Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Because I have to say something

I have opened this page at least 4 times today, and have looked at the blankness without writing anything. I still don't think I have the right words, but Kelly's eloquence convinced me that I must try.

I first wrote about the death of Trayvon Martin March 2012--before George Zimmerman was arrested. My main feeling at that time was disappointment. I am still disappointed, but it is more than that.

I truly don't know where to start. The plan is to throw words at the page and sort them out later. Since I share this blog with the Cistern, she can help me with the sorting.

Since I have so many more questions than answers, perhaps I will start throwing them out there:

Why have so many (white) people been so quick to doubt that race was a factor in this case?

Why did I believe for a moment that a jury of 6 people in Sanford, Florida who didn't have an opinion of the case would be people who would be concerned with justice?

Do people really believe that "Not guilty" is the same as "Good job, dude!"?

Why have so many people been so certain that the most commonly seen photo of Trayvon Martin must have been taken long before he was killed? Is it so ingrained in our culture to be afraid of black young men that his smiling, innocent face had to be inaccurate?

Just to be clear, this is the last known photograph of Trayvon (unless you want to count the autopsy photos) nine days before he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman:

My heart hurts. It hurts because a 17 year old young man was senselessly killed. It hurts because this case has brought to the forefront again how little white people understand what it means to be black in America today. Is it better than it was? Yes. Is it anything close to what it needs to be? No fucking way.

I think back to when I was a 16 year old girl. I put myself in the shoes of Rachel Jenteal. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I had been the one on the phone with Trayvon during the initial minutes of his encounter with George Zimmerman, MY testimony would have been golden...simply because I had the luxury of being born white.

The notion that one can kill an unarmed teenager, claim he feared for his own safety, make conflicting statements that don't agree with the undisputed facts, be found "not guilty," and have people celebrate the verdict makes me physically sick.

I don't know what to say. I am indignant. I am outraged by the comments I have read by ignorant and/or hateful people.

I do not have children, but I am very involved in the lives of my 13 yo niece and 9 yo nephew. I actually enjoy the "hard conversations." I am so terribly sad that the hardest conversations I will ever have with them pale in comparison with the conversations I would be obligated to have with them if they were black.

I knew this wasn't going to be a pretty post--in content or in form. I think it is even more scattered than I anticipated. But it is a start.

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