Let me just begin by saying, I was raised by white people. I wasn’t adopted. I have two Black parents, but I lived in all white neighborhoods, went to white schools, and never in my entire childhood did I have a Black teacher, doctor, or librarian.
That being said, I never wanted to be white, but I did believe the white version of reality was worth imitating. I believed that, both consciously and unconsciously, until I was about 22 years old and moved to Brooklyn and began to unlearn my white education. Ironically, it was a white European man who taught me to not simply tolerate my skin color and physical features, but appreciate and love them. It was my Spanish husband who gave me the language to appreciate the beauty in my dark skin and the sexiness of my ass. And for that, I gave him my heart and we got married.
Ten years later, we had two sons. We left Brooklyn to live in Philadelphia. We found a multiracial neighborhood where our neighbors were Black, white, and other. Unlike my own all-white upbringing, the life we created for our family felt perfectly diverse. When Barack Obama was elected in 2008, we took our young sons to Washington, D.C. for his inauguration. Life looked so good.
Then, Trayvon Martin was murdered. I was devastated. Then, his murderer was acquitted in July of 2013 and a rage I never knew before erupted within me. When my sons asked me why his killer didn’t go to jail, I had to look into their little brown faces and say, “Because obviously Black lives don’t matter.”
The acquittal of George Zimmerman bitch slapped me into a racial reality that I had previously never known or felt.
It almost seems naïve to say that, before the betrayal of Trayvon Martin, my husband and I never had cause to argue about race. It’s not like Trayvon Martin gave me my racial consciousness, but, just as the election of 45 opened my eyes to the depths of misogyny in our society, the acquittal of George Zimmerman bitch-slapped me into a racial reality that I had previously never known or felt.