(I will get to SOS’s visiting day SOON)
My mind has been all over the map. I visited SOS at an idyllic summer camp, where his best friends are all shapes, sizes, colors, religions, athletes, mathletes, geeks and jocks (ok, quasi jocks). Yet, the preponderance is white and Jewish, let’s not get carried away.
We drove home that night back to New York City because of ULOB’s condition. The night has a mournful quality, mused POB.
It was particularly mournful. On the highway, in the darkening day that gave way to night, I thought about Trayvon Martin and my son.
I don’t know much about the facts (if any) that came out in the case (as opposed to the media) and I didn’t listen very closely to the proceedings.
Because if the police tell a man who says he is afraid of an “interloper” to stay in his car, and he gets out and goes after the ‘interloper” with a gun, and the “interloper” dies, there is no question that the first man is not only criminally responsible for the death of the “interloper” but, in this case, of felony racism.
It never occurred to me that George Zimmerman would go free.
Not because I don’t have “ist” tendencies — we all do. But because in my world, I have learned so much from my child and his friends. Children can teach their parents about life and community, if only parents wouldn’t poison them with prejudice.
Children don’t naturally draw lines; they just want to play with whomever wants to play with them.
But they feel societal “norms” in their bones. So, when my son was 7, he was having a play date with his best friend, and said to us: “I just want you to know that he is bi-racial.” OK, SOS is being raised by two moms. We couldn’t care less. Meanwhile, up in Riverdale, his best friend was telling his parents, “Just want to let you know that [SOS] has two moms.” And they are a biracial couple and they didn’t care about our sexual orientation. In fact, we parents are friends, simply because we like each other and we have fun together WITHOUT THE KIDS.
Both sets of parents called each other and immediately giggled and then sighed at our boys who are leading the way. Our children opened up a way to discuss differences in a way that helped their parents.
“Teach your children well, and their fathers’ hell will slowly go by … “
And sometimes I forget that two generations — including mine — have to die out before our children can make the decisions.
And then Trayvon’s death makes us remember.
And let’s focus on this young man’s tragic death. A young man, who died not on the battlefields of Afghanistan with the condolences of a grateful nation, but in a silent and unacknowledged skirmish along race lines.
Did he smoke pot? I don’t know and I don’t care and, hell, I did. Did he do some bad things? I don’t know and I don’t care and, hell, I did. But I got a free pass (or six or seven). Why do you think?
Trayvon was a kid. Did he hit Zimmerman? Hell, I don’t know and I don’t care and, hell, I would, if I got the better of someone after me with a gun. I would have beat the guy with all my might. I would have kiiled him.
Let’s imagine the worst, and Trayvon was doing something bad. Trayvon was shot dead. If I were shot dead (and doing something misdemeanor-ish), Zimmerman would be in jail or on death row.
BUT THE PITY OF IT ALL IS THAT WE HAVE TO IMAGINE THE WORST OF TRAYVON. IF TRAYVON WAS A WHITE , DARTMOUTH FRAT BOY NAMED TREY (OR TRIP), THE ENTIRE POLICE DEPARTMENT WOULD HAVE BEEN FIRED AND THERE WOULD BE A WHOLE CAMPAIGN TO WIPE OUT NON-LICENSED SECURITY SERVICES.
Close your eyes. And don’t think about the fact that Trayvon is black. You know the answer. The same damn answer that has plagued generations. But, PLEASE, let’s not poison our children who have a real chance not to repeat this travesty.
If George Zimmerman has the right to be judge, jury and executioner, then we all have that right and Zimmerman should be very afraid. As should we all because then society is irretrievably broken.
Trayvon was a young man — a kid — why did he have to die?
A young man a little older than my son died violently. And the killer went free.
A killer went free.
Four words that indict our society. And the victim was a young person with a life ahead of him, full of hopes, dreams, disappointments, and we hope happiness and success (as he saw it). Like any of us.
We enabled this to happen. Look in the damn mirror.
We should all turn ourselves into local precincts.
Every child is simply too precious to lose to this kind of travesty.