If you haven’t heard the tragic story of Trayvon Martin being gunned down by a reckless self-appointed neighborhood watch thug, then you need to read this article. It is the best synopsis I’ve found that goes into depth and detail about the heinous crime that has yet to be officially recognized as an actual illegal act.
I do not like to use my blog as a platform for politics or current events often. I like to keep things light and humorous whenever possible. But, BUT, this story is so very, very close to my heart, because I firmly believe that Trayvon Martin’s death was racially motivated as was the inept bungling of the police investigation.
I know that there are many people out there who disagree with my opinion. While they may find the situation tragic, they do not see it as racism. A few years ago I might have come to the same conclusion, but that was before I became an aunt to these little boys:
Since becoming an aunt I’ve begun to notice how insidious and subtle real racism is; how it lives and thrives just below the surface and therefore out of sight for many people who just don’t want to see it.
I see it often now. When my obviously white sister is out in public with her two black sons she is often met with disdain and contempt by other adults. UNTIL, that is, her obviously white husband joins her side and everyone understands that her sons were adopted. Then my sister, who was given the cold shoulder and frowning looks mere minutes before, is lauded as a heroine.
Evidently in the realm of public opinion, a white woman adopting black children is praise worthy while a white woman giving birth to black children is just wrong.
I often see racism in the public schools. The Department of Education reported just last month that black students are more than three times likely to be suspended from school than white kids. Secretary Arne Duncan said,
“The sad fact is that minority students across America face much harsher discipline than non-minorities, even within the same school.”
My two sisters are justifiably nervous about sending their precious black sons into this system. It is a system that will punish black boys far more than their white peers, a system that will subtly teach my nephews that they are treated differently because of the color of their skin, a system that will start to corrode their self esteem and their belief in a free and equal society.
This sort of stealthy racism exists everywhere, even among children. I recently read an article by Kevin D. Hofmann who told how his 11 year old son was called a ‘nigger’ repeatedly by another boy on the opposing basketball team. When his son went to the coaches and referees they did nothing to stop it. In fact, he was told by an adult that it was no big deal.
It is a big deal. Judging someone by the color of their skin is a huge, giant, gargantuan BIG DEAL.
So when I read about Trayvon Martin I don’t see just a tragic story, I see my nephews’ future. I see a black boy who was deemed ‘suspicious’ because of the color of his skin. I see a police department who has a history of neglecting and failing its black constituents.
I see racism.