by UTAustinLiberal / @NerdyWonka
Shock. Anger. Grief. Confusion. These are all the emotions that ran through peoples minds when a jury of white women told the world that in their belief system, it is perfectly okay for a white man to stalk, attack, and murder a black child. The same emotion that ran through peoples minds when Troy Davis was executed even though the evidence was murky. We’re back here again. How could a jury of mothers not understand the fear Trayvon Benjamin Martin felt when a stranger with a gun accosted him on a dark rainy night for no reason except for the color of his skin? How could a black woman who fired shots into her ceiling because she felt threatened but didn’t kill anyone get 20 years in prison while George Zimmerman walked away with no consequences due to the “Stand Your Ground” law? How does a man who was told to stay in his car and not follow Trayvon Martin walk away free? The simple answer? Sanford, Florida is 80% white conservative gun owners. The other answer? Society doesn’t value a black life as they do a white one and it seems to want to break black people down every single time by saying “hey, you’re inferior….hey you’re worthless….hey the President of the United States is black and you will pay for it every single time you step out of your home because you share the same color of skin as he does.”
That’s what they want black people to believe. That’s what they want society to believe. From Sanford to Newtown they want us to believe that children’s lives have no value. They want us to believe that human life has no worth. That guns are more valuable than a living, breathing, full of possibilities human being. That the color of your skin should damn you for life. It hurts. It is painful. It makes my heart bleed that we are here once again. It makes me scream WHY!!! Why are we here again? Why is it a constant struggle for society to see black people as human beings? Why do we always have to prove our worth every second of every day? Why can’t society see that a black child deserves the same protections as a white child? That a black child deserves the same bountiful life as a white child? That when you look at a black child you see a child first because that is who he or she is and not a thug? It makes one want to throw up hands in the air and say I’m done. This is it. Why should I fight for your rights when you won’t fight for mine? Why should I regard you as a human being when you look upon me as a thing? Why should I continue to have hope?
That is what they want. That is what the racists, bigots, ALEC, and the NRA want. Cynicism. Defeat. That is what they want. But you must not give in to them. You must never give in to them. The worst thing a civilized society can breed is cynicism and indifference. This fight is not over. I want you to look at Trayvon Martin’s family and have hope. They are not giving up. They are not broken (though they have every right to be). They are not defeated. They are out there continuing the fight for the Trayvon Martin’s of the country regardless of color. They are out there making sure that society realizes that dangerous laws such as ‘Stand Your Ground” must be stopped. Activists are out there making sure people know that ALEC is not your friendly neighborhood club but a poison to society. We cannot give up now. There are millions of lives counting on us. There are future generations whose lives we hold in our hands. We cannot give up now. I understand the rage, the pain, the hurt that you feel; especially if you are black. But you cannot give up now.
You cannot give up until a black child can walk the streets free of fear. You cannot give up until a black child is treated the same as a white child. You cannot give up until all human life is regarded as precious despite name, color, who they love, who they worship or don’t worship, and their socioeconomic level. The battle to change laws and society’s heart will be long, tough, and painful. But please, please, please, do not give up. There is a precious life out there in the world who is counting on you.
W.E.B. Dubois – ‘The Souls of Black Folk’: It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.
The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife — this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost. He does not wish to Africanize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa. He wouldn’t bleach his Negro blood in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of opportunity closed roughly in his face.