I’ve spent the last several days processing the Trayvon Martin case. I’ve read some, I’ve discussed some, but publicly I’ve mostly remained silent for a number of reasons. Save for a brief tweet Sunday morning–which offered just enough information for me to acknowledge it, but really not so much at all.
Then I began quietly watching Twitter, Facebook, blog post threads. Who was talking. Who was retweeting. Who was angry. Who was speaking up. And for the most part, save for my die-hard liberal political friends and celebrities of the Always Willing To Put Their Asses On the Line nature, it was Black people. Again.
Not all. But enough that the disproportion was evident in my feed.
When I posted a link to this amazing article on Trayvon Martin, Racism and the NRA by Robin D.G. Kelley which a friend sent me, I can see the number of retweets (not many) versus the number of clicks (a holy hell of a lot).
We White people–I think we are scared to talk.
So I’m trying.
Because as I learned from my brother when he so eloquently put it to an NPR reporter in college when he was marching on Washington with me and my mother for a so-called “women’s issue” during the Bush years: “if I don’t speak up people will think this is a woman’s issue. It’s not. It’s everyone’s issue”
(I’m glad he went into politics. We need more like him.)
Racism is everyone’s issue. The pathetic excuse for gun laws in this country is everyone’s issue. A prejudicial justice system is everyone’s issue. (Keep an eye out for the name Jordan Davis) Poverty is everyone’s issue.
Because we all live together. One village.
And so, Trayvon Martin is everyone’s issue too. And to me, it’s every mother’s issue. Because any mother’s loss is every mother’s loss.
Opinions are strong and discussions can get heated. I know that makes some of us back away. But please. Talk about it. Talk about it quietly with family or loudly with friends. Talk about it publicly or on forums or petitions or articles like the Kelley one. Protest peacefully. Add a post to the We Are Not Trayvon Martin tumblr. Support those other people who are penalized for speaking about it. Or for singing about it.
We need to keep talking, especially with our children, so that they can grow up to change things for good.
And if you’re not Black, and you see a box like this, next to an amazing article like that one on Huffington Post by Kelley:
don’t ignore it. That’s what I would normally do. Hell, I would probably not even see it. Because, well, I’m not a Black voice. But then I remember, these are everyone’s issues. I need to know more.
I need to stand my ground.
Thank you to all the news outlets that mentioned this post: CNN, Huffington Post, CBS The Talk.
But more so, thank you to the commenters here–well, the 99% of them–that have been respectful even in disagreement.
74 thoughts on “Trayvon Martin is your problem. And mine.”
This is exactly what I feel. it is everyone’s issue. AS a mother, this bothers me because a mother lost her child and no one is being punished for doing so. Accident or not, a mother lost her child and someone shoudl be held accountable. Bottom line, someone stole this woman’s everything. This has to be punishable because I imagine it feels like torture to her. The case is not about black and white, it’s about an injustice and injustice effects us all.
I’ve been silent. Less because I’m white – though that is part of it – but more so because I’m devestated and incredibly discouraged. Then I read a post like this and feel less discouraged. Devestated will remain but discouragement from finding and more importantly making change, is renewed when I read posts like this.
I also thought the same. Discouragement, helplessness.
But why were we (“we”) all so vocal after Sandy Hook? I know it’s not apples/apples but I think there are larger issues at play.
I’m silent because I don’t know what to say. It is all just so tragic and unfair and – yes – so much a problem for me and you and everyone. I want to DO something and I guess that starts with saying something. Thanks for that reminder.
I found myself tangled in an ugly Facebook thread where someone commented about how Trayvon’s death was the logical conclusion to his poor behavior and I essentially kept saying that a death sentence was disproportionate to the events. I also reposted Andrew Sullivan’s comments which I thought reflected my own thoughts very well. I don’t know if this counts as my speaking up or not since it’s paltry at best, but it’s been a hard weekend of this country’s racism and unhealthy attitude toward guns on display.
All I know is I felt the need to explain in at least broad terms to my children (the older two, anyway) about the case and the verdict, and my oldest cried herself to sleep over it. She just kept saying, “That poor boy’s parents.” Something in my children’s sensitivity to people as individuals and their complete mystification over how race factors into anything gave me hope that maybe generations down the road when certain attitudes literally die out this country could be better one day.
But the whole thing makes me heartsick. Because nothing is going to change fast enough to save innocent lives, and this story is far from the end of this problem.
Thank you Korinthia, your comments are always so thoughtful.
I live in the South. Many of my FB friends are Southerners. You would not believe some of the comments I’ve seen. They are, in a word, disgusting. I have two teenaged boys. They’re good boys, but they do stupid things sometimes. They act stupid. They make stupid choices. They make mistakes. A lot of them. And my youngest, who has Asperger’s, would absolutely not react well in a confrontation. Even if he is doing nothing wrong, he often appears guilty of something. So I worry A LOT. This case has struck a deep chord with me. I have been talking. But nobody seems to be listening. I have been called deluded, blind, ignorant and stupid. It’s pretty maddening.
know that you are heard. know that there are others out there that feel the same. that we support you and your beliefs. I too used to live in the South and have had to delete many “friends” from Facebook because of the disguisting deplorable things that they have said after this and most tragedies involving firearms. but I have learned that I can’t stay silent. they don’t stay silent so why should I. They can’t think that they are the only ones with a voice, especially when they are using their voice so horribly.
That is so wonderful Kristen–the hardest thing is to be the one voice of dissent, standing up for what’s right even when it’s unpopular. I find it hard too.
It makes me so sad repeatedly to hear from friends in the south with the same stories. I can only tell you I’ve seen some disgusting things in the comment sections of NYC papers. The south doesn’t have a lock on racism.
Thank you Liz. We can’t be silent. None of us can afford the silence. My black son and daughter can’t afford our silence.
I had a Facebook thread go off the rails the other night when I opened a discussion about racial and economic justice without due consideration for the context. I wrote my takeaway on my own blog yesterday, but to speak directly to your point about fear, I think a lot of people want to talk (I mean really talk, beyond hand-wringing or ranting), but don’t know how, or whether they even have permission. I’ve read that it’s time for whites to just listen. I’ve read that it’s time to speak out. I’m confused, and I imagine others are too.
I agree Kyran. (and sorry you got caught in spam – you’re not spam!)
Frankly, I have grown extremely frustrated with white people talking about this. My Facebook circle contains a contingent of well-beyond-liberal social justice true believers, and the amount of armchair lawyering and the assignment of huge social issues to the singular decision of six poorly-informed Floridians is breathtakingly naive. All the hand-wringing and dawning recognition of white privilege would be adorable if it weren’t accompanied by the underlying hypocrisy of expecting a broken criminal justice system to work “in this case” to give a desirable result when the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard that saved George Zimmerman’s ass is, on a daily basis, the only thing standing between countless young black men and a criminal justice system that, for so many shitty reasons, disproportionately focuses on the illegal activities of young black men (rather than, say. . . the illegal activities of old white bankers).
Does anyone doubt that the prosecutors did their best to give the victim in this case justice? Convincing a gaggle of disparate strangers to agree on anything “beyond a reasonable doubt” is one of the hardest tasks any lawyer faces. That standard—the one that so many people seem convinced the jury should not have applied—is the only shield that so many young black men have in our criminal justice system. So when we march our fingertips to facebook, OMGing at the injustice, we are implying that the jury should not have applied the same standard of proof that protects so many young black men.
There’s always plenty of proof of the racial (and class-based) injustice in this world. It’s pretty annoying that it takes a verdict like this to drum up a little acknowledgement in all the suburban enclaves and fancy cities where it’s so easy to hide from it.
Thanks Jim – can always count on you for a fresh perspective, and one from your law background.
I actually haven’t commented on the case or the trial specifically. I didn’t follow it day to day and haven’t yet formulated clear opinions about the competence of the jury or the attorneys.
Aside from the verdict itself, there are so many other issues we can discuss, like the main point in the Kelley article about the NRA remaining silent and his case for institutionalized racism. Or your point: the fact that it takes a big media case to acknowledge race issues.
But then I think it’s often the extreme cases that get us talking: Sandy Hook and Gabby Giffords for gun control; tsunamis and hurricanes for climate change; Abu Garaib for POW policies…
Jim: Also wondering with your background what you make of the Slate article on the jury selection: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2013/07/zimmerman_trial_juror_b37_why_did_prosecutors_let_her_on_the_trayvon_martin.html
From Bardiac: http://bardiac.blogspot.com/2013/07/a-guide-for-white-folks-how-to-end.html
Wow. Thank you.
I did a lot of retweeting when the verdict was announced. I couldn’t think of what to add to this conversation.
I live in Chicago. Pretty much every morning the news reports the number of people shot in the city the night before. It’s become a standard segment like the weather forecast and the traffic report. It’s become so common that’s it’s easy to stop being enraged about it. But I haven’t.
I’m terrified of our country right now, not because I worry that I or the rest of my white middle class family are directly at risk. I am terrified because I don’t like living in a place where so many innocent kids get shot. That shouldn’t be so common in a country or city worth being proud of.
I wish I knew what to do. I desperately wish I knew what to do to help. I do not. I have absolutely no idea how to stop this. I feel powerless and sad.
I understand completely. I’m sad too.
I am the mother of two white teen boys and the coach of 18 mostly white teen boy soccer players. I watched this ordeal from this perspective: our laws should protect our kids, not force them to make decisions they shouldn’t have to make.
Let’s face it, my kids and most of the kids on my team wouldn’t have to face the George Zimmermans of the world for two reasons: they aren’t black, and they don’t live in Florida. How in the world can it be that way in 2013?
If we only stand up and cry injustice when it’s our own selves on the line, we will only hurt ourselves in the future. We have to look out for each other. It’s how decent societies function.
You are right. White people need to talk about this, even though it is hard. But even more, we need to really listen to Black people talk about this, and we need to read their perspectives on racism and what it does to their lives. We need to squash down our defensiveness and just listen. Roxane Gay posted a really good reading list: http://roxanegay.tumblr.com/post/55438826108/a-syllabus-of-sorts
I wrote a short post after the verdict, not because I had anything new to say, but because I felt strongly that I had to acknowledge my privilege on this. I could watch that verdict go by and be saddened, even sickened, but that it didn’t make me afraid for my children, and that is a huge example of white privilege. I also felt that I needed to say that I think White people need to own this problem and work to fix it, because I’ve recently been pretty vocal about how f-ed up it is to expect women to fix the problem of our absence from positions of power. The people with the power need to fix that- and to me, this is exactly analogous.
Anyway, the stats on that post are similar to the stats on the posts I did about guns after Sandy Hook. Lots of views, fewer than usual comments. But then, it is different from the usual topic of my blog, so maybe that is not surprising.
But even more, we need to really listen to Black people talk about this.
Yes yes yes. That’s one of the reasons I love the Kelley article in Huffpost. Thank you for the links Cloud. I love when you comment here.
I agree that we need to listen to Black people speak about this. That is why I chose to share the voices of mothers of black sons on my blog when I wrote about this. I felt that was the best use of the audience and platform that I have at this time.
Beautiful Annie. What a great idea.
YES: Listen to people of color. And people of different religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and all of the other differences that require us to take another perspective into account.
So many people experience the world in ways that we can’t fully grasp because we’re white, or straight, or Judeo-Christian, or can pass for such. It’s our obligation to listen to them and to acknowledge the truth of their experiences.
Amazing post. Ironically, I had the same exact conversation ( even and including the anecdote about your brother’s comment which now seems to be part of the family’s institutional memory) with two little girls this very morning. We talked about standing up to bullies even if we weren’t the target and about looking at people because we really, really liked them (or didn’t ) and not because they looked like us. I’m so glad you felt responsible enough to write this. Doubly glad you belong to a line of Women Who Run With the Wolves!
I love your blog, and I believe people should be more vocal with their opinions, and I think they have. Unfortunately, the only thing I have been hearing is that Trayvon is innocent, and Zimmerman is a murderer. There’s way more to the story. Trayvon was an innocent child until he began to beat up George Zimmerman. I’m sorry that this is not a common opinion, because he is a child, and it’s very, very sad, he did not deserve to die. I feel for his mother, for his family, for his community. However, he was a child with the size and force of an adult and a history of violent behavior and made a choice to begin a physical altercation with an adult. George Zimmerman is a busy-body, a wanna-be police officer, paranoid, too sensitive to abnormal situations in his normal surroundings, but a murderer? It was not his intention to kill a child that night. He shouldn’t have followed that child, he shouldn’t have gotten out of his car, absolutely I believe that, but when Trayvon Martin was hitting him, he felt his life was in danger. Definition of self-defense. What about George Zimmerman? His family? Do they deserve less? What if Trayvon caused permanent damage while hitting him in the head? I wish people would talk more about this side of the story. A teenager died. That is a horrific thought. I’m a mother of 2 boys, I can’t imagine if one of them was taken from me in any manner, let alone at the hands of another human being. I just hope I’m raising them to make better choices. This story is teaching us (all of us, black, white, hispanic, etc.) that violence is never the answer and that when we choose to engage in a physical attack on another person, we are taking the risk that that person may be armed. The education needs to start there. I respect your opinion, please respect mine.
So was Trayvon an innocent child until he attacked someone? Or until he was stalked by an intimidating adult who forced him to defend himself? I think that’s the challenge with debating the case. And with a dead boy not getting to tell his story. So I’m kind of staying out of the debate of the merits of the case.
Also for what it’s worth, here’s the legal definition of self-defense. A person using force in self-defense should use only so much force as is required to repel the attack. I think that’s where a lot of folks are getting stuck.
Thanks for your opinion Meggan.
Thanks for deleting my last comment where I asked you what was Zimmerman supposed to do in that specific situation that would be called “self denfense”
Talk about not having arguments and just censor anyone that doesn’t agree with your views
I didn’t delete a comment rami. I don’t see one in trash and I don’t remember yours. My comments have been a mess this week and apologies if something happened to yours; I only deleted racist and deliberately inflammatory comments.
I don’t entirely understand your question…are you saying that fatally shooting the boy he stalked was reasonable and fair? I think the controversy is that the FL police chief upheld that premise, and other legal experts do not.
When I read statements like “However, he was a child with the size and force of an adult and a history of violent behavior and made a choice to begin a physical altercation with an adult.”
I think. OMG, how do you know “he made a choice to begin a physical altercation with an adult.”? HOW?
Let’s look at this again:
1) A teenager was watching basketball with family. During half-time he goes to buy some iced-tea and skittles. He is walking back home, minding his own business.
2) An adult sees the teenager. It could have been your son. For whatever reason this man decides in his mind that the teenager is suspicious and that he is nothing but a “F…ing punk”. This man calls the police on this child. The man then decides to follow the child despite being told by the police dispatcher not to. This man also carries a gun.
3) The man and the teenager are now in close proximity.
I don’t know about you, but I would think that what is most likely is that this man who had already assigned all the ills of the world to that teenager tried to detain him. Remember, Zimmerman also said that “These assholes always get away”. Could it be that emboldened by the fact that he knew he had a gun and having called the police, he wanted to make sure that this “F…ing punk” would not get away like all “these assholes” who “always get away”? Maybe he wanted to make sure that Trayvon, who he was convinced was the worse creature on earth, would not get away. So maybe he tried to grab Trayvon or somehow detain him.
Ok, my scenario is hypothetical. But frankly, Meggan’s scenario is that a kid, going back home, looking forward to watching the rest of a basketball game, looking forward to being with loved ones, looking forward to enjoying his cold iced-tea and skittles would SUDDENLY attack someone WITHOUT PROVOCATION!!! REALLY?
Why is it so easy for a number of people to prefer Meggan’s scenario rather than mine where a man full of suspicion, armed, having called the police, upset that “F…ing punks” , “Assholes who always get away” would not have been the instigator?
Is it because George is white (and spare me the Hispanic bit. If you saw him in the street and did not know who he was and learned that he had a German sounding name, you would not call him Hispanic) and Trayvon was black?
I wonder what Meggan would think if the story had been:
Armed Adult black male who calls white kids “F…ing punks” and “assholes who always get away”, encounters white teenager returning from store with iced-tea and skittles. During altercation, white teenager is shot dead. Black male says he was defending himself and has wounds to prove it.
I bet you that Meggan would right away say:” Well, the black man tried to mug the white kid who simply tried to defend himself. Alas, the white, law-abiding kid was not armed, so he lost the fight and lost his life”.
I doubt very much that Meggan and those who view the world through the same lenses as her would think: “The black man was justified. The white kid attacked him, so he was justified in killing him”.
Zimmerman was very lucky that there was not a security camera to record the whole thing. He was lucky that none of the witnesses saw the whole incident, especially the start of it. Who approached whom?
Did Trayvon simply lash out at Zimmerman, out of the blue? Or did he try to defend himself against a Zimmerman hell-bent on not letting this “F…ing punk” get away like all the other “Assholes”?
Meggan, if you have children, have you not thought them to fight back should some stranger try to abduct them?
Meggan, would YOU not fight back if a strange man approached you at night in a dark alley after you noticed that he was following you? As a woman, you might have more of an instinct to RUN and I agree with that. My dad always told my sisters to learn how to run.
However, if you were a man, even a young 17 year old one, the option to physically defend yourself always crosses your mind. By the way, I know that some women also contemplate that option and that is fine. Unlike juror B37 who seems to want to blame Trayvon for not simply having gone home and who says that Trayvon made the choice to attack Zimmerman. How does she know that Trayvon had a choice? Trayvon had every right to “Stand his ground” and not run. And I guarantee you that if Trayvon had taken the advice to run, Zimmerman would have felt even more emboldened to try and stop him because, since that “F…ing punk” is running he must be guilty of something. After all, why would anyone be afraid of a nice, white guy like me. He must be guilty. You see, for people who think like Zimmerman and Meggan (yes Meggan, I believe you think like a Zimmerman), there is nothing Trayvon could have done that would not have been interpreted as a proof of guilt.
Unfortunately, we will probably never know exactly what happened. Only Zimmerman knows for sure.
But please take the time to analyze your thoughts more deeply and ask yourself why it is so easy to accept the story that a teenager who was minding his own business and simply going home to enjoy a game, some iced-tea and Skittles with family would SUDDENLY LASH OUT at a stranger? Again, is it because he is black and as such easily seen by our society as violent?
Ask yourself if you would accept such a theory if the races were reversed or even if both protagonists had been white?
Finally, to show that had Zimmerman been civil with Trayvon, the story might have been more along the lines of this one:
The moral is that young black males can also be heroes and could be instrumental in saving one of your loved ones.
Sad, all around.
A mother of two teenagers- has sympathy for a man with a gun who decided to stalk, and harass a teenager based on stereotypes? And once the fight got physical- why wouldn’t a grown man just RETREAT to the CAR and realize the fight is OVER…or better yet…why not just LISTEN TO THE POLICE who said- DNT FOLLOW, DONT PERSUE.
I wonder how you would feel if one of your teenagers got into a fight with a man who decides sense he is losing that now your son should get SHOT & MURDERED!!!
Absolutely. I don’t even know what to say about the case that hasn’t already been said. Within the narrow confines of the courtroom, I’m sure it was not difficult to acquit him for a bunch of white women. But the fact is that GZ’s stupidity and bad judgment were ONLY fatal because he was carrying a gun. Period. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, indeed.
I am a white woman married to a black man with two beautiful children, a girl and a boy. I so appreciate the comment from Cloud that we need to listen to black people, rather than continue to tell them why they’re wrong about racism. We have no way to experience the slights, big and small, that people of color go through on a daily basis. Many white people haven’t examined our biases enough to recognize our racist thoughts and actions when we have them. Instead of being defensive, how about we *try* to imagine what it’s like to be presumed to be threatening based on first glance. My son is 6 years old. How long before people no longer see him as cute but as dangerous?
God, that’s an awful thought. I’m so sorry.
Please read the NY Magazine editorial I linked to above from QuestLove. It’s excellent–and describes what you’re talking about from a remarkable perspective.
What life are you living that you dont realize that there are already so many PEOPLE who think your son is the opposite of human, because he is B L A C K.
And yes, a lot of people who think this way are your family members, neighbors, co-workers and fellow worshippers.
Racism is not lifted for 1/2, mixed, or biracial people. RACISTS resent non whites.
As often the case, Liz, I read what you write and am inspired to write, though I rarely write about personal stuff. But this one is too near and dear to me right now. My grandfather recently passed away at age 98, a German-Jewish Holocaust survivor and American civil rights pioneer. He marched with Dr. King, lived in a Black neighborhood in Chicago, and was passionately involved with the National Urban League and Operation PUSH. I think he would have been heartbroken about this verdict, and I think he’s in a better place for not having seen it come to pass. On his behalf, and on behalf of young Black men everywhere, I’m still weeping, days later.
Wow Stephanie, I had no idea. I can imagine how personal this feels for you.
I’ve been tweeting and posting on facebook since Saturday, mostly retweeting and sharing the words of those who are more eloquent than I could be on the subjects of race and injustice. I’m a horrified mom of two young kids, one a 13 yo boy who wears hoodies and walks to the dollar store for skittles and tea. But when one of my fb friends posted “I am Trayvon Martin” on my page, I thought, “no, you aren’t. You are a middle aged gay guy who happens to be white. you have your issues with power and justice, too, but you AREN’T Trayvon Martin.” And I thought about this a lot, because I know he’s coming from a good place with this — this I am Trayvon stuff. But it’s precisely because my little white kids AREN’T Trayvon that I think it’s important to speak out. My kids will never face the kind of prejudice that Trayvon faced. I’m sick over what happened to Trayvon, but I also feel like there’s something really inadequate about tweeting and posting. I don’t live in Florida. I don’t know what I can do, in practical terms, to make things better. I guess I try to teach my kids and influence my local world, but that seems so inadequate, too. I just don’t know. I also know that what happened to Trayvon happens All.The.Time to people all over the country — that he’s just the most recent and visible symbol of injustice to catch the world’s attention. I also know about child soldiers in Africa, kids being poisoned by their government-provided school lunches in India, factories collapsing and killing low-wage garment workers, etc., and it overwhelms me, all this sorrow, all this injustice. I know that I’m the goofball at the pool this week who is tearing up everytime I see a small black boy playing, thinking about that extra weight that he will carry into the future that my children do not have to carry, and hoping that he won’t end up in a situation like Trayvon’s. I don’t know how to keep all those kids safe. I wish I knew how to keep all those kids safe. I think a lot of us are feeling overwhelmed by the grief of it all. And I think a lot of white people are feeling guilty for not having really examined our own privilege closely enough before this week, and so perhaps there’s more silence from many of us not because we don’t care but because we don’t want to make this yet another thing that is “about us”. As you point out, though, what happened to Trayvon Martin is a problem for all of us — whatever race, creed or color we might be.
I woke up thinking about this comment Lisa. Thank you so much for your perspective. I think teaching our kids is important–and not inadequate at all.
Thank you for writing this post. On Sunday morning, one of my closest friends and I discussed the trial. I was in shock/upset. She was too. As new mothers and minorities (I’m Mexican-Chinese, she’s Black-Japanese), we were deeply saddened, upset, and worried. We’ve felt the sting of racial profiling and blatant racism, and hoped it would be different for our children. We’re not sure this will hope happen.
The verdict and the possible legal precedent are scary.
I’m interested to see what happens as they go forward with a civil suit. Hope?
I wrote this last night when I was still feeling a litte shocked, but the reaction and awareness (like your blog post) does bring me hope. A civil trial would hopefully bring more awareness.
Before the verdict, one of my friends posted this on his Facebook page: If Zimmerman goes free can a bunch of people start following him around with guns and harassing him?
That’s the thing that killed me. What about Trayvon’s right to defend himself when a stranger approached him in an aggressive way? You shouldn’t be able to provoke a violent incident and then claim self defense.
Happy to say that my peeps are talking about this. Yes, mostly the loud, liberal types, but there is discussion. There has to be.
I cannot fathom the grief Trayvon’s family must be feeling.
I am a woman with two amazing sons…..I am a black woman with two amazing black sons….they are 2 and 7….I am heartbroken and saddened with the verdicts and the comments in the media….honestly, I am frightened for them….I am frightened for the moment that they go from being cute to threatening…..like most moms I want the very best for them and just to protect them……they are so innocent and full of love that it is so heartbreaking that they will soon learn about the injustice and race obsessed world….
Thank you for sharing this SBP. The more I hear women of color telling me they fear for their sons the more upset I get. We all fear for our children in various ways but that is one particular issue I will not experience first-hand. I hope that more speak up for you and your sons. You are not alone.
I’ve been churning this one over in my head and heart since Saturday. I’ve had a lot of thoughts and feelings about it, but no words have come.
Then, this morning, I stumbled on this brief story on NPR. It helped soothe the confusion.
It just made me think that if this kind of purity was possible 40 years ago, it’s still possible. We just have to work a little harder and love each other a whole lot more.
I guess for me I dont see why everyone keeps calling it race when to me its not race. I am so sick of hearing “what do I tell me BLACK SONS NOW?” I am sorry, but what exactly have you been telling your kids before this incident what Americas didnt have killers before TM? Did america not have rapist? DId we not have bad in our america?????????…it should always have been THERE ARE RAPIST AND KILLERS AMONG US AND YOU HAVE TO BE CAREFUL IN THIS WORLD AND YOU CANT TRUST A LOT OF PEOPLE. That is what I believe in my heart that ALL parents should have told there kids and still tell there kids today. Its has gone on to where a lot of people are parading this ONE child when hundreds of children loose there life at the hands of someone else every day!
I didnt see NOONE roiting when casey got off from killing her child. And to me (loosing a child is no way good in any form) but to me a parent who kills there own is way more out of control than a HISPANIC/BLACK murder.
There was a WHITE 17 boy who was robbed shot and killed in Charleston SC a few days prior…where are your race cards for that boy??? NONE because BLACKS want to play the race card when its convenient for them to play the race card. And I guess it would be pretty messed up if a white person played the RACE CARD!!!
And what is your point Stacee? We should not talk about this? We all have certain things that hit us as important. Obviously, many blacks and whites feel that the case of Trayvon Martin is important. The media fell that it is important. Had they not thought so, Trayvon Martin would have been a forgotten victim just like the young man you mention as having been shot in Charleston. Remember, Zimmerman would not have been arrested had it not been for all the protests. It took 40 days for anything to happen. So, you see, Trayvon would have simply died and been forgotten had it not been for all those people who requested action.
Rather that scream at BLACKS (why do you use all caps when using that word?) for bringing attention to the Martin Case, perhaps you should start a Blog about the poor young man in Charleston. Start a conversation. Get your local media to talk more about it. Ask the police what is going on with that case. DO SOMETHING! But don’t insult a whole race because they tried to right a wrong. Get your friends (if you have any) to protest. I wonder what you don’t do that? Probably because deep inside you know that whites enjoy so many privileges associated with their race and, as you wrote ” it would be pretty messed up if a white person played the RACE CARD!!!
I appreciate the visitors from CNN. But I will say now, this is a place for civil discourse and respectful disagreements. It is not the CNN boards. It is not a place for racist generalizations and those comments will be deleted.
I think this is a really telling comment. Stacee sees “us” and “them” instead of just “us.”
I’m also wondering what riots, exactly.
I really disagree with your message here but so appreciate your initiating the conversation. As a white mom with blonde-haired, blue-eyed kids, I will openly admit that Trayvon Martin is NOT my problem. My problem is George Zimmerman. My kids will never grow up in fear that they might be shot because someone gets scared by their skin color. My son does not live in a world where people are afraid of him at first glance. When he’s late getting home I’ll wonder what he and his friends have been up to, not whether he is lying dead on a street. So the conversations I’d like to see among white moms is not “What can we do about Trayvon Martin?” but “What can we do about George Zimmerman?” How can we keep our kids from growing up with the same fears and stereotypes of Black people that led George Zimmerman to kill Trayvon Martin? Because I promise you that George Zimmerman did not fear Black men when he was 2. Somewhere along the way he learned that Black men are scary and dangerous and encountering a young man with black skin after dark is a life-threatening situation. So what the conversation I’d like to see is: What can we white moms do about our George Zimmerman problem? How can we keep our kids from developing these same, deadly stereotypes that keep Black moms and their sons living in fear?
Amazing point Nicole, thank you so much. I think when I refer to Trayvon being all of our problems, I mean the entire situation. But your point is really well taken.
Was a 17 year old, was a son to a woman and man,
and a student and friend.
I don’t know him,
but I bet he loved junk food, like most kids,
I bet he had a girlfriend,
I bet he got into trouble, like most kids,
I bet he he was a blessing to someone,
and I bet he wanted to be something someday.
I don’t know his mother, but as a mother,
I bet she cried when she found out he died,
I bet she asked God why his spirit had to fly.
I bet she still sees his face,
in every corner, in every space…
May he rest in peace…
I know that there are a lot of feelings surrounding his death…but may we never forget that a child died that day…another child. Hold onto your babies because, as we saw in the numerous school shootings that have occured in the past, it could be any one of our kids, at any moment.
Guilty as charged. I watched and watched my black friends sharing their pain on social media. Not knowing where to jump in. Was my sadness less important than theirs? I didn’t know if I deserved my sadness as much as they did.
I’m not one to wax political on my social media outlets, but personally I will try to jump in more often.
We all deserve to feel sadness when the world we live in seems unjust and we feel helpless to fix it. That’s the way I see it.
I’ve been writing about being a white parent talking about race to white kids here: http://chronicladybug.blogspot.com/2013/07/raising-kids-while-white.html
I can definitely feel uncomfortable to be a white person talking about race, but the alternative is silence.
I understand Mary. Once my readers schooled me on talking about race, with great links to the book Nurtureshock which has an excellent chapter on it. I learned a lot from it–worth a look.
a few years back, my kids were being made fun of for having black friends. they didn’t get it, so we were faced with explaining to them that outside their tiny cocoon, it is a big, ugly world.
henry said one profound thing to them – ‘guess what? if those people don’t like black people, they probably don’t like Jews either’ or Mexicans or Asians…..so, you are right on when you say it is a larger issue, not just a Black issue. We have to talk to our kids about this.
You have a smart kid.
I will say though, while hate is hate, Black young men are stigmatized like no one else. I won’t tell you some of the comments I’ve had to delete here because you’d vomit.
My husband surprised me by saying that he thought even manslaughter was too tough of a charge for Zimmerman – he thought it should be involuntary manslaughter. My response was – If I had been in Trayvon Martin’s place – somehow managed to surprise a man tailing me and inflict injury on him, and had I been shot and killed – as a white woman, there would’ve been no question whether or not Zimmerman should’ve gone to jail. He would have been placed behind bars in no time flat.
I happen to agree with you Lauren.
The verdict came in as I went off the grid, which gave me the opportunity to absorb it on my own. Even so, I don’t think it has fully registered; I can still hardly believe it.
I just keep reflecting on the concern I feel for my own kids and imagining the amplified fear mothers of color feel for their kids, simply because they live under that cloud of suspicion President Obama referenced in his remarks.
I don’t claim to know what it’s like to be anyone other than myself. But I do know what it’s like to be labeled “other”. I do know what it’s like to be stereotyped. I do know what it feels like when someone calls you a racial slur. I do know what it’s like to feel threatened for not fitting in. I do know how I felt when I walked into an all-white diner in the middle of nowhere Georgia with my Japanese-American family and feeling afraid.
Thank you for writing this post. The night of the verdict I was in disbelief. The next morning, I realized how lonely I felt in the blogosphere. I expected the same anger and disbelief, but all I was met with was silence. That silence sometimes speaks volumes. It’s the same silence I endure when I’m walking in the store and some store clerk pulls me aside because he thought he saw me stuff something in my purse. It’s the same silence I endure when I go to a restaurant and the hostess refuses to acknowledge my presence, but warms right up when a white man walks through the door; completely unaware that he is my fiance. It’s the same silence I endure when my coworkers jokingly tell me “you’re the whitest black girl I know.” Sometimes that silence is devastating because it’s a reminder of how alone you truly are. Thank you for speaking out and reminding me that I am not.
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