So I’ve been sitting with this whole, Trayvon Martin fiasco like everyone else, angry, and sad, and confused…yet not confused at all. And one thing that keeps coming to my mind, is my mother, and how she used to try to explain to my brother and I the struggle when it comes to raising black boys.
Being a woman raised in the 1950’s in rural South Carolina, she’s seen the outrageous ugliness this country has to offer, face to face, in the form of white hoods and water hoses. But she also learned from her parents – a cotton picker, and a farmer/construction worker – that the key to success is a free and courageous mind, even if physical freedom is a fickle and temperamental state.
So when we were kids, she always said the hardest part about raising us was to raise us without oppressed mentalities, but to also raise us to not be naive about some of the adversity that might come our way. To instill in us that we are not slaves, and to warn us that because we know that, we become a threat to those who have tried to convince us otherwise.
To live with your hands up, waiting to block the blows, you often obstruct your vision. But on the other hand, to live with your hands down, you’re asking for black eyes, and blindness.
A conundrum indeed. One we live with, day after day, year after year, decade after decade, in this country.
Rest in peace, Trayvon Martin.