The other day I took my son to get his first haircut! I was so proud to see basheer jr sit there with tears in his eyes as he goes through his first rights of passage. This experience is one that so many fathers miss out on. I promisedmyself that I would not follow the footsteps of my father so this was a very special day for me. As I watched my son’s hair fall and I carefully placed each handful into a special bag I over heard CNN speak about the murder of Trayvon Martin. Not wanting to miss my son’s first haircut or the story about Trayvon I watched both in the mirror. Though the words on the screen were hard to understand the issue of race in America is something that I understand all too well. As my eyes went back and forth from Trayvon to basheer jr, and then back to me I realized that we all share a sad reality. That reality is that in the year 2012 people of color are still considered guilty before given an opportunity to express our innocence. What angered us all in the barbershop is not just that this young innocent brother was killed but that the murderer is still free. Why are we so furious? Maybe because we feel that in a time where Facebook connects so many and the first African-American President is a reality, justice should be the rule of the day! The fact that justice is still so foreign to black people is heart wrenching. It should hurt every American to think that we still struggle with the same issues that our forefathers died for. Racism is alive, well, and stronger than ever! Don’t get me wrong hate will always exist but when it puts a halt to justice for some then you and I must ask ourselves a serious question, “How far have we truly come?”
As my son sits in the chair with tears in his eyes and I stand there with tears in my heart knowing that this will not be the only test that my son faces. How do I tell my young simba that he will be targeted and feared because of his potential greatness? How do I tell my young simba that no matter how much he cuts his hair or the clothes that he chooses to wear that he will always be hated by some for something that he didn’t choose? How do I tell my young simba that he is a gift to our world and not a curse? People will always hate but I expect a system that was built for “all people” to hold true to the words “land of the free.”
Black people are so forgiving! We continue to forgive the country that we hold so dear to our hearts! A country that we have fought and died for. A country that we have helped build and never truly compensated for. Our country is like an abusive husband who continues to beat us down while he promises us that he loves us and he’ll do better. Why does my son still have to be public enemy #1? I thought we passed this phase? I thought W.E.B, Garvey, Martin, Malcolm,Emit Till and so many other black and white men/women fought and died so that we can move beyond the place where justice is only afforded to some.
As my son steps down from the chair and CNN goes to commercial I hear a snippet of President Obama stating, “If I had a son he would look like Trayvon.”. Well Mr. President I do have a son who is the same color as Trayvon and his name is Basheer. You and I can’t change the hate in their hearts but we can be sure that a country who has a history of providing justice for some “begin to do some soul searching” on how to be sure that Trayvon’s unfortunate situation is the last.