White Boys In Hoodies
My white boy wore hoodies, ate skittles, drank Arizona Ice Tea and rode a skateboard for a period of his adolescence. You see, the hoodie was a rite of passage. Something my son wore while he figured out who he was; where he was going and what he valued. It was a stage. I have been blessed to witness his transformation into a goal-driven and deep thinking young man. It was always there. I was never fooled.
I was nervous for a few years, like most mothers raising boys into men. It is hard for me not to empathize with Trayvon Martin's family. That child made foolish choices; but then again he was a child. Youth is wasted on the young.
The thing is, my son had the luck to be born in a place where crime rarely exists. People aren’t afraid to leave their doors unlocked; to walk the streets at night. Fear doesn’t swirl through our air.
And his skin color means he hasn’t been hassled and bothered; followed or questioned repeatedly for all of his life. He hasn’t heard the stories from family that children of color have heard since the beginning of their time. Ugly stories of racism: every person of color has many. Many.
If my white boy was walking in a hoodie in our neighborhood, he would not have been followed. He would not have been stopped. The police would not have been called. There would not have been a neighborhood watch. He would not have deep anger related to racial injustice swirling around in his head.
He may not have responded like Trayvon; he would not have been shot.
I guess that is what deeply saddens me about Trayvon Martin’s death. His parents know what I know.
Black boys in hoodies are less likely to transform into goal-driven, deep thinking young men than white boys in hoodies. Racism is there. But there is more. We have class warfare going on and some off us did not earn our luck. This fact makes me weep inside for Trayvon’s parents and our society.
Trayvon’s transformation could have been just around the corner.