My beautiful and much loved niece is bi-racial. I would love to tell you that I don’t worry about her getting picked on for her color at some point(s) of her school years, but no child, it seems, gets through school entirely unscathed. I would love to tell you that when my family is out to eat or is out shopping that my brother and his lovely wife Setou don’t sometimes get unkind, disapproving looks that I notice even if they don’t, making me feel physically I’ll – but this is sadly not the case.
Trayvon Martin, the young boy in Florida who was shot by the “neighborhood watchman” who thought he was up to no good and a threat was black and it seems unlikely to all outsiders that there is no racial motivation or at least mitigating factor at play here.
There has been, as there often is, talk of hopes for a society that is “post-race.” Not only do I not think that definable or executable, I don’t want anything like that. I want for my niece to own and know intimately both parts of her heritage; to be a post-racial young woman would mean to be as much from no one and nowhere as possible. She is very much someone specific with very strong stories that I hope she learns and drinks deeply.
What I do hope for her, for my potential children and for the memory of Trayvon is that we can approach and ultimately achieve a post-racist society. Through his untimely death we have been shown just how far we are from that reality, though too often we blithely assume we are comfortably there.