Thursday, July 18, 2013

"Trayvoning" and Other Foolishness

I’m a black man from the south that grew up New Orleans. When I was Trayvon Martin’s age there was a lot of things that could have caused me harm. I know what it’s like to be profiled and the last thing you need is a strange man coming towards you and not knowing what his intentions are. I can’t separate my personal experiences and who I am from the situation. I knew the outcome of the trial wouldn’t do anything to change how I feel so I chose not to follow the trial every day except for the occasional update. Nothing that jury did or didn’t do was going to wake up the young man and give him back to his parents. Even if there was a guilty verdict it still would have been a sad event for me because death is final and George Zimmerman gets to live his life and prosper while Trayvon Martin can’t.  I remembered the night in 1995 when I was pulled out of my car and made to get on my knees with my hands behind my head by two sheriffs searched my car. I wasn’t sure what they were looking for but it turned out all I did for them to pull me over like that was having a blown taillight.  I was scared as hell that night and those were people in uniform so I was basically powerless. I can’t imagine what I would have done if a stranger would have ran up on me. I probably would have gotten shot after trying to defend myself.

 Not everyone is able to see a situation from the view of someone different than they are so if people want to celebrate and validate the death of an innocent kid then I’m not wasting any energy on them because it’s a hopeless situation. They can listen to Sean Hannity and their Ted Nugent records in the comfort of the country they wish was 50 years younger.  I prefer to use the energy I would spend arguing with them on helping young men like my co-workers son who is starting college on a track and academic scholarship. We need to try to help these young men live as well as possible as a tribute to all the young men like Trayvon who didn’t have the chance. 

The only way to really avoid the energy that’s given off by situations like this is to get off the grid. Between Twitter and Facebook there’s so much information going back and forth that I feel my brain is going to explode. There are people posting audio clips and articles constantly. Some of the news stories aren’t even real.  Some of these things are just trying to increase hits to worthless websites or spark emotions in people that care. Other things are just insensitive and stupid. I think the tone of everything has gotten worse since the verdict.

Yesterday a friend of mine asked me if I was going to say anything in my blog about “Trayvoning”.  Since I hadn’t been blogging much and trying not to pay too much attention to foolishness I told her I didn’t know what she was speaking about. She asked me to Google it and when I did I got pissed.  Apparently people think it’s funny to take pictures posing as Trayvon Martin’s body lying on the ground holding Skittles and ice tea. I wouldn’t want anyone to take my life as a joke like that and it’s been very difficult not to find these people online and spend the whole day threatening them and proving someone’s point about us being violent.

I should have told her to ignore it and not let it bother her so much but I couldn’t bring myself to do it because as a mother of two sons her anger is valid in my opinion. Despite the anger we feel we have to keep trying to move forward and ignore some of this foolishness. I can’t imagine how Trayvon Martin’s friend and family are dealing with everything. I couldn’t watch the news or open an internet browser at all. I probably wouldn’t turn on my cell phone for a few months. It would be too much to take.

I often wonder if people have changed or has technology just put more of a spotlight on the way people think and made it easier to share with the world randomly. I wonder if technology was the way it is now in 1955 would there have been people taking pictures of people posing as Emmett Till laying face down in the river. I’m sure that would have been the case because back then there were many people who thought that his death was for a legitimate reason just like Trayvon Martin’s was.