So, it’s days after the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. And, in case you’ve been under a rock, it was a Not Guilty verdict. I was watching this trial and story very closely. Its almost like when something like this happens, I’m always reminded that that couldve been me. Some people would debate me on this since they know me for being a pretty cool headed, down to earth respectable and respectful guy. They say ” ..You’re a husband, a musician, a performer, a family man…” They say this to say that somehow this is what would protect me from the ills of society. See, I’m no dummy. I know that there are people out there that don’t like me. Some of those reasons stem from my skin color. White friends of mine say that my skin color has nothing to do with anything. Yet, even in our friendly conversation, they only seek my opinion on entertainment, sports and pop culture. Never on economics, finance, or family values. It was always something that I couldn’t ignore. I often wondered if they thought that Black people just don’t know about any of these things. I would slowly start to inject myself in the conversations dealing with stock portfolios only to get a shocked reaction like, “Wow, I didn’t know you knew about that.” I’d respond with “There’s a lot you don’t know about me.” Even, my friends have no idea who I really am, so how could a stranger.
When I was 17, I had a friend who moved to Bloomfield,NJ. Like most kids at that time, we walked everywhere. One day, my friend and I were walking from my home in East Orange to theirs in Bloomfield. We may have been 3 blocks into the Bloomfield border when we were stopped by police. The officer asked us where we were going. We then explained that we were going to my friends house who lived not to far from where we were. The officer’s response was “You don’t live around here.” Soon after, 2 more squad cars arrived with one officer stating that they got a call that 2 guys(black) were walking down the street looking in driveways. Eventually, they let us go but I’ll never forget being questioned about my right to walk down a public street with no problem. Another time I was walking home from the park and I was approached by a white officer who told me I looked suspicious and proceeded to put his gun in my face. I was asked where I was coming from. I told him I was coming from the park…. He said I was lying………. I had a basketball in my hand………
I was a good student, came from a good home, didn’t get into trouble, was respectful and respectable and in that moment staring at a gun, none of that mattered.
The sad case of Trayvon Martin and the verdict in the Zimmerman trial is a microcosm of the whole country. Oh, and thank you Juror B37 for showing this ignorance and social and racial disconnect in your interview. Thanks for feeling bad for the guy who got off scott free and even endorsing him as a Neighborhood Watch Captain. I guess its ok to just kill black people if you don’t think they should be in your neighborhood. Thank you also for not understanding Rachel Jeantel’s testimony or language and feeling so sorry for the downtrodden little uneducated black girl.
I WAS, AS A CHILD, AND STILL AM AS AN ADULT, TRAYVON MARTIN … and once again, my right to exist in society without question is gone.