Today’s Viral Video is a little later than usual. That’s because I had so many thoughts about this week’s offering, that frankly, I was a little overwhelmed by it. So instead, I’d like to tell you about my son’s best friend.
Malachi is eleven, like my own son Whit. They met at a comic book writing class last fall, and the first day of that class, my son was endless talk about his new friend. They ended up in several classes together, and have only gotten closer over the last months, trading Legos, writing comics, and generally just being goofy boys.
Actually, Malachi is really all that and a bag of chips. His parents should be so proud of him—he’s charming, gracious, handsome, fun, and a genuinely good human being.
He’s also black.
Well, I suppose he’s technically “bi-racial,” although that really makes no difference to most—either you don’t care or you do care if someone is “them”—the amount of “them-ness” is moot. Honestly, I never once thought about it, other than to posit that the genetics of Malachi’s parents combined in five stunningly, beautifully different ways in their children.
And then the Trayvon Martin shooting happened.
It was at this point that I realized that his mom probably thinks about it quite a bit—that this amazing kid will grow up, and be seen as something scary, just because he’s “them.” But he’s not—he’s as much “us” as I am, as you are, as the Jewish family up the street, and that gay couple that lives next door.
So, while I appreciate beyond words that the modern Social Media world has brought the Trayvon Martin case to the attention of the world, I despair that it is necessary. I despair that Malachi, the beautiful, boisterous young man I know will live in this reality, where calling the police is something you don’t do because of your race. I despair that after a simple, poignant act of civil disobedience by a congressman who lost his own black son to a shooting, that the Speaker of the House only addressed the rule that was broken and completely ignored why it was necessary.
At the same time, though, I still have hope. Some people say that “just” liking a status or posting a Facebook cover doesn’t change things, but anytime someone speaks out, things can change. They do change. This Social Media thing has the capacity to change the world—one viral video at a time. It’s why I’m here.
Here’s hoping that Malachi inherits a better reality than Trayvon.