As I drove out of The Crossings parking lot in Clifton Park on Saturday and stopped at a traffic light, a black teenage boy wearing a hoodie and carrying a half eaten chocolate bar, the wrapping peeled back giving him access to the next bite, crossed the street in front of my car. I sat, watching him, wondering about his life and whether he would ever be faced with an unjust death because of the color of his skin.
I don't know if I can ever look at another young black man without wondering this.
Trayvon Martin is with me, in my mind, in my heart. I grieve for him because I am a mother and I cannot imagine losing my child to a murder inspired by hate, a hate so pervasive and institutionalized that nobody did anything about the murder for the longest time. In fact, the murderer, who killed Trayvon in Sanford, Florida, still hasn't been arrested.
I follow the news everyday, searching for stories about Trayvon and what is being done to exact justice. I hear the eloquent words of President Obama who says that every parent must understand why we have to find out exactly what happened, who says that if he had a son, the son would look like Trayvon.
Then I hear the words of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum who say that Obama should not have acknowledged that this happened to a black kid who would have looked like a son he might have had. Obama, they say, should have said it would have been a tragedy whether the kid was white or black.
As I listen to the words of Gingrich and Santorum, I strain to hear them again because I don't understand. This would not have happened to a white kid--it happened BECAUSE TRAYVON MARTIN'S SKIN WAS BLACK.
Are Gingrich and Santorum so out of touch that they don't understand a hate crime when they see one? Are they so insensitive as to deny that this was a hate crime? We can all draw our own conclusions. All I know is that everytime I think of Obama's eloquence and measured, thoughtful words and compare them to the flippant insensitive remarks of Gingrich and Santorum, I don't feel like Gingrich and Santorum belong in a place of power in this country. They not only don't "get it", their words make things worse. Could two men be more insensitive?