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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)

This was fabulous! I felt naked reading this because the experiences that you wrote about was my life in so many ways. As a parent I have worried over keeping my daughter safe and getting her to where she needs to be in life in order to have the life that she wants. A Black parent's job is an ominous one because we know that the light of our lives could be taken away from us quickly, tragically and without reason because they are born Black. It's terrifying.

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTrulyPC

Damn, Snob! Your keyboard must still be smoking! You have articulated, far better than I have, that THING many of us brownskinned folks are feeling right about now, that THING that hangs heavy and hot inside our breasts.

Keep telling it like it really is!

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKris Broughton

it doesnt matter black people have the WORST public relations issue in the whole world and the WORST part about it we didnt even do it. Someone else based on their ignorance decided what sterotype i would fall in. Zimmerman hated black people being in HIS neighborhood, He hated what they represented. 'there goes the neighborhood' like archie bunker. He called tons of times because 'they were playing in the street' because there were breakins and you know its not even that the kid was black it was that GEORGE THOUGHT he was CLEANING up crime. He thought he was going to clean up his neighborhood because 'they always get away' he was misguided at best MURDER at truth. he was just dumb and this was a hate crime. But the NEWS will not make it so, FOX never even REPORTED it. What would have happened if not for the news, no one would even know and he would be dead.

Melissa Harris Perry said it right you cant respectable your way out of it, Lawrence Otis Graham has a harvard degree but would still be shot b/c of his race. HLG jr was arrested, b/c black = criminal face it, if your a black women youre a jezebel whore or a tragic mulatto. you can't educate, have enough money or move to another neighborhood your way out of it. i suppose you could move to GHANA.

but it is what it is. now everyone will carry guns. his blood cries out..

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermeme

JUSTICE has to be served! Thanks Black Snob for expressing the anger and hopelessness we all have inside. Even if Zimmerman is convicted of murder what good will it do? Pray for Trayvon Martin's family. Their pain has to be immeasurable.

Thank you for this

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLovely

You are always so on point and articulate, but dare I say that this is your best work ever? You have basically put my life and the lives of so many of my family members/friends into this one page. My family is full of "good", educated, attractive, law-abiding, church-going people, and we still face a lot of the same b.s. that "no good" etc. people alone are supposed to face. You are so right. We will NEVER be "good" enough for some people.

I also love the fact that you are refusing to take the load. In essence, we have been taking the load since we were forcibly brought here from Africa. No one inside the African American community is surprised by this case. I hear talk from Caucasian people (especially since President Obama arrived in office) saying things about buying up guns so that they can be protected from "us". The sad thing is, if you had to have a completely honest b.s. free conversation with 90% of the Caucasian Americans in the United States, they would admit that no African American has ever done anything to them, and that covers discrimination, robbery, assault, sexual assault, etc.

A lot of the "crime" that African Americans are arrested for are non-violent offenses such as marijuana possession. The sad thing is, in the minority instances when African Americans do commit violent crimes, they usually commit them against OTHER AFRICAN AMERICANS! So what are these Caucasian people buying up all these guns for? To the racists: Nobody is thinking about you and your household!

I thank you so much for this post, and I will be forwarding the link to this post to several people. **Applause**

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterALM

Quite simply the finest summary of events so far in this case that I've read. Stunningly well assembled.

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterclark lacat

I'm spreading this far and wide. You wrote the truth, pure and simple.

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMsKitty

this is about the best thing you have ever written. thank you, Snob. It's so powerful that I think I'll have to read it a couple of more times before I comment on it, if I can find the words. But, know that if you stopped blogging tomorrow, you were supposed to blog because you were supposed to write this. I'm crying as I write this to you

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrikyrah

Here's an idea... when any backwards town has these kinds of incidents, lets rally 5,000 - 10,000 people to relocate there within a 90 day window. Purchase all the foreclosures and renovate the hood. A total takeover. I bet then they'd make sure justice was served cause they'd know if it wasn't, a whole swarm of progressive minded people are going to be moving in.

My question is: how long would it take to organize and mobilize 10,000 people in this fashion? Hmmmmm.

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterOva Thro

Thank you.
I am reminded of B. Holliday's song,"Strange Fruit". I never understood the sad faces of my older sisters, brothers and their friends whenever this song was being played. When I did, I felt the same sadness. And that is how I am feeling now. As a mother of two grown men, they never knew how many nights I would lay awake praying until I fell asleep for their safe return back home. Hearing the key turn in the door was such a relief even if it was way passed their curfew. Most of the discipline was mixed with tears of joys and frustration.
It took years before I could share with them why I "over reacted and bugging out", as they called it.

It was absolutely terror laying there waiting for sleep or to hear the key in the door. I am not sure which one I prayed for first.
Now, with boys of their own, they and their Moms will sadly have to experience the same terror. How sad......

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLDS

I totally agree that George Zimmerman is racist, and possibly mentally ill, and U
I hope justice is done. But there is something else that's come out in the past few days that should be mentioned in your rather good article: Zimmerman is Hispanic, not white. It's not always black vs. white, and that needs to be acknowledged.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/os-trayvon-martin-shooting-zimmerman-letter-20120315,0,1716605.story

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMaryanne

You have always been a good writer, but this article is award worthy. I felt like you were telling my story for the first half (as I see other commenters did too). Thanks for this raw piece that summarizes so well what I have been feeling for weeks as this story unfolded.

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterD

There is something about being a young black child. At a very young age, we are told "things are different for us." I was told often by my mother that I had to work twice as hard as the white kids in school. My brother would ask me questions about what to do in social situations and I had to also pass along that little nugget of "It's different for us." To be that young and know that you can't afford to be normal or average. No other culture has to do this. Condition their children for the onslaught of unfounded hate and danger that will come their way.!

The level of sadness that we all are feeling is one that I've never experienced in our community. My heart is breaking. IT is breaking because the powers that be do not care. They don't care. They can't silence us, so they're trying to ignore us.

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlicia

Very eloquent, your point is well driven that when we are doing all the "right' things, there are no guarantees...so live for yourself. I've instilled a healthy skepticism in my children regarding adults...you get respect when you show it. Sadly, I just don't trust everyone, therefore my kids are very sheltered. I use to walk to the store as a child, but mine never have. My husband had other ideas, but I let him know it's a different world now. My heart is aching for the Martins; I admire their poise and resolve. To lose their child so suddenly to such violence has to be unbearable. The bigots can't win, this murderer must be apprehended and the community must insist on justice for Trayvon.

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLena

Beyond Excellent. Thank-you for this. You probably won't like what I wrote -possibly to one of those bigots - and I think less of my writing after seeing what you put your effort into. I'd be interested to hear what you might say about it, due to the impact that your post had on me.

Here it is:

Dear Friend,
Even though I don’t know you personally, I see that we have some common interests because we are on the same website – that not all Americans would be interested in (I won’t say most because I don’t have the stats). I'm a conservative African-American who is a big proponent of Second Amendment Rights, the Stand Your Ground type of laws, and the NRAs efforts - as they relate to gun legislation - generally. Please do NOT let the fact that this person who appears to be guilty of pre-meditated murder, and should now be locked up for killing a Black Teenager cause anyone to act as if "it must be a lie".
Blacks in America have historically been, and have a deep desire to support more conservative groups, organizations, and leadership; but it is the PERSISTENCE of situations like this that make it virtually IMPOSSIBLE for the majority of Blacks to go more the route of Colin Powell, instead of Barack Obama. To give you one quick example, just look at how black people voted in CA of all places, when it came to certain prominent Conservative causes in recent years. The MAJORITY voted en masse - on principle - right along with Conservative Organizations and efforts. Conservative Leadership and these Organizations could LOCK UP Black support, and BETTER advance their causes in America, if these organizations and people held the same respect for the Constitution and the other Principles that we both support, when it comes to us (Black People) and our children. As a person who was raised to be a Conservative Catholic, married in a Catholic Church, spent time in Catholic School, and who is a Former Altar boy, I see an unfortunate reality in the fact that this is becoming less true as the years continue to pass (the alignment of the Black Community writ large with the Conservative Line). Without a clear, principled, and unwavering commitment to our shared perspectives, being ACTED UPON in DEMONSTRABLE fashion, and being held as being clearly bigger than considerations of race, this chasm will grow and lead to new realities. We all can talk about how we feel about things; but ultimately, it is what we DO that matters the most.
It is NOT only that a non-Black person murdered this Black Teenager, because he “looked suspicious"; and that this Teen was guilty of nothing more than "Walking-While-Black" in an affluent neighborhood that troubles many Black People – not by a long shot! Eliezer "Elie" Wiesel said that there are good and bad and every people, so this SHOULD be widely understood. It is TERRIBLE for OUR Society (all of us) to have to yet endure such BLATANT examples hypocrisy, and failure to hold consideration of Justice more dear than considerations of Race. On the whole, we as Americans know that if a 28 year old black man had shot ANY non-BLACK 17 year old, that was armed with nothing more than a bag of candy, after the police dispatcher told him NOT to follow the youth, that he would have been locked up for 1st Degree murder, and this discussion would NOT be happening.
People of Principle can NOT stand mute or REACH for ways to justify the lack of even an ARREST, because they don’t want to see this person subjected to what we ALL know the most probable punishment for doing this would be (or for any reason honestly), simply because the victim is Black. And I won’t even dignify really discussing any super small minority of persons who may feel that he shouldn’t be punished at all because the victim was Black. We are supposed to be a Nation of Laws, and NOT of men.
As Americans, we HAVE to strive much more strongly, to hold much more dearly, to our commitment to our shared values, rather than our shortcomings.
I have to admit that I get uneasy myself when I see young black males that I am unfamiliar with, walking in my affluent and exclusive community as well. I know that I am wrong for this; and I struggle with confronting my own shortcomings each day. We are all just people, and none of us walk on water.
Yet and still, I believe in America just like I believe in myself. I firmly believe that there is NOTHING wrong with America; that can NOT be fixed - and that is NOT outweighed - by what is RIGHT with America!
The reality is that if you look at ANY statistics you’d like (pick your poison) – the stats will tell you that the chances - on a population percentage basis, of that unfamiliar young Black Male that you see being the someone who is out to do harm to you and/or your family – one of the reasons that we get these carry permits - is higher than for other ethnic groups in the US. It’s unfortunate, but true – like it or not (allot of people may want to crucify me for saying this, but save your efforts and breath for fixing the problem, not for assailing those who point it out). So I understand that even people who are NOT driven by racism may in fact have a REALITY (empirically) based justification for being more apprehensive about having unknown young African-American males in their midst, versus others.
All in all, this STILL does NOT, in anyway whatsoever, JUSTIFY murdering Black People.
Finally, and MOST significantly to me (right or wrong, I don’t pretend to be holy or to have it all together by any means – I shared a deep and personal flaw of mine in here with you, because I am NOT fake, and I want to encourage us all to do better), the failure of Law Enforcement and non-BLACK Conservative Groups, and MANY OTHERS (including, BUT NOT limited to the NRA) to proffer “full throated” rebuke, and their further failure to demand and take SWIFT appropriate actions in the face of this situation, TEARS at the very fabric of our society and their credibility.
Again, it's not so much the fact that a flawed, non-Black person does a bad thing to a Black person; but fact that Black People like me, who are STRONG Supporters of Law and Order, and Conservative Principles still get smacked with the reality that people and organizations that we should be able to count on, and naturally have the desire to support, fail to demonstrate a commonality and consistency in our (level of) commitment to our shared values that is disheartening. Exercising the WILL to put our shared commitment to principles as critical to our society as Law and Order; Liberty; and Justice above the limitations of our personal feelings and shortcomings, is an inextricable essential for organizations, and our society in general, if we hope to have the slightest chance of living up to the ethos that our organizations, its people, and our society proclaim to hold dear. What matters the most, is NOT what we profess with our lips; but what we carry into practice – especially when it is hard.

Amen.

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJustice

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

Had similar experiences . . . sometimes you can't help but to become jaded. VERY good piece.

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergsutiger2

@ Ova Thro; Your idea is funny, but in essence it would create income for the city of Sanford because people would need to hire painters, contractors, etc. to renovate the foreclosed homes. Michael Baisden has already advised the protestors to not spend any money in Sanford. I agree with Mr. Baisden. Don't add revenue to the town.

@ Maryanne: I should have counted down to the commenter who would say this isn't about race. Oh, yes it is.

1. Zimmerman's family has made a point to tell the press that he is both Caucasian and Hispanic

2. If you listen to the 911 tapes (which you apparently have not done), Zimmerman clearly says both "these guys always get away" and Zimmerman makes a point to tell the 911 dispatcher that Trayvon is a "black male". The 911 dispatcher never asked Zimmerman Trayvon's race. He made a POINT to let the dispatcher know Trayvon's race.

So yes, it IS about race, and Zimmerman is biracial, with one of those races being Caucasian. Maryanne, you have a good day.

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterALM

To @Maryanne,
Zimmerman being Hispanic is totally irrelevant to the subject. Racism is a state of mind not DNA. It might as well be Clarence Thomas or Alan Keyes pulling that trigger and Blacksnob's arguments here would have been similarly valid.

Zimmerman's actions are exactly what the 400+ years of toxic and rancid history of bigotry in America has wrought. That is the issue, not his ethnicity. Where did Zimmerman learn to paint the likes of Trayvon with the "criminal-looking, they are up to no good" brush? Where did he learn to only call 911 when his suspicions involved black people. He never called about suspicious white people, so what does that tell you?

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterzizi2

@ Conservative Black Catholic Perspective: You stated "The reality is that if you look at ANY statistics you’d like (pick your poison) – the stats will tell you that the chances - on a population percentage basis, of that unfamiliar young Black Male that you see being the someone who is out to do harm to you and/or your family – one of the reasons that we get these carry permits - is higher than for other ethnic groups in the US."

That comment in a nutshell is the issue here. You are wholeheartedly believing statistics created by the very people who have similar mindsets to those of the residents of Sanford, FL. As I stated above, many of the crimes committed by African Americans are non-violent crimes. In the case in which the crime is violent, it is often committed against another African American citizen, totally negating the need Caucasian citizens seem to have to "load up on guns" to "protect themselves from us". When you make comments such as the one above, you give racist people excuses for why Zimmerman shot first (without hesitation) and never considered shooting an unarmed child to be an issue. Zimmerman was in a car. He left his vehicle to get out of the car and shoot a child walking home. Who does that?! Zimmerman is a cold blooded killer, point blank.

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterALM

I read your blog on a regular basis but never comment. I knew that I needed to comment on this one.

Thank you for this. You nailed it. Since hearing about the Martin case, I have gone from anger to tears. I've also felt like speaking about the burden I feel as a young African-American. I'd like to tell my fiance about the load I feel I have on my shoulders but he is white and normally doesn't fully grasp the way I feel about issues such as these. It's all building up inside and reading this has helped to ease my frustration just a bit. Thank you.

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmandaM

Your article saved my sanity because you feel so HELPLESS and POWERLESS so THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I am the only black person at my job and whenever something is missing, they look at me and its so hard being the Jackie Robinson person all of the time! THANK YOU SO MUCH for writing this, I really REALLY needed that!

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobirdie23

I have been in a simmering rage for 2 weeks since I heard about the coldblooded murder of Trayvon Martin, and the casual acceptance of his murder by the so-called "law." I have been on the verge of screaming tears for days now and I have been afraid of myself. Thank you for writing this. I'm crying now and I hope it will let some of the poisonous rage out. I have been one of the "good" ones, too, and I am so very tired of it. So fucking tired.

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersjelly

You all have Valid and warranted feelings about this situation. A young man has been murdered, his life taken from him because he walk in or through someone elses neghiborhood. This is a free country and walking in or through a neghiborhood is no excuse to Murder an individual. Zimmerman...is a murder & racist plain and simply(regardless of the law they are trying to hide him behind). Justice will be served and Zimmerman will do the time for the Crime. The young man from my knowledge was not armed...did not struggle with Zimmerman...and was attempting to get out of harms way...there is no grand jury or court that can overlook the facts in this case. Even the Police has to sound the alarm and have just cause for shooting there weapon...Zimmerman is not a Law enforcement Officer. let us continue to Pray for the Martin Family...this is a terrible lost...they need us to Stand With Them as They Seek Justice. This is a serious issue and must be address professionally and tactfully. When we come together...leave the laughter and jokes at the house, because this is a serious matter. We can not allow a Murder to get away on technicality.

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStand CLV

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