Let’s be clear: we are not shocked about the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case.
Many of us put black boxes in our profile pictures on social media sites, holding out for justice. Our nerves clenched as the verdict was read, our stomachs dropped, our heads shook and history repeated itself.
George Zimmerman was not on trial. It was Trayvon Martin, from a grave, who had to prove he was not guilty.
We are wounded all over again.
We have just been told of the value of a black boy’s life just as thousands of black boys and girls lives have been taken away by gun violence.
We are being reminded again of the second-class citizenship of African Americans across this nation by a system that was not defined by us nor for us — but by the very stripes on our backs of centuries of free labor, and at the cost of our humanity.
It is a continuous cycle of the struggles that highlight African-American culture.
Just as years ago it was seen as justice for a black boy to go missing and his mutilated corpse to be put on display in an open casket for the world to see, it was justice for a boy donning a hoodie in February’s rain to be hunted down and killed for looking suspicious.
It was seen as business as usual for a merchant ship to dock on the shores of Virginia packed tight with African bodies, both dead and alive, to be auctioned off as property to the highest bidder.
Now it’s a common scene for overpopulated county jails to house low-level drug offenders who are mostly black.
This pain of disconnection from a native land, of the forefathers never fully bestowing the rights of citizenship to African Americans in these United States of America has echoed throughout the existence of a black life – black life that was sewn together by whatever traditions black families saw fit to weave in, and most of them having roots in slavery.
Even Brown v. Board of Education does not guarantee in 2013 the equality of education of black children separated by zip codes.
Black males have been demonized, criminalized, locked-out, emasculated, demoralized and reduced to statistics. This disenfranchisement eventually begins to perpetuate the story; whereby no longer is it just the white face mocking males, but black women begin to criticize and buy into the fallacy of dehumanization.
We see communities erode.
The black community celebrates, tolerates and harbors the very negative characters portrayed by the media. Welfare reform policies and a war on drugs makes rehabilitation a lie. Black politicians, the few educated, now begin to distance themselves from urban African-American life and argue about who is to blame for the state of black America.
We have arguments and documentaries about what it means to be black.
The black community is torn apart but looking for a leader.
Too often the hope is cast in God or left to the complacent politicians who hide behind desks.
There are far too many instances where the criminals are protected by living under our own roof, but we complain about senseless violence.
We have made excuses for the lazy black men who see drug selling and gang banging as a way out. It’s more difficult to make the hard choice: to let someone’s own decisions be rewarded by the weight of the consequences.
There are so many times when black women turn their sons into useless, lazy baby-making excuses for men.
But it all psychologically ties into the need for a father figure or a male to hold on to.
No one race is to blame for the verdict in the Martin case. The system is faulty by design.
The senseless violence in Chicago and the murder of Trayvon Martin are connected.
The violence committed by a member of the same race is just as detrimental as the violence committed by someone of another race.
The only difference is that instead of looking to the system we can look inside our homes, communities, schools and churches. We need to actively find ways to create havens where broken English is not tolerated, where pants are kept waistline and hats are taken off at the threshold of the door.
Education remains the key.
If the teachers cannot teach our children, then it’s up to our community to once again bear that burden.
We must begin to celebrate and embrace into the community the men who have formal education and experiences to share. And know that just because they are formally educated doesn’t mean they believe they are better than the less-educated. It doesn’t mean that they are more deserving of a safe neighborhood than those who never left for school.
There is a need to nurture, protect, love and properly guide young black males.
We must police them ourselves, with love, for we know their fate if left in the hands of the justice system.