Black life is not valued.

Patricia Jones
Charleston, SC

My husband and I are the parents of an 18-year-old son who just graduated from high school. As we raised him to this point, we were always concerned about his emotional, mental, and physical well-being. Our goal was to get him through high school and his teenage years without ever seeing what jail looks like. Thankfully and prayerfully, we have managed to do this. However, we have had the talk with him about how he should carry himself as an African American male in these United States. For example, whenever you’re stopped by a police officer, keep your hands on the steering wheel in the “2 o’clock” position. Don’t run in public spaces that might draw attention to you. Don’t wear a hoodie while when you go on your morning walk (he walks for exercise and he is trying to get into the Air Force, so he has to get his weight down). When you step on an elevator, don’t put your hands in your pockets-keep them visible. The list goes on and on. The same thing about the Trayvon Martin murder is this: only two people know what happened on that night, and unfortunately, one of them cannot speak. I have had some of my white friends say, “well, the facts are the facts. You should not look at this through emotion.” Well, how should black parents, black young men, black children, view this? Trayvon Martin had every right to be in that neighborhood on Feb. 26, 2012, because he was visiting with his father, who lives in that gated community. Why was he suspicious in George Zimmerman’s eyes? Why did George Zimmerman disobey the 9-1-1 operator’s directive of “stay in your car, do not follow him.” Why, because he knew he had a gun, and if all else failed, he could defend himself. When did it become a crime to walk to the store to get a snack? When? Florida’s judicial system is FLAWED, and unfortunately, this situation had to happen in order to force us, this country, to face the ugly truth: Racism is not dead. White folk are still terrified of Black folk. Society still insists on de-humanizing Black folk, and this is always going to be a problem. We need to have a discussion about race, but people have to be willing to talk without fear and anger. What I’ve learned from the state of Florida is this: we don’t value children, young people, and Blacks. Look at the Casey Anthony case. I was outraged by the fact that the judicial system did not convict her. Any good mother knows about the well-being of their child. A whole child has been murdered and no one is held accountable? Florida’s system is flawed, flawed, FLAWED.

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  • Ross Chicago

    Two sentences in Mrs. Jones letter standout:

    1) “Our goal was to get him through high school and his teenage years without ever seeing what jail looks like.”

    My wife and I raised three boys and we never ever thought of them going to jail, even for a traffic offense. None did.

    2) “Racism is not dead. White folk are still terrified of Black folk.”

    Just as President Obama talked yesterday about his experience as a black. My experience of blacks as a white makes me frightened of Black folk, particularly black teenage males.

    Even blacks are afraid of other blacks as Jesse Jackson, Sr. admitted some years ago, “There is nothing more painful to me … than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery, then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.”

    Black society is a violent society. The leading cause of death for black males between 5 and 55 is homicide. Fresh instances occur daily on Chicago’s South Side. Until this sickness is cure, whites have good reason to be afraid of blacks. It’s not racism, it’s just common sense based on experience.

  • Ron San Antonio

    Two comments for those who might agree with Mrs. Jones:

    1) Had Martin’s parents taught him not to punch someone in the face, or had the young man simply walked away, the nation would not be having this dialogue. I find it disturbing that those who want to make this a racial issue conveniently overlook that the violence started with that punch. Neither individual exhibited good judgement leading up to the, but Martin committed felony assault when he struck Zimmerman. Had the roles been reversed, and had Martin been the one suspicious of an hispanic with all that followed, I would have expected the jury to deliver the same verdict.

    2) Why is this characterized as a black/white issue. There wasn’t a white person anywhere to be found in this tragedy. I find it disturbing that the media has labeled Zimmerman a “white-hispanic.” I suppose we’ll see this on the next census along with “white-black” and a slew of other labels for mixed ethnicity?

    Facts are facts, and we know there is emotion over and above the facts, but to emotionally take a position selectively acknowledging the facts is irresponsible and ignorant — definitely demonstrating a FLAWED mind. Thank God the jury heeded the facts and the legal instruction.

  • White Light

    White folks being terrified by Black criminals: evil racism

    Black folks being terrified by White “racial profiling:” perfectly justified.

 

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