America is yelling at each other again.
Well-articulated, highly-heated words of disgust, distaste, and dissension. Cries for justice and screams of celebration ringing out in unison in neighboring houses. A young man is killed. An older man is condemned. A system is questioned. And everyone is angry.
These types of trials reveal more about us as people – as a nation – then they ever uncover about the protagonists in the case. Whether it was a matter of race, rage or reaction, when the trigger was pulled on that lightless night, it BECAME a matter of color to the world… The second that shot was fired, lines were drawn. And one side was tinted darker than the other…. THAT is the unfortunate part. That’s the saddest part. It’s 2013, and when the shit hits the fan, people scurry back into the boxes and buckets they are comfortable in. We still run from our differences, instead of racing to embrace them… People have not yet learned to come together.
And the true travesty of this tragedy is that all this talk will fade long before those tides will change. The answers we are looking for will fall between the cracks of our conscience and creases in our comfort zones. The feelings we are feeling lay restless beneath our harmfully thin skin. Our attention deficit will soon look past this disorder.
This story will be old news by Thursday.
And while one family mourns, and another one is torn, we all have to come face to face with the reality that we still don’t trust each other… We still don’t like the look of each other’s differences. We masquerade as “one Nation under God” but we maneuver as a house divided. Arrogant schemes disguised as the American Dream… suspicious salutations camouflaged in red, white, and blue.
And underneath it all… because we are good people, with good hearts, and good intentions…. We hate who we allow ourselves to be… Yet we do nothing to change who we become.
We do nothing to change the course of this discourse, except yell at the television and vent on a keyboard. Call for new rules and laws and regulations. Scream of mistrials and mistruths.
But change doesn’t happen in classrooms or courtrooms. It’s not born in documents or data. It comes to life in unexpected conversations… In walks into the hoods that cloak us… in the relationships we build and the actions we take… in our genuine efforts to LEARN more about those that scare us… Discover the depth in our diversity.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in life while traveling the world is that the walls that divide can often be broken with a high-five or handshake… The perceptions that misguide us can be shattered with sincerity and a cold drink… When you set out to explore, you quickly learn that we are all more similar than we are different.
Hate is the bastard child of Fear and Ignorance. Intolerance is the vicious costume of Insecurity… we are all victims and we are all culprits… prejudice is part of the pavement that’s been built for us.
But we can change. We can evolve. One synchronized step forward is stronger than a million leaps on our own. If we decide – together – that we’re all a reflection of each other. That everyone’s story is important. Everyone deserves to have oversized dreams and the outrageous opportunity to make them come true.
What we point and laugh at when the lights are on may differ… But we all cry at the same things in the dark… We all hope with the same eyes… The treasures that unite us are much greater than the tinges that keep us apart.
The killing of Trayvon Martin and the plight of George Zimmerman are both tragedies… there are NO winners in this story.
But there are lessons to be learned. We have a lot of work to do. These bright lights and public fights reveal our ugly secrets and uncover our unhealed scars… Lets begin to mend them by not being so damn afraid of those that don’t look, speak, or think like us… Let’s extend our hand, open our mind, and move our feet. The first step is the hardest. Let’s take it.
Prayers for Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton. And a call for peace. Violence only weakens the cause and feeds the stereotype.