I started this post wanting to talk about the fact that I started a new job today. But I can’t focus on my joy. The story of Trayvon Martin is stuck in my head. Not because I am taking sides. Not because I know all of the facts. But because I am a single, white mother raising a biracial daughter – and up until the years my daughter came to be, I had been a white girl raised in an all white town living life privileged to not have to recognize the bitterness that lived all around me.
Today, I cried when I read Dear Trayvon’s Mom written by another blogger. The following words that she wrote could apply to so many of those same people I grew up around:
I nonchalantly enjoyed my white privileges my entire adult life, one of those people who said “racism is dying” and “things are different now” and “we’re colorblind” and casual ignorance like that. I gushed and over-loved any black people in my life, of which there were very few; none in a real relationship with me that wasn’t exaggerated and a little contrived and over-zealous.
It could have applied to me many years ago. Yet, today, I had to sit and formulate the conversation I need to have with my daughter regarding living as a black woman in this society. I had to formulate the conversation I have to continue to have with my white children to protect her and to be examples to others. It’s easy to dismiss racism when you are white. It is easy to waltz through life not understanding the anger coming from other races and cultures. It is easy to keep pushing your children the way our parents did and to focus on good grades and what type of sports our kids will play – will they be in the popular crowd? What clothes can I buy to make sure they aren’t outcasts? Remembering to send money with them to buy books when the rest of the class will be doing so. Trying to fit in how to be the room mother or participate in PTA. It’s easy to follow the crowd and just focus on trying to fit in – for your kids and for yourselves.
But is it easy for races that aren’t white? Or religions that don’t match yours? Or beliefs that are a little different? While I spend time over this coming week having more discussions with my children on how to live safely and how to protect their sister the best they can. I urge every single person to take a short moment of time this week to step back and ask what things are there that you don’t have to worry about because you were born into a culture or born with a certain skin color. What things do you take for granted – like house hunting without concern if having your child with you will cause you to be turned away in the neighborhood? And if you have ever muttered words like “racism isn’t as bad as they make it” or “why do they keep making excuses to become nothing” or “I think they are blowing it out of proportion” or “why does everyone have to make it about race”, I beg you to read and question those statements – step outside of what you know and look into a world you may not really understand. And once you do, share with your children. Talk to them. Educate them. Expose them. Make them better people.
Dear Trayvon’s Mom: I am so sorry for your loss.
Talking about race with our white kids after Trayvon’s murder
5 thoughts on “Dear Trayvon’s Mom: I am so sorry for your loss.”
I am a single black mother and as many mother’s we want to raise our children in nice neighbor hoods where our children can have a good shot of becoming successful without the pressures of getting caught up in drugs,drive by shootings, gang banging you name it. I trained my children as best I could to live lives of integity and good character and even teach them to honor God. I moved to areas such as Virginia Beach, VA where there were 70% whites and 30% blacks so they could have a good shot at receiving a decent education as well, only to have my children tell me how the police would stop my kids when they were between the ages of 13 and 17 year olds and hand cuff them and have them sit on the ground and tell them they fit the discription of a wanted Black male. They would simply be walking with their friends to play ball or going to the neighborhood 7/11. So yes racism does exist for all those ignorant people who live such sheltered lives and couldn’t even imagine being black in this country!
I was raised like the author. We were taught all people are equal and should be respected. But I was also ignorant about racism. Since moving to Florida, where it is more diverse, I have learned that it does exist and it breaks my heart. Hopefully, this unfortunate incident will help people like me understand that racism still exists. I am hoping to raise our son with more knowledge and exposure.
I was teary eyed when I read “Dear Trayvon’s Mom”. I learned about Trayvon few days ago, and I was so saddened that the suspect was not arrested. I hope justice prevails.
My “Trayvon” is fourteen, walks down the street in a hoodie holding a can of iced tea, and holds a black belt in Okinawan karate. I have had “the conversation” many times with him since he was small. He knows how to be polite to officers, but he also knows he is empowered to defend himself if necessary. If he fought back in a situation such as George Zimmerman created, what would happen to him?