If you haven't heard about Trayvon Martin, you aren't alone. Young, black men getting murdered don't generally make a lot of noise on the nightly news. We're lucky if they even get a little mention in the local newspaper.
But if you're the mother of a child of color, well you just pay attention to these things. You notice more things. When I walk into an event, I will notice how many other people of color are there. Sometimes there is only one and I begin to feel uneasy. Sometimes there are many and I feel like whatever organization is putting on the event has done something right. It's hard to not notice "things" now. I would never want to go back to not noticing but sometimes it does wear on a mother's heart.
Trayvon Martin was a 17 year old boy visiting his father in Florida. He was watching a game and got a hunkering for a snack like 17 year old boys are wont to do. He went for a stroll to the convenience store to pick up some Skittles. On the way back, George Zimmerman, 28, saw Martin walking. He is the captain of the Neighborhood Watch and he called the police because, you know, young black man has to be up to no good right? The 911 dispatcher told Zimmerman not to confront the boy and to wait for police, like you're suppose to do on Neighborhood Watch. But when the police arrived the boy was dead, shot by Zimmerman who outweighed him by 100 pounds and said he killed him in self defense.
Guess what happened? A young black man dead.
Well, of course, Zimmerman was let go. They believed his bullshit story about self defense. And apparently there's some misconduct on the part of the police being investigated now too.
My heart quite literally aches for Trayvon's family. I can't imagine. I hope to never have to imagine or know what this pain must be like.
But I worry. Every day I worry. I think of all the people who call my son adorable and handsome and cute.
Now. While he's 2.
I've written about his before, I know. But I'm so tired of reading stories like this. Of reading another story where a young black boy is dead at the hands of a racist.
How do we stop this? Can we stop this? How can I make people still see my son as adorable and handsome and cute and funny and smart when he's 14? And 17? And 25?
I think about the pain he'll go through because of the color of his skin and I panic.
I worry that most people will go their whole lives and not notice "things." Or worse, argue that "things" don't really exist.
All I'm noticing now is how many people in the world would want to do harm to my sweet, bubbly son just because of the color of his skin.
And I don't know how to protect him.