Born Black In America


The world has been shaken since George Zimmerman was found Not Guilty.

I cried after they read the verdict. I went outside and cried. I didn’t want my children to see me crying and ask what was wrong because looking into their faces would’ve pushed me over the edge.
There are times where I will sit and just watch Samuel(3yrs)play or listen to him telling me about his lego trucks in great detail, and I feel the lump in my throat, my eyes start to water and I think about Trayvon and his family. I am so sick of reading about what a terrible teenager he was for smoking marijuana, or that he threw the first punch. Does that mean he deserved to die? I often think that Trayvon’s mother probably watched her son play and listen to him talk. Sybrina probably had such high hopes for her son. She loved him. Now her son is gone simply because he was born Black in America.

The fact that my children will at some point suffer such hatred and ignorance for being Born Black feels like two tons on my chest. I’ve been trying to go about my day and I do, but numerous times I day I find myself drifting off. I can’t help but wonder what the future will hold for my children. To have such hate in your heart that you can take another life and feel no remorse is very disturbing to me. I can’t imagine my children not being in my life and there are too many mothers out here living without their babies because they were born Black.

I’m looking at the world differently. I went out to grocery shop Sunday and the world felt off, cold, tense.

In the days since the verdict I’ve noticed a two different camps…those talking about it, addressing racism head on, and those who haven’t mentioned it at all…waiting for the rest of us to get over it and move on. I can tell you right now that the Black Community is not going to sit quietly in the corner and talk amongst ourselves so we don’t offend anyone. We are not worried about being politically correct, we are not concerned with making people feel comfortable. We are not going to get over it and move on.

There have been so many amazing pieces written this past week and I want to share them with you.

From Black Girl in Maine: No Humanity for Black Boys, musings on the Trayvon Martin Case.

Tell me what happened to Trayvon Martin wasn’t about Race.

Frankly Black women are not exactly allowed the whole spectrum of emotions either, since typically we are reduced to simply being either angry or strong.
However for our boys and men, they are not even deemed worthy of anger or strength, instead they are simply beings in the eyes of many who must be annihilated before they harm someone.

I have been very upset about the parenting communities failure to address this issue. I love how he says we all need to say something. 
And you must read this post from her husband. What To Say About Trayvon Martin…and George Zimmerman.

You may not mean for your silence to mean anything, but it is more likely to be perceived as “not caring” than it is to be perceived as “respectful silence.”

Our  own Sol, from Odd Mama Out wrote about The Delusion that people want to believe Zimmerman is Not Guilty.

George Zimmerman has been found not guilty of the murder of Trayvon Martin. But he is not innocent. HE killed Trayvon. Shot him dead in the heart.

And then there’s A Letter to Trayvon’s Mother from Lark and Bloom.

I am going to address my own prejudices that I have. I’d like to say I have none, but it isn’t true.

From NPR Code Switch: Of Hoodies and Lost Time.

The most insidious reality of racism in America is that the tolls are rarely cut and dry. It’s not just lives lost; more often than not, it’s living lost. It’s not going there, not wearing that, fretting away minutes of your day preparing. For the worst.

Barrel of Oranges Writes Trayvon Martin, Peaceful Parenting, and White Privilege.

They have a good kid, who was walking home from the store one night, who had a promising future, and did normal teenage stuff. They were raising him in this scary, broken world, just like you likely are raising your babies. Trayvon Martin was a child, walking home from the store, when a man carrying a gun followed him, ignored 911 dispatch, and then shot him dead.

A Love Letter on Black Motherhood.

My breath stopped momentarily and a breathless shiver ran through my body. I forced a smile. I already loved you deeply, but knowing that you were a boy, and not a girl, paralyzed me with fear.

On My Brown Baby: What if Trayvon Had Come Back Home?

It’s not easy to have “the Stalking Talk,” to tell your child how the stereotype of the threatening young black male is so deeply ingrained that some people look at him and imagine they see a monster—what one researcher labels as a fear so deep that it mimics our primitive reactions “to spiders and snakes.”

People are whining and wishing we could all focus on what matters instead of talking about our differences.  Let me get this straight, your new chocolate chip cookie recipe, your family vacation, your 100th post on the many ways to make your own cleaners is more important than this tragedy?



19 responses to “Born Black In America

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Talking race is uncomfortable but not talking about it is deadly for some of us. The collective silence coming from the parenting community about this is telling, and what it says isn’t terribly nice. Never mind that the allies who are talking are the same ones who get paid to talk, yeah I am just putting that out there.

  2. Found my way here through Jupiter, and glad I did. I used to say I was color blind; after I had my multiracial son, I realized only my white friends and acquaintances used the phrase. I started getting suspicious that color blindness was something experienced only by those conveniently able to ignore it–as in, those not hurt in various ways, every day, for the color of their skin. Although I have written about my experiences, I have another post brewing on this topic. Your own post has helped further clarify my thoughts. Thank you.

  3. Every word of this was true. Chilling and sad, but very true. I’m so happy to see so many people wanting to make a change.

    I posted my own thoughts on the issue shortly after the verdict came through. The first comment below was from a white woman who felt that “the race card was used too much.” When other’s called her out for being privileged, she then proceeded to tell us she had worked hard without the benefits of handouts and affirmative action.

    That behavior right there is exactly why were are so angry. This idea that being black means your lazy or a gang banger. That is why Trayvon Martin is dead. That is why his parents will never know peace. That is why we need to keep reminding “them” that we are here to stay and will no longer accept this treatment.

    Beautiful post!

  4. This is such a beautiful post. I am a white mother with two white kids and two black kids. Race is real. I’m glad we are talking about it.

    So honored to be mentioned in this group of bloggers. Thank you for hosting this much-needed conversation.

  5. Darcel, thank you for this and for all the links to the articles I had not seen yet. I was being silently respectful and then I realized I was just being silent and I wrote this last night. My kids are still quite young, but there is no reason to not start having these conversations with them now, I don’t want my bi-racial kids to be colour-blind, I want them to be loving and accepting of all the colours in our world.

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  7. These writings have some merit but at the same time the reality is that teenagers in general are suspect. My son is grown now but when he was about 15 we lived in an apartment and he and a buddy would go out for food after curfew. I caught them and explained to them that if someone’s car was damaged , something happened etc. they would be guilty simply because they were teens and out past curfew. This is a fact of life However if a young man was aggressive he would be in a position to cause additional harm. If someone had me on the sidewalk beating my head into it and they had size and strength on me I feel I would not be thinking about their age but my life. This is human nature.

  8. I am a white Scottish mother of 2, my husband is Macedonian ( Eastern European Balkans). I cannot believe that guy has gotten away with murdering that boy. What is wrong with the American justice system?! I’m in shock. From what i’v seen online and on TV, Zimmerman was the one following the boy just because he had a hunch that the boy may be up to something. Zimmerman got out of his car with his gun and started following him, no wonder Trayvon confronted him, he was being stalked by a psychopath! Whither Trayvon was up to something or not, that’s not Zimmerman responsibility to start stalking him and provoking him. Zimmerman should have called the police to report what he saw, without leaving his car, then he should of gone home to his wife and let the police handle it. I’m completely baffled as to how he got off, he should be in jail, he is a cold blooded RACIST murderer who shows no remorse for his actions and i’ll not be surprised if he attempts something like this again. He is a danger to the community, he should be locked up forever.

  9. How much longer will we ignore the elephant in the room? This was a horrible and avoidable tragedy that had everything to do with race! If Zimmerman had offered Trayvon a ride in the rain, instead of profiling him as a ‘suspect’ then this would never have happend!
    I am expecting a baby….half Mexican and half white. I love and teach in Guadalajara and when people ask me when I will move back to the states, I tell them “not anytime soon!” The anger, ignorance and racism that prevails in the US scares and sickens me!

  10. The issue of race, real vs. perceived racism within the white community toward minorities, and the safety of our youth all desperately need to be discussed. HOWEVER, our legal system is a terrible proxy for conscientious discussion! (It is also not a “white vs. black” issue, although one certainly exists. Zimmerman is Latino.) A “not guilty” verdict does not mean that race isn’t an issue in our communities, it does not mean that George Zimmerman did not make a terrible and fatal error, it does not mean that he didn’t personally racially profile a young man, and it certainly does not mean that Trayvon Martin should have died. A “not guilty” verdict means that the extremely specific circumstances put forth by the prosecution were not deemed fully accurate *beyond a shadow of a doubt* by a specific jury agreed upon by both the defense and prosecution. I also take serious issue with people who have been following the case based on only what the media puts forth; we were not in that courtroom – we do not have all of the information, and while we can armchair quarterback all we want, it does not mean that the jurors were incorrect. Let’s reframe the discussion in a way that does not use this case as an example of failure of our justice department, but use the high-profile nature of the case to discuss the set of circumstances that have lead to such a strong reaction from the black community.

  11. What happened was a grave tragedy, but there has not been any evidence of racism presented, starting with the fact that Zimmerman himself is more likely to in his life have been a victim than a perpetrator of racism. Neither has there been any actual proof of malice or deliberate murder. The verdict, in turn, was a foregone conclusion, considering the state of evidence.

    Zimmerman may still be an evil-doer—but none of us have any legitimate reason to be convinced of this. There simply is no true evidence against him, and he is owned the benefit of more than a doubt. For those cock-sure of his being evil, ask yourself why you have this surety.

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  13. Darcel, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. I struggled with fighting back the urge to shout, “Why isn’t anybody talking about this?” but then I realized I was aiming that to a certain social media platform outside of Twitter and blogging. A social media platform that is mommy’s playground, where moms who tout “natural/peaceful/gentle/whatever parenting” were screen-shotting media clips after the Not Guilty verdict and shared their views in one caption and moved on.

    I don’t have children who were born Black in America and I don’t even think the institutional racism for my mixed kids compare (‘model minority’). I am just another mom, who wants my children to know that this is wrong. Our justice system is wrong. That’s the best I can do and stand by your side as you speak out as a Black mother and for me to speak out too as an advocate, not as a silent parent.

  14. Pingback: The Skin We’re In – Addressing the Pain of Oppression | Presence Parenting·

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