- Posted March 3, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Dear Stand Your Ground America
Dear Stand Your Ground Americans,
I want to tell you what happens in most of the people of color homes the moment we hear a verdict has been reached in Stand Your Ground cases involving People of Color versus Caucasian. I am pretty sure you don't care but I feel compelled to tell you because I don't believe you think we feel. You need to understand every life you take rips through our entire race and it devastates families in ways unknown to you because of how you view the world. It's a journey with a range of emotions that skirts the edges of controlled insanity filled with varying level of hopefulness, disbelief, anger, sadness, hopelessness, and then numbness as we look to our faith to see us through this agonizing hurt.
Waiting for the verdict
During the trial our hearts race and the actual heart beat sounds extraordinarily loud to our ears. The palms of ones hands sweat and the skin tightens on them during most of the trial's testimony. We are hanging on every word and asking the television questions as though the person on the witness stand can hear us. You argue with the prosecution about their failure to make a point you feel is obvious and pivotal to securing a guilty verdict. You cheer a crucial moment and object to the defense attorney for their overreaching accusations. You know this is clearly murder because who'd get away with confronting and then shooting an unarmed child? We know justice will be served.
Upon hearing a verdict has been reached. We frantically start calling, texting, Face-booking, and emailing friends and family so we can watch as one set of eyes. We are all glued to our television screens because we want to see the face of the accused when he hears the word "guilty." As we wait, the feeling of hopefulness engulfs us like a big warm embrace because the arms of justice won't fail us in such an open and shut case. The feeling of hopefulness creates a low wattage charge in the air making sitting back in one’s seat virtually impossible! The room becomes so quiet you can hear everything and nothing at the same time.
When the verdict is read
We all, for some unknown reason, stand as the verdict is read. The words “not guilty" sink in and the feeling of being kicked in the stomach grips you. Immediately, all the air leaves your body. All the body's natural senses at once becomes unglued. Everything seems out of sorts at that moment. The world, in our mind, just starts to rotate in the opposite direction and our legs give way as we fall back to our seat. You look panicky around the room to make eye contact with your love ones as a small crazy noise escape your throat. Ones hands slowly moves to trap the sound, hoping to hold it in but it's too late, that painful wail is out.
Disbelief takes over
Disbelief consumes the entire room. Instantly, there's a wave of nausea that hits you so hard you feel faint. The mind starts to race, it feels like we have watched the new version of public lynching that seems to be killing some of our best and brightest young man children and lady girls. Our hearts starts to race because the pain rises literally from our stomach that ultimately ends as some of the hottest tears one will ever experience. The tears are so hot they scorch ones face. A never before felt type of hurt consumes you and all you can do is hold yourself tightly, as if you're trying to keep your insides from spilling out. A few minutes later you realize you're rocking and on your knees praying. The shaking starts as you look up at the ceiling as if seeking God Himself to appear and make some sense of how this could happen. For some unknown reason, sweat starts to bead on your skin as you pray out loud for the parents of the murdered child's soul, this country, and yourself because anger starts to engulfs you.
The anger seeps out
The anger takes you to a place in your head, heart, and spirit that isn't easily accessed through everyday events. The anger comes from a feeling that our children lives have no value! They are looked upon as some disposal thing that others have the right to remove from our life. We are pissed that these particular individuals don't see our beautiful brown skinned babies as equal versions to their own children. Ones hurt oozes through as it’s explained that these people see them as some form of threat even while they are doing the simplest of tasks. The mind moves to what would happen if that was my baby! Thoughts of what you'd like to do to the accuser! How fucked up the US is! How can the parents be so gracious? The analyzing of the case evidence and questions of why the prosecutor didn't present the racial aspect of things. Our throats go dry as we argue about how the victim was put on trial!! How the character of the victim was assassinated. We question why was the victim portrayed a "thug" or "suspect" when they were just a child doing what children do. Yes, the swear words start as one starts to imagine what heavy sadness the victim's family is feeling at this moment. A sadness one silently prays they never feel yet knows in this society it's very possible.
The sadness creeps in
As the anger evolves to sadness, a quiet stillness slowly enters the room. It feels like when the sun moves to dusk and then to night fall. The sadness seems palpable. It literally comes into the space and takes a seat. As a parent you reach out to hug your child. You rub their hair and place your cheek upon their cheek while telling them, "I will always keep you safe." It is in this moment you realize that you must chip away another piece of their innocence. We search for the right words that convey, “enjoy your life to the fullest but be aware of people who are afraid you because of their insecurities." The words," you have rights too" will be somewhere in the conversation but they sound hollow and distant to our ears. We implore them to defend themselves at all cost because these are people who'll try to kill you regardless if you comply with their request. You tell them to stand their full height and always makes eye contact while being respectful to those who are respectful to you. You search their eyes for understanding of the situation. Ones chest tightens as the pride you’ve instilled in them flickers during this conversation and the body relaxes only after one seeing the full wattage of their self-confidence returns. We apologize to them for having to strip them of their innocence by speaking about the violence that could happen if a Caucasian has some unwarranted fear of them because of their beautiful skin color. Sadly we understand we must implement this in their upbringing just so they can walk to a store or listen to music with friends. We are standing there telling them this as blood drains from our body and we become numb. We become numb to all the reasoning and logic being given as to why this was even possible.
The numbness takes over your body, mind, and spirit
You embrace the feeling of numbness because it eases the pain that literally rises from ones stomach that ultimately ends as tears streaming down ones face. The hurt so deep that it feels like it burning you internally. The numbness helps you continue to move about as you watch the news reports and legal analyst pick apart the case. It's the numbness that mask your anger at having to have yet another conversation with my sons about a murder trial that allowed the murderer to not be held accountable because of his fear of the your presence. It's the same inability to feel that protects your hands as you grip the remote too tight as you think about the accuser’s sense of entitlement to control the public space where the murder took place. The numbness doesn't block the thought of how does such a large percentage of white America lives in a much different place in their head and heart. The state of not feeling causes you to lose track of time and minutes turn into hours as you sit there wanting to turn the channel (continued) part 2