Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
I read an article today that woke me up to a very stark reality…I’m am a recovering people pleaser. Sure, I knew that I like to make others happy or comfortable, but the wake up call was when I started assuaging others to my own detriment. Nodding along with the co-worker taking credit for something she had no hand in, pretending that the joke thinly disguised as a insult was no big deal…There have been more times than I would like to remember where I held back because I didn’t want to make someone feel bad or because I was too embarrassed to say something. My family would undoubtedly find it hard to believe, but in my outside relationships (platonic and otherwise), I was selling myself way too short. Crazy to say this now, considering that I’m in my 30s, but I had no clue how to speak up for myself and still be a good Christian. I was stuck in scripture that taught me to turn the other cheek, that celebrated self-control and doing onto others as you would have them do onto you, but at what cost? My self-esteem? I am much better than I was, but I am haunted by ghosts of years’ past, the things I should have said and done; I find myself reliving moments like if I was in a time machine, maybe I can go back and do things ‘right’. But these ghosts are dead, only occasionally revived by by twisted need to torture myself. And for what? People-pleasing doesn’t please me; it doesn’t please God; it doesn’t even please the people I’m trying to please…so now what?
If a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.
I can’t say I’m surprised or disappointed by the verdict (which is sad). Trayvon Martin joins what seems to be an endless list of black men murdered on suspicion: Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Kimani Gray, Kendrec McDade, Ramarley Graham…
Graham’s case was an interesting one; the officer gave chase, breaking down the door to his home, following him into the bathroom, shooting him dead. The lack of search warrant and a weapon (on Graham), as well as security footage presented the opportunity to charge the officer with, at the very least, unlawful entry. Officer Haste ended up being charged with manslaughter only to have the indictment tossed out by the judge on a technicality. Prosecution of an officer is rare. Rarer still is a trial and although George Zimmerman is no police officer, the fact that this charge was brought before a judge and jury is a small victory. In the cases mentioned above, only two (Bell and Diallo) went to trial (all officers were acquitted in each case).
The only reason Trayvon Martin’s story went beyond the typical news cycle was because of the public outcry and grassroots efforts to have Zimmerman prosecuted. The next step is to galvanize support for the repeal of the various ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws in this country. The maxim that an individual has no duty to retreat from a place where he is lawfully allowed to be, encourages ‘shoot first’ logic and the inconsistent application of the law provides justification to those who have malicious intent (and no witnesses).