I take pride in the fact that I am quick writer – dare I even say, a witty writer. My thoughts move quickly from brain to fingers to keyboard to screen to publishing. I’ve written about disability, cancer, diversity, gender, love, anger, parenting, race and racism. I’ve written about the every day antics of my children, the peacefulness of a long run, and the joys and frustrations of doing diversity work.
But I just can’t write about the verdict that found George Zimmerman not guilty of the murder of Trayvon Martin.
I just can’t.
On a long drive just hours after the verdict was announced, I thought of all the angles and I wanted to write about. I thought about the opening paragraph, the structure of the blog post, the funny stories that I would connect, the emotion I would attempt to elicit through careful positioning of words. But, I just couldn’t. Nothing made sense. Nothing flowed. Nothing felt right.
And, so, today, I do not offer a witty blog post on the state of race in America. I do not offer up a commentary on the importance of young Black men in our society and the urgency with which we, as Americans, need to value them, their families, their contributions, their talents, their struggles and their successes. I do not offer up any solutions to long standing institutional racism nor to dismantling my own earliest messages of Black men and Black boys (or lack of) in my childhood. I do not offer up my sadness and fear for my own nephews — who vary in shades of brown and black — nor the twisted sigh of relief that my own son is light skinned and with hair that does not require a wave cap.
No. I simply offer this as a marker of time. That something so sad has happened not just a year ago, not just this weekend, but in the daily lives of black and brown men and boys, and the women and girls who both love them and who have watched them figure out the rules of a game they didn’t create. For the ways in which we have tried to “raise ’em right” by valuing education, using manners,
never walking alone never walking in groups, not carrying candy not carrying weapons, live in a safe neighborhood live with good neighbors, don’t run run, trust people don’t trust anyone.
I offer this as a way for my kids — who one day might actually read what I have written while they have sat in the living room in a bouncy seat or sleeping in a crib or reading books — to know why the sounds of keyboard clicking and crying have occurred in our home.
I didn’t want to be silent. And, once this passes, I will likely kick back into activist mode, engage in dialogue about race, racism, oppression, value and all the stuff that usually energizes me. All the stuff that needs to be discussed so that my children know the reality of our world and our society.
I haven’t told them that a young man named Trayvon Martin was killed. I haven’t told them that the man who killed him will be given back his gun.
Because they believe in fairness.
They believe that our laws protect us from being killed.
They believe that when you do something wrong, you get sent to your room or have your privileges taken away. Even when it’s an accident.
They believe that their mom has always spoken up when things were wrong, that their mom always talks about important issues in our world — issues that they need to know about in order to help create change in our world.
They will come to learn that their mom’s inability to even talk about it, says more than her blog post.