Tuesday, July 16, 2013

America: No Place For My Sons

Like most of America I've been watching, crying and praying about the George Zimmerman trial. Sometimes I think the amount of time I invested in watching it was crazy, but I needed to see the outcome. 

This weekend when the announcement of a verdict came across the screen, I had just finished nursing my 5-month-old. We were laying on the bed, giggling as he tried to catch the toy I dangled in front of him. CJ was in his room singing “Gangam Style” and dancing while my husband tried to keep his eyes open long enough to eat his dinner – a typical American family on a hot hazy Saturday night.
As I watched the reporters scramble and the defendant come back in I felt the air get thick, I felt the tears roll down my cheek.  I felt myself choke because they said “Not Guilty.” It was blurry. I had to speak the questions running through my mind "Did they say not guilty to murder 2?" I sat and stared at the screen waiting, because I knew the jury was going to say guilty to manslaughter. Guilty of SOMETHING, but it never came.

At some point I picked up the baby I was rocking him, calming him and crying. He wasn't crying, he didn't need to be calmed down, I did. CJ saw my face and asked what was wrong? I told him the first of many fibs "Nothing Pop,  Mommy just hurt herself,  now go on and dance because I wanted to see the routine"  He laughed and ran back into his room.  My eyes stinging from tears, I watched as my husband who seconds earlier could not stay awake, turned off the TV and went outside.  I didn't have the heart to follow him to make sure he was okay, I knew he wasn't. * They killed another man* I sat there hopelessly rocking my baby and thinking, “How in the HELL am I supposed to raise my sons here, God? HOW?!” I sat for a long time – thinking, crying and hoping for the worse to happen to that killer.  I called my older sister, I needed someone to tell me it was going to be okay, but even I knew it wouldn't be.  I looked out the window, all the young men were sitting (where were they sitting).  “Fuck You, America” is the look they should have had. Instead, they looked defeated. They looked scared. This is the reality my sons will face.  This country will not allow us to be just another typical American family. No matter the jobs we hold, corporations we run or houses we own. We will always be lesser than. As I put the baby to bed and sat outside with my husband I wished I could take his pain away.

 We were forever changed by this verdict.  Not because we ever believed we belonged, I'm far too militant for that. The change has more to do with preparing our sons to navigate this country that refuses to change so they can stay alive.  
This morning in an opinion post by my favorite writer Eugene Robinson he summed up my feelings about this case in one line, "Trayvon Martin was fighting more than George Zimmerman that night. He was fighting prejudices as old as American history, and he never had a chance."  Rest in paradise, Trayvon. 

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