This weekend, I watched my son play his final basketball game of the season. He scored 8 points, and made lasting memories with his teammates. When we got home, he changed clothes, threw his Giants baseball cap on backwards because he thinks it’s cooler like that, and headed outside to ride his bike for a little while. No one’s ever tried to stop him, but I’ve noticed people slowing down and wondering what my kid is doing in that yard, riding in the driveway of that house. Well, the yard and the house are ours. He lives here. He’s just being a kid.
Why is he suspicious? Is it the backwards cap, or is it the black face underneath it? I need to understand what he’s doing wrong so the George Zimmermans of the world don’t decide that he looks too suspicious, that he’s an “asshole who always gets away”, and kill my baby.
My son will likely walk alone to a store when he’s older. He may still try to wear attire that I don’t particularly care for but that he thinks is cool. He likes Skittles and iced tea. He may buy some. And he will try to walk back to our house, where I have loved and raised him to follow Christ, be respectful, use his talents and gifts, and give to the world all that he wants to get from it. He will believe he is walking home in America, land of the free, when he is actually walking in america, home of injustices that no one cares to right even as it tries to dictate protocol and procedure for the rest of the world. This is my america, and call me what you will; it doesn’t change reality.
People may empathize, but honestly, no one gets this fear like the parents of young black male children. I don’t have to prove that I’m not prejudiced against white people because of that sentence; my life speaks for me. Truth is truth. I wake up afraid for my son everyday, and everyday I have to give him to God all over again to protect him and keep him out-of-the-way of harm and ignorant people. I have to pray for myself, to walk in peace even as municipalities protect the people who seek to destroy my progeny.
Walking in peace is heart-wrenching when your children are senselessly gunned down. But walking in peace is not walking in silence. Walking in peace is not shrugging the situation off as the way things have always been and will always be. Walking in peace means ringing the alarms, protesting, lifting our voices, and using our God-given mediums to speak up against anything that is not of God. Murder is not of God, so I have to use this blog and any other medium afforded to me to let America know that I will not let my son die like a common thug because he was audacious enough to go to the store and buy candy. This is how I walk in peace. This is my Christian journey.
Trayvon Martin is your son, your friend’s son, your co-worker and your church member’s son. He is our kid. How dare you do nothing while his blood drains in the street. Walk in peace.