Monday, July 15, 2013

Thoughts on BFFs: Travyon and Rachel

So, yes I am angry.

Yes, the killing of an unarmed teen, who ran away, then fought for his life and his killer was allowed to be free TWICE.

But, this is not what this blog is about.

This is about the hate we all ignore.  The hate that given the verdict and anger that we won't talk about anymore.  The vilification of not just who Travyon was, but of who his best friend IS.

I have been wanting to say some things for quite some time about Rachel Jeantel.  Unlike many, many others, before I made my thoughts known I wanted to do a bit of background research and take the time to really figure out what I wanted to say.

There have been a number of amazing articles and thoughts about Rachel, but a recent report by Black America Web, an interview with the attorney in the trial exposed exactly my thoughts on Rachel's' testimony and treatment by those in the sometimes toxic social media space.

Don't get me wrong.  I agree that we should all be angry about Travyon, we should all DO something about the perpetuation that violence against black men is justified by acquittal's like this.  But we should be equally angry at the ways that we treat our young women.  How do you think Rachel feels at this moment? She subjected herself to ridicule, her anger didn't have a place in that court room, her hurt her testimony, her sacrifice all meant....nothing.

I am not here to discuss the details of her testimony.  Whether or not she's credible or a liar.  I'm not even going to touch the "speech" and "illiteracy" debate either.  The one thing that has from the on set caused me great concern is what we as a society do to the Rachel Jeantel's of the world.  By her own admission, Rachel and Trayvon were friends because he was one of the few people to not make fun of her because of her weight or because of the color of her skin.

When Rachel walked in to that court room, before she ever opened her mouth--it began.  The cycle of loathing and hate that comes down to her weight and racial makeup.

What's even more disturbing? Most of this backlash, as witnessed in her own real-life, came from people in her own community--people who looked a lot like her.  She's not only been privately bashed for being who she is a dark skinned full figured black woman, but now she is demonized for the same things on a public level.  Is being dark skinned a crime? Does that make you ugly? Is being full figured/plus size make you ugly? Does being both together make you deserve public, private and let's face it inner ridicule?

The purpose of this blog and what I feel to be my mission in life is to have women accept who they are right now.  I want the Rachel Jeantel's of the world to know that she is beautiful, no matter what they say (cue the Christina Aguilera). I want dark skinned women, "fat' women to know that they deserve love and respect for who they are. It is my hope that the Rachel's of the world remember to remain confident and inspired even amongst the hate thrown their way, so that they don't internalize their "difference"a s being wrong.  I wonder if, given the public attention that Rachel has felt--how that deters MANY other women who look JUST like her--to internalize that the way they look is wrong, ugly or bad.

Remember folks, our words have infinite power. You may think your PRECIOUS comment only affects Rachel, but with social media young minds are watching and internalizing what we are saying.  I truly hope that we are inspired to look at our words, to take accountability for how we treat one another and then let's take it to the streets and hold everyone else accountable as well. Cause what happened to Trayvon, what Rachel had to listen to and live with every day for the rest of her not OK and something has GOT to change.


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