General Snobbery
« Madame Noire: Breaking Down The Jerks | Main | President Obama Enjoys Hot Dog While GOP Delegate Deathmatch Rages On »
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.

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (1)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (140)

Bravo. Thank you.

March 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiana

Amazing.

March 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJay

Jim, If you are truly African American (no way to confirm if you are or if you are a racist in disguise), I truly hate to see the day that you have to deal with the very type of situations you list above.

The only part of your post that rings any truth is the part that states that the African American community (at times) embraces an element of toughness over education. Even that point is only truly of some (not all) African Americans. The rest of your post is an unbelievable pile of lies.

It is unbelievable to me that anyone would say that the police have a right to racially profile anyone. By making such pointed comments and generalizations, you are only setting yourself up karmically to have to deal with the very type of situations you list above.

You also fail to discuss how Caucasian Americans and pretty much every other race is also guilty of upholding drug addicts, etc. Charlie Sheen anyone?

Then you make this comment, "Until we are held to the same standard as everyone else, we will never be treated equally? We really won't. Whites throw their trash in the trailer park, but we accept them back and act like they never did anything wrong and make excuses for them. It's time we quit doing this and demand more from our black brothers and sisters so that we're not pulled over and harassed b/c our culture doesn't know how to act."

First of all, who are you to call another African American "trash"? Apparently you think you're better than pretty much everyone else in the race. Then you go and blame the victim. You stating that the police racially profile because "our culture doesn't know how to act" is the same reasoning xenophobes use to target American citizens wearing burkas, etc. African Americans are not to blame for the ignorance of American police and law enforcement.

I bet Clarence Thomas is your hero. You probably aspire to be just like him, a man who survived on food stamps as he clawed his way up the ladder, and he now pays the community back by instructing African Americans to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps (i.e. He can use the system, but no one else African American can utilize the system).

Also, anyone who can generalize and say that Caucasians commit little to no crime is apparently walking through life with his or her eyes closed. Just because you don't see a certain subset of people being profiled each night on your 7 pm news doesn't mean that that subset of people are complete angels. You remind me of the character from Dave Chappelle's show......you know the one don't you?

March 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterALM

Beautifully written. I am so sorry for Trayvon and his family.

March 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel

Not everyone is a racist! This is not about skin color, this is about a crazy horrible man committing an insane act, black, white, brown or red. When you generalize all white people and say that they are ALL racists, you become racist yourself.

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterT

amazing piece. i have so many thoughts, but i just want to say thank you for speaking your truth.

@swiv - i too have been wondering why Trayvon's death sparked far more outrage than Derrion's. from my admittedly outsider opinion, both cases involve the heinous, senseless murder of a good kid who was smart and stayed out of trouble but died anyway. however, i think the similarities end there. Trayvon's murder is outrageous because so far his killer -- who admitted to killing Trayvon at the scene of the crime -- has gotten away with it. A man with a gun was driving around at night looking for someone who looked out of place so he could confront them, and when he found exactly what he was looking for, he killed that person, and that person just happened to be an unarmed teenager who was doing absolutely nothing wrong. It's so outrageous that even people who support gun laws have to believe Zimmerman cannot get away with this. No law should excuse the unprovoked, unadvised and armed confrontation that results in the loss of a life. It's one thing to defend your home or person when attacked; it's another to arm yourself and patrol your neighborhood like a one-man army. This should never, ever be okay. The tragedy in this case is that it was not only okay, but it's clear that race played a factor. Zimmerman thought Trayvon was suspicious because he was black, the police likely believed Zimmerman's self-defense excuses because he was white (or hispanic, whatever, the point is he wasn't black), it is probably true that if Trayvon were white Zimmerman would have been immediately arrested. A huge injustice that most everyone can agree is not okay opened up a lot of wounds about which everyone seems to have conflicted feelings. But at it's core, the issue is that a man killed a child for no reason, and that should not go unpunished.

Derrion's death was different because it involved blacks killing blacks, kids killing kids, and gang violence. It provoked less outrage than Trayvon's death because everything about Trayvon's murder contradicts what most of us want to believe about society. Derrion's murder IS society, and it is everything that most people who live outside such a violent area want to ignore and pretend doesn't exist. But it's real. It's on fucking youtube. You can get on youtube and watch a child get murdered in front of dozens of witnesses, in one of the biggest cities in our own country. A country which is supposed to be one of the most evolved and powerful in the world, and our children get beaten to death walking past a community center. To me, this is the more shocking and awful death. (not that it's a contest! they are both horrible.) But when you start to ask the "why's" about Derrion's death, it becomes a lot more complicated than "a crazy vengeful man went looking for trouble with a gun and found it". It becomes about everyone, all of us, society, the socioeconomic gap in this country and why blacks are so much predominantly poorer than whites (lest you think crime is a race thing, everyone talking about how whites are scared of blacks because blacks commit more violent crime -- poor, desperate people commit more violent crime, and those people are more likely to be black), the ineffectual nature of law enforcement, the lack of funding for schools and other youth programs for at-risk kids, lack of support for single parents (again many of which tend to be black). Trayvon's death is something we can fix and avenge. Derrion's death shows us how absolutely fucked our society is. And many people do not want to acknowledge that.

/sorry for the diatribe, i have (clearly) been thinking a lot about this and (clearly) had no one to discuss it with.

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjenna

@T:

I really believe you need to re-read her blog, she said NOTHING about blaming all white people. You've exposed yourself and your own personal insecurities.

What she said was that she would no longer accept the guilt or burden that prejudiced whites place on Black Americans because of the acts of a criminal lot...or anyone else. She no longer cares (and I agree with her for the record) about trying to prove to other white people that she is one of the "good" ones.

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R Hicks

Thank you for writing this piece. This sums up every feeling I have right now and have been having since I heard about Trayvon's tragic death. I gave up being "good" a long time ago, fairly early in my life, because I knew it wouldn't matter. That was the time and place I grew up--a very segregated NE Ohio in the '80s. I've never apologized and never felt less than, even though I know others saw me that way. The sad part is, nothing has really changed. Yes, we have a Black president and I am raising my kids in the suburbs instead of the rough-and-tumble neighborhood I grew up in. But I have always told my children to watch their backs. Never apologize for who you are, but make careful friends and watch your back. Having a Black president doesn't end 400+ years of racism; it just doesn't. My thoughts and love go out to the Martin family.

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTW

(standing ovation!)

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEfryfry

Zimmerman called the cops 40 times in his desperate 'quest' to 'clean up the neighborhood.' I wonder what the crime statistics for his neighborhood showed? Were they being overrun by gun-weilding gang-bangers? My money's on a couple petty thefts maybe some tagging or vandalism... but this guy's so obsessed he's tracking down every black kid that walks through on his way back from 7-11.

As a society we can't allow this kind of vigilante justice, because every time some innocent kid gets hurt by the thoughtless violence of people who are blinded by hate!

"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."

This broke my heart because this is exactly what I taught my daughters... and because as I read this I could imagine this kid bravely trying to take his parents' advice only to be murdered by a big adult man with a handgun!

I Won't Stand For- racial profiling and vigilante justice!!! Hold this man accountable and the bigoted police department that didn't even bother to investigate a case that screams 'hate crime' from the start!

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGiselle Michaels

The truth will come out. There are eyewitnesses. It is going to be hard to hold on to all that outrage when the truth is revealed. The media had made a terrible mistake in distorting the facts.

Mr. Zimmerman will sue and win millions.

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJ.C.

You are so right on in many ways... but trust me, you don't have to be black to be victimized or met with hatred and bigotry. I am gay and my sons and am I deal with similar issues as you. Its hard to hang on to being good and taking the high road ...but the alternative is to become like those which inflict so much hurt and hate on people that they fear or dislike. I won't do that...ever. I will not become the monster. There are better ways to fight this battle. There are good people in this world and we need to come together. Stop the hate.

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Thought I'd cried my last tears over "race." But no, here I go again.

The world won't get no better if we just let it be. My tears won't change a thing except my face and the front of my tee. I could be you and you could be me. How many people relive the story we share? Oh, I hope no more have to. I pray the story of racism ends with this child. The son I never had.

Thanks for writing this.

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLimner

Hispanic is not a race.It is an ethnic identity.Zimmerman is not multi-racial.

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterauldpheart

I grew up during the Civil Rights Movement in the city that Dr. King has been quoted as saying he encountered more hatred among white opponents than he has encountered in the Deep South, that city being Chicago. I have distinct memories of riding in the car with my mother as a young girl child, and someone spitting on the window and calling us niggers. Now I don't think I knew at that time what a nigger was, but I knew it was something that they hated. As a teenager, I remember yet again riding in the car with my mother and two young white boys yelled out niggers as we drove by, but this time my mother stopped, and backed the car up, much to my and those boys surprise. She called them to the car and asked them did they know what the meaning of "nigger" was? Of course they did not, they were like me when I was a child being called that years earlier, they were probably the same age I was when I was called that, only they were doing the calling. My mother made me so proud that day, because she did not just take it, and pick it up, she gave it back, she proceeded to tell them that "a nigger was a ignorant, stingy person, of low class", then she said, "so you see, you are the nigger, not us." Then she drove off. I often wondered how that might have impacted those boys lives, I am sure they have never forgotten it, like I have never forgotten it. Anyway, that day was a turning point for me. Fast forward to me being the mother now, my daughter is the one who passed your blog onto me, she said "mom you've got to read it, it reminds me so much of how you raised me." I was intrigued, so here I am, full of memories again, a warrior so to say having found survival skills to live in a place with racism worst than the south, by Dr. Kings standards, and having passed those skills onto my beautiful African-American Native American woman child. The wounds run deep, I fully understand what blatant racism is and hidden racism is, I have never forgotten being spit at, and seeing the anger in that mans face. While I will never forget, I will and have lived, not just taking it or picking it up. Trayvon Martin being murdered because he just happened to be there is not new news, it's the same old sad news, what is new is the fact that people are sick and tired of it. Prayerfully, this will change at least that law so this type of murder will never happen again. Thank you for such a provocative piece, we are good, even when we are viewed as bad, I LIVE! Trayvon Martin will never be forgotten, nor should he ever be.

I wish every african american and african occidental all over the world read this brillant article...
SMH

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCesco

It took me 40 minutes to read your article and all the follow up comments. I have more time, I will honor your words here and spend time trying to figure out how to make real change in my world, being true to me, teaching by example and loving well.
Thank you~I'm running out of words but not tears. Be well~

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteranie

Thanks for making it plain and simple what life looks like for a large segment of our country's citizens. I've never heard such perspective from anyone, though I'[m aware of history, issues, and injustices facing black Americans. This current situation is another example of a reality referred to in Bruce Springsteen's "American Skin (41 Shots)", written after Amadou Diallo's shooting over a decade ago. The lyrics:

41 shots and we'll take that ride
'cross this bloody river to the other side
41 shots cut through the night
You're kneeling over his body in the vestibule
Praying for his life

Is it a gun, is it a knife
Is it a wallet, this is your life
It ain't no secret
It ain't no secret
No secret my friend
You can get killed just for living
In your American skin

41 shots
Lena gets her son ready for school
She says "on these streets, Charles
You've got to understand the rules
If an officer stops you
Promise you'll always be polite,
that you'll never ever run away
Promise Mama you'll keep your hands in sight"

Is it a gun, is it a knife
Is it in your heart, is it in your eyes
It ain't no secret

41 shots... and we'll take that ride
'Cross this bloody river
To the other side
41 shots... got my boots caked in this mud
We're baptized in these waters and in each other's blood

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterb12dream

I realize that this may not get seen by most who've already posted a comment here, but I wanted to share this cogent essay on the racial implication of Trayvon's death, specifically for those who claim that Trayvon's murder could not be racially motivated because mimer man was not white.

"Racism is not about the identity of the person acting it out so much as those upon whom it is acted, and for what purpose."

Here is a link to the full post:

http://www.timwise.org/2012/03/trayvon-martin-white-denial-and-the-unacceptable-burden-of-blackness-in-america/

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel

To those who may still believe that not all Conservatives/Republicans are racists, I would ask you to consider this - After nearly every gun related crime in the news, from the Va Tech shootings, to the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, conservative pundits and bloggers have said over and over again that if the victims had been armed, the crime would not have happened. But not in this case...no way are they going to call for young black men to start arming themselves in case they are confronted by a crazy, self-appointed cop wannabe. This whole case sickens me, and I think Will Smith summed the whole situation perfectly when he tweeted something to the effect of "This is the America we live in...one where a person who dumps flour on Kim Kardashian is arrested immediately, and Trayvon Martin's killer is still free".

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike H.

I'm a white male and was not raised to be a racist, or a bigot, or whatever. But, I am white. So, whatever view you have towards white people will be present in your mind has you read this. I have been on the receiving end of black hatred for whites a few times for simply doing my job. And, during one experience, I felt my life was in danger. This wasn't a case of something might happen, it was a case where something was happening. It got stopped by the intervention of a black coworker.

I wish i had a solution to racial hatred. I don't. I can only find solutions in the choices I make on how I treat others.

I feel that in the case of Treyvon Martin, there is something else going on in this guy's head. Was Treyvon killed because he was black? Yes. But, there is something else going on here. Treyvon wasn't killed just because he was black.

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterConcerned

Ms Belton..

Thank you for sharing and your story cut to my core. I went to a white school and encountered similar things as you did. I have to respectfully ask you, though..Do you know what it's like to not be accepted by your own because you are deemed not "Black enough"? It was bad enough to be called the "n" word day in and out, accused for things I did not do at school because I am Black and generally despised for my mere existance. However, being called "white boy" and other names because of my fair skin didn't help matters and for a long time embittered me against other Blacks. However, in time, I addressed that. I will always maintain that I am proud to be Black and swell with pride every time I read about Dr. King and other Black leaders who paved the way for us.

The thing that really eats me though is the hatred we have and continue to carry against each other in the Black community. I have to ask why don't we address the random and needless killings and other Black on Black crime that is threatening to decimate our life as a people? When will we FINALLY get over this light skin vs dark skin, etc?

Travon's murder is tragic to say the least. I see nothing but a bright young man who had a future ahead of him and it was cut short by an angry man. If Travon were my son, I would be beyond devatated. I probably couldn't contain my anger for long.

When this tragedy subsides and it will, sadly, young black men across America will continue to murder each other for no apparent reason and it's like nothing happened. Why does it take someone like Travon to die for us to be mobilized? Why don't we express the same outrage at the cycle of death and destruction amongst black people? The time to address this is NOW.

Thank you sincerely for allowing me to post.

March 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGil

I just want to say Thank you.

I'm a middle class progressive white guy, slowly becoming more aware of the privileges I have. I got picked on in school, but I've always been vaguely aware of the fact that I've got it easier than a lot of people. I've been taking advantage of some of those privileges to try and smack some sense into others less willing to accept the facts in front of them.

It's easy enough for me to be aware of my own position, but if I have to be brutally honest with myself, the difficulties others have faced have mostly been academic to me. Today, you've changed that. I don't just know of your frustration, but I feel like I finally understand it. I know my direct influence only extends so far, but if I can do anything to make sure the last generation to be force-fed someone else's problems comes just a few years earlier, or there's even just one less kid who has to rage powerlessly against this much casual bigotry, I'll have done something worthy with the privilege I hold.

Thank you.

March 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertuba_man

excellent. I have no words to describe how great this post is, and the truth it tells. Thank you.

March 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdewfish

I hear this narrative emerging to defend Zimmerman going something like: 1) Treyvon was kicked out of school because he might have been using marijuana; and 2) he broke Zimmerman's nose or something in the fight after Zimmerman stalked him...

- Our last three President's - that we know of - smoked marijuana, so and... SO WHAT!
- What was Treyvon supposed to do? Just die quietly and NOT try to fight for his life!?!?! A little Black Boy who fights for his life can now be labled an "AGRESSOR" by the bigots in our society?

If that Cheif of Police's 17 year old son or any white child - marijuana smoker or NOT - armed with nothing more than a bag of candy, hand been stalked, accosted, and then killed by a 28 year old Black Man, that Black MAN would have been locked up or killed by the police immediately.

You will get locked up quicker in AMERICA for insulting the dignity of a White Female (Flour thrown on that pseudo Hollywood Celeb the other day - they locked up the person that did it right away); than you will if you take the life of a Black Child.

Editor Permission Required
You must have editing permission for this entry in order to post comments.