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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Coming to terms with my reaction (Trayvon / Zimmerman)

As I have said before, I have been flabbergasted by my own reaction to the results of the Zimmerman trial.  I never expected to feel so deeply about something that I have pretty much felt relatively unattached to.  Sure, I began purchasing a different style of jacket/sweater for my son just over a year ago, but until the verdict was dropped, I felt pretty much removed from the issue.

Today, I read an article entitled racially profiled in Palm Beach. It made me say "oooooh... that's my problem."  I guess you want me to explain.

I have never felt inferior to anyone because of the color of my skin.  I may have been aware as a child that there were people who would judge me because of it, but it never bothered me.  I always told my self that I could educate and demonstrate my way out of any preconceived notion anyone could have about me.  That presumption was proven true when in college, my while classmates, and even some well meaning teachers would point out that I was "not like the others" (black people).  It was clearly meant as a compliment, and I rarely challenged anyone on that statement, I just filed it in the back of my mind that they were pretty much just ignorant about race, or haven't met nearly enough black people in their lives.

I set about educating myself, quite well, then I set about educating my children... quite well too.  I made a lot of personal sacrifices to make sure that my kids would stand head and shoulders above the crowd, be them white, or black.  I felt pretty confident that any preconceived notions anyone made about my kids would clearly be wisked away with a few words.  After all, they are clearly bright and well spoken.  Their education and brilliance would instantly shine through and they would not be lumped with the crowd... black or white.

Then the verdict was announced and I felt a stabbing pain in my stomach.  I realize now it was the clear message that besides educating my children and making sure they were smart, all of the effort really didn't matter to anyone outside of them.  In fact, when the stuff hit the fan, no one would even give them a chance to articulate their brilliance.. it would just be ON.  That made me really sad.

Case in point, a law professor was stopped in Palm Beach for riding his bike late at night... twice, by police who pretty much harassed him.  His crime. Nothing.  There had been crimes in the area, and he looked suspicious.  It didn't matter than he had about 8 years of college level study under his belt.  They just saw... him and what they felt he stood for, not what he had accomplished.

If only you could wear your achievements on your forehead...


Happy Elf Mom said...

It's a pity your "friends" couldn't just see that they liked ANDREA. It shouldn't be remarkable. The horrid thing is that they see something off or wrong with that whole other segment of humanity. And not only that, that they didn't bother to REPENT about it before a holy God. They should be asking HIS forgiveness, instead of flippantly saying such things to your face.

HOW can someone recognize such evil in themselves, and casually chat about it as though YOU did something special to merit their friendship? It's twisted!

Do they think you don't have feelings like all the other black people, too??! GOOD GOLLY I don't know why I'm astounded sometimes.

What on earth can you say to that? "I used to like you before you said that" or, "I'm so sorry, but you don't know me well enough YET" do come to mind. :/

Ahermitt said...

It still happens, people just aren't as obvious. Now I just know to walk away and discontinue any relationship that might have been forming.

Happy Elf Mom said...

Obviously the problem is with the other person, but I just can't imagine going through years and years of having things like that pop up without developing trust issues. I think the hardest part would be NOT KNOWING when it would pop up and with whom.

Ahermitt said...

In all fairness, balance that with the fact, that I've heard from the other side equally that I "stand out" and "act white", and yes... you tend to keep the friend circle small. And in all fairness to both, There are just as many people on both sides who understand that human being has no color and so I play with them. There are good and bad on both sides, there are enlightened and ignorant or silly on both sides.