This is nothing new.
I remember, as a student at Trenton State College twenty plus years ago, male classmates teaching the local high school boys in Trenton how to survive a routine traffic stop. Yes, survive a traffic stop.
Listen, I know there were countless incidents before and since where we had to teach our boys, our sons, how to survive. How to not stand up fully in his own power and presence in front of people who did not look like him for fear he would frighten those around him who did not understand him.
Our challenge still is to teach our boys to navigate a life where they are hunted and still find joy, still see beauty, still know love. Indeed, to experience the fullness of life. But more importantly, our challenge is to disabuse the notion that young, black life is disposable so that our sons value each other more than they value a larger society that seeks to destroy them.
Right after I heard the verdict last night, I heard story after story on the local news of our sons victimizing one another.
What are we teaching them?
We must teach our sons the value of the person they see in the mirror and others that look like him in spite of what this country and this culture say. C’mon, get real. Zimmerman is a bumbling idiot. He is not scary, he is lucky. What is scary is generation of black boys who have been taught that young black life has no value. And the senseless killing within our own community will get worse.
Genocide by suicide. That’s what really frightens me. All of this young, black brilliance turned inward to eviscerate and destroy rather than to build and preside.
So…let’s do this for Trayvon. And Raheem. And Percy (that’s right…don’t forget our West Indian brothers)
We gave birth…now let’s give life.