The Trayvon Martin tragedy, regardless of the outcome, is a sad reminder of what it means to be a human being.
Being human means we are weak & vulnerable & susceptible to whatever elements we happen upon at that particular moment. Being human means that there are forces that are bigger & stronger than we are. & unlike in the movies – where the good guy always, somehow, some way comes out on top – the light doesn’t always shine through the darkness. Trayvon’s murder is one of those black hole-esque moments in real life when, no matter what happens during or afterwards, no positive outcome will escape.
A lot of times when these types of senseless killing stories are broadcast, my initial thoughts are for the parents of the victim. & by “these types” I mean urban kid gunned down for no particular reason other than Hate. I’ve said it countless times, hatred is “cool” again, but that’s for another day. Hopefully.
Those of “you” who have been with me for awhile know I have three children. Two boys, one girl. As a father, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m raising my daughter to be a queen for another kingdom. As a man, my main job is to foster, nurture, advise, guide, & protect her to the best of my ability. As a realist, I know there’s only so much I can do to mold my girl, especially with her at a different address & me not being able to show her how to be a woman. (I can still show her how to be a lady, though.) Nevertheless, I’m here for her & she knows & that’s all that matters. Daughters are like cacti to a father, because no matter what you do, she’s going to bloom into her own. You pray that her thorns are long & strong enough to shield her when you can’t. My girl is becoming a young woman, & I’ve already taken my place as the coach on the sideline, ready & waiting for whatever. Whatever that may be.
Sons, on the other hand, are totally different than daughters. It’s very much like the difference between dogs & cats or puppies & kittens, behavior-wise. Socially, it’s like a training soldiers that have to defend themselves instead of a location. As a matter of fact, that location is their mind & body, & they’re to be protected at all costs if they’re to withstand the treacherous terrain that lies ahead. At the end of that road are the gates to wherever their hearts desire; it’s my job to prepare them for the journey.
I don’t pull the race card much, but being Black, I’m well aware that the other cards are stacked a tad bit higher against me, no matter the situation. & I’d imagine that all fathers, including Trayvon’s, are equally as cognizant. Unfortunately, though, that means teaching my sons certain survival techniques along with the lessons about the birds & bees, if you smell my cologne. This is an on-going form of fatherhood, handed down from my grandfather, who survived world war & boundless racism, to my father, who grew up in the crazy streets of Los Angeles during the 1950’s & 60’s. This, in essence, is a similar war as the one my Paw Paw fought except now, the home front is quite literally the front of my home. The neighborhood. The environment. Society. To further illustrate my point, “Driving While Black” was an actual hindrance long before it became a jovial part of popular culture.
For all the stop-drop-&-roll tactics I can show my sons, I can’t change the planet. Fathers spend exorbitant amounts of time instructing & guiding & mentoring, but the rest of my boys’ survival is based on the world they live in, as Black men. I can’t rightly say I feel Trayvon’s father Tracy’s pain, but I can certainly empathize with his love.
Hopefully Zimmerman’s crime will motivate congress to make some modifications to the “Hold Your Ground” law, a law that was initially intended for victims of spousal abuse & legal gun owners. The audio tapes I heard sounded more like an impatient hunter watching his prey, rather than a man who was frightened that his life may be taken. The saddest part is that Tracy Martin couldn’t prepare his son, Trayvon Martin, for something that want supposed to happen, & I know that will bother him forever.