What Trayvon Has Taught Me

 

Yesterday my son asked, “Mommy, if I wear a hoodie, does that mean I’m going to be shot, too?”

My son is 8 years old.

Eight. 

The question gave me pause because really, what could I say? Hoodies don’t cause people to be killed.

But that didn’t exactly hold true for Trayvon Martin, did it?

A one-word answer, neither negative nor affirmative, would provide a proper response to his query.

We live in an area where the racial divides — ones that are so exact and rigid in other communities — are more or less blurred. The kids have friends of every race. While they understand the weight that “nigger” carries, they’ve never had to bear the burden of being called one like I did, or like my mother before me.

They know the history; I make sure of that as a proud Black mom. But they haven’t had to live the history. I haven’t yet had to teach them, within the context of their everyday lives, the lessons that our ancestors had to learn. I always knew that I would have to eventually. Someday, they’ll leave this sheltered nest and enter the world, where someone might view the color of their skin as a threat. They know that there are close-minded people like that. They know, to some degree, that there are enemies who will try to hold them back simply because they are Black.

After Trayvon was shot, I suddenly realized that the faceless enemy I’ve been priming my kids to recognize was in corporate America–some jerk on the career ladder who might interfere with their advancement even as he smiles in their faces. A college professor who refuses to believe that those people were capable of writing brilliant theses. Someone in human resources who routinely passes over applications with the Black/African-American box checked.

Without realizing it, all along I’ve been thinking that if anyone feared my children’s color, it would be because they were intimidated by the power of my children’s knowledge. I was preparing my children for the possibility of challenge, but not for the idea that anything was impossible. I thought they might face obstacles to their way of life, not to living.

But now there’s a boy dead because color + hoodie = “assholes” who “always get away.”

Zimmerman, Trayvon’s murderer, sure showed him, didn’t he?

Well, he showed me, too.

And now I have to show my children lessons that I didn’t recognize I’d have to teach. I didn’t think I’d have to teach them that there are people who believe that because they’re Black, they have to prove their innocence in advance by avoiding certain types of clothing (you’ve done this cause no favors, Geraldo).

I didn’t think my kids would have to learn that in matters of race, it wouldn’t only be their opportunities that they would have to protect, but maybe also their lives. In matters of racial prejudice and assumptions, people take from others what they’re most afraid of losing for themselves. I wanted to prepare my children for the idea that someone, out of fear for losing his or her own chances, might try to take their chances for success. I didn’t think I’d ever have to tell my kids that this same concept might also apply to their very lives.

Trayvon Martin begged for his. I don’t want my kids to have to beg for anything, least of all, for their lives.

I only paused for only a moment when Jordan asked me whether wearing a hoodie was a risk to his life. I gathered his twin 10-year old brother and sister and introduced to them the lessons that Trayvon–or any child–should never have to learn. I bottom-lined it with a repeat of what I have always tried to teach them–

Be proud of who you are. Others might fear you because you are Black, but don’t you fear being Black. If someone views the color of your skin as a threat, you then view it as your armor.

We all have something to learn from Trayvon. Otherwise, his death was in vain. Your lesson might be different from mine. What is he teaching you?

54 Comments

  1. luna on March 24, 2012 at 12:39 am

    lump in throat. chills down my spine.
    best. mom. ever. <3



    • JW Moxie on March 24, 2012 at 4:45 pm

      Thank you, luna. It’s clear that I have a lot left to figure out.



      • luna on March 24, 2012 at 5:24 pm

        as does the rest of this nation. based on your response to your kids, though, it’s clear you are far ahead of the curve here.

        it’s all just so outrageously tragic.



  2. Sili on March 24, 2012 at 12:42 am

    No words. This was perfection. Thank you, sistah.



    • JW Moxie on March 24, 2012 at 4:46 pm

      Thanks for helping share the word, Sili.



  3. Kristin on March 24, 2012 at 12:49 am

    What a brilliant, thoughtful, sobering post. Thank you for this.



    • JW Moxie on March 24, 2012 at 4:46 pm

      The whole issue has been sobering for me as a Black mom, that’s for sure, Kristin.



  4. Dresden on March 24, 2012 at 7:21 am

    Amazing post. It is beyond devastating that we are raising our children in a world where we have to prepare them for such backwards thinking.



  5. Sarah on March 24, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Thank you for this. I grew up in the ville and BI was pretty well blended together. When I moved to the smaller town I live in now, I was pretty well shocked by the attitudes in the community. There is literally an on-going debate between the NAACP and the white citizens about whether or not it’s appropriate to fly the confederate flag on a monument in front of the courthouse.

    I haven’t yet talked to my kids about Trayvon because I just learned about what was going on (and I usually discuss bigotry with them when it comes up.) I don’t want my kids to take on the attitudes within this community. I am trying my damnedest to teach them love, tolerance and respect for everyone.

    My heart breaks for Trayvon’s family. It also breaks to know that there are many people who agree with or excuse Zimmerman’s behavior. And that your elementary school aged children would need to ask a question about whether or not they should fear being shot? Are we really living in 2012? Sigh. Your response to them was amazing, but I hate that it was even necessary.



    • JW Moxie on March 24, 2012 at 4:48 pm

      The ‘ville is a military town, so we’re not as affected by much of the racial tensions that are still present in plenty of other places. I knew this, but somehow lost sight of just how tolerant it is here in the ‘ville in comparison to more “civilian” locales. We’re lucky, Sarah, because we can see things as they should be and pass that along to our children.



  6. Quiet Dreams on March 24, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Thank you for this.



    • JW Moxie on March 24, 2012 at 4:48 pm

      xoxoxo



  7. Lisa G. on March 24, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Eloquently said. Thank you.



    • JW Moxie on March 24, 2012 at 4:48 pm

      Thank you, Lisa.



  8. Carol on March 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Found this post interesting! I’ll be pinning this on pinterest today!



    • JW Moxie on March 24, 2012 at 4:50 pm

      Thank you for sharing it, Carol.



  9. Kristin @kdwald on March 24, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    I really like how you put your advice to your children. It’s a serious leap to have to take from intangible to tangible, opportunities snatched to life stolen. It’s the most difficult thing we have to teach our children: Be proud and joyful in who you are, even though others may not always see you for who you are.



    • JW Moxie on March 24, 2012 at 4:49 pm

      I love, love, love your last sentence. That lesson can be applied to so many different situations that our children will have to face through their lives. Thank you for your words here, Kristin.



  10. Baby Smiling In Back Seat on March 24, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Powerful stuff, Moxie.

    Tamale loooooves hoodies. She would wear them 24/7/365 if we let her. As a 2 year old white (well, 3/4 actually, but white as far as most people can tell) girl, of course she doesn’t think about the ramifications of her clothing choices. Sobering that your boys have to.



    • JW Moxie on March 24, 2012 at 9:41 pm

      It is VERY sobering. It’s an angle that I honestly had never thought of before. These are things that Frank and I both need to learn so that we can better equip our boys. It makes my head spin….



  11. a on March 24, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    This has been a hot topic in a FB discussion group to which I belong. The Black men of the group (all of whom are well-educated professionals, as far as I can tell) say that they’re teaching their sons all kinds of unfortunate methods of how to deal with the prejudices that exist in our society – from never leaving a convenience store without a bag for your purchases to when and where to walk to what to do when you get pulled over by the police for driving while Black. I think it’s horrifying that these are lessons that need to be taught.

    I hope your children don’t ever have cause to use these lessons you’re forced to teach them. I hope that Trayvon’s death can at least spur some sort of positive change for society.



    • JW Moxie on March 24, 2012 at 9:37 pm

      I had to flip over to Facebook so that I could copy a comment that I left somewhere last night. It’s a VERY relevant response to your comment, a:

      My mom was essentially a single mom. I am one of three daughters. My husband and I are both military brats, and our lives as children were TOTALLY different than they would have been had we been raised in a “civilian” environment. We were raised in a culture of diversity and acceptance, because everyone came from everywhere. My children are being raised in that same culture, because even though my husband was medically discharged from the Army when our oldest (the twins) were newborns, we’ve stayed here in a military town.

      Neither one of us really has a full view of the special considerations we must take when raising young Black men. It goes beyond teaching them about our history and about lingering discrimination/prejudice. I’m seeing now, more than ever, that it’s also about safety. I always (mistakenly) believed that if my kids did the right thing, appreciated learning and education, and were good people, they would somehow be impervious to the physical harm that Black kids who are in tough situations stand a greater chance of falling victim to. I see now that my kids are at just as much risk as anyone else, because to those people who might do them harm because they’re Black, we all look the same, anyway.



      • a on March 24, 2012 at 11:04 pm

        And that’s a scary thing, because although your kids should not have to have extra education in how to react, if they don’t, they’re more at risk. I had a more or less sheltered upbringing, but it was in Chicago and my parents were older (which is code for prejudiced, but slowly evolving through the 70s and 80s), so I knew this sort of thing existed. But I never understood why it should be so. My experiences were in such contrast to stereotypes that I have never been able to truly understand the stereotypes. Sure, there are bad seeds. But they come in every flavor. SMH



    • JW Moxie on March 24, 2012 at 9:38 pm

      The comment below this one was left for you, a. I meant to reply directly to your comment so that you’d be notified when I responded. 🙂



      • JW Moxie on March 24, 2012 at 9:39 pm

        Nevermind – the comment went where it was supposed to go. Apparently, I’m too tired to see or thing straight.



  12. Alexicographer on March 24, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Oh, Kym. I’ll admit it: the murder of Trayvon Martin doesn’t even surprise me. Horrifies me, of course, breaks my heart a million times over, but doesn’t surprise me. What does surprise me (and horrify me, honestly even more than does his murder because the murder was the act of one person and this is the act of many) is this: that apparently even in 2012 it is still OK in the U.S. for someone to shoot and kill a black male for no reason . It is not, it seems, a crime to do so — not even worthy of charges (never mind prosecution or conviction). I may yet be proven wrong about that; I do so deeply hope I will.

    Several years back the institution where I work assigned the book Blood Done Sign My Name as a community reading assignment; I found it a compelling (white-authored, if that matters, and it probably does — well, heck, it clearly 100% does in terms of the author’s own description of how he got the information he wrote about) account of a somewhat similar event in 1970 up the road from where I grew up. And I didn’t imagine things had changed all that much since then, honestly. Bluntly, I didn’t imagine we’re not (collectively, I’m not charging — nor excusing — anyone in particular here) still racist. But I will say I did figure we had collectively at least moved to a point where a white person (or any person) couldn’t pursue shoot, and kill a black person in cold blood in front of witnesses without being charged — charged, just charged! — with a crime. Stupid me.

    It is horrifying. And yes, you have to teach your children. Your sons. And that is horrifying. I am so sorry. I mean, I am sorry for all parents everywhere that there is so much about which we have to worry on behalf of our children (I was struck yesterday by John Scalzi’s succinct reply to a reader question in his 3/23 post: “‘What are you afraid of?’ Outliving my kid.”), but somehow, particularly the cruelty and stupidity of this.



    • JW Moxie on March 27, 2012 at 9:37 pm

      I feel you, Alex. I completely agree with all of the above. I guess in my heart I’m not really surprised that this happened. The loss is great, no doubt. I know that there are racists with itchy trigger fingers who are just looking for an excuse. Not to minimize Trayvon’s murder, I think that the deplorable thing – the part which still has me sitting with my jaw dropped – is not the murder itself, but how the whole thing was handled by the Sanford PD. I don’t care WHAT Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law says. As soon as the 911 call revealed that Zimmerman continued to pursue Martin when he Z was specifically told not to, well – it seems to me that should have been reasonable grounds to arrest him. It’s the idea that in a way, the SPD represents the greater society as a whole, and it seems that justice is not as blind as I would have liked to believe before this happened.



  13. John Kluger on March 25, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    This is a wonderful post. You managed to get tears rolling down my eyes. It was very touching.
    And I must say that you are a great mom.

    Thanks for sharing this lovely post..
    -John



    • JW Moxie on March 27, 2012 at 9:38 pm

      Thank you for your kind words, John.



  14. StacieT on March 26, 2012 at 1:20 am

    Another beautiful post. I’ve stared at the picture of your boys for a while now. I keep going back to it. It’s their eyes. They’re so sad. It breaks my heart that they’ve had to learn a lesson like this. It makes me fear for your kids, for my kids (because while my children are not black, they are hispanic which I realize could just as easily make them targets) …for all kids really. Living where I live, in a military community like yours, I don’t often see racial divides either. I don’t think in that way, so I naively believe others don’t either. It sickens me to think that they do.

    This horrible tragedy and the outrage it has rightly generated has ignited the flame of humanity. Yes the flame is small, but it continues to grow. There are those among us who stand up and fight for what is right. They are championing the belief that we are all human and should be treated as such. This brings me hope.

    I want more for our kids than a society which breeds hatred. So what did I learn? I’ve learned that making that happen has to start with me.



    • JW Moxie on March 27, 2012 at 9:43 pm

      “I’ve learned that making that happen has to start with me.” Absolutely.

      I would rather that it wouldn’t have caused the death of Trayvon to make it happen, but I think that I needed some type of wake up call to remember what it’s like out there in the “real world.” You and I can speak from the the point of view of understanding the difference between military and civilian communities. I was in the 6th grade when I had my first experience in a civilian community/school, and it was nothing short of traumatic. That’s not to say that it’s like that EVERYWHERE; I just had the poor luck of my first experience being a negative situation. Still, it did make me almost painfully aware that the intolerance that I’d read about in so many books was a very REAL thing. I think I’ve been here in this military bubble for so long since then, that I’ve kind-of lost sight of that. God knows I haven’t thought about the difference much in terms of being a parent who has to prepare her children to live in this world. It’s like I feel a whole new level of parental responsibility. Like you said – it has to start with me. xoxo



  15. Amanda on March 26, 2012 at 5:28 am

    Trayvon taught us one big lesson. We are living in a country that professes the belief that all men are created equal, yet cannot tolerate each other to the point of violence. Not to mention that disrespect due to color is rampant.

    I guess the founding fathers are turning in their graves now.



    • Alexicographer on March 27, 2012 at 12:24 pm

      I don’t mean to hijack JW Moxie (see, Kym :), I am learning!)’s post/comment thread but I saw this comment and am finding I can’t stand not to respond.

      Whoever may be turning in their graves, I doubt it’s the founding fathers. It was the document they used to create our nation’s government (the Constitution) that specified precisely how much less an enslaved life was worth than was an unenslaved one (anyone remember the 3/5ths compromise?). I almost typed “voice” rather than “life,” but let’s be clear: the 3/5ths compromise augmented the voices of slave owners (increased their representation in Congress relative to that of non-slave-owners) without giving the enslaved a voice at all.

      We can and should bemoan all sorts of things both in our present and from our past — but the idea that we’ve moved away from an idyllic past, or that the founding of the US embodied an egalitarian ideal is simply inaccurate.



      • JW Moxie on March 27, 2012 at 9:52 pm

        Alex, I totally agree with you and I was going to reply something to that effect, but you beat me to it. I doubt that I could have clarified my thoughts as eloquently as you have here, though. I love you for posting this (and for tons of reasons more!).



    • JW Moxie on March 27, 2012 at 9:48 pm

      As Alex points out below, the Constitution didn’t originally define “all men” with the liberal application that we’d like to *think* it means today, but I do see the point that you’re trying to make. If we viewed each other with the same equality that is outlined in that document, then just maybe this situation wouldn’t have happened – or at the very least, the authorities would have handled it better.



      • Alexicographer on March 27, 2012 at 10:06 pm

        I do agree that with JW Moxie that some of the ideals expressed in our Constitution, even if not applied that way at the time or consistently throughout history, do have (considerable) value and have served good effect.

        Also, it seems pretty clear that some of the founders struggled with these issues themselves, both conceptually and in practice (that is, that even those who didn’t necessarily embody them consistently nonetheless valued and appreciated them, though I don’t intend to downplay their, um, self-interested inconsistencies). Thomas Jefferson’s writings and his life seem to illustrate that pretty well, though I don’t think he was alone in this.



        • JW Moxie on March 27, 2012 at 10:56 pm

          You are totally in my head, Alex. You’ve once again expressed ideas that were swimming in my mind. Thomas Jefferson and his apparent foibles actually came to mind when I posted that last reply. I was just too tired to flesh out that string of thought and articulate it myself. 🙂



  16. leanne on March 26, 2012 at 11:12 am

    What have I learned? The world can be a messed up place. As a mom, I’m saddened that another mom has lost a child. And I’m horrified that the man who shot Trayvon may go unpunished. I don’t see how Zimmerman can use the stand-your-ground law — it seems he did the complete opposite — pursuing someone who had done nothing (unless wearing a hoodie is now cause for justifiable homicide — which I think we can all agree it is NOT.).



    • JW Moxie on March 27, 2012 at 9:59 pm

      YES! I 100% agree, Leanne. I’m not one to engage in debate – even of the respectful type – but someone posted something almost caustic on Facebook and I couldn’t help but say something about it. Now that other details about Trayvon are coming out (the so-called “smear” campaign), I went back to the point that you’ve stated here. Regardless of any trouble that Trayvon has or hasn’t been in (and the same goes for Zimmerman), the fact that Z PURSUED Trayvon and never intended to let him just walk away tells me that he WANTED to start a confrontation with him. That is a fact that just can’t be overlooked, and it practically makes both of their past histories totally beside the point. How the heck can he put HIMSELF into contact with Trayvon, and then shoot him and claim “self-defense”? I tend to think that *Trayvon* acted in self-defense FIRST, and that’s when Martin felt “threatened” enough to shoot.

      That’s just MY idea. I could be wrong. It’s up for a COURT to decide. But that type of justice can’t be served if Zimmerman is never charged in the FIRST damned place. THIS is where Trayvon was failed.

      xoxo, Leanne.



      • The Animated Woman on April 2, 2012 at 2:53 pm

        “How the heck can he put HIMSELF into contact with Trayvon, and then shoot him and claim “self-defense”?” This is the crucial point.

        Well done on this post J-dub. So many important issues you touch on from a personal angle.



  17. El Cinco's Gran-Gran on March 26, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    When I was envisioning having children, as a teenager I wanted all boys because they seemed easier to raise. I feared having daughters would be difficult to say the least because of all the “things” that happen to females, having a houseful of women doing the “monthly thing” not to mention the moodiness of women at times when it isn’t that “monthly” time.

    Growing up I hung out with the guys more than the girls so it was only natural for me to want to have boys. As life would have it and I grew older and wiser I began to understand the world we live in, I realized what I hoped for would have caused more parental fear than having daughters.

    I taught my daughters how to defend themselves if need be, taught them how to be respectful of self and others, acceptance and tolerance of others, how to present yourself as a woman of character, and I encouraged individuality rather than doing what the packs were doing if it doesn’t fit in your scheme of things.

    I became thankful to the Powers to be for sending me all females. This became my niche, my calling, challenge, and greatest act of all in my life.

    If I had sons, I would have had the major mission to find positive role models for them because the man I married would not have been the one to teach them how to be a man of substance. Nor would he have been able to teach them how to be a Black man in America due to his avoidant behavior when it came to race issues.

    A Department of Education study, sociological research continues to show that Blacks and Latinos are more likely to be disciplined in school and stopped by the police. While some may anecdotally argue that black kids are badder than white kids, studies show a more pressing problem — teachers and police officers monitor, profile and police Black and Latino youth and neighborhoods more than white ones.

    Last year at Akron University all of the Black males at the school received an email telling them to “cooperate with the police.” This is part of that email: “As you may be aware, a series of robberies have occurred around campus over the last few weeks particularly on the south and east ends of campus. Although, most of these crimes have not been committed by University of Akron students, the primary suspects have been African American Males between the ages of 18-23.

    In the event that you are stopped by the police, here are a few tips to follow:
    Cooperate fully with questions. Identify yourself as a UA student and please carry identification with you at all times. Even if you are angered, refrain from using profanity as you could be charged with disorderly conduct. Do not run from the police as you could be charged with a crime.” WTH!

    The news for young black men is not good: they are disproportionately singled out, they are more likely to be stopped and frisked by police officers, and according to Michelle Alexander in her book, “The New Jim Crow,” nearly one-third of black men are likely to spend time in prison at some point in their lives. I digress…

    I’ve looked at my grandsons and wondered if his parents would ever have to have the discussion about the very real dangers of being a Black male and give them the tips that someone mentioned in another post.

    I felt it would come as they entered their teens but this incident has pushed that agenda and made it a “have to do” now reality.

    How does one teach any child to be cautious without creating paranoia?

    Out of curiosity I Goggled “How to Stay as a Black Man in America? I really didn’t expect to find anything but lo and behold! Here are some of the ones I found:
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________
    I don’t care what you have in your pocket…don’t reach in your pocket for a damn thing.

    Get some white paint and and empty it out over yuh head. As well, develop a nasal accent and learn to dance out of time.

    Nothing new, that your parents didn’t already teach you.

    Mind the company you keep…
    Be careful where you go…
    Be careful as to how your portray yourself to be…
    Don’t start no trouble…
    Avoid confusion, drama and confrontation.

    Find some white friends to hang out with….cause we all know that they wouldn’t dare fire some shots on a group of white folks….at most they might mace you.
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________

    There isn’t much more I can say…



  18. Birdman on March 27, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    I’m sad to say that I’m lucky to be white. I’ve never said that before, but your post made me think about what I have to teach my 10 and 8 year old white step daughters, and I don’t know. They like everybody, no matter what their race, religion or otherwise. I guess I’ll tell them to keep on treating people as equals, and to watch out for people trying to get ahead at their expense. That was one thing I’d never thought to tell them. I guess I just figured they would learn that on their own like I did.

    Thanks for the insight,
    Chris



  19. loribeth on March 27, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Your boys are beautiful.

    I hadn’t paid much attention to this case until President Obama made the point of saying, “If I had a son, he’s look like Trayvon.” For all that we have come so far (the President of the United States is a black man), it’s obvious we still have far to go. (And by “we,” I mean Canada too. Our gun laws here are thankfully much stricter, but — for all its much-touted diversity — my city has its share of “driving while black” incidents & the like too.)

    Thank you for a thoughtful, personal and sobering post.



  20. Sara on March 29, 2012 at 4:53 am

    This is an amazing post. I’ve been in tearful contemplation for some time after reading it.

    Honestly, nothing about this incident surprised me. Black boys and men have been being killed for walking while Black in America for hundreds of years, and their killers usually get away with it. I lived in New York when Amadou Diallo was shot 41 times by four white plainclothes police officers. Mr. Diallo was entering his apartment building on his way home from work holding nothing more threatening than a wallet. The cops were acquitted. That case was particularly seared into my mind, but there have been a large number of lower-profile cases where Black boys and men were shot because they were perceived to be a threat based on their appearance, rather than anything that they actually did. It’s interesting (and gratifying) that Trayvon’s murder has received international attention, despite (or perhaps because) of the deplorable response of the local authorities. I hope that this will result in some kind of positive change. It would take a very hard heart to look at the face of that beautiful child and not weep for this awful loss.

    Until recently, I had always lived either in large, diverse metropolitan areas, with their share of difficulties, sure, but where at least multiple communities were represented, loudly, or in other countries, but in 2009 I moved (for reasons of career only) to a small, 98% white town in the South. Since then, I have been really struggling with issues of race. I am white, so I blend in, my my husband and daughter don’t, and I worry nonstop about how this will affect my daughter’s self-image and sense of her place in the world growing up. This incident and your post made me realize that actually I am in a privileged position, since for reasons of both her gender and her appearance, my worries, while many, do not include her being shot by vigilantes.

    What a world. 🙁



    • JW Moxie on March 29, 2012 at 9:25 pm

      No matter what degree of worry we feel for our kids, how they are treated based on the color of their skin should NEVER be an issue. It makes me sad that either one of us has to spend time thinking about this so that we can be on the ready if and when our kids need our support with something like this.



  21. Heather on April 2, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    I have two sons, two multi-ethnic sons ages 17 and 19. In the eyes of society my sons are African American. My teenage, African American sons wear hoodies. My Teenage, African American, hoodie Wearing sons have been known to walk in the rain. My teenage, African American, hoodie wearing, rain walking sons could have been Trayvon but not for the grace of God. I care about Trayvon because he was just a boy, any boy and he could have been my boy. He could have been my son and it scares the living daylights out of me.



  22. Don Jefferson on April 17, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    – I would like to analyze what you have just typed, just like I carefully analyzed the Trayvon Martin situation.

    Yesterday my son asked, “Mommy, if I wear a hoodie, does that mean I’m going to be shot, too?”

    My son is 8 years old.

    Eight.

    – Your child would not have drawn this conclusion if you did not directly/indirectly impose upon him that Trayvon Martin was killed because he was black and wearing a “hoodie”, which mind you, is not reality. Because of your inaccurate interpretation as well as the main stream media’s quest for attention, you have now (once again) separated Americans into two racial groups. You have now began the process of telling your child that he is different from the rest of his countrymen, which in turn, will cause him to put up racial barriers much like his mother does.

    The question gave me pause because really, what could I say? Hoodies don’t cause people to be killed.

    But that didn’t exactly hold true for Trayvon Martin, did it?

    – Yes, actually, it did. Perhaps if Trayvon Martin was not actively pursuing the “thug life” that plagues so much of the black youth, he would be alive today. Instead, that young child we have seen so many pictures of turned into “NO LIMMIT NIGGA”, and this new version of Trayvon has a history of violence (such as attacking his school bus driver). Perhaps if his parents had done better at their job, he would not have transformed into “NO LIMMIT NIGGA” and would not have attacked Mr. Zimmerman.

    A one-word answer, neither negative nor affirmative, would provide a proper response to his query.

    – Bullshit. I GUARANTEE that Mr. Zimmerman would have gladly gave Trayvon a ride back to where he was staying, once he identified that no threat was present. This gated community had recent break-ins, and Mr. Zimmerman made a CORRECT judgement call when attempting to questioning Trayvon, who was wandering around in the late hours of the night. Mind you, NO LIMMIT NIGGA was caught with materials used for breaking and entering, in school. Also, he talked about committing such crimes on Facebook and Twitter. Instead, “NO LIMMIT NIGGA” proceeded to attack, and threaten Mr. Zimmerman’s life.

    We live in an area where the racial divides — ones that are so exact and rigid in other communities — are more or less blurred. The kids have friends of every race. While they understand the weight that “nigger” carries, they’ve never had to bear the burden of being called one like I did, or like my mother before me.

    – If you haven’t noticed, whites are much more accepting of blacks nowadays, and many like to see black men and women succeed. Unfortunately, when negative racial barriers are created (thanks Al Sharpton), this causes a fire to be lit between us Americans. You are a prime example of someone who throws gasoline into that fire. You are an example of someone who is reverting our countrymen from brothers, to enemies. That being said, all the blame cannot fall on your head. Most of the blame comes from the main stream media, and many of the groups/people who call themselves “Black Leaders” (New Black Panthers, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson).

    They know the history; I make sure of that as a proud Black mom. But they haven’t had to live the history. I haven’t yet had to teach them, within the context of their everyday lives, the lessons that our ancestors had to learn. I always knew that I would have to eventually. Someday, they’ll leave this sheltered nest and enter the world, where someone might view the color of their skin as a threat. They know that there are close-minded people like that. They know, to some degree, that there are enemies who will try to hold them back simply because they are Black.

    – Why not just be an American mom, instead of a black mom? They haven’t had to live through the history, but you seem to be doing a fine job at fabricating one for them.

    After Trayvon was shot, I suddenly realized that the faceless enemy I’ve been priming my kids to recognize was in corporate America–some jerk on the career ladder who might interfere with their advancement even as he smiles in their faces. A college professor who refuses to believe that those people were capable of writing brilliant theses. Someone in human resources who routinely passes over applications with the Black/African-American box checked.

    – If you don’t want that to happen, maybe you should break that barrier. Look at the parenting in the black community (I hate saying black/white communities). Look at the off the charts statistics in crime, poverty, and general anti-society behavior. If you raise your children right, they will have better opportunities than everyone else! People in those higher positions like to set examples, and if a well raised and well educated black man or woman comes to him/her for a job, that person is going to want to set that positive example.

    Without realizing it, all along I’ve been thinking that if anyone feared my children’s color, it would be because they were intimidated by the power of my children’s knowledge. I was preparing my children for the possibility of challenge, but not for the idea that anything was impossible. I thought they might face obstacles to their way of life, not to living.

    – I cannot understand what point you are attempting to get across here.

    But now there’s a boy dead because color + hoodie = “assholes” who “always get away.”

    – *Sigh* I really hope it clicks for you. Please do some research on the whole Trayvon/Zimmerman topic. Here is something I do: I used to be on a debate team, which altered the way I perceive the would around me. Whenever I see an obviously lob-sided story on the news, I always argue against it first, even if I agree with it. This way, I can build a more logical picture. Anyone who thinks that Mr. Zimmerman ran out of his vehicle, chased down Trayvon, and murdered him, is an idiot for believing so.

    Zimmerman, Trayvon’s murderer, sure showed him, didn’t he?

    – Trayvon was the aggressive attacker and could have killed Mr. Zimmerman, sure showed him, didn’t he?

    Well, he showed me, too.

    And now I have to show my children lessons that I didn’t recognize I’d have to teach. I didn’t think I’d have to teach them that there are people who believe that because they’re Black, they have to prove their innocence in advance by avoiding certain types of clothing (you’ve done this cause no favors, Geraldo).

    – If you go by the name NO LIMMIT NIGGA, you are sure going to walk, talk, and act like NO LIMMIT NIGGA. His thuggish perception became his reality. If NO LIMMIT CRACKA was wearing the same hoodie walking like a thug late at night in a gated community, I can promise you Mr. Zimmerman would have stopped him too. But don’t worry, your children will thank you for making an unnecessary race barrier between him and his fellow countrymen.

    I didn’t think my kids would have to learn that in matters of race, it wouldn’t only be their opportunities that they would have to protect, but maybe also their lives. In matters of racial prejudice and assumptions, people take from others what they’re most afraid of losing for themselves. I wanted to prepare my children for the idea that someone, out of fear for losing his or her own chances, might try to take their chances for success. I didn’t think I’d ever have to tell my kids that this same concept might also apply to their very lives.

    – Yes, tell them that whites hate them because they are black. Just whatever you do, don’t tell them that they will be judged by their character. Keep throwing that gasoline.

    Trayvon Martin begged for his. I don’t want my kids to have to beg for anything, least of all, for their lives.

    – I’m sure he wasn’t begging for his life when he was slamming Mr. Zimmerman’s head against the pavement. NO LIMMIT NIGGA wouldn’t beg.

    I only paused for only a moment when Jordan asked me whether wearing a hoodie was a risk to his life. I gathered his twin 10-year old brother and sister and introduced to them the lessons that Trayvon–or any child–should never have to learn. I bottom-lined it with a repeat of what I have always tried to teach them–

    – Keep brainwashing your children.

    Be proud of who you are. Others might fear you because you are Black, but don’t you fear being Black. If someone views the color of your skin as a threat, you then view it as your armor.

    – Others may “fear” blacks because of the horrible violence that flourishes in the black community. But like I have said many times before, it is your responsibility as a parent to break that cycle. Stop putting up the racial barrier that divides our country, and grows fear and hate between us. The ball is in your court ma’am, most white people are happy to see successful black man that they don’t have to “fear”.

    We all have something to learn from Trayvon. Otherwise, his death was in vain. Your lesson might be different from mine. What is he teaching you?

    – I have learned that a mixture of bad parenting, and a culture that supports violence as well as other ant-social behaviors can turn a young aspiring child into a violent NO LIMMIT NIGGA. These racial barriers need to be broken.



    • JW Moxie on April 17, 2012 at 8:45 pm

      Given the fact that you were searching “Trayvon Martin nigger” via Bing to find this post, I don’t care to reply to your assumption that I’m a poor parent (and also that any parent who has children who make poor decisions are automatically bad parents). I also won’t respond to your apparent belief that the racial divides that still exist are solely to blame on prominent Black leaders. I won’t even comment about your belief that I shouldn’t teach my children to be proud of what makes them uniquely special — it should be known that I also teach them to celebrate ALL cultural differences, not just our own.

      The only thing I WILL say is that I will agree that racial barriers need to be broken, but ignoring that they are there in the first place is not the way to go about doing it.



      • Serenity on October 8, 2012 at 11:49 pm

        I do not always get a chance to read all of the blogs, but I try to keep up- Crabs is my all time favorite lol. I came to this link off of the “N” Word post. That word among many others are forbidden in my home for multiple reasons, which I will save you all that rant.

        There is a ton I could say- but I will hold my tongue except for one thing……..
        *– Yes, tell them that whites hate them because they are black. Just whatever you do, don’t tell them that they will be judged by their character. Keep throwing that gasoline.*

        I know JW Moxie and her family personally, and I AM A WHITE WOMAN WITH WHITE KIDS. If she is teaching her children that whites hate them for being black then why in the world have they spent weekends at my house (A WHITE FAMILY)- why have I spent nights at JW Moxie’s house and too many nights to count with her mother who just so happens to be one of my best friends?????
        Let me answer that question for you- she nor her family are racist; she is not teaching her children that whites hate blacks as you so eloquently put it! The world can be such a cruel harsh place for many, many different reasons- prejudices/racism is only one. Preparing your children for the world is no easy task and those of us parents who do try to educate our children, are only trying to help and protect them as any good parent should. It is better to be equipped with knowledge and understanding the FACTS and HISTORY (even the horrible history many of us do not like to think about actually happening) than anger and blindness.I applaud JW Moxie for all of the lessons in life she and her family are teaching her children, as well as many that my children have learned from them.
        JW Moxie and her family have lots of love to give- no matter race, gender, sexual orientation or culture. They are some of the BEST people I know and I am more than honored to know them.
        *** Love all of you =) ****

        -my 2 cents for what it is worth-



        • Kymberli aka JW Moxie on October 9, 2012 at 12:20 am

          Serenity, I do believe that what you just opened up is called a can of Whoop Ass. 😉

          Your reply brought tears to my eyes. I think this is your first actual comment here, and I’m honored that THIS is what you had to say in it.

          LOVE YOU!



          • Serenity on October 9, 2012 at 2:11 am

            =) Maybe little mama K, hit it right on the nail when she called me “Security” (I cherish that memory)..

            Like most people I enjoy good down to earth discussions and debates that hold respect between each party, but that was just out in out attacking- totally uncalled for. What he accused you of, he pretty much did himself in that post. He mentioned some of the “Black Groups” but he failed to mention any of the many “White racist groups”!

            I just wanted to set it all straight. I love and adore your babies and nephew and I know they love me, it shows in their hugs and smiles. Never once between your El Cinco and my Trio has race been an issue, factor or seen- they are just kids who play together just like any kids in families do.



    • Sarah on April 17, 2012 at 10:51 pm

      You’re missing the forest for the trees here. You can’t use anecdotes and stereotypes to back up the arguments you make. Whites being “much more accepting of blacks nowadays” is not the same as blacks being on a level playing field. White folks got a massive head start in this country, and you sir are completely ignoring the institutionalized racism that still exists in the good ole USA.

      I’m curious, Mr. logical debater, how on earth do you believe you have some divinely inspired knowledge of 1) the accurate events/exchange that took place between Martin and Zimmerman the night Martin was murdered, and 2) that Zimmerman would have given Martin a ride home after he stalked him into the night while believing he was in his neighborhood with criminal intentions? Your logic is full of holes that grew based on your assumptions about the case, an entire race of people and the writer of this blog. How about you go pull your head out of your racist ass and check your privilege?



  23. dd on April 21, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    I also told my children to dress appropriately and always act respectfully to police. I never liked the hoodie myself because I was a victim of a crime . It wasn’t in the news and yes i survived . We are killing our own people . I was lucky all my children grew up to be successful and i teach my grandchildren the same things . Hard work and an education will get you where you need to be in life. Although I agree with some of the posts I believe its important to teach children and teens how to approach the police . Don’t wear your pants hanging off your butt and they sure as Hell didn’t get suspended from school . Maybe I was hard on my children but I didn’t let them walk around at night. I.knew where they were and if they weren’t home at a certain time they caught Hell . After this child got suspended 3 times he should have been grounded and not out anywhere. I know I grew up in a different time but the deaths of a lot of these teens rest in their parents laps. If you believe every white American is hunting down your children then I would sure keep them at home and not roaming the streets . I don’t Luke geraldo but Damn he has a point any non white at night in a dark hoodie is asking for trouble . I myself am suspicious maybe because I not once but several times was robbed and guess what all young black males in hoodies. Then I gave a gun to my clerks and it stopped . Cry for treyvon pray for his family march whatever but we have to take some responsibility.



  24. […] if they don’t make a big deal of race relations, then their children won’t, either. In my post in response to Trayvon Martin’s murder, someone left a comment which exemplifies gross misconceptions that can develop when one’s […]