March 27, 2012

For Trayvon

A while ago I had a conversation with my fiance about this screenplay I wanted to write about some super secret geopolitical thing that I thought wasn't widely known and didn't get the attention it deserved, and she just looked at me, incredulous.

"Of course no one's written about it!  Do you think you're the first person who thought of this?  How do you think they keep it secret?"

Sometimes, I can be really stupid.

But the point she made was that I'm becoming a family man now.  I had to start considering how my actions effect my family.


For most of my life before now, that equation equalled "Mom+Dad+Brother+Nana+Me", or some broader combination of aunts, uncles, cousins, and the like.  But now, the most important version of that term, the one for which I'm directly responsible for, is the one I'm building personally with my better half right now.  Children are very important to both of us.

And the idea that a grown man could look at my child, literally walking down the street minding his own business, and KILL them, and then walk away without even an arrest, let alone a trial to even determine if  a crime has been committed just terrifies and infuriates me.

I think of Emmett Till.

I think of Ennis Cosby.

I think of the legions of Black boys who have their lives stolen from them every day because of someone else's irrational fear and hatred.

It's a delicate balance, because I don't want my future children to live in fear, or to expect any less from their home, their community, or their country than any of their white classmates.  Yet I also don't want them to be blind to what I perceive to be the realities of race in America.  I'm struggling to see past the years of learned behavior to find the appropriate level of paranoia and mistrust in a world where most people are good and decent and honest but there are still people out there who will take your life just because you're Black and male.

And it's the callous disregard for that life that horrifies me even more.  Who gives a drug test to a corpse?  Who takes the word of the man with the smoking gun in his hand that the dead guy had it coming as "evidence"?

Even if Trayvon Martin struck first (which I think is a ridiculous claim), doesn't the evidence show that he, too, could have legitimately claimed self-defense under the "Stand Your Ground" law?

Discretion is the better part of valor, people.

I'm trying not to get off on a rant about law enforcement and Black Americans, so let me just say two things: paraphrasing Ice-T, your authority is not a license to kill.

And God is watching.

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