(#trayvon Photo- my homie thatonedood)
I am, by definition, a pessimist. It’s not that I think evil will ultimately prevail over good, however, it’s really that I think everyone is an idiot.
I hold high expectations of people, particularly people I know, trust and love- yet still assume most people I don’t know are morons. (I know, I know.) Every day, something happens that manages to make me question my very own membership to the human race.
It is 2012. We have a black president, cities across our nation are becoming majority-minority states, we have a Latina Supreme Court Justice… shit is evolved. Yet we act surprised that racism still exists.
This story isn’t new.
This is just our semi-annual, national media coverage of a black man/boy, being unjustly killed on suspicion that’s founded only in the color of his skin. Not that that makes it right. But this is just another Sean Bell, an Oscar Grant, an Emmett Till an… insert the names of our brethren who don’t make national news but are killed every day.
What kills us though about this case? Not only that he was black, but that he was a child. In my world, everything and anything about this is wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. But are we treating this case differently because he was a child? What if he’d been as old as Oscar Grant, or Sean Bell?
President Obama remarked that if he had a son, he’d have been like Trayvon. A little black boy. Was that the the accelerant on this already outrageous situation? Perhaps.
Let’s pause here.
This weekend, the Hunger Games hit theaters. Here’s my five point rationale on why the Hunger Games are an important book series.
- They speak to social justice in a way other young adult novels don’t- reading the entire series I couldn’t help but think about all of the young people I work for who fight for their lives, work their butts off to help feed their families and aren’t even old enough to drive a car. And of revolution, lord knows we need a revolution.
- Katniss is the farthest thing from a victim- which is incredibly refreshing given the other types of female characters we’ve been seeing *particularly in young adult work* (COUGHTWILIGHTDRIBBLECOUGH)
- Race is noted enough to nod to the realities we’ve lived/live in- but not explicitly discussed, even giving light to our potential racial future. (Katniss is as ambiguous as they come people. #mixedpeoplearethefuture)
- The romantic plot lines aren’t idealized bullshit. They’re bullshit-because it is a young adult novel after all, but they aren’t Cinderella nonsense.
- It is literary crack. (readsohardlibrarianstrynafindme… that shit cray)
That said, and if this is a spoiler my friggen bad yo- readers will tell you that one of the most critical characters in the book is young Rue- a female character whom builds a sisterly like relationship with Katniss, whom after all has volunteered to go to battle for her own sister. Ultimately it is her death that is THE scene that makes 99% of people bawl their eyes out, even in public, as they read (no shade if you have, I cry all the time, at personal stuff, but am a cold hearted beezy, when it comes to movies/books/tv and the truly heart string pulling shit. I’m broken, sorry.)
So this weekend. Trayvon’s story is hitting HARD. Hunger Games is blowing every other opening movie out of the WATER.
And the Internet explodes because some asshole’s flip their shit because a little black girl is cast as Rue, and they expected her to be a little white girl. A CHILDS DEATH IS A CHILDS DEATH, assholes. Also, in my most, “I think everyone is an idiot isms,” or as I like to call it, because I’m Idiotist, the part that baffles my mind, is that home girl is EXPLICITLY DESCRIBED AS WHAT WOULD BE BLACK/SOUTHASIAN/DOMINICAN/PUERTORICAN/GUIANESE, shit… ANYTHING but white. (Caps lock rant for you). Motherfuckers all over the Internet are loosing their shit. Evidence 1. Evidence 2. (Agree with the point that there’s a lack of Asian faces in this early-era-racially-ambiguous-post-apocalyptic-what-used-to-be-America…)
So you mean to tell me, Monday-in-America. We are suddenly touched and so upset that the United States racially profiled this young black boy who was finna buy him self some skittles, but are flipping out because the young innocent girl who dies in this book we’re all obsessed with ends up being black and not white? BACKASSWARDS AMERICA. BACK ASS WARDS.
Are we okay with black men being shot so long as their grown? And yet, we can’t mourn the death of an innocent girl in a story because she’s black?
The double edgedness of that, is some lowest common denominator shit America. Do we place more value on the life of a young person than an adult? And does race trump that notion when females are up for discussion?
The public concern/outrage over these two issues is toggling a super fine line. What it means to be a young person, and a young black person, in both of these contexts has to be considered we think about where we’re headed. For me, it’s the epitome of why I’m doing the work I do. Marinate on it. I know I am.