Above is an ultrasound of my next child, a boy! The excitement I have felt about this new addition to my family is somewhat hampered by the knowledge that I am “unfortunately” having a black boy. When I first saw the story about Trayvon Martin, the very first thing that entered my mind was that that easily could have been me. I know it sounds cliche, but when I take off my white coat and my scrubs at the end of the day, and walk out of the hospital in my hoodie and jeans, I look like any other black Baltimore man. And for many people that means I am more likely to try to rob to or attack them than give them fix their fracture. I’ve seen their eyes as I walk through the parking garage without my hospital garb. They clutch their purses tighter or the walk faster to the crosswalk that takes them to the hospital in hopes that they can get there before I “might” do something to them. It doesn’t matter that I have a terminal doctorate degree, that the last time I got in a fight was in 4th grade, that I’m more concerned about getting home to my family than going after their purse.
This event reminded me that still in 2012, another black child dead is less important than if it happened to someone of a fairer complexion. It reminded me that the world I am bringing my son into isn’t much different than the one world that Emmett Till grew up in. There are still many details to be discovered and it may very well be that Trayvon, after being approached (a fact which is not in dispute) went on the offensive. But even if he did, the fact that he didn’t have to be approached in the first place makes the loss for his mother even more difficult.
I’ve only been able to come this far secondary to all those who sacrificed their lives before me. If we don’t make a stand now and make sure that people know that they can’t get off easy by killing our sons then we have truly disgraced those who have sacrificed all before us.