The parents of Trayvon Martin, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin settled a claim against the homeowner’s association where their son was killed. There is also a suit against George Zimmerman, who shot Trayvon. But for the rest of their lives Sybrina and Tracy will have no peace of mind.
As the death toll mounts in New Orleans – in the United States the ratio is .05 out of 1000 people are murdered, in New Orleans the ratio is .55 – none of our boys are making national news. We did lose a young man, Joseph Massenburg, who was here working for Americorps and was shot to death. Joe made news and good people were shocked and outraged. But the other ones, they’re lost, wrapped into our mounting death toll as unidentified twenty something year olds found with multiple gunshot wounds.
Someone wrote on my Facebook post it is the “legacy of slavery that is keeping the black folks down” in New Orleans, and yes, the legacy of slavery is keeping all of us folks down here down.
I commented on a blog recently about how it wasn’t until I became the white mother of a brown child that I became aware of how racism lurks in every corner and hangs over us like a dark shroud. The blogger said she had heard similarly from others forced into awareness by a child or relationship. My question then is how to make white parents with white children aware of racism so that they can teach your children to be soldiers of change. Instead, I’m confronted by my own friends who are white parents of white children who continue to say, “it’s too hard to talk about,” “we teach them to be color blind”, and “we send our kids to diverse schools.” None of these are sufficient to address a problem that tears at the fabric of our society.
I feel so sorry for Trayon’s parents, and I feel great sorrow for the parents in New Orleans who have lost a child to murder, and I have great fear for any parent of a young black boy in the city of New Orleans – we have a problem to which none of us can turn a blind eye.