I have tried so very hard to keep a ‘safe’ distance from the Trayvon Martin trial. My updates on its progress have come primarily from Facebook friends and real life relatives. Every since I became familiar with the case it has haunted me…..HAUNTED. ME. But seeing that picture of Trayvon’s body, as it lay lifeless on the ground, well it brought the ghosts in my mind to life in a way I had not expected.
You see, like the President I can’t help but to go to “what if that was my child”. And not just in the way that any parent would, but in ways that are all too uncomfortable for me to even acknowledge let alone speak about. I have a son. A sweet innocent son. A son whose persona is so unique. An intelligent boy, often immersed in his thoughts and distracted by his surroundings all at once. A sensitive child, who can sometimes say insensitive things with no idea how or why his words have offended. A soul who hangs his head in shame whenever he is chastised or faced with the knowledge that he has hurt someone or something. If you know him…..
But if you don’t know him, like George Zimmerman did not know Trayvon Martin…..
He can be perceived as aggressive as sometimes he does not modulate his voice appropriately. One might think him disrespectful when he does not immediately reply when spoken to. Social nuances are sometimes lost on him – he doesn’t always pick up on ill will directed toward him. And he often wears hoodies like a security blanket.
Hoodies that might give you a different impression if you don’t know him. Like George Zimmerman did not know Trayvon Martin….
My boy is highly intelligent, amazingly imaginative and dreams of a life as a computer programmer and astronaut. “I have no doubt that you can be whatever you choose to be, Sweetheart, as long as you work hard!”, I tell him – always encouraging his dreams and emphasizing hard work. But I am not 100% honest. With him or with myself. I have doubts.
Because if you don’t know him, like George Zimmerman did not know Trayvon Martin…..
In seven short years, in the eyes of way too many people he won’t be the child I gush over. To them he’ll be none of the things I describe. None of the things I know. None of the things I love. He will just be another young black male. A potential threat. A menace to society. A suspect. Black man usual. No matter what I, or his fathers, or my brothers, or my sister, or my mother, or his sisters do. He will be someone he isn’t…..
If you don’t know him, like George Zimmerman did not know Trayvon Martin…..