“You prepare for disappointment, but nothing ever prepares you for the moment.” – Me
In the weeks leading up to the verdict in George Zimmerman trial, I told everyone that I thought Trayvon Martin’s shooter was going to walk. Told them the second degree murder charge was excessive and that it was a 50/50 shot on the manslaughter. In a system not built to protect us, ironically, “these assholes always get away.”
I was more struck by how quickly the verdict came. It all seemed so anticlimactic. I expected it, but one is never truly ready for the moment of confirmation. I was a little angrier, a little sadder and a little more introspective than I thought I would be.
The following Sunday, I put fingers to keyboard and typed out a short status update about being on the fence about having children in a world like this. Not surprisingly, but sadly, a lot of people knew where I was coming from. I don’t have any children, but I imagine that being able to protect the ones you bring into the world is a top priority for parents. The Zimmerman verdict threw a lot of that into doubt for me.
We can teach our sons how to talk to the police and it still doesn’t help. We can teach our daughters how not to get raped (a failed experiment since we should be teaching men/boys not to rape, but I digress) and it still doesn’t help. When the right things turn out to still not be the lifesaving things, the one-two punch combination of inadequacy and powerlessness kick in.
After tweeting that he was “stunned” by the verdict, Miami Heat player Dwyane Wade echoed the sentiments I’d have if I were a parent – and the sentiments I now have about being a parent.
How do you explain to your kids that they’re not like everyone else? That their very existence is enough to make people fear for their lives? That those baggy pants or skinny jeans (or whatever kids will be wearing in the future) make people get the wrong idea? That loud music can cost them their lives? That dad (and mom) cannot make the world see the fullness of their humanity and the beauty in their blackness. And because of that, they become moving targets.
It’s the questions, word to Common.
While it doesn’t seem fair to bring a child into the world under these conditions, it also seems unfair not to. Struggle is in our DNA. As my uncle crooned, it’s been a long time coming, but I know change gon’ come. There is no change if there are no people to usher it in.
At this point, parenthood is an uncertain option, but a necessary one.