Earlier today I passed along Mano Singham’s thoughts on the Trayvon Martin case to my brother Cavana Faithwalker and Mano’s words sparked a response from Cav that I’ve been contemplating for a considerable time this evening.
Trayvon Martin is not important because he is tragically not unique, he is ubiquitous.
Trayvon is my dark skinned daughter who many believe to be ignorant, unrefined, “ghetto,” as if they know the ghetto, and belligerent because of the color of her skin before she speaks or acts, sans hoodie and even many times afterward despite the contrary evidence.
Trayvon is every middle-classed Black person discounted as naturally knowledgeable (I worked for my degree and any knowledge I may have amassed like you worked for yours, don’t get it twisted) and exotic by many liberal white folk who sadly truly believe they are color-blind though the be far from it.
These are the ignorant that demand our attention. Trayvon is every Black person ostracized and put in a box by her or his “own” Black folk for being too White, too educated, too articulate, this is the ghetto mind as opposed to saggin and gangsta rap. God forbid Black folk should like European classical music and art, Carly Simon, even Tracy Chapman or Frank Sinatra, eat Beef Wellington and know what the heck Vichyssoise is. (Did I spell that correctly?)
What is Black anyhow? Trayvon is me. And if you are not dark skinned know that by extension Trayvon is even you, you better recognize… It’s almost too late.
I’m about as not-Black as can be. I’m German and Welsh on my father’s side and French and Northern Italian on my mother’s side. I know that by virtue of my European heritage I’m part of an elite with privileges that most of the others who live on this blue marble cannot even dream of.
That reality does not please me and I feel a void where my action to heal the damage ought to be.
My Brother is right. Trayvon is me because I have more in common with that young man than I ever will have with the bosses and thieves who do all they can to ensure that young men like Trayvon frighten me and that those young men are, in turn, frightened of me.
To borrow the line from Frank Herbert, fear is the mind-killer. We have to stop living in fear of the threat that does not exist.