After hearing the zimmerman verdict, I posted this status on Facebook last night.

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    Jul 14, 2013 4:11 PM GMT
    I posted this 11 hours ago. It's been shared 98 times mostly by people I don't know. The case is over, and the verdict is the verdict. But this for many of us, isn't about the law, it's about something very different. Sometimes instead of getting angry, we have to upgrade another's understanding of our perspective. I am hopeful for my generation.


    "Man, I'm just glad I had a mom who gave me the realness from a young age. I can remember thinking she was so stuck in the past for telling me that I couldn't do or say or wear certain things, that I could not stay out as late as my white friends could, that I could not "experiment" with any of the things my white friends did. I struggled so much with her for trying to impress upon me the fact that I was different. Because I'm supposed to be. I lived in a nice house, spoke more than one language, was well educated and well socialized and I did not understand why I needed to constantly act in a manner designed to disarm another person's suspicions about me.

    But wow, I get it now. Every black kid has that moment where he has to decide to accept the armor that his parents present to him to get through life as an American black male, or walk around naked. And the crazy part is, it’s probably something most people outside of the black community never see. I can remember my mom talking to me over and over and over again about what to do and who to call if I was ever picked up by a police officer. She made sure I knew that I needed to declare that I was exercising my Miranda rights rather simply evoke them without notice. If you were in JNJ your mom probably made you take a WHOLE FREAKING CLASS on how to deal with police officers and other people who were perceived to be threatening.

    And I say that to say that as scary as people think black males are, black males are conditioned to be ten times more afraid of everyone else. We’re conditioned to be afraid of goin to certain parts of the country, afraid of people with certain political view, afraid of police officers, and sometimes even afraid of other black and latino males. The most sickening thing about this whole trial has been the deliberate campaign to rob Trayvon of his right to be afraid. I know I would have been.

    And I owe her the deepest of apologies for all of the times that I accused her of overacting or impressing a vision of a society long since passed on the one that exists today.

    It doesn’t matter how well traveled you are or how many languages you speak or who where you went to school. It doesn’t matter how many friends you have or how much good you’ve done in the world. From afar we are all the same.

    It used to hurt when my mother would tell me I couldn’t put my hood up or that I couldn’t stay out as late as my white friends. She told me I was a young black male and I couldn’t afford these things and I figured she never knew how much it hurt for be to know that she did not have faith that I could transcend the many stereotypes that swirl around me and be seen as an individual.

    But when I think about my own mother having to come down the police station, and Identify my naked body and come home and go in my room that would feel strangely empty. She would have to walk past my favorite custom built aquarium and the framed boards my class in japan made for me on my last day of study abroad, she would have to open my closet and go through all of the clothes I would never wear again and find my favorite suit and then walk out of a room where every object holds a memory.

    She would have to go on interviews and meet with lawyers and try to be strong in the face of unimaginable tragedy. While people picked apart my character and found every facebook status where I cursed or every stupid picture I was ever captured in. She would have to sit in court and dignify people who sought to put me in the ground with not a shred of justice with her presence and her silence. And then on top of that, after a year of pain, to hear from 6 other mothers that my life meant nothing........

    And the thought that after 24 hours of labor, thousands of dollars on tuition and extra curriculars and trips and summer activties, and millions of tiny sacrifices that she could be left with the dust of my memory and the guilt of having not prepared me for this thing called America.

    I joke about it, but I know how much I mean to her. Before I go parasailing I think about her, and before I jump in the ocean I think about her, and when I had tigers crawling all over me and licking my face I was thinking about her. But I did those things because I knew that even if I got poisoned by a cobra or mauled by a tiger, I know it would have been hard.......but she would have derived comfort from knowing that I died pursuing happiness, adventure, and experiences that are worth their risks.

    But I know that she would never ever be able to recover from knowing that I died the way that Trayvon died. And so I understand so well why she taught me to think about the world in the way that I do. To remember how to love life, be open to others, but to always remember who I am and to be so secure in who I am, that I accept that I must constantly think and behave with consideration for that one person who might think they already know.

    I have fought with my mom, dad, and stepdad about what it means to be a young black man in 2013. And I have at times been annoyed at all of them for presenting me with my constraints. But I am so lucky to have been armed with the truth at such and early age. The world can be so confusing for us. So much kindness, and so much cruelty. We've all accused our parents of over estimating the dangers out there. But they managed to teach us not to allow this country to fill us with fear, while simultaneously not allowing it to rob us of our vigilance. Shout-out to all of the parents out there, giving that extra course on how to keep your children from being victimized in a society that does not believe that they can be victim"
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    Jul 14, 2013 4:31 PM GMT
    Every once in a while a gem is presented to us here on RJ. Thank you.
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    Jul 14, 2013 5:01 PM GMT
    "And I say that to say that as scary as people think black males are, black males are conditioned to be ten times more afraid of everyone else. We’re conditioned to be afraid of goin to certain parts of the country, afraid of people with certain political view, afraid of police officers, and sometimes even afraid of other black and latino males. The most sickening thing about this whole trial has been the deliberate campaign to rob Trayvon of his right to be afraid. I know I would have been."

    I'm glad that you can find the words to help put this tragedy into perspective.

    I understand your appreciation for your parents' burdening you with the lesson that a young black male must behave differently; he must constantly prove himself not to be a threat and he must be cautious of others. BUT I DO NOT ACCEPT IT. I WILL NOT ACCEPT IT.

    My life as a human being(residing within this 56yr old white male) is diminished by living in a society that accepts injustice.

    Dekiruman, you write " I am hopeful for my generation. "

    So am I. Please know that your generation will continue pursuing equality and justice along with us of other generations who will be your allies.

    GOD BLESS YOU.

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    Jul 14, 2013 5:50 PM GMT
    Thank you for sharing. Makes me very sad to read.
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Jul 14, 2013 5:58 PM GMT
    icon_cry.gif
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    Jul 14, 2013 6:10 PM GMT
    Your insight never fails to floor me. An amazing thread.
  • starboard5

    Posts: 969

    Jul 14, 2013 6:43 PM GMT
    This is the most beautiful thing I've ever read on RJ. I hope you won't mind that I'm copying and pasting it. And emailing it to all my friends. This needs to go viral.
  • Apparition

    Posts: 3534

    Jul 14, 2013 6:45 PM GMT
    It would be nice if just one rapper could be convinced to do a psa that black kids should grow up and wear pocket protectors, labcoats, and beat the asian kids at math because THAT is the future and that is freedom.
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    Jul 14, 2013 6:48 PM GMT
    I am terribly sorry that this is still how our world is. I do not believe justice was served.
  • The_Guruburu

    Posts: 895

    Jul 14, 2013 7:03 PM GMT
    Thank you. I, too, used to feel like these warnings were "too much". My brother and I would even joke about how we should be hyper vigilante when driving at night, when the police are around, etc., because we thought it could never happen to us. Henry Louis Gates thought it could never happen to him, too—if he was in Florida, he would have been shot to death under the Stand Your Ground law. This case is just a poignant reminder that no matter how "post racial" we get as a country, we can't undo 400 years with a handful of laws and a Black president. Forgetting that could very well cost me my life.

    I'd like to think that the folks shooting fireworks in my neighborhood last night probably don't realize that they're celebrating this double reality. But of course they do, that's why they were partying.

    Edit: I'd also like to share this with friends, if you don't mind. I hope it can not only save other lives, but perhaps grant us some empathy in the eyes of others who find our existence scary enough to justify killing.
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    Jul 14, 2013 7:15 PM GMT
    The outrage that many feel at the not guilty verdict in favor of Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin needs to be harnessed and focused into political action to repeal the "stand your ground" laws passed by several State Legislatures. It was political action by organizations like the National Rifle Association that got these unfair laws passed in the first place. A practical, nationwide effort must now be exerted to repeal these laws. The clear effect of these laws is to turn someone in Trayvon Martin's circumstances into an "aggressor" when he was in fact the victim as a person going about his lawful business who was approached as it got dark by a menacing man unknown to him emboldened as that man was, by the possession of a gun. GET STAND YOUR GROUND LAWS REPEALED!!! A repeal will not deny any accused the right to self-defense.
  • The_Guruburu

    Posts: 895

    Jul 14, 2013 7:20 PM GMT
    OGsockpuppet said
    TheQuest saidI am terribly sorry that this is still how our world is. I do not believe justice was served.


    yes, the world is fucked up. with that said, i can't blame folks that end up getting depressed and committing suicide. it's hard to LIVE in a horrific place like this where people have no value for your life and feel it's okay to kill you simply because they don't like you.

    If the guns don't kill us, then the stress does. We far too often die of heart attacks and other stress related diseases before we even reach our 50th birthday.

    There was a study done about hypertension and stress among Blacks worldwide to see if we really were "inherently" predisposed to high blood pressure. Those that lived in the U.S. (Chicago) had the highest rates while those in West Africa (Nigeria and Cameroon) had the lowest. The prevalence of hypertension in seven populations of west African origin..
  • The_Guruburu

    Posts: 895

    Jul 14, 2013 7:21 PM GMT
    ReadyBuddy saidThe outrage that many feel at the not guilty verdict in favor of Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin needs to be harnessed and focused into political action to repeal the "stand your ground" laws passed by several State Legislatures. It was political action by organizations like the National Rifle Association that got these unfair laws passed in the first place. A practical, nationwide effort must now be exerted to repeal these laws. The clear effect of these laws is to turn someone in Trayvon Martin's circumstances into an "aggressor" when he was in fact the victim as a person going about his lawful business who was approached as it got dark by a menacing man unknown to him emboldened as that man was, by the possession of a gun. GET STAND YOUR GROUND LAWS REPEALED!!!

    Exactly. We need political action, not riots destroying our own neighborhoods.
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Jul 14, 2013 7:23 PM GMT
    ReadyBuddy saidThe outrage that many feel at the not guilty verdict in favor of Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin needs to be harnessed and focused into political action to repeal the "stand your ground" laws passed by several State Legislatures. It was political action by organizations like the National Rifle Association that got these unfair laws passed in the first place. A practical, nationwide effort must now be exerted to repeal these laws. The clear effect of these laws is to turn someone in Trayvon Martin's circumstances into an "aggressor" when he was in fact the victim as a person going about his lawful business who was approached as it got dark by a menacing man unknown to him emboldened as that man was, by the possession of a gun. GET STAND YOUR GROUND LAWS REPEALED!!! A repeal will not deny any accused the right to self-defense.

    +1
  • turtleneckjoc...

    Posts: 4685

    Jul 14, 2013 7:28 PM GMT
    ReadyBuddy saidThe outrage that many feel at the not guilty verdict in favor of Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin needs to be harnessed and focused into political action to repeal the "stand your ground" laws passed by several State Legislatures. It was political action by organizations like the National Rifle Association that got these unfair laws passed in the first place. A practical, nationwide effort must now be exerted to repeal these laws. The clear effect of these laws is to turn someone in Trayvon Martin's circumstances into an "aggressor" when he was in fact the victim as a person going about his lawful business who was approached as it got dark by a menacing man unknown to him emboldened as that man was, by the possession of a gun. GET STAND YOUR GROUND LAWS REPEALED!!! A repeal will not deny any accused the right to self-defense.


    And for that to happen, we must register as Democrats, vote an entire slate of Democrats into public office and turn out every single Republican. Every one of them.

    Angry Floridians need to push Charlie Crist into announcing his intentions to run for Governor in 2014 and persuade him to support a repeal for this law (and for Amendment 2 which bans same sex marriage here).

    As bad as this news is in Florida, I believe it will bring solidarity to those of us that have brains and care about other people in this world. We will fight back and hit hard.

    I can't end this without a huge hug to my buddy Dekiruman for posting this on Facebook. Thank you, friend. What you have said is sheer beauty!
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    Jul 14, 2013 7:30 PM GMT
    OP, this is an absolutely extraordinary piece of writing. Hats off to you.
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    Jul 14, 2013 7:35 PM GMT
    Thank you for sharing that.
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    Jul 14, 2013 7:40 PM GMT
    #truth
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    Jul 14, 2013 7:42 PM GMT
    A beautiful essay, OP. Thank you for posting it. Unfortunately our criminal justice system failed Trayvon Martin, and that reflects on all of us.

    There is no justification for shooting an unarmed 17 year old. None.

    Peace.

    Mike
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    Jul 14, 2013 7:45 PM GMT
    Hi Dekiruman:

    Thank you for sharing these very relevant and profound thoughts. I share other respondent's admiration for your sense of optimism. I also believe tragedies like this can and will continue to stimulate robust dialogue and ultimately social change.

    I was particularly concerned and bothered when I heard from the news that the Judge/court instructed both the DA and defense attorneys not to specifically mention or insinuate that race may a been a factor in this tragedy. If I understood this information correctly, this is one more proof that some segments in this society want to pretend that racism is a thing of the past and discussing it only leads to unnecessary "tension". I suspect that a similar mindset was at play when the Supreme Court made their recent ruling on the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that bringing discussions about race do not bring out tension, they simply expose a tension that is already there. It is unfortunate that we have people in positions of power (like this Treyvon case court Judge and the Supreme Court Judges) that imposed such unrealistic and downright insulting rulings.

    We must continue to challenge the false notion that we are in a "post-racial" world. Undoing racism is not only about individuals treating each other more fairly, but also about institutional changes that reflect that. Until issues such as the disproportionate incarceration rates of black men, less funding for quality education in public schools, more jobs with living wage, more affordable and accessible college education, etc. are addressed, the historical injustices that people of color (especially African Americans) have suffered will go on. One important factor that can help begin a truly honest conversation on this issue is for those of us who do not identify as African-American/black and/or have enjoyed a comfortable middle or upper class upbringing to recognize that we are socially privileged and much of it we got from birth and not because we did anything special to get it. From that acknowledgement, we can begin the process of dismantling the privilege that some in society have over others.

    Rubrod64

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    Jul 14, 2013 7:46 PM GMT


    Dear Deki,

    tumblr_m4zc1fMLux1rwcc6bo1_500.gif


    very respectfully,

    -us
  • TroyAthlete

    Posts: 4269

    Jul 14, 2013 7:49 PM GMT
    turtleneckjock saidAs bad as this news is in Florida, I believe it will bring solidarity to those of us that have brains and care about other people in this world. We will fight back and hit hard.


    +1

    This. Lazy folk will be telling us to "get off our soapboxes" and "move on" and make all sorts of excuses and justifications and blah blah blah -- but one thing about those of us with a sense of justice and fairness, and who understand liberty and equality *coughliberalscough* is that we do not give up. This verdict is the Prop 8 of Florida self defense law -- the struggle for common sense will continue.

    That's why we always win in the end. Progress and justice can be delayed, but not denied forever.

    Deki, you're a stud -- but you know I've always thought so. #moreconfirmation icon_cool.gif
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    Jul 14, 2013 7:50 PM GMT
    I must say my parents did not equip me with these notions per se. But It wasn't hard for me to figure things out just living life. However, I do have hope for our generation because of people like Deki icon_smile.gif
    This event has really put things in perspective for me though, and now I see what it really means to be a young black male in America in 2013. No matter my accomplishments or contributions to society, because of what I am not who I am. I could still be seen as a threatening person. Reality is harsh..
  • Irishguy22

    Posts: 66

    Jul 14, 2013 8:26 PM GMT
    Deki that was beautifully written and thank you for posting it.
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    Jul 14, 2013 8:27 PM GMT
    Wow, beautifully written. Pretty close to calling my mum

    Must admit being slightly oblivious to the whole case over here. Just read up on it. An unarmed teenage boy getting shot - never justification