“Until the philosophy which hold one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned… Everything is war. Me say war. That until there are no longer 1st class and 2nd class citizens of any nation… Until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes, me say war. That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race me say war!” – Bob Marley
For the last couple of days, my Facebook’s News Feed has been filled with postings about the murder of Trayvon Martin. My first thought was, Oh, it’s just another wrongful death of a black American. There was no urgency for me to discover the details and join the outrage. Last week, I was trying to keep my blood pressure down and was preoccupied with life: half workdays, relaxing at the beach, dinner with friends, fun at Disneyland.
This morning, I finally found the time to research the case… the first article I read discussed the details surrounding the case. When I finished reading it, nothing was shocking. Yes, I felt sad for the teenager and his family, but again, this wasn’t the first time I had read the same article with a different victim. I read another article centered on the female witness account of what happened while she was on the phone with Trayvon moments before the murder. Still, I was not fired up like I had been in years past. I started to wonder, “What is wrong with me?”
This has become so common in my lifetime and today, I realized I’ve become somewhat numb to racism. In my 20’s, every case similar to Trayvon Martin ignited a fire in me. I had always been very vocal and emotional when it involved an injustice, particularly racism. I cried for Amadou Diallo’s family in 1999. I wrote and published a very candid book about race relations in the workplace in 2004. I got on a plane to march in Jena, Louisiana in 2007. I’ve signed countless petitions and discussed too many race-related killings within my circles of family and friends over the years. And I must say, I’m tired. Somehow, I’ve joined the carefree attitude of the majority and have waved the white flag, an act I could never understand and accept in my 20’s —- Racism will always exist and there’s nothing I can do about it. But hey, we got a Black President so it’s getting better. Since November 2008, I’ve gradually suppressed my “militant” side to become a somewhat patriotic American. I’ve turned the other cheek, which has involved me tuning out the racist comments and actions against President Obama. Nowadays, I barely watch the news to maintain a peaceful mind. I’ve joined the masses and have become a relaxed, American citizen tired of fighting the war and patiently ready and waiting for change without action.
It wasn’t until the third article, the 911 call, that the fire that once illuminated my fight was once again ignited. As I listened to this Zimmerman guy describe Trayvon, I immediately thought, “This is some bullshit!” Then when I heard him call him a coon, I was disturbed that it had taken me three different articles to react. “What was wrong with me?” “When did I lose the fight that once ignited my core? Why had I become a follower for change instead of a leader for justice?
Today at 35+, I am rejoining the war. I can no longer sit back with my feet up waiting to repost a link on Facebook. We can no longer afford to accept peace offerings and compromises of change. We can no longer mistake progress for victory. We have to REACT now!