I Cried…

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This morning as I was driving to drop my daughter and nephew off to school, traffic came to a stop in front of me and because the cars on both sides of the road paused, I was sure it was because of a school bus. But when I looked at the clock, I realized that it was too late for that, and saw the man in the car in front of me get out of his vehicle and approach what I now recognized as two young black boys—teenagers I’m guessing—fighting in the street. The black male driver got in between them and attempted to break them up, and then I heard the sirens and my first reaction was, “I hope they send a black cop.” And then I cried.

I cried for whatever they were fighting for in the first place. I cried because I felt like only a black cop could safely contain the situation. I cried because I even felt that way. I cried for all of the decent officers, of all cultures, races, and backgrounds, who get the blow-back every time one of them does something wrong. I just cried. And as the babies got excited by the sounds of the sirens, and exclaimed with joy over the first pair of lights popping into view, I cried even harder. I cried because it was a black cop who jumped out and calmed one boy, but then had to wrestle with the other who refused to be contained. I cried as another non-black officer arrived, skidded to a stop and hopped out to help his comrade slam and pen this boy to the ground, and still he struggled with them. I cried because the baby boy in the back, in his innocence excited by the sirens will very likely one day not be so excited to see or hear police lights and sirens. I cried because my baby girl had to ask what they were doing with that boy on the ground. I cried because as I inched past to continue my journey, the emotions of this week flooded me and I just couldn’t stop.

I couldn’t stop my heart for hurting for the family of Trayvon Martin and all of the circumstances that led up to his death. I thought of his family and the prayers I’ve muttered for them, for God to heal their places of hurt, and not allow them to get caught up in the wrong things, but that ultimately he’d give them wisdom on how he’d have them to proceed. I thought of George Zimmerman, and wondered even in light of his obvious culpability, what brought that man to this point and how does he feel right now. I thought of all the hateful comments and messages I’ve read about him, and most shockingly, about Trayvon, and thought how could people be so hateful when an innocent life has been taken.

I wondered how people could spin his murder into a political jump-off, arguing how liberals will use this to try to push through stricter gun control, or how conservatives don’t care about “us”, see how they let his killer walk free. I read hateful language and speech be tossed around message boards as casually as ‘Good Mornings”, and “How ya doings”. And I listened, watched, and read commentators, and “experts” volley about how the situation would’ve been different if the child, yes child, as 17 is still defined as by law, had been white and Zimmerman black. And it hit me, that wrapped up in emotional turmoil, our true colors always shine through.

I recent blog post suggested that this was different from other perceived injustices. That somehow Trayvon’s death has galvanized the community to long-overdue action, and proposed the question why? Why is his death the rallying point for so many? Sure, there was outrage over Amadou Diallo’s murder, but it felt nothing like this. Is it because Trayvon was a child? Is it because he was armed only with examples of the innocence childhood represents—candy and a drink? Is it because the shooter still has avoided police custody? Why him? Why now?

All things being related, we are in a dangerous place in our society. We have the luxury of sitting anonymously behind computer screens and inciting actions that can easily snowball beyond our control. From the obvious racial attacks on our (meaning the American) President, and the accompanying ignorance of those who perpetrate it, to the blatant disregard of due process in apprehending a person who should be the prime suspect in a homicide, and our educators showing a lack of common sense when dealing with students from varying backgrounds, the facade of years of forced and faux equality and justice in this nation is cracking and the flood of racist vitriol, heated actions, and non-unifying behavior threatens to drown the very spirit of freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness we hold so dear.

So I cried, and sometimes that’s alright.

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3 responses

  1. I am crying and praying with you, a change has to come and soon.
    Keep writing and praying and I know a change will come for our future generation.
    But now there need to be wisdom and understanding about support for the young parents who are trying to raise children in such a toxic society.
    Some have the picture of group support as you and your friends and Kia and her friends.
    Remembering the quote that said it takes a village to raise a child.
    Always remembering Jesus said,”Suffer little children to come unto me and for bid them not for such is the Kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14 KJV
    Rev. Mom

  2. To quote Marvin Gaye, “Sometimes it makes me wanna holler” . Our country needs level headed voices unafraid to show emotions (like yours). You raise important questions worth discussing. I would add:
    Why is it that race permeates our psyche so deeply? Particularly racial understandings as defined by comedic stereotypes or personalities/ behaviors shaped through tragedy. Why is physical violence an acceptable way for people to respond to one another? Why is it a common response among black people? How heavy a toll must our young people, community and future generations bear before the pendulum shifts in the opposite (prayerfully more peaceful direction). What is the culpability of adults & elders in the community in cultivating either by omission or comission, young people who are not a blessing to society or (even worse) supporting programs, music etc. that nurture the image of young people as out of control, wild and violent. Where are the voices, the bodies who will protect the innocent? Maybe that is why Trayvon’s killing is so heartbreaking. It shines a light on a community that cannot protect its innocent anymore than it can correct the deficient. We need hope for a better tomorrow. It exists, but those pockets of light need to be illuminated even brighter. They need to be supported, uplifted, and reflected in our larger society. The challenge is to become inspired by the sad and the tragic, to become committed to leaving a lasting legacy (no matter how big or small) that is very different than what you saw today.
    Make your mark and help others to make their’s in ways that are worthy of remembering. Blessings –

    • Perfect song choice, though I have to admit I found it funny when my comedic friends on FB posted a certain notorious NWA song as an ode to the Sanford, Fla. police. I called you this morning to “holler” and cry some more. Thank you for always understanding!