“Growing up and throughout my whole life, I felt like black people in America were on some kind of island, like we’re here but we aren’t a part of America. And now to see a black man have the chance to actually come off this island and become president, it made me feel like hey, I kind of do belong here.” I said this during my Business Law class during an open discussion towards the end of the semester, before Obama was elected and it was much excitement around who will win presidency that it was a hot topic everywhere in the black community. I wish I could retract these words as if it was an official statement. I wish I could eat these words and like something that disagreed with my stomach I would throw it up in the toilet and flush it to where ever shit and other unmentionables go to fester.
We are living in America, where we boast wealth and civility. Where there is “freedom and justice for ALL”. Does “all” mean all with the exception of some? Because with the publicized Trayvon Martin case, he is the exception. I am a bit taken aback by the assumption that this tragedy is okay and actually lawful. Maybe I am mistaken, because he is in Florida and I am in NYC. Maybe he is too far away for me to make that assumption. OK. Where I’m from, 61% of blacks are victims of crimes reported. To even further the scope, about one-fourth of the cities homicides happen in my borough, The Bronx. This is because I am pretty damn impoverished, I grew up and now live in an impoverished area and poverty is usually crime’s bedfellows. Almost as if the two seek comfort in each other.
But this is the reality I live with and deal with. I have seen more than enough Trayvons to last me 10 life times. What has happened in Trayvon’s case, for me, is by no means just about racial profiling because the reality of it is this is the world that we live in. It IS about equality, and how justice is being handled. Humanity can claim higher intelligence and civility amongst all the other animals but, primitively killing another being is neither.
I used to find some type of comfort with our justice system today although not always in agreement. Nowadays I am alongside the 71% of black people used in a WSJ poll that have a decreased confidence in our legal system. My issue is if I’m hurt, bleeding my last minutes of life, will someone save me? Can someone of another race just walk up to me and kill me? Is my life so small in the eye of the world? In the eye of justice, so much so they are not bound by it?
Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech would be 50 years old next month. Fifty years ago, we were so far from equal then and there was a battle for it and we thought we secured at least a foot hold to eventually be treated as individuals with equal rights, quality of life, and I truly see the same still stands today. Why are we still in this battle 50 years later? Why are black people still on this island?