Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Trayvon and The Hunger Games

I saw a mention in my Twitter feed about how all mothers should be speaking out about Trayvon and if not, we are complicit in wrongdoing. I don't agree with this, but it spurred me to catch up with what social media has been saying about the investigation and to understand why things like that are being said. 

A fellow CSG alum of mine, Hot Black and Bitter, wrote a thought-provoking post entitled Why I Won't Sign Your Trayvon Martin Petition, and after someone had posted a request on my Facebook wall asking me to sign said petition I decided instead to think more on this. After the recent events surrounding KONY2012 I think it's best to proceed with caution. 

Social media has made us so quick to "jump on the bandwagon" of so many issues but after speaking with Mr. Love Bird, who is very familiar with racial profiling from NYC cops, and hearing more about other racial issues going on in our country lately, especially surrounding The Hunger Games I have some thoughts to share.

Mr. Love Bird brought up an issue that I've noticed as well: many times when a black kid is assaulted/killed etc., they show the family in mourning discussing how he was a wonderful person and such an angel then the true story comes out about how he was really a street thug. Honestly, I was surprised hearing this come from Mr. Love Bird especially knowing the awful, embarrassing run-ins he's had from a young age since he's so often "fit the description." He also remarked how yes, hoodies are typically worn by a certain demographic so he could understand why Trayvon might appear to be threatening. 

I countered that wearing a hoodie in the early evening or even at all does not warrant killing someone. Obviously, there is more to this story and Mr. Love Bird agreed. 

A recent article about the smear campaign against Trayvon was shared on my timeline by a friend and it addressed many of the issues that are now being discussed including the hoodie issue.  At the same time my sister brought an article to my attention about fans' racist response to The Hunger Games.

To me, this is what it boils down to:

Obviously, there are some deep-seeded racial problems troubling our country right now and granted The Hunger Games is fiction and Trayvon Martin's death is real life, but the sentiments that are being expressed are real and ugly reflecting the fact that yes, race is still an issue in our country (and I think it will forever be) and no, just because Obama is president doesn't mean the U.S. is post-racial.

So what am I going to do about it? 

At this point I'm not sure, I'm outraged but that doesn't mean I'm going to sign a petition or join a march. I'm just being honest.

As a sister and wife to young black men and hopefully, a future mother to one I'm going to be smart about having open, honest conversations (a la "The Talk") with them about how they are perceived. My husband is already fully aware of this, but I definitely want to speak more with my brother about it. And I don't mean this in the way that I've seen it discussed online about "blaming rape victims for wearing short skirts." I mean it as being real about the world we live in.

What are you going to do about it?