Transracial Parenting »

If I were a Black boy

I woke this morning and was able to breathe about the Zimmerman verdict because I went onto the Change.org and NAACP sites to sign the petition to charge Zimmerman with a Civil Rights lawsuit and the site kept crashing because so many people were on it. That made me feel somewhat better. Everywhere I went today people were talking about the verdict. I had taken my out of town guest to Parkway Bakery for poboys and I stood at the bar ordering our drinks and two men and a woman were sitting there (Black) and said they had been discussing the verdict. The woman said if Zimmerman is not guilty it means Trayvon is and she couldn’t believe that. One of the men said his grandmother was white Irish and she would have protested the verdict for him (her grandson). He asked me what I thought, and I said, “I can’t believe a man should be allowed to carry a gun who profiles someone who looks like my son.” I said if the jury had been six mothers of Black sons, the verdict would have been very different. Very different.

Later, a friend sent me a link to a young, white woman* who speaks about who gets to identify with Trayvon – it came after reading an article about Weinstein, who published the graphic photograph of Trayvon Martin and about whose right it was to do so. And yes, who is who in this world of ingrained racism – if Trayvon is guilty, who spoke for him? Who will speak for him?

This morning, I read the dispassionate report by the New York Times about the verdict – no where did it discuss the real issues that were at stake – I wonder why? Why does somebody like George Zimmerman get to tote a gun around and kill a boy who has not threatened him? No where was this discussed in this or most other mainstream articles.

I do believe George Zimmerman’s case is not over – I will sign any and every petition to make sure that justice is done – which means that Zimmerman is made to take responsibility for killing an innocent teenager – but for now, I’m just trying to think what it would be like to be a young, Black man in the United States today on July 14, 2013. And as the young, white woman says, “I can’t know.” I can only know what it is like to be the mother of a 4-year-old Black boy and know the pain in the pit of my stomach that has been with me since last night when I learned of the verdict, which has grown into a boulder lodged in my throat, a mountain that sits on my heart, and a volcanic fire makes me explosive, and I am channeling all this energy to make sure that even though I can’t claim to be Trayvon Martin, I might at the very least make it my mission to change his and my world.

This afternoon, we all went to the Ogden Museum and there was a painting of a woman crying and Tin asked me why she was crying, and I said, “The painting is called DESPAIR, she feels despair and that is why she is crying.

Sung to the tune of Beyoncé’s “If I Were a Boy” – a song of despair.

If I were a white boy even just for a day
I’d roll out of bed in the morning
And throw on what I wanted
And go drink beer with the guys

And chase after girls
I’d kick it with who I wanted
And I’d never get confronted for it
‘Cause they stick up for me

If I were a Black boy
I might not understand
How it feels to love my life
I swear I’d get better at it

I’d listen to my mom
‘Cause I know how it hurts
When you lose the one you wanted
‘Cause life’s taking you for granted
And everything you are got destroyed

If I were a Black boy
I would turn up my hood
Tell everyone I’m nothin’
So they’d think that I was just fine

I’d put myself last
And make the rules as I go
‘Cause I know that no one’s hopeful
Waiting for me to just be, to just be

If I were a Black boy
I think I could understand
How it feels to be forgotten
I swear I’d get better at this

I’d listen to cops
‘Cause I know how they hurt 
And I lose because you wanted
‘Cause they’ve taken me for granted
And everything I am got destroyed

It’s a little too late for me to make it
Say I’m just a mistake
Think any’d forgive me like that
If you thought they would wait for me
You thought wrong

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By Rachel Dangermond

+ - 1 comment

July 24, 2013 - 6:12 pm

graham da ponte - very nice–I saw this when it was first posted and thought how smart and mature this girl is. Hope she is representative of her generation.

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