Saturday, June 28, 2014

Trayvon Martin is Alive!

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past 2 years, we all know Trayvon Martin died at the hands of an overzealous racist.  Although Trayvon is physically gone, he does still live on in each and every black child. Here's an example of how and why. 

Yesterday afternoon my teenage daughter had a mini pool party at our community pool.  We live in a subdivision and pay nearly $300 a year in HOA fees. I refer to this party as mini, since there were only around 15 teenagers in attendance, no music, no sneaking in alcohol and no profanity. Usually there is only one attendant at the pool; however on this day there was anywhere from 3-5 attendants.  These attendants didn’t arrive until they started seeing a number of teenagers.  I thought to myself, there is nothing unusual about teenagers.  But, on this occasion there was a difference.  These teenagers were mostly black.  As soon as the numbers started to increase so did white flight out the pool and the increase of white pool attendants arrived.  
These attendants had their eyes on my daughter and her friends, who stood on their side of the pool and only conversed amongst each other.  Any sudden movement by the party members caused the attendants to react and walk over to them multiple times.  In one instance while playing with water balloons, one attendant rushed up and told a girl to stop. The girl agreed and said she’ll throw them away.  Instead, the attendant insisted, by accosting the girl by pulling her arm, snatching the balloons, which ultimately broke in her hands.  At this point I had enough and so did the few African American adults in attendance.  In unison some approached the pool attendants, while others approached the kids and recited the infamous speech of  “stay calm, and don’t react with hostility”.  In speaking with the pool attendants, I asked following:

1) What’s up with the 5 attendants when there’s usually only 1? 
2) And are my daughter and her friends being racially profiled? 

Immediately the response was “Oh No, we’re just here to make sure everyone has a good time.” My reaction was we usually can, but today we’re being watched like something out of Persons of Interest. I went on to say, “I see a group of kids trying to have a good time, but for some reason YOU see a MOB.”  Furthermore, this lady who apparently may have some “Klan” gear in her closet had no right accosting this young lady, who was clearly cooperative.  If the young lady would of defended herself, Klan Queen over here would of claimed Stand Your Ground and we all know that can result in murder.   

I know a pool party may seem trivial compared to the death of Trayvon Martin, but so was his death over a perception (i.e. hoodie and skittles). As a mother of a black daughter I always thought she was safe, unlike our young black men.  Yesterday taught me she isn’t safe; and a lesson to all, if we feel we’re being discriminated, speak up, say it.  As a people we need to be color brave to those who are color blind.  Take a look at Mellody Hobson's Ted Talk and her experience of being discriminated based on pure perception. 

While this incident was disturbing, I found myself feeling justified about how I confronted the issue.  There was no yelling or cursing, just pure honest conversation about my perception of their reactions.  In all honesty, this conversation was liberating to all those involved.  Facing fears and uncovering untruths allows us to open the doors of compromise and conversation.  For the remainder of the party my daughter and her friends were left un-bothered; furthermore I received an apology from the HOA regarding this incident.   Don't get me wrong folks, this isn't a total cumbaya moment, but it's start!

Peace Out

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