First there was a Man. Then a Woman. Then in quick succession, two cats, a confused dog beast, and two kids. I stay at home with them. I'm the Man

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Funny, I've Heard That Name Somewhere Before

Next door, we have black neighbors. Across the street and next door on the other side too. The particular neighbors in question have a six year old son. He was in The Peanut's kindergarten class this past year. He's a big, huggable, good-natured sweetie-pie. His name is Trayvon. How's that for some shit?

When the verdict came down, I felt so bad, so guilty. Remember when Obama was elected the first time, and we were all walking around and looking each other in the eye, and nodding like, "yeah, voted for him too." And it felt like we were all on the verge of a big high five. This was exactly like that, except the complete opposite. I felt like every black person I met wanted nothing to do with me. And who could blame them? I didn't particularly want much to do with me or my kind--I mean white, not Jewish, but to most people, I'm splitting hairs here--myself (By the way, white guilt is an excellent, excellent quality in a white person. It's really one of the finest qualities a white person can possess. Beware of the non-guilty white person, everyone who is not white. They will get you, eventually).

Except for Tre'. That is how I knew my neighbor Trayvon at first.. As Tre'. I knew him as that until shortly after Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin, actually. Imagine my shock when I first heard his full name.

Anyway, the night of the verdict, all I wanted to do was find that little boy and hug him and laugh with him and tell him sorry. I wanted to say sorry to him, his whole family, every black person I saw. Still do. But I don't. Don't know why for sure. Probably because it'd be rather presumptuous and weird and self-serving.

I do know that Florida sucks. There have been lots of voices more eloquent and erudite than mine that have stated the fact that we shouldn't blame Florida. That systemic racism is a blight upon our entire country. And that's true. Black men are frisked at a much higher rate in New York than are whites, die at a much higher rate in Chicago, lack the chance at a quality education and get incarcerated at a much higher rate everywhere. The backlash against our first black president combined with the long standing injustices that frame black life in America have the entire country neck deep in the shit storm that is systemic, institutionalized racism. But then again, Florida has been fucking up for over a decade ( at least) now, in issues of race, the law, political gaffes, sleazy real estate deals,  etc.

On the other hand, I'm pretty sure every Canadian blanches when they find out they have to go anywhere near any  U.S. city with the possible exceptions of Burlington, Vermont and Portland, Oregon. So maybe I should give Florida a break. But probably not.

I know that this post is late. Many people have written about this topic from most every angle, and mine is not a voice that should be heard over anyone else's on this subject.

I also know that when I first saw our neighbor Tre', two days after the verdict, he waved and grinned and said "Hi, Homemaker Man!" And I waved and grinned and said "Hi!" back.

Finally, I know (reaching the limits of my personal cache' of knowledge now) that part of what has gotten us here is too much silence. And I know a little boy named Trayvon. He is a friend of my daughter's. He's got a chubby, smiley face and a friendly way about him and I love that little kid. And so though I'm late, and though I'm only one middle-aged white blogger, and though I'm ineloquent, I will not be silent. I'll say what I feel I have too and I'll keep on saying it. I've got to now. Trayvon lives right next door.

HM


5 comments:

  1. You keep on making sure that your kids know that their friend Trayvon is no different from them, and you would have done your job.
    Keep on saying hi! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. There is no winner in the case of Trayvon Martin, to include George Zimmerman. The laws in the Great State of Florida are as unique as any other state in America, or any province in Canada.

    There was no way the jury in this case would be able to find Mr. Zimmerman guilty of the crimes he was charged with.

    ReplyDelete

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