Trayvon Martin and what he taught me about blackness

I'm the youngest child. My brother is the only boy. My mom raised the girls; she loved my brother.  He had his fair share of punishments and wasn't catered to in the mama's boy sense, but he absolutely was able to get away with things that my sister and I never would've been able to.  I found it annoying. I could regale you with tales about why I feel this way in order to substantiate the lack of fair treatment in my our household, but just trust me. thanks.

I've made it clear to everyone that I feel this way, but I also wouldn't trade places. I love my life and I'm proud of what I've been able to accomplish with the persistent push from my mother. (Our father died before I started high school).  My mother knows. My brother knows. Er'rybody knows.  Because of that I've prayed that God will only bless me with girls. I sit in trepidation thinking about my life a a mother, and worry that I'd be too hard on my sons. I look at the little boys in my classroom and often think... what the hell is going on inside of you guys?  then drop em off at football camp.

Then... George Zimmerman was acquitted, and people rejoiced.

As I processed the loss, I realize that the world doesnt care about black boys.  They talked about how Trayvon wore gold teeth and had some minor shit at school dealing with marijuana. Seemingly forgetting that he was a kid, who was murdered.

At that moment I realized why we must love our black men in ways that the rest of the world does not need. We must love them because when they go out into the world, the hostility, the disgust, the fear, the condemnation, the violence that they face is palpable, and accepted.

They have to learn different lessons. I may be black, but I am not a threat. Nobody worries about me walking down the street. White men don't see me as a criminal. I may be a stereotype, a statistic, a welfare mother, a gold digger, a hood rat, someone educated, but I'm not a threat to their manhood. Thus, I will never face the police stops, or the profiling. No one holds their purse, or blames me for every crime. Most police APBs don't describe me.

And for these black men who wake up every day trying to just live a regular life, but knowing that their guard must be up, that they must be alert. That they must hold their tongue and swallow their anger when accused of something they did not do, or when they are shoved to the ground for probably clause.  They need love. So I'm glad we love them.  I want to hug every little black boy I've ever taught and tell them, I don't understand your anger, but I understand WHY you are angry and I want you to know that I cannot change it. I can't change the world. I can't fix it for you. But I will support you through it.  Because when the world doesn't support anything black men do, unless its the brute strength of a buck, how can we not step in as their sisters, mothers, cousins, aunts, neices, and say, I love you and I've got your back.  With me you're safe.