Jul 14, 2013

Personal Thought: Black In America

I grew up reciting the pledge of allegiance and the line, "with liberty and justice for ALL" with passion. As a child of immigrant parents, those words MEANT something to me. Now as a 24 year old adult, I am unsure where my faith should lie. On the heels of the now infamous Trayvon Martin/Zimmerman "not guilty" verdict, I am filled with more emotion than I know what to do with. So much so, there's a sense of numbness... possibly to help my body cope.

I have watched social media and have seen the various thoughts, arguments, and opinions of people young, my age and older. White, Black, Latin, Asian. There are those who believe that the verdict was right and those who believe the verdict was wrong. I don't mind either opinion because this country stands on the belief that we can have a difference of opinion and still coincide. What is truly bothering me is the people screaming (or typing) that this case had nothing to do with race.

Minorities are not sensitive; we are realistic. Me, a 24 year old young black female; skin as dark as a Hershey bar, body as thick as mud, and cum laude college grad has been plagued by what the curse of my melanin means in this country. I have walked into stores and been followed while my fellow non-colored shoppers roamed freely. I have been accosted by my white counterparts, stood up for myself, and been deemed "the angry GHETTO black girl". I have been told, "you have too much 'sass', you should try to tone it down to fit into the workplace." I often ask myself why we are targeted and the only answer I can come up with, that makes sense, is that it is an underlying subliminal didactic to people of color; being black in America comes with a certain level of responsibility. It's a tough pill to swallow, but it is a fact.

We have the burden of carrying the perception of "our people" placed on our backs. Everywhere I go, I am cognizant of that. I am sensitive to the fact. I know and understand this is how it works, but that doesn't make it right.

When I think of Jordan Davis, Brandon Pettiford, Kendrick Johnson, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Rekia Boyd, Amadou Diallo, etc.; I think of all the times we (not only black people, but citizens) held our breaths for justice that never came. I hoped that with a case as Trayvon Martin's, I could tell my little 16 yr old brother, "look! When we take a stand, we are heard" in lieu of my disappointed tears. To say that race was not a factor would be to deny the very fundamental struggle that the legal system is built upon in this country. Zimmerman saw a young black male walking in a community he deemed was not his own. Was that not profiling? He disobeyed orders to stand down, pursued, and began a confrontation with an unarmed minor. The minor was shot in the back (a sign of flight). Where the jury found reasonable doubt, I don't know. This is not the only case like this. Trayvon was lucky enough to receive media coverage.

Our community is failed by the legal system time and time again. We wait for the justice we are told must come, but see it only applied against people that look like us, creating trauma on the psyche and a nasty cycle. The Zimmerman trial has made people feel like we are not worth much to this country. If we let history tell it, a dog's life (Michael Vick) is now worth more than an unarmed black teenager. If this is the lesson our legal system would like us to walk away with, the progression of this country has taken a terrible turn. What do I tell my 16 yr old brother? How can I look him in the face and tell him he is safe, when now more than ever, I fear for his life? Moreover, why should I feel the same way mothers, sisters and wives felt in the south 60 years ago when have supposedly made strides?

I respect the penal system, but I think we need to look at the idea of race, how it (legal system) treats us and how we treat one another.



  1. "Zimmerman saw a young black male walking in a community he deemed was not his own. Was that not profiling? He disobeyed police orders to stand down, pursued, and began a confrontation with an unarmed minor. The minor was shot in the back (a sign of flight)."

    I'm just pained.

  2. You couldn't have said it better. I have felt pained all day. It's so unfair beyond words. It is totally a race issue.

  3. This is a great & well written post..I agree with your points, the JUSTICE system is totally flawed..Although I was expecting a not guilty verdict, I was disappointed when that was the verdict. Although there was a trial, I do not believe Treyvon Martin had his day in court, my prayers go out to his family!

  4. Every word you said is powerful. Thank you for speaking the truth!! It needs to be heard from everyone.

  5. This is a well written article. It's really sad to see that discrimination is still going on at the point in the world. At schools, work place, legal systems you name it. It's just sad...

  6. this is SO WELL WRITTEN! I can relate and understand. i'm proud to be studying to work in the justice system and hopefully make some changes, especially in southern states like mine. thanks for sharing this!

  7. Thanks so much for visiting my blog and commenting. Your new follower


  8. You have spoken the truth and I am glad that I shared this post with some co-workers of mines and my mom and we all feel the exact same way. I can relate and understand and this just really spoke in volumes beyond measures. This goes to show discrimination still exist and that we really can't be blind to anymore and think that it doesn't.

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  10. This is a great post. I felt so numb and at a loss for words since Saturdays verdict. It is so disheartening to live in a world where my race is automatically "in the wrong". I just don't know how it'll ever change but I pray to God that it will. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Hi darling,
    Thanks for your candor.
    I couldn't believe the verdict and I am horrified and saddened by it.


  12. Great words.... lovely post!!!! Well done!!!
    Kisses hun!

  13. Girl you rocked this post! I couldn't agree more with you. I am so concerned for my nephews living in a country where the legal system works against them rather than for them. I am so humbled by the Martin's display of strength and fortitude during this tragedy. I pray for them and their spiritual healing. We have to make some serious changes in this system or we face some significant battles ahead.

  14. First of all, thank u so much for visitin and commentin to my blog post. Ur article was so well written and well said that it brought tears to my eyes. A dog's life has more value than a human's life???? So sad. Where do we go from here? Is this a sign of things to come. My heart goes out to the Martin family...May God have the final say so!!!

  15. Hi sweetie, you are an exceptional writer. I wasn't following the case too closely but I was completely shocked by the verdict as well. My heart goes out to the family.

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  17. I have refrained from talking about the Trayvon/Zimmermann case, but I will say that this was a good read, and agree that we are realistic.

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  18. Very well said, Sherine! I have so many thoughts and feelings about the Trayvon/Zimmerman case but I've chosen not to speak out, at least while I'm still emotionally charged, and stand up if/when I'm called to action. I hope the that issues of racism, and colorism, in this country continue to be discussed but moreso with solutions in mind.

  19. I have so many thoughts about the situation, its just so sad, May his soul rest in peace.

  20. We’ve got loads of that kind of racism here in Canada too! I hail from Toronto which is over the top diverse, and you still catch certain phrases roll of the tonge in regards to how they perceive Blacks. It’s hard to believe that in this day and age people can still be so ignorant and close minded.

    I for myself go nuts when someone says “you’re so ghetto” , “don’t be so ghetto” . It always comes from a non-black, and its usually tossed out there when I’m not even being salty or causing a scene about anything. A lot of non blacks perceive any black person as having a strong personality, or someone who has the ability to confidently vocalize an opinion as someone who’s ghetto. No, it’s called I have a backbone. Rolls eyes. I could go on and on about this. lol.




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