Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thoughts on Trayvon

I never write in this blog anymore. I don't have time and I guess I just don't think I have many deep thoughts worth sharing with the world (or with my one reader, my husband). However, the recent events surrounding the murder of Trayvon Martin have really got me thinking and I wanted to write them down and share them. I look at the picture of Trayvon that is on the news and I see a baby. He was just a kid. How could anyone think he was a thug? I don't know Trayvon, I don't know his family. All I know is what has been presented on the news programs that I typically watch (The Today Show and Keith Olbermann). His face just looks so full of promise and even though I don't know him, it saddens me that he is gone from this world. It also angers me that his killer is not in jail. I think that alone speaks volume about the society we live in.

I read an article in Time recently. Unfortunately, I don't remember title of it or who wrote it. It was a one page piece giving advice to young black men on how to conduct themselves in public so they can avoid the fate of Trayvon Martin. It gave advise on how to move in a non-threatening manner, how to react to situations when people may want to harm you and even how to dress. That article got me thinking a lot. I was under the impression that in the America of 2012 we had moved beyond this. I am not completely naive . I know that racism is still alive in America. I just didn't think it was to the point that a whole race of young men had to think about how they are presenting themselves to the public every second of the day. That just makes me sad. It also makes me hope that I have never acted in a way that has made a fellow human being have to act different that they really are because they are black and I am white.

I have so many random thoughts on this. The whole hoodie issue. I wear hoodies all the time on the weekends. They are warm and comfy and I like them. I can't imagine being gunned down because my hoodie was threatening. Then again, I probably never would be because I am white.

My thoughts on the President's comments on the topic, if he had a son that son would look like Trayvon: That probably wasn't the most eloquent statement the president has ever made and a lot of people came down hard on it. I think what he was trying to say is that even though our country has evolved to the point where a black man is president, we are still in a place where a black kid can get shot simply for being black.

My thoughts on the congressman who was kicked off the floor just for wearing a hoodie: That man was just trying to support Trayvon's family and make a statement that you shouldn't judge someone by what they are wearing. I think the fact that he was kicked out for some ridiculous bylaw (wearing a hat?!?) says a lot about how out of touch our elected officials are with the American People.

My thoughts on the slandering of Trayvon's name: I have heard reports that people (and I don't know who these people are) saying that Trayvon did drugs and had recently been caught with drugs at school. I don't know if these allegations are actually true or just an attempt to slander a child. Anyone who knows me knows that I am one of the biggest anti-drug people around. I have never done drugs and I expect the people in my world don't do them around me. I believe drugs rob potential from young kids and I pray that my daughter stays away from them when she grows up. Even with my adamant anti-drug stance, I still say who cares? It's not relevant. It doesn't matter if Trayvon was the bigger drug pusher in school or if he had never used drugs. At the time he was murdered, he was not selling or using drugs. All he had on him was a bag of skittles and a bottle of iced tea. Furthermore, even if he were selling or using drugs at the time, he didn't deserve to be shot. If that were the case, that is a job for the police, not some self-appointed neighborhood watch guy with a gun. The attempt to slander a 17 year old boy who was doing nothing but walking through a neighborhood at the time of his death sickens me.

One thing that does make me hopeful in the aftermath of Trayvon's murder is the cries for justice that have been expressed by people of all races and ethnicities throughout this country. Our country has been thrown into rioting and turmoil for lesser crimes than this. People are demanding justice, but they are doing so peacefully. I think the calm but insistent pleas for justice by Trayvon's parents have helped to set the tone for the country and for that they should be commended.

As for the shooter, George Zimmerman. He needs to be arrested and put on trial in front of a jury of his peers. That due process of law is one of the basic tenants that this country was founded upon. What the jury's decision will be is out of our hands but the trial needs to happen. Anything less presents the image to Americans and to the world that it is ok to shoot someone just for walking in your neighborhood. That is not an America I want to live in and I hope I never have to.

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