It's frustrating to think that what happened to Trayvon Martin will probably happen again somewhere. It's even more unsettling to think that Jackson is primed for similar incidents to occur right here if we're not careful.
Hundreds showed up this past Sunday to rally for a young man that none of the participants knew personally. I hope that assembly was not in vain. And, yet, history strongly suggests that this tragedy will repeat itself.
Why? Well, it's simple. We just don't get it. Another young, black male is shot down under questionable circumstances? We hear a TV personality say it's "his" fault because Martin wore a hoodie. We hear a presidential candidate say that President Barack Obama is a "separatist" because the president said if he had a son, "he would look like Trayvon." Then you have the bloggers and Internet pundits who talk about how black folks should be more concerned with black-on-black crime.
Or they even say that the organizers of the Jackson rally should be more concerned with "crime in Jackson instead of Florida."
Let's be clear. It's a tragedy when any of our babies die. We would mourn Trayvon regardless of whether he was black, white, Hispanic or LGBT. Young people shouldn't die so young, period.
But let's also be clear and just acknowledge that if Trayvon was not black, he would probably still be alive today. We can agree that a huge disparity exists in the number of cases where trigger-happy cops or citizens who with "questionable" views of black people kill black youth. It's getting more difficult even for middle-of-the-road thinkers like myself to justify America's obvious devaluing of black life.
Honestly, until some white folks actually begin listening instead of trying to tell black folks how we should "feel," nothing will change. Until some stop accusing us of being victims while knowing nothing of being victimized, nothing will change. Until some white folks realize that because I'm smart enough to assume that all white people aren't serial killers, pedophiles, school shooters or Klansmen, Geraldo Rivera should be wise enough to know that a hoodie does not represent a criminal. And it's high time someone in this city said it.
Remember these words. Because Jackson, unless you start using some damn common sense instead of succumbing to fear mongering, what happened in Florida will happen here. And it could be your child or mine who is the victim.
And that's the truth ... shonuff.