As we watch the story of Trayvon Martin’s murder unfold, or rather, as we grasp at straws and wonder why the hell it’s NOT unfolding, I am reminded just how weak is our understanding about what racial equality means.
It’s a very healthy reminder for me, the mother of a brown-skinned child. A mother who grew up with the privilege of being white, surrounded by people who assumed good things about my race. A white person who has never been racially profiled. A white person who has never felt fear based on what someone else might think of me based on the color of my skin.
And now, a mother who wonders if one night, my teen daughter will go out late at night and be racially profiled. And I worry that she might react just like Trayvon Martin did, because she believes in racial equality.
Because she believes that she is equal.
Because that’s what we tell our children, right?
We are all equal.
Nobody should look out of place just because they have a certain skin color or because of a certain item of clothing they wear.
I have no doubt in my mind that Trayvon Martin believed he was equal, when he told his girlfriend that he would not run.
I, obviously, don’t know what went through his mind, but his choice not to run tells me that he was making a bold statement for himself. He had every right to be where he was. He was not doing anything wrong and he would not run. He would not be forced to let this man intimidate him.
He made his bold statement. And now he is dead. And I’m speculating that it was because he believed that he was equal when he was confronted with a man who seems to have been racially profiling him.
Let’s not allow Trayvon Martin’s murder go without understanding it.
He should be memorialized. But let’s not make him a martyr.
Let’s be reminded that he was bold. He believed in equality even though he was a young, black male in a hoodie walking through a gated community.
He had every right to be there.
He was not a danger to society.
But George Zimmerman is a danger to society.
George Zimmerman should be on trial because he killed an innocent boy whose only crime was looking the part of stereotype that is wrong. It’s just wrong.