We Blend, Trayvon Did Not

My Dad walked into the living room and said “Not guilty.”

I inhaled.

He didn’t have to say anymore. I knew what he was talking about, I knew what he meant. My head swirled.

My 10-year old instinctively clung to my left arm. Began petting me. He didn’t understand. He asked question after question.

But how could he just shoot him and not go to jail? How is that ok? Why would he be not guilty? He shot him. You can’t shoot people, right? 


I had shielded as much of the Trayvon Martin case as I could from the kids, but my son enjoys watching the news with me and truly enjoys discussing the news with me. So many mornings are spent with the two of us talking over current events. I keep things as age appropriate as possible. With Trayvon it was hard from day one. This was a teenager gunned down for doing nothing more than walking home, being stalked by the local neighborhood watch guy, and when Trayvon confronted George Zimmerman, a fight ensued and Zimmerman shot and killed the teen.

Now Zimmerman walks free and all over my twitter feed under certain hashtags like #tcot and others, people were celebrating. On my Facebook page there were exclamations of ‘What a great day for America!’ and so on.

While my son shook with anger and tears rolled down his face. While my daughter did her best to play her game and not pay attention, yet clearly was listening and upset. While I struggled to come up with the words to tell them justice would prevail…silence permeatited throughout our home.


Because there were no words.

There was nothing I could say that would make sense or make this right.

The verdict went against everything we had taught them about our judicial system and it went against everything we taught them about how justice was supposed to be served in the end.

My husband talked about how sometimes, justice does not win. We all did our best to explain away the unexplainable.

But the kids clearly did not understand. Hell, the adults didn’t understand.

Later on in the evening my son asked me how we could make it better. My sweet, sweet baby boy wanted to know what he could do to change the verdict, racism, and the world- and he was very serious.

Again, I had no answer for him. My only answer was that he continue to be a great person. And that hopefully, it would be contagious.

This wasn’t good enough for him.

So I told him about a petition to get the Justice Department to open a civil rights case against George Zimmerman to try, once again, to put him behind bars.

He was unimpressed. And I have to say, while I think the petition and case could be worthwhile…Zimmerman walks free while Trayvon is dead. I see no justice there and I see no reason to get excited over the possibility of another trial.

Something my son said keeps repeating over and over in my mind as I think about the verdict:

Mom, what if I walked to go get Hala some candy and you always drink tea…what if I went to get you tea…and that happened to me? But it wouldn’t though, would it? They think I blend in here, don’t they? They don’t understand I’m not on their side…they don’t understand we’re on the kids like Trayvon’s side. That means I can sneak into their talks and find out what is going on and then I can tell everyone and everyone will be safe. They will never know because I blend in. They will think I am one of them, but really I am like a ninja and I will bring all the information back to everyone like Trayvon and US and everyone will be SAFE forever!

I love my son’s big heart more than I can say. In his 10-year old imagination that’s all it takes. Him acting like a superhero of sorts to come save the day for all. Or at the very least, him acting like a super, secret, spy-ninja who can get rid of racism and the bad guys all in one night.

How I wish this were one of those times his imagination’s amazing ideas worked. And it were all just that simple.

That a 10-year old boy’s dreams and ideas could come true and some of this pain and confusion could be erased with good and innocence.

If nothing else, may the world know if there must be sides to take, my son has signed us up to be on Trayvon’s and people ‘like’ Trayvon’s. That means those of color and those who do not ‘blend’ in ‘our’ neighborhood.

Jack has decided we don’t blend. And I’m glad. I don’t want to blend if it means we are anything like the Zimmermans of the world. We’ll happily be just like Trayvon in spirit.



  1. Johannes de Silentio says:

    The really, really big problem with you people is, you like democracy until it blows up in your goofy faces. Remember what Donnie Rumsfeld told the Iraqis about democracy? He said it’s messy. Which is to say, it doesn’t always go your way. Boo hoo.

    And anyway, who knows? Maybe the other side was right. Maybe Trayvon was a foul, vicious little drug dealer wannabe. And maybe Zimmerman was just a fat dumb greaser in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    We’ll never know. The attorneys totally mucked it up to such a degree I don’t blame you for being at a loss on what to say to the kids. Like the Robert Duvall character in A Civil Action said to John Travolta, “You want to know when this case stopped being about the truth? The minute you filed the complaint and entered it into the justice system.”

    So keep on keeping on. And go cry in your lattes until the next time some punk crosses one of your PC red lines and gets you all up in a lather about justice and truth and doing the right thing. Until then, keep wearing those smelly “I am Trayvon” hoodies to city council meetings.

  2. Democracy IS messy. What is messier is attitudes like YOURS, taking the words and feelings of a 10-year old boy, trying to make sense of the world, and turning it into something even more ugly. No wonder my son has to think these things through so harshly- because there is evil in the world that can’t even comment with compassion or with some sort of reasonable explanation – .. no…. instead you decide to jump in and mock. Classy.

    This is why my very intelligent child will change the world. Because asshats like yourself will spur him on and spur me on to teach him that there is more GOOD than bad, more LOVE than hate.

    He’ll show you. I’ll show you. And when we do, we’ll always have the courage to use our real names and our real email addresses.

    Cowards hide. This family stands tall and proud.

  3. I completely adore your son right now, Erin. Thank you for sharing this story.

  4. You, and your family, continue to be an inspiration. Thank you for this, and for everything you do. It’s never comfortable, putting yourself out there, and then you have Mr. Silentio up there with absolutely no sense of decency, twisting everything into some kind of .. well who knows what he’s on about.

    There’s nothing wrong with banning complete assholes, you know. No reason to tolerate that kind of completely irrelevant trolling in the comments. If it was me I’d delete, block, IP ban, and move on. Life is precious, why spend it battling trolls?

  5. Gotta de-lurk to say that how you’ve raised your boy should make you mighty proud.

  6. Alan Silberberg says:

    As a parent, I think your son nailed it. You should be proud. As far as the politics go, people who use fake names to post comments on blogs just to piss people off, ie, trolls; are just as bad as those people who stick their head into the ground and pretend to see nothing wrong.

  7. Unless they say something threatening, I always let comments stand. Even the trollish ones. I think is shows the true nature of what is going on. I appreciate you all telling me we’ve done a good job parenting. I’m not sure if it’s us, or him and his sister growing up well DESPITE us 😉

  8. It’s definitely what you ARE DOING, Erin, seriously, that’s behind your kids being thoughtful the way they are. Some of its inherent to just being a kid and not having been touched so often by bullshit. But some of it is taught; and you are doing a wonderful job with that.

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