“Our son was not committing any crime,” said Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton. 
“Our son is your son. I want you guys to stand up for justice 
 and stand up for what’s right.”
     
      I don’t trust you. Honestly, I’m not sure if it was because of your melanin deficiency or because, as you yelled at me for praising champagne, you displayed that same uncontrolled passion-infused anger I assume is at fault in taking the life of a 17-year-old boy. “Stop writing about champagne!” he yelled walking up W21st. “Kids are dying!” He went on. I turned and gave him the thumbs up. I applauded his fury but I had one question for the loud white man walking 30 feet from the silent black woman he was there with: I ask of you, before this day, did you worry about my sons? Because every day I worry about what roadblocks the world will build to make sure he doesn’t make it out alive. Because I know every time my son steps out of my front door, someone will assume he is a criminal and decide to prove themselves correct. They will ignore his smile and refuse to hear him laugh. They’ll know nothing about his strength and endurance or how sweet he sings because, to most of the world, he is nothing but a gang affiliated goon. In this case, though, Trayvon had nothing to shoot but skittles. Have you tasted the racism?  

        I’m sorry. I’m in my feelings, right now. I want to step back and think about what I have to say but I can’t cause myself to hesitate in war. Im tired. I’m tired of pretending that nothing is wrong, looking passed the fact that every time I walk into someone’s office they cant help but to tell me I’m not what they “expected”. Where people only “understand” me once they’ve deduced what country my family originated from –even though I was born right here on the same soil as every other American. I’m hurt with every state Obama loses ground in because, 4 years ago, so many of you were proud to be Black. I assume that after 4 years, there should be more people of color eligible to vote to keep this man in office –but, then again, that man has yet to say said a word in honor of my slain surrogate son. My disappointment in this “great nation” grows. 
          I’ve grown so cold, I prefer my liquor dark like my men. Last night, I sat in one of Taj’s cozy coves explaining to @TAsterisk that perhaps, not everything is made for JWWWD Magazine. We sat watching Rip the Runway at the Tené Nícole sponsored viewing party. All day, I had privately debated my right not to be interested in some things. Do I have to like everything? While I appreciate art and expression, perhaps that’s not my kind of art *shrugs* Through the gracious efforts of The Red Eye Media Group + Tené Nícole, I was invited to cover an event for Colwell at The Flatiron Hotel the night before, but I wasn’t half as excited to go to that as I had been for the Rip the Runway event. As I stood outside of Toshi’s Living Room, the scene was as I assumed it’d be: 1 brotha, 2 sistas. Nothing wrong with that expect for that it looked like my 9-5.  I had just gotten out of work. That’s not where I wanted to be. Truthfully, I’d had rather been home with a lit jay and playing some Jay. @TAsterisk says you’ve got to eat what they feed you until you’re full –then you can decide what to leave off your plate. I say I’m my own boss and will make those decisions as we go, as I see fit. I did eat from Colwell, though –I gained a better understanding of myself and learned to accept me the way I come –Give it some time…we all will. 
     The more we’re afraid of ourselves, the more we’re feared.  In college, I read  Black Spaces, Black places: Strategic Assimilation and Identity Construction in Middle Class Suburbia, by Karen Lacy, which tackles the subject of what it means to be “black” especially in relation to the environment you’re raised in. She discusses how many Black Americans live in two separate, very distinct worlds (typically their home world & their work world)  and have to learn to navigate the two. The idea Lacy shares is that “assimilation” is necessary in functioning in the greater world, but maintaining your own space is integral to preserving your culture and fully understanding your identity. Thank goodness for the hood.  Lacy writes:

 “Michael, a corporate manager and 10-year resident of Riverton, reveals, I can tell black people that didn’t grow up around other black people,’cause they act different….I haven’t been able to put my finger on it. It’s either the expression, the way they give five, I mean it’s just something. They missed something. Well, I shouldn’t say missing, but they are lacking something. And that’s not positive or negative, they just don’t have an ingredient. Not that they aren’t black, but. . .they’re just missing something.”

    I can’t quite tell you what that something is, but I’m allowed guesses: My first is the amount of   authenticity and originality that person conveys –that’s why black people like dope white people *shrugs* (I don’t use politically correct phrases, if that’s what you’re looking for, feel free to check out NPR  as speaking with caution of offending the public is their thing, not mine. As an individual, I have an opinion. As an American in full support of my first  amendment, I can state said opinion as I please). We care about being ourselves and what that means in relation to those around us. We compare ourselves constantly. Whose weave is better? Whose kicks are fresher? We want to be the best whereas other races are typically ok with simply doing well. 

      The other factor that separates people of a darker skin tone form those who are lighter are the things which they do or do not fear. I say this because there have been times when I’ve had to explain to my mother how it feels when people choose not to sit next to me on the train. I feel the hurt in her eyes every time she realizes there’s people out there in the world who don’t love her daughter for no good reason. I hate to tell her, I hate to see her pain, but she should know the world is cold towards me & so, if I ever react as frigid, it’s because of what they’ve done to me.  I also deal with my brother-in-law giving me magazines (with love, I’m positive) featuring articles about being “Black in Hop-Hop” when I am Black in Hip-Hop & no white-owned publication is telling me  what  I’m  listening to. Worse, though, is my own sister leaving me a magazine about “The struggles of the Afro-Latina” and having to bite my tongue not to tell her that if she needed to know what it felt like to be her except darker, she should have just asked me. Sadly, people have to search for information to understand me while their worlds are spoon-fed to me without my having to search for answers —When I don’t even give a f*ck. Let me explain: When you’re of a darker (or minority) complexion, you fear things you shouldn’t fear. You fear walking into a room –you don’t know who’s in there or what the looks on their faces will be when you walk through that room. You fear not being acknowledged for your aptitude because you prefer to wear Nikes and snapbacks.  You fear people fearing you. You fear those who fear you because you don’t know how they’ll react –regardless of their skin color. You fear those closest to you because poverty and fear are a lethal combination. You fear, not the hood itself, but being in someone else’s hood. Mostly, you fear those meant to protect and serve you because most times, they’ve already assumed you to be a culprit. And once you’ve been labeled a culprit, they’ll Trayvon Martin your ass — if you’re lucky and only because they got Emmit Till while he was hot. 
       As a Black woman, my fears have compounded. I fear everything my man fears for him. I fear that, even if I make it, they’ll chain his feet together so he moves too slow to win. I fear they’ll doubt him at the door, denying him the room to grow and build alongside me. I fear I’ll have to support my man because this world won’t allow him to support himself. I fear that if/when I do find that man and we decide bear boys just like him, they’ll try to assassinate my sons then spell their names wrong, because, in reality, all they see and want to say is “Black boy”.  Please tell me, what will happen to my sons? I hope to God he’s out somewhere ripping the runway when ordinary people persuade themselves to play God. I much prefer a switch in his hip to a bullet through his chest. I haven’t figured out the correct move for me. All I know is that I’m not supposed to sit silent. Which restaurant counter or bus seat do I sit in to state my cause? Which prison has room for justice?  If someone is going to kill my son, it’s in their best interest to shoot me dead first. @JustBeingCarl says you can hear Trayvon screaming in the background of his murderer’s 911 call. I haven’t listened because I fear hearing my son die.

       Then there are those things which we do not fear. We do not fear anything or anyone. That is why we walk through your neighborhoods knowing you think we look suspicious. We attend your schools because white kids ain’t the only ones who can read those books. I’m not sure if this is a black vs. white thing, but it’s tough to stray away from that assumption. I do not fear being wrong because, in this case, I hope I’m not right. I do not fear my voice. I do not fear who I am, how I speak, or what I wear. I do not fear people who look like me because they look like me. But maybe if I didn’t look like me, I’d feel different about that. I don’t fear writing “we’s” and carrying people with me. Imagine if Moses had shown fear.  I wrote this because do not fear justice. I do not fear the future. I hear it coming. 

Let freedom ring.