One of the more difficult things about being an African American is understanding that my life – my existence is different than any other entity in this land.
My ancestors did not come here looking for freedom, they came in chains.
My ancestors did not get to work hard to achieve the American dream – they slaved to achieve that dream for others.
My grandparents and great-grandparents didn’t get to vote, or own land the way that others have. They had to fight for what was offered to every other person. At one time we – my people – were not even constitutionally people we were 3/5 of a person.
That is the America that was – I grew up in a different America. Almost.
I grew up in an America that fooled me into thinking that my experience could simply be the American experience and not the Black American experience.
This is my son – and I am faced – yet again – with the challenge of explaining to him through his world of Autism – that he too must live the Black American experience because he can not just be American.
Over a year ago the story of Trayvon Benjamin Martin came into my consciousness. He was a 17 year old boy, walking home from the store, who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman.
I hugged my child tight that night when I heard the story and have hugged him even tighter in the days since. He’s my baby. He’s special needs. He’s going to get bigger. He’s going to get wider. There is nothing that I can do to stop that. He can only do what is natural and that is grow into a man. He will never be a man – he will always be a Black man.
His life is not valued in this country the ways others are. He will never be able to behave as others will. He will always have to be different – he will never be allowed to just BE.
Not even his mother a Black woman will know his experience.
I prepared myself from the moment I heard this story of this young child killed before his time, that ‘justice’ would not be done. I say justice in the sense that the blind woman with the scales would treat the life of Trayvon Benjamin Martin with the same respect as someone named Kennedy. Or Clinton. Or Rockefeller.
I watched as the pundits yelled and complained. As they attempted to add value to a life that historically is not valued.
I watched sick to my stomach as the Black Americans of my generation and younger did idiotic things and not activism things.
They created Tumblr pages of themselves in hoodies instead of going to law school. They bought Skittles instead of running for office. They marched in circles instead of educating themselves.
I wept almost as much for the delusional ‘activists’ as I did for Trayvon.
I hugged my child tighter, understanding on a fundamental level that this case would hurt more than so many others.
I watched almost all of the trial. I felt hatred for George Zimmerman. I watched that man who gunned down this child and I saw the danger my son will always be in…. always.
I will have to let go of that hatred, but it existed.
I watched as the prosecution fucked this case over and up and around and I prayed for something different than what I was seeing.
It’s always been about what can be proven. I’ve always questioned if second degree murder could be proven. I hoped that manslaughter would be. I was always prepared for a not guilty. That was the decision of the 6 woman jury tonight – July 13 2013.
I feared 6 woman – five of them White.
I understand how feared the Black man is and what women know more than most is fear.
Those who are not Black fear the man that my son will eventually be more than I love who he is now.
I looked at the inconsistencies in the story of Zimmerman but I kept going back to what can be proven. Over the past year a very good friend and I talked about this case and it was always what can be proven.
As the case went to the jury, I thought what could be proven.
My soul weeps but at the end of the day…. this is justice. Rough Justice.
You can’t have watched this trial and said it was unfair. Unless you were George Zimmerman. You can’t have watched this trial and thought that there were dirty tricks.
This verdict tonight is simply the state not being able to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. The verdict is not a testimony about the value of the Black man – the gunshot was that testimony. The verdict was not the wrong one it was just the one that it is…. based on the evidence.
Two people know what happened. One person can not tell the story – the other will not tell the story truthfully – and the state butchered the story.
I watch the outrage on social media and weep further. Not just because as the mother of a boy who will eventually be a Black man – but for their loss their inability to see the forest for the trees and their ignorance of the legal system in general.
The tears that I shed tonight and in the future are for my son, for the Martin family, and frankly for all of our future.
How do you get away with killing a 17 year old child? You don’t not really. There are greater juries than the one who decided Zimmerman’s fate today.
But ugly as it is, the system worked as it is designed. As an American I take no solace in that system working because I have the greater responsibility of teaching my son that he is Black and that Black is different.