The Case of Trayvon Martin: America’s Dirty Secret

I was going to add “little” to the title, as in “dirty little secret.” Unfortunately, it’s not a little secret. What isn’t? The racism that still runs rampant in America.

How do I know this? Because my kids are black.

Over the years, I have seen the subtle and not so subtle signs of racism in our community. Yes, the majority of people we encounter as a family are wonderful and have never reacted in any way to the color of my kids’ skin. But a small faction has always been there and it is because of them that letting my sons leave the house was always tinged with just a little bit of fear. Would they come home again?

Why am I afraid they won’t? Because of the people around us who react with fear and suspicion at the site of big black men.

When I shop alone at a certain big box store, my cart is never checked when I leave. If I’m with one of the boys and he’s pushing the cart, we will get stopped more than not. When I approach the cart and ask what the problem is, the searcher has the good grace to look embarassed as he or she apologizes.

When my sons were little, just running through the neighborhood would cause some people to chase them down to see what they stole from them. Yup, little boys playing tag through the streets caused some people to instantly think of theft.

These are just two examples of what we have experienced living in a racially diverse suburb. I can’t imagine what people of color experience in less diverse areas.

And today’s racism isn’t just for black people. So many ethnic groups appear suspicious in the eyes of white Americans. At a time when we should have moved past “white American” to simply American, this saddens me as a citizen.

As a mother, it just reinforces my fears: will they come home?

My heart hurts for Trayvon Martin’s family. A mother’s worst fear just became a reality.

7 thoughts on “The Case of Trayvon Martin: America’s Dirty Secret

  1. it’s a horrible tragedy. i think the dood went to far and the fact that he hasn’t been charged or jailed is just dumb.

    horrible horrible world we live in…

  2. Firstly, what a great looking family you have (and they look so happy too). I totally understand your fears and share your concern about our world. I teach graduate classes for teachers on Multiculturalism, Prejudice, and so on…and I’m constantly amazed that so many issues are STILL presented as problems in this day and age. We have three adopted children (one is half Japanese, one is half Hispanic, and other is half African American) and have been judged because of that so often. I wrote about it in one of my blog posts http://dr-rhia.squarespace.com/blog/2012/2/25/saint-or-sinner.html … but what I didn’t put in that was that the person who asked why we’d adopted when we knew we’d be killed in our beds one day actually asked why we’d adopted A BLACK child when we knew she’d kill us in our beds one day. My children read my blogs and she’s just 10 so doesn’t need to know that quite yet. Sadly, prejudice still runs rampant…all we can do is try to change things one home at a time.
    Rhia

    • Thank you! I can’t believe how ignorant people can be. One of my most hated comments: I hope they appreciate that you adopted them. Why should they appreciate that?! They’re children! Are birth children appreciative about being born?! Plus, my reasons for adopting were completely selfish–I wanted to be a mom! Right now we’re having problems with the kids–but nothing that hasn’t happened to other families with young adult children. But some people have said it’s because they are adopted. Really?!

  3. Dan (hubby) and I have exactly the same feelngs when we get that same comment about how appreciative our children should feel (or how ‘lucky’ our children are…what, lucky to be born??). We also get comments such as, “Do you think he’s acting that way because he was adopted?” No, actually, I think he’s acting that way because he’s a 13 year old boy trying to find his place in life!! It’s really an interesting phenomenon. But the funniest is people asking if the children know that they’re adopted…Dan and I are white and the children aren’t! You may like a post I wrote a week or two ago called You Mean They’re Squatters? It addresses how people ask me if I have any children of my own…bet that’s not a new one on you!
    If you ever need support or a sympathetic ear, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
    Rhia

  4. First, I think it’s so coo that your kids are adopted. My husband is adopted and I’m so thankful that he was raised by such loving and wonderful people.

    Second, that is such a tragic story. It angers me that there are still so many ignorant people filled with so much fear.

    • Thanks, Alli! I’m adopted, the boys are adopted, our animals are adopted…we have the whole thing covered here! lol

      I hope this Trayvon Martin issue gets resolved and there is justice.

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