As President Obama spoke chills ran through my body. The President of our country stood up today at the White House daily briefing and said words many Black people have been waiting to hear him say to the nation.
Speaking without a teleprompter, Obama spoke candidly and openly about Trayvon Martin and stating that Blacks face a different perspective in America, specifically young Black Boys.
He spoke on racism in American and racism he faced in his personal life. Americans, Obama said, are aware of the “history of racial disparity in our criminal laws” in the country. He added that a perception of the Trayvon Martin killing exists in the African-American community that “if a white male teen was involved in the same scenario, top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.”
Going further, Obama spoke on Black boys. Black boys like Trayvon Martin. Black boys, much like he would’ve been years ago. For once, he laid it all on the line.
And, as he spoke, the chills hit and then hit again, reverberating throughout my body. Every Black American, specifically young Black males, have been Trayvon at one unfortunate point in their lives, maybe more. I know I have. That’s why the verdict hurt so deeply in our cores. We may not speak it, but the anguish is there.
We know what it feels like and know that we, as are other men of color, are subjected to stacked odds that say the legal system won’t protect us or treat us fairly. I listened to the President briefly share his story. I thought of my own. I thought of Trayvon. I thought of my own son, realizing that he’s going to face the same life or death challenges at one point in his life.
And, as a man, I harbor a sense of fear for him because those challenges will exist for him, much like they did for me, my father and my grandfather. I pray he doesn’t have to face them, but, if he does, that he’s able to survive them. But most of all, I pray that our country changes its course before my child comes of age.
Obama declared, America needs to give them “a sense that their country cares about them.”
Yes. Yes, they do.