More times than not I am usually able to rant about something that has struck a nerve with me and then move on. Every so often a subject becomes the exception. My post about seventeen-year-old Treyvon Martin is now the exception.
I appreciate the many emails and comments that have come and I have great respect for everyone’s opinion, whether I have agreed with them or not. What I value most is the dialogue that has been opened because folks don’t like to discuss subjects that can provoke rancorous opinions, and talking about issues with any kind of racial overtones can bring out some truly acrimonious viewpoints.
One anonymous reader in particular took issue with my post and the perception that the murder of Treyvon Martin was racially motived, questioning my “evidence of racism”. This person was, and I quote, “sick do death of this hatred of white people that causes you and your ilk to play the race card at every turn, regardless of whether it applies or not,” unquote.
At first, I took issue with the writer’s comment, the assumption that I had a “hatred of white people” because I commented on my experiences as a woman of color, or my father and son’s experiences as black men. They were, after all, our experiences and when taken in context with the experiences of other men and women of color, fit a pattern that many, not all, might define as “racist”.
But I also understood that this writer was visiting this blog for the first time and didn’t know me from Adam. They didn’t know that I was raised in a very white, New England community; that I attended a predominately white (me being the only black child) school; that for most of my adult life I was married to a man who was considered white; gave birth to and raised children who are biracial and range from very light and bright white to richer, warmer browns, and that in the black community, I have been seen as more of an anomaly than not.
When understanding that this individual has no idea that my own ethnicity and degree of blackness has been questioned more times than I care to count, that I have experiences with racism across a very broad color spectrum, my chagrin with this reviewer’s words was quickly squashed. Because I know that I don’t hate white people. In fact, my list of things that I do hate, is exceptionally short, and include no race of people whatsoever. My personal sensitivities with race come only when trying to understand the mindsets that so readily integrate the word “hate” into their opinions and comments about such, them perceiving that is how someone else must feel. But this person doesn’t know me just as I don’t know them so how could I be offended that they might not know that I have friends and family who are white and all that I feel for them is love and respect?
But my personal opinions aside, whether anyone views the murder of Treyvon Martin as racist or not, there can be no disputing that the vicious crime that was perpetuated against this young man should not be ignored. I can say most assuredly that George Zimmerman’s malevolent actions deserve the world’s attention to keep other young Treyvon Martin’s from suffering the same fate. As a parent I don’t want to bear witness to any other mother having to bury her child when such can and should be prevented.
The release of the 911 audio tapes is chilling. Eyewitness reports and hearing Treyvon Martin begging and pleading for help as he lay on the ground and then hearing the explosive gunshot being fired that ended his life, should have raised questions and been enough probably cause to dispute George Zimmerman’s account that he was acting in self-defense. George Zimmerman was duly advised to stay in his car and wait for police, but George opted to get out of that car and engage young Treyvon in a combative manner. Treyvon didn’t initiate contact with George, suggesting that it was Treyvon who was acting in self-defense. But George walks free today, a young boy’s blood on his hands, and Treyvon’s parents have to bury their baby boy, every dream and hope that they had for his future gone.
A week after the incident, ABC News uncovered questionable police conduct in the investigation of the fatal shooting, including the alleged "correction" of at least one eyewitness' account. Florida police have stated that Zimmerman was not arrested because he had a “squeaky clean” record, which we now know is not true, the overzealous gunman charged in 2005 with battery against on officer and resisting arrest, charges that were later expunged. As Treyvon’s mother has stated, all any of us want to see is due process and justice for Treyvon. Allow the evidence to be presented in court and have a judge and jury determine George Zimmerman’s innocence or guilt.
There is a reason that anger over the handling of this case is intensifying and there is a reason I and others of "my ilk" are outraged. If Treyvon had been white or red or blue, and George, black, brown or green, I can say with most certainty that I and all those of "my ilk" would be just as outraged and just as heartbroken. But they weren’t. Treyvon was a young black male and George was a much older, much whiter adult, and whether you think this crime was racially motivated or not, it is definitely a tragedy of magnanimous proportions, a crime that should never have happened.
And whether you agree with my opinions or not, there is no disputing that not one of us, no matter what our views, who can bring Treyvon Martin back to his beloved mother’s empty arms.
My prayers go out to Treyvon’s family and friends.