Let’s Talk

JUST RETURNED home from a family reunion in Jackson, MS. We finished the banquet just minutes before the Zimmerman verdict came in. The emcee at the banquet asked for comments prior to closing. I didn’t say anything, but I should have. I should have tried to prepare the family for a verdict that may be upsetting to them for several reasons. First, I felt we had been outlawyered, just as we were in an appalling number of high profile cases. Think back for a minute: Delorean, O.J., Robert Blake, Phil Spector, Casey Anthony and the cops in the Rodney King beating. There are reasons for this, but that’s another discussion. More to the point at hand, I should have urged them to have a serious discussion with their black children. Things like illuminating the interior of their vehicles if pulled over by the police at night. This gives the approaching police officer an advantage, thereby lowering anxiety and promoting a more positive outcome. They also have to realize that there are far too many “Zimmermans” out there. We have to develop strategies to ease tensions during encounters with them as well.

The difficult part about this discussion is that our young people feel that they should not have to. And, they are right! But in the short term, we need to think survival and use this incident to galvanize us into political activism and not just on the  national level. While we were busy posting on Facebook and Tweeting on mundane matters, a lot of dangerous and repressive laws were passed on the state and local levels. The “stand your ground” law leads the pack.  Until these laws are challenged and overturned and they must be, we should use every available stratagem available to protect our children.

I didn’t say anything Saturday night, but black parents must…but they should not have to!


(image: trayvon martin via eonline)