When the Zimmerman verdict came down, there were days of questions and discussions with my son. He was shocked and horrified that a young man, who looked like him, could be gunned down and his murderer walk free. When the Dunn verdict came, his reaction was vastly different. My son flicked off the tv, shrugged his shoulders and walked away muttering a word that I often use in unbelievably expected situations…”typical”.
When pressed further, my son said… “Jordan was black and in Florida. Did you honestly expect different?”
That conversation soon shifted to the Stand Your Ground laws and more specific details of the case itself like jury selection and prosecution. As I was talking to my son, and reveling in his brilliance, reality struck me in an instant…
What if it were my son? What would he do? What would I do?
I thought about all of the conversations that we have had already…that my father had with my brother…on how “not to be arrested” because of _____while black. Yes, that conversation is just as necessary as the talk of relationships and sex. We have to have it.
Truthfully, it doesn’t matter what we teach him. As my son pointed out…
“Guns don’t kill black boys. Racism does. Laws allow them to get away with it… so guess what, it’s gonna keep happening. This is normal mom.”
This is my son’s perception of the world that he lives in. This is what he meant by…”typical”.
We can teach him how to live by a “code” all day but we can’t protect him from the world as long as laws like Stand Your Ground exist which allow people to react out of fear…with his face being what people will fear most. The only difference between my son, Jordan and Trayvon is that he is mine. His face could have easily been theirs.
While my son thinks…typical…this should most certainly not be normal.
We have so much work to do. I can’t change my son’s face but maybe we need to discuss how you see his face.
Maybe we need to discuss how his face alludes to a perception not seen in the faces of his peers.
I don’t choose THIS normal.
Not my son…