Our friendships. Our bonds are a form of protest.

Because we aren't doing what we were brought here to do.

To this end, I say, if you ever thought about not doing, loving, saying, being something that you wanted to be because you were worried about what "society" would think, stop thinking that way. There is nothing you can actually do. All you can do is live your life in the most honest way possible. Be good to those who are good to you. Love whole-heartedly. Care for your friends and family. Follow your dreams. You can't waste any bit of your short, precious time on this Earth worrying about what some unknown bigot thinks.

Or what anyone thinks.

Because it is beyond your control.

And there is no path that promises your child will be safe. And this is the world that we live in. But you don't have to accept anything.

Not. One. Damn. Thing.

And you don't have to take that load and just accept the racism and injustice and crime and rape and murder in our world. Nobody owns you. They can't make you accept that tragedy as just "part of your life."

When the murderer pulls out the gun and takes a life and puts it back on you. You say no, you murderer. That's your load. Pick it up.

You did it. Deal with the consequences. Whatever those may be.

Us and our children are not picking it up anymore.

No apologies.

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Reader Comments (140)

Thank you so much for this post. I am a white mother married to a white man, raising two black daughters (and one bio kiddo as well) who we were beyond blessed to have the privilege to adopt at birth. Instead of getting easier to be a transracial family, it keeps getting harder. And it sucks that we don't personally have any first hand knowledge of what it is like to be black in America today. I appreciate your frankness and your honesty more than you could ever imagine. I *need* to hear what you have to say so that I can teach my daughters what (in a perfect world) they would have learned first hand from their bio families. The horror that was done to Trayvon has been an eye opener for me. And frankly, I'm scared.

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMomOf3

After reading your article, I weep...my parents weep...my grand- and great-grandparents and ancestors all weep.. You have magnificently encapsulated and illustrated the root of the angst of having to negotiate living in situations where we are not treated as human beings with equal regard. And so, I applaud and welcome your approach of a revolutionary shift in our own consciousness that suggests we stop taking up the burden of trying to ease the load for others through our constant self-critique towards "goodness," but instead leave the wretched burden of disregard in the hands that dealt it, allowing them to deal with the consequences of lies and lack of foresight. Brilliant!

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKay

Great post. You are striking a nerve with Black folks who backs are tired from this heavy load we all carry. I have lived a life of being the ONLY Black one and could totally relate to much of your experience. As a Southerner, an attorney, and former prosecutor, I am not confident that justice will be served here. I will continue to pray and work for it, but I'm not convinced. I would love to be proven wrong. I'll be hosting a show on this topic very soon. Please check out my site and follow me to be kept up to date on when it will air. http://www.spreecast.com/users/shana--2 I am in talks to interview the Martin family attorney and the NAACP (among others) on the issue.

Thanks for the well-thought out piece.

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShana P,

Thank you. I'm on the verge of tears after reading this. Lord knows I bought into the notion of being and doing good. Can't even imagine living life sans this burden...that I never before really considered to be one.

Wow.

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Upwardly

this dude needs to be put under the jail. zimmerman wasn't defending himself against shit.

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterswiv

Thank you for this. Thank you. As a child born into segregated Washington D.C., now suburban mother (Irish Catholic variety pack) of two boys, thank you. I remember my father gravely looking my brothers and me in the eye and warning us what to do if and when we were ever stopped by a "PG cop" and we were white.

Years later I heard my black classmates describe the perils of their children DWB - especially when driving a Mercedes in a nice Alexandria neighborhood. I had heard of this, sure, but it wasn't really my problem was it? Horrifying? Sure. Yet the closest I would ever possibly come would be crossing the county line late on a Friday night and risking running into the dreaded PG County cop.

I remember another classmate saying with true wonder, "I had no idea white women had the same problems as me.". Great class. Unusual in that everyone spoke freely, if carefully.

What you have managed to do with this piece is reaffirm all that is essential and true and good on this earth, while laying OUT all the bullsh#t. I watched First Lady Michelle Obama on David Letterman the other night and thought, "When are you running?". So here is my question for you, "When are YOU running?"

This is the first time I've read your blog and I'm glad I started here. I got goosebumps reading this. Thank you.

I have yet to find any words for what I feel about this whole thing, what it means for that child's family, and for every child, and for this country. All I can say, really, is thank you, so much, for writing this, and that I'm going to ask every single person I know to read it.

Thank you. So much.

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr Lady

I agree with everything you wrote. But one thing that strikes me curiously and was left out as a very true reality for most of us black middle class people is how easily we carry our own loads of being "good" and accepted but scoff at the sister or brother next to us who is struggling with their load. Perhaps that's why we feel the most unsafe. We never protect each other. We so easily accept being denigrated or looked at "suspiciously" by white folks as the way things are. But what's worse, for me, is how we tear down, spit on and sabotage one another while scratching, clawing and climbing on other black folks to show the white people how "good" we all are. We teach our kids to compete with one another for the title of HNIC and think nothing of it. Fuck solidarity. And that ticks me off more than anything.

"Please love us, be nice to us, give us your attention and tell us we're good enough! We're just like you! We don't act all ghetto like THOSE people."

"Stop looking at her because she's so light with long wavy hair and tell us we're pretty, too! She acts white anyway."

"Just because all the Grant Hills speak so eloquently doesn't make them better than us! We 'ain't no Uncle Tom like all them fools kissing white people's butts all day."

And the list of thoughts and comments we've all heard growing up in black households goes on and on.

That older lady was right. They are PISSED when they see a black housewife! I know because I was one. And an Asian chick forgot to filter herself one day and said, "Why do you have this and not me?"

But the bigger problem is your friend is definitely pissing off her black friends, too. And, even worse, her black family. Jealousy breeds in American black culture like an incurable virus. It destroys our bonds completely, tears apart our vibrant history and widens the gap for hope of any type of helpful communication that can or will change anything.

That's exactly why Zimmerman didn't fear retribution or consequence. He didn't think any black people cared enough to do what they're doing right now. Because on a daily basis we don't stand up for our black community. We don't and it needs to stop or more of our children will be murdered in the blink of an eye.

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTMN

To this end, I say, if you ever thought about not doing, loving, saying, being something that you wanted to be because you were worried about what "society" would think, stop thinking that way. There is nothing you can actually do. All you can do is live your life in the most honest way possible. Be good to those who are good to you. Love whole-heartedly. Care for your friends and family. Follow your dreams. You can't waste any bit of your short, precious time on this Earth worrying about what some unknown bigot thinks.

Thank you for this -- this is what every person who is not a rich white heterosexual male over the age of 50 should have written on their mirrors to read first thing in the morning. And I bet it would do the rich straight white guys some good too.

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMKP

white is not right and black dont necessarily make you wrong. just because 6930470269263764515456312314199 and 99 people have worn hoody's and committed crimes dont mean im a criminal. you dont go generalizing folks and ALL white folks aint racist.. #getittogether why do i gotta b white or act white to NOT b a criminal or a ho...

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermeme

Sorry you have to deal with this. I'm a wealthy white female and I cant even imagine having to watch my back like this. I know that if this were my white family member murdered, justice would be served. I cant imagine what it would feel like to not have society on my side. So i'm sorry.

Please know that not all white people are scared of black people... regardless of the 'quality'. My hope is that itll get better.. i'll try to do my part.

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristine

My former next door neighbor is a dentist, his wife manages fundraising for a large metropolitan hospital with several campuses, their son is an honor roll student and is the first chair saxophone for the all valley HS band . He's a nice, handsome young man, from a good neighborhood, from a good family and .... he's still black. Wrong place, wrong time, wrong person and he could be the next kid with a bag of skittles and a can of iced tea and his father could be the next James Craig Anderson.

And that's just too sad for words.

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkadymae

I came here via a link from a regular commenter on Balloon Juice whose voice I admire. I'm a young white, heterosexual male who grew up knowing privilege but not having it revealed until my own curiosity regarding injustice and the experience of others pushed me to a place where I've been motivated to examine my life vs. what others have gone through.

My heart breaks reading this post, and I've been following the Trayvon Martin case closely, simply because it is such a stark travesty of morality and the abominable nature of how we treat grievous crimes against human beings based on the victim vs. the perpetrator. I'm glad that I've read the Department of Justice is looking into this, but living in this world, coming to grasp knowledge and the general fuckup-ed-ness of the smaller injustices that occur everyday, it's too little too late for me. As long as our political system and legislatures continue to grant carte blanche to the privileged and paranoid, this won't end. There are George Zimmermans out there tonight, winding their own springs, ready to defend home, hearth, and community against anyone who doesn't look the part, and their motivation can be as simple as "these a**holes always get away". To which the response of the sane world is "with what?! Pedestrian while black?"

Zimmerman should face indictment for murder, but it's the laws of his country and state, as well as the practices of those in charge of enforcing those laws that need radical reform.

Thank you for posting this, you have done a service to humanity in doing so.

March 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterfreelancer

I want to state from the onset of this post that I am a white male. I am a fifth generation Floridian and my family roots are centralized in an area of the state where Georgia meets Florida but "Florida" never meets Georgia. I did not come from a family with money or from one which tolerated racism, bigotry or sexism but can attest that there were many, both black and white, that did.

I was an athlete that would have gladly taken an a$$ kicking to defend my friends/teammates regardless of their color, nationality or religion, if they were not the instigators of the dispute at hand and even in that instance if they were if the situation got out of hand. I am the father of two beautiful boys and the husband to the most wonderful wife, in my humble opinion, any man could ever hope for. I hunt, fish, and spend as much time as possible outdoors and plan on passing the things I have learned in those regards to each of my children.

I believe in my First Amendment rights to "bear arms," just as any American should; however, I do not and cannot justify why the person that shot and killed this young man has yet to be arrested. It is not the job of a "neighborhood crime watch" to patrol the streets of their neighborhood looking for suspicious activity with a loaded gun. If I were that young man and happened to be wearing a hooded sweatshirt and the shooter came up behind or in front of me in an aggressive manner, I would have defended myself. Unfortunately, I also have no doubt that if it was me as opposed to Trayvon that evening, the offender would not have seen the following morning unless it was behind the bars or plate glass windows of the local County Jail.

"Stand Your Ground" is meant to allow those who have been threatened to defend themselves with deadly force if there is reason to believe their life is in imminent danger. It is not meant to justify the killing of a young man that was simply walking down the street and chose to defend himself when confronted by a person that had illusions his standing on a neighborhood watch gave him the authority to defend what he considered to be a threat to his entire community with deadly force.

I am both appalled and saddened by the inaction of both the States Attorney and local law enforcement in response to this senseless loss of life. I hope and pray that out of this, both justice and change is realized. Justice in the sense that the person who killed Trayvon has his day in court to answer to the charges of murder and change in the sense that our state and country at large comes to the realization that while we are all created equal in God's eyes, human eyes see only what they choose or taught and equality is not one that most (white, black, rich, poor, Protestant, Muslim, Mormon, Spanish, Asian, Indian, etc.) are able to claim 20/20.

I can attest that my children will fully understand that we as a people are all people and deserve and will receive no less respect, admiration, attention, and courtesy as they are required to show their own family. I was raised that way and will accept no less than the same from my own children.

I know that I may have gotten a bit off topic but am thankful for the opportunity to post my thoughts and feelings. My family's thoughts and prayers are with Trayvon's family and friends.

March 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMCHS 1997

I have never read a piece of writing that so perfectly described everything that I feel. I am just silent right now, because I have nothing else to say. You said it all. Thank You for reminding me that the burden is not on me to prove I am worthy or "good". I know who I am. Good or Bad, I could end up exactly the same. I will still strive to be the best me, but that is only because I am showing God that I am thankful for everything I have been blessed with.

March 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKala

I stop crying, I'm sharing this with every one I know.

March 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline

I would tell you to grow up, but I don't think you're capable of that. Your entire "long-suffering" litany of martyrdom and suffering in America, as well as your sad little anecdotes about how you can never get a fair shot because of your race is just such total BS that it makes me want to vomit. I got picked on by bullies growing up. Lots of kids do. What if I had then created a worldview of suffering and martyrdom wherein small people without bulging muscles can never get a fair shot because of our size? I would just be another whining complaining useless loser like so many people are today. But I didn't let the bad actions of wrong people turn me into a cynic or a "jaded" self-absorbed excuse creator, like you.

March 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJack

Beautiful, thank you.

March 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

people can still tell their kids to be good, but also tell them that bad things still happen to `good people'. as far as racism goes, accept that you were something of a civil rights experiment. there are ways that experiment worked - and worked very well - and ways that it did not. i think the supposed colour-blindness and we can all get along message of the civil rights movement is hugely naive. this is not to say that people of different 'races' ought to be at each others' throats but that to put all our eggs in earning white acceptance by behaving in prescribed ways and `producing' is something that benefits `whiteness' more than anyone else. it is a compromise - it's own kind of mediocrity, in fact. and it is a position that devalues `minority' lives.

i'm sure that trayvon's family will see justice. it is however disgusting that so much has to be done just for the `state' to do what they're supposed to. i'm all considered about how this tragedy will be used for political grandstanding by some of his `brothers' and `sisters'. how i was raised taught me to expect certain `white' people to do hateful and protective things. it didn't at all prepare me for how casually 'black' people callously pimp their own tragedy and pain.

March 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterhierogryph

Yes! I have a seven year old daughter and even as I tell her to be kind, to be good, to treat people well - and I know these things are right - I know that at the end of the day if some sorry piece of work is going to hate her because of her gender, her race, or both, there is absolutely nothing she will be able to do about it. I totally agree that the onus is not on us - it's on them.

After I was fired by a boss who told me I didn't "look" friendly enough and should consider smiling more and wearing happy colors like pink I decided I would live my life the way I saw fit and stop trying to conform to standards that I can never truly realize anyhow. Absolutely freeing!

March 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNerd Girl

I don't know what to say, but THANK YOU! You state so eloquently what we're all feeling. Unfortunately, this stuff happens all the time, but to me, this is the STRAW that broke the camel's back!! I can't "take this" anymore. The more I hear about this, the angrier I get. When walking down the street becomes a crime, we are doomed as a society. I can't articulate what I want to say ''cause the tears in my eyes make it hard for me to see.

Snob, this is indeed award-winning writing! KEEP IT UP!!

And let's all agree: We aren't going to TAKE THIS anymore!!

March 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSuzyQ

@ Jack

Glad to know that you've sided with your past bullies that the real problem in society are those who point out the inherit unfairness in it and tell others to do their best to deal, fight it, move past or preserve beyond it. Obviously, we're the true monsters. Not those who murder 17-year-old children because they felt like playing Batman.

Also, I'm sorry that even though you once suffered, your response is to not believe anyone else's suffering is real. I'm also sorry that my story about my teachers not believing me wasn't sufficient enough suffering. I could have shared other stories, but the story wasn't about me. It was about the kid who died holding a pack of skittles.

Thanks for commenting anyway though.

March 22, 2012 | Registered CommenterDanielle Belton

@ Everyone:

Thanks for all the wonderful comments. I really and truly appreciate it. The story came from the heart and was difficult to write, but it was worth it if it helped in any way.

Let's keep up the pressure until justice is served.

March 22, 2012 | Registered CommenterDanielle Belton

Well written snob. And yes, ALL Black people have had these experiences whether we are willing to admit it or not. White folks kill me how they say it's all OUR faults because Black folks commit so many violent crimes. Well white folks commit a ridiculous amount of crime. It just gets packaged and reported differently. If justice doesn't come through the proper channels, I will come via the street.

March 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSerenity
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