Monday, July 15, 2013

Racism.

This weekend's verdict on the Zimmerman case caused me to read up on the case as a whole and really examine what happened that night and what people are saying about it.  I spent yesterday pouring over videos and blog posts and news articles with a sick feeling in my stomach.

I don't even want to talk about the verdict, really.  I would've hated to be on that jury and I know our legal system requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict someone of murder.  I understand that proof may have just not been possible in this instance.

What's making me sick is the fact that this even happened.  I wish Zimmerman hadn't had a gun that night.  And I wish my boys could grow up feeling safe as they walk down the street at night, wearing whatever they want, with any tattoos they want, going as slow or as fast as they want.  I wish I could raise them in a country where people would not assume they are criminals to no fault of their own.

I think yesterday was a wakeup call for me.  I have felt intimidated raising black boys, but mostly because I want them to feel secure in their identity.  I want to raise them to be confident with their hair, their skin, the ways they look different from me.  I want to raise them with cultural identity both from our families and from their birthfamilies.  That is a big task and it intimidates me.

But I don't think I quite understood what it meant to be a young black man in America today, until yesterday.  Obviously, I still don't understand it because I am a white woman, but my eyes opened much wider yesterday.  And that is a good thing.

This video broke my heart:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/14/melissa-harris-perry-george-zimmerman_n_3595503.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

Did you watch it?  Black parents talk about the fears they have for their children, particularly their sons.  One mom asked her husband how to help their children feel safe after this incident and he replied, "I don't feel safe."

Wow.

I feel that racism has been brought to the forefront of Americans' minds through this tragedy and I hope we (myself included) don't just brush it aside and go back to how we felt and thought before this happened.  I hope we all do something about it.  Even if that's just not letting the racist jokes slide when you hear them, or becoming more educated about racism in America, or fighting your own prejudices that have been passed on to you through media or whatever.

There's a little quote floating around the internet that says, "How cool would it be to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night?"

Let's do what we can to strive for that world, shall we?

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