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.