I’m still reeling from the verdict.
I’m still trying to figure out how to raise a hope-filled, loving, sweet, smart little brown girl in the wake of the verdict. I’m still trying to figure out what I teach her about her country and her place in it. I’m grateful she’s so little. I’m grateful that I have some time to heal and think. I have found myself, more than once, thanking God that I don’t have a son.
Sit with that.
I am grateful that I don’t have a little black boy to raise.
This is my truth.
It makes me uncomfortable
but my discomfort makes it no less true.
I live an integrated life. I always have. My family and friends span the entire spectrum of skin tones. I don’t, “hate whitey” or think that all white people can’t be trusted. That’s silly. My life has not borne that out. But I’m hurting. I’m hurting so badly and all I want is for people to TRY and understand and then TRY and make it better.
Racism won’t be legislated away. Yes we need laws to strike down the systems set in place to hold all non-white people back. Yes we need level playing fields. But racism won’t be eradicated by laws. Racism can only be totally and finally conquered by love. It can only end when we all make REAL connections with each other. Racism ends with boots on the ground loving. It ends with us SEEING each other, and LISTENING to each other, and LOVING each other. It ends when the non-black people who love me can hear my pain, not as an indictment of them but as MY truth. It ends when they can hear my pain and see ME, as a person who is hurting. Because THAT is what makes people stand up the next time someone makes a joke that isn’t funny. That is what makes a person outraged when someone makes a false generalization about another race.
Those interactions…those intra-racial conversations are what will change things.
I’m hurting because I want to believe in my country. I was born here. My parents were born here. This is my land. This is my home. I am proud to be American. I know we aren’t perfect but I also know that opportunity abounds here. I know that possibility is nourished here. I know that freedom is here. Even if it’s just the freedom to talk about what IS wrong here. I love America.
But this country hurts me, it wounds me, deeply and then refuses to acknowledge my heartbreak. I keep believing in our justice system because I am American and I believe that we can get it right. We can’t get it right until we can admit it’s failures. The justice system failed the family of Trayvon Martin and all of us who hunger for justice and equality.
We held our collective breaths waiting for a verdict that would equal justice. We held our breaths because we knew that Trayvon could have been our father, son, brother or friend. We held our breaths because we know too many people who have been profiled. We held our breaths because we know too many Black men who have been murdered simply because their skin tone made them scary to someone else. We held our breaths and some of us….we are still holding it. We are still waiting for someone to recognize the humanity of our Black boys and men. We are still waiting for justice from a country that we love no matter how much it disappoints us.