Dear Trayvon's Mom
by Jen Hatmaker on March 26th, 2012

My name is Jen Hatmaker. I’m super white. I even have blue eyes. My hair was snow blonde then it was dirty brown and now it’s gray but I color it so who even knows anymore? (I’m sorry. I overshare when I’m nervous.) My husband and I cranked out three carbon copies of us.
Look at us. We were the poster family for white people.
 

I grew up in the lower middle class. In my early years, we lived in racially diverse cities. I was the only white girl in my second grade class in Little Rock, Arkansas, a fact I was oblivious to, because you get the luxury of being oblivious when you’re seven. I lived in south Louisiana, where there is every shade of skin color under God’s yellow sun. But I logged my formative middle and high school years in Wichita, Kansas…Haysville, Kansas to be exact. Pretty much total white bread. 

I nonchalantly enjoyed my white privileges my entire adult life, one of those people who said “racism is dying” and “things are different now” and “we’re colorblind” and casual ignorance like that. I gushed and over-loved any black people in my life, of which there were very few; none in a real relationship with me that wasn’t exaggerated and a little contrived and over-zealous.

But then we decided to adopt two children from Ethiopia, and in November 2010, as I was shopping for their very first care package to send over, I was standing in the middle of the Target toy aisle, and I sent out this SOS text:

Where are all the black baby dolls? 

I sat down in the middle of Target and cried my eyes out.

How did I never notice this? How was this my first sense of outrage over this discrepancy? How could I have yammered about the end of racism and “a fair system” when evidence to the contrary was staring me in the face every single day?

Sybrina, please envision me getting down on my knees in front of you, this white mama, and asking you to forgive me. I never understood the systemic racism that persists in this country, because I didn’t have to. The system is structured to grant me privileges and power through no merit of my own; simply by virtue of my skin color. This same system denies and protects this oppressive hierarchy, conditioning white people to not even see it.

We don’t get followed around in the store by suspicious security.

We don’t get singled out or searched by policemen.

The bandaids in Walmart all match our skin color.

The children’s section in the bookstore is full of covers with white kids.

If I ask to speak to a manager, he or she is usually white, like me.

And our sons don’t get murdered walking down our own street holding Skittles. 

So because these things didn’t happen to me, I ignorantly assumed they were not happening to you. I casually consumed my white privileges – these unearned assets that granted me the benefit of the doubt and free passes and guaranteed security and permanent insider status – assuming that anyone else, anyone, could enjoy these same advantages by making good choices and working hard.

But it is simply not true, because the same system that keeps me on top keeps you on bottom. If anyone is automatically granted insider status, by definition that means someone has outsider status. We see this when a black student or man or woman accomplishes something extraordinary, and they are called “a credit to their race.” If a white person pulled off the same thing, he would just be called awesome. You have to work harder for acknowledgment, and then singling it out as an exception to the rule diminishes and demeans your merit.

I didn’t know about the Black Male Code, because I didn’t have to. I had the luxury of knowing my sons would breeze through applications and security lines and entrance exams and interviews, receiving unmerited approval at the first glance.

But then I got this son.



And I watched in horror as this son was cut down in the prime of his life.


And my heart was seized in terror. Because everyone loves my Ben right now. Who wouldn’t? He’s eight and the size of a first grader. He’s adorable and silly. His Ethiopian accent is the cutest thing that has ever entered your ears. He’s writing stories about “A Dog as the President” and he wears and a helmet and kneepads when he skates. He watches Power Rangers.

But I’m learning what is going to happen six years from now, Sybrina. People will start to suspect him for no reason, or train a watchful eye on him at the mall, or fear him. He may ask a white girl to prom, one he has gone to school with since these innocent years, and get his heart crushed when her daddy forbids it. He will have to be careful in public with his friends, as the most innocent activity will likely be interpreted as threatening…like walking down the street with candy and tea in his own neighborhood.

I have grieved endlessly for your son. I just keep trying to make sense of it, and sense won’t come. There is simply no sense in this injustice. You don’t get to murder a teenage boy because you’re paranoid and suspicious of him. You don’t get to do that. Would this have happened if Trayvon was a white kid named Troy? Would he have been viewed with the same fear? Will our black sons ever escape this treacherous plight and just be free to be children? 

I’m ashamed that I haven’t seen or cared about this inequity until I had black kids under my roof, Sybrina. I’m so sorry. I would completely understand if you dismissed my solidarity here, because just two years ago I claimed America was a post-racial country, and that is a sorry state of willful ignorance. Neglecting the hard, important conversations about race, justice, ignorance, and inequity until I literally had skin in the game is appalling, and if you reject my concern now, I wouldn’t blame you.

But if you’ll have me, I’d like to stand with you.

I’d like to link arms and stand up for our black sons and daughters, calling the system so wrought with disparities to reform. I want to engage these challenging discussions with respect and commitment to one another, because I can no longer be complicit in the battle against equity.

We’re going to have to work hard here, because it’s tempting to make sweeping statements and unfair generalities. It's easy to say things are all bad or all good or never this or always that, and that's not true and won't get us far. Both of our races are wrought with fools and charlatans and bigots; none of us are perfect and this is complicated. It’s going to take respect and humility to navigate this well, to begin pulling the threads to unravel such an entrenched system. But I want to start here, with you:

I see Trayvon.

I know he wasn’t a perfect kid. He probably opened up a sassy mouth to you and whined about chores. His room might have been a pigsty no matter how much you fussed at him (but with a face like that, I’m sure he got away with it). Like all seventeen-year-old sons, he probably drove you crazy sometimes, pushing against the boundaries barely holding him back from young adulthood, anxious to spread his wings. But he was the son of your heart and he mattered and he deserved life.

I am devastated it was stolen.

Please know that as for me, I promise to do the hard work and ask the hard questions and enter the difficult places to turn the tides for my son and all the black sons, and I grieve that it is too late for yours. I hope the national outcry for Trayvon has comforted you; so many of us see him. We are hungry for a better world where our boys can walk down the street unafraid and unfeared.

Please accept my hand; I stand with you, two moms demanding more for our sons. I am sorry you’ve lost Trayvon, my sister. I’m so very sorry. May his legacy help us move into a wider space together, tearing down walls and stereotypes and fear and building communities where we truly love our neighbor once again.

All my love to you.



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603 Comments
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Erin - March 29th, 2012 at 5:25 PM
Oh dear Jesus. Help us all.
April - March 29th, 2012 at 5:39 PM
Now they are saying the kid was beating the guys head into the concrete. All the facts are not out yet, but perhaps he wasn't just carrying a pack of Skittles. I agree with one of the first comments: Let's not turn this into a race issue. BTW: We are in the processing of adopting from Ethiopia. I looked high and low for a decent black baby doll for our firstborn daughter. It wasn't easy.
Mike - July 14th, 2013 at 12:00 PM
Well said, April. We have friends in Ohio who adopted a black baby and have had the exact opposite experience. They've been amazed at how accepting people have been, both of their adoption of a different-race child and also the LACK of racism towards their black daughter. They expected a lot and have experienced next to none. Thankfully they've realized that raising her with the Society-is-Racist attitude is the absolute wrong thing to do and would only make her a victim and hold her back. This article is simply asking the wrong questions -- where are all the black fathers? Why is the abortion rate so high amongst black Americans? Why are incarceration rates the highest amongst black Americans? Blaming society or the justice system is just dragging the black culture down. We need answers to the hard questions, not more finger pointing. America is racist because they don't make black band-aids? Seriously? Wake up folks!
Tresha - July 18th, 2013 at 1:20 PM
Unfortunately, it's not about the response that the parents get for adopting the black daughter. It's more about the reality that daughter will unfortunately face as she grows. She's a child now and like me as a child is loving and innocent. I remember how my innocents was taken about race and how time after time as I grew up in to a teen and young adult how it was others who were from different households reminded me of my skin color. That's the fear. That is the downside that a lot of us have to face at some point in our lives. It's not about the Society-is-Racist, it's more about the reality that others may not see you as you see yourself or judge you fairly simply because of your skin tone. I will say this, being prepared for what is to come doesn't take the sting of it away when it happens. Lucky you to not have to think about this. Have a good day!
Leila - July 24th, 2013 at 10:11 PM
Mike, I believe you may need to wake up a little yourself. If you came from a history spanning 400 years of slavery and had to start your history in poverty and a lack of esteem and pride, do you really think you'd be completely over it by now? Not to mention, it's only been 50 years since desegregation.... though there are some white minds who would still like to see that or black people in slavery still. Fathers were TAKEN from their families... Africans were looked down upon and considered "less than".. do you see a pattern here? Regarding the topic of abortion, I have known white women, married and in good financial status, who used abortion as a means of birth control. And regarding band aids, do you really think you'd like to wear a black or brown flesh colored band aid all the time? If not, why should it be the other way around? I firmly believe, it is people like yourself who really don't have a clue nor even try to educate themselves as to why racism exists... it is the same ignorance that keeps racism alive.
Dee - August 28th, 2013 at 9:16 AM
Mike you can tell by your comments that you are not a person of color which explains many of your responses, to the letter. I disagree with your comments in which you have made because even though the hard questions have been asked for black America we still can%u2019t justify what has been happening for centuries (and is still happening) and some of the real hard questions we need to ask would be%u2026. as a nation, have we been fair to everyone, what can we do to make this and equal playing field, how do we not pre-judge because of the color of one%u2019s skin, why are people of color sent to prison for longer periods of time then others who have committed the same crime, etc.? The process for the justice system is cruel and unfair for people of color. Mike, just a thought....if you could trade places with an ordinary black man for one year, I%u2019m sure your outlook on life would be much different and you would not only experience the prejudice of the unfair justice system but you would understand more of what we experience for just the necessities and simple things in life or maybe it would not matter because you realize that this is temporary (one year) and you would be returning to your bonus life style! Jen, I applaud you in so many ways for having the courage to step up, understand and point out the truth and not point the finger.
really? - July 16th, 2013 at 9:11 AM
What is up with people buying black dolls for their black children? Really they don't care what color the doll is... a white doll would be better suited if you are trying to make them feel like they fit in, teaching them it's ok to have a relationship with the opposite race....
BlackBarbie - July 18th, 2013 at 8:53 AM
Then I guess a black doll would be better suited for little white girls for them to make them feel like they fit in, teaching them that it's okay to have a relationship with he opposite race....
Kathy Wilcott - July 21st, 2013 at 1:12 PM
Are you kidding me? Why shouldn't my brown daughter be able to play with a doll that looks more like her? Does your child nurture her relationships with African American children by gathering up all of her brown dolls and having a play date with them? You teach children that its ok to have relationships with different races by actually having relationships with different races. The fact that you don't understand the significance of Black children being able to play with dolls that look like them only serves to highlight the points Jenn made about being so conditioned that you can't even see the injustice.
Sherrey Meyer - March 29th, 2012 at 6:57 PM
Thanks for a thoughtful commentary on what's it like to be white. We've never walked in their black shoes, lived in their black neighborhood, had to watch a black back because someone was following us, and if it has happened to you as a white person, it's not for the same reasons. I come from the deep South and I know racism, and this letter to Trayvon's mother is the right and decent thing to do. It still happens in the South, to blacks, to women, to Jews, to anyone who isn't cut and dried white, most probably with a red neck. I'm sorry if this is offensive to anyone, but people wake up . . . the only one not judging by the color of anyone's kin is the Good Lord above!
Kori - March 29th, 2012 at 9:33 PM
To: "Travon"

You are "Zimmerman"! You are the reason young INNOCENT African Americans, like me, have to feel uneasy about attempting to live a normal life. How can you be so blatantly disrespectful? She was not apologizing for being white! She was apologizing for being blind to the fact that African Americans continue to face racism still to this day. Our own schools? We fought for schools to be segregated and we accomplished that. Our own schools? Name an educational institution created by African Americans who would not accept a Caucasian. Can you?! I highly doubt it! Our own welfare system? Im sorry but where i'm from there is just as many whites utilizing the welfare system as blacks, if not more! I, a 21 year old AFRICAN AMERICAN female, have never reaped a single benefit of any welfare system, nor have my parents! Our own music? What? Hip-hop, R
kendra - March 29th, 2012 at 10:18 PM
This was wonderfully written! Iam to a white woman but ive been known racism wasnt dead. I have been attracted to black men for as long as i can remember and growing up i was not "aloud" to date them because "they were nasty"...but i still did what i wanted and i still dated who i wanted. Im glad that it has come to your attention what the world is really like. You have no idea how many people i know that say oh im not racist...but the craziest, most racist stuff comes out their mouths and i just feel soo uncomfortable! I have to say something to them cuz i dont want to be around that mess. I understand where u are coming from with the baby doll situation. I never really noticed how there wasnt any black baby dolls in the store growing up but once i grew up and had my 3 mixed babies i relized its hard to find them. I feel so much heart ache for Trayvons mother! I have a son and even tho he is mixed, you can still tell he is black. it just breaks my heart to know that when he gets older he might have to deal with this situation. What if he is walking home with a hoodie on...will he look suspicious. And no im not saying i know what black men and woman go through because i am a white woman...i will never truly feel how they feel, but concerding who iam married to(a black man) i see what he has to go through and its horrible.I just want to put out there that anyone who defends GZ talking about we dont really know what happened..its a bunch of bull! TM might have fought off GZ but the facts are still there ppl! George was following Trayvon first! If some strange, older, bigger man is following me, i will fight back to! At the end of the day trayvon had nothing on him and george had a gun! Also, on the survelience(sp) tape of GZ getting out of the police car, he had NO blood on the back of his head nor his nose! Its hard not to say this is about race! because the only reason GZ pursuid him was because he was a black kid wearing a hoodie! TM was a john doe for 3 days because the police just assumed he was there to rob someone! Now u tell me that isnt about race...and no im not saying its all just black and white, its everywhere hate crimes everywhere! But in this perticular situation, it is black on white and thats what i experience more in my life, with the looks me and my husband get. So for the certain people who think "racism is dead" ur just blind to whats truly going on. Racism is very much alive just like it has always been and will continue to be.
Shana - March 30th, 2012 at 10:03 AM
Thank you Jen. Thought provoking and beautifully written.
Carissa - March 30th, 2012 at 10:17 AM
In case you are still confused: http://carissasrants.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/howtotalktopeopleaboutthetrayvonmartincase/

Grace - March 30th, 2012 at 10:42 AM
I am thankful to hear that you are now more sensitive to racial problems and discrimination that still exists in this country. I believe your heart was in the right place, but I am sad that you were not fully informed of the facts before you put them in a public blog. The tapes were played over and over and many independent sources, like CNN and NYTimes and many others reviewed the same tapes and scores of their staff never heard the racial slur or even anything closely resembling the racial slur claimed to have been heard. By all of these facts presented to date, it is HIGHLY a possibility that this 6'3" seventeen year old young man (and notice I did not call him black) was acting erratically, a nervous neighborhood watch person (and notice I did not call him half hispanic/half white) called 911 and reported him and turned around and walked away after he was told to by the 911 operator. He called for police to come review the situation. He was then....somehow.... approached by the young man, beaten so severely in the face that it broke his nose, was thrown to the ground, beaten some more, feared for his own life, and pulled out the gun. Tragedy followed. He is now being treated for severe post traumatic stress and other terrible things that no one would ever wish upon themselves. He cannot eat. He cannot sleep. He is DEVASTATED by the turn of events. Could this have occurred in other hypothetical situations...we can ask ourselves all day and night what "we" would have done differently. We can "put ourselves in his shoes" all we want, but we really are not in his shoes and probably never will be. Nor will our own children be in just the same shoes that young man was in. So it's really hateful and fruitless to put ourselves there in public blogs....in any of the sets of shoes that were actually involved. But the facts ring true. The neighborhood watchperson had grass and wetness on his back from lying on the ground as he was beaten. The young man was not beaten in his face or his body as the neighborhood watchperson was beaten mercilously. Yes, a person is dead and it is more than sad. It is devastating. Nothing you say or write about racism or injustice or calling for a scalp to be taken will turn this terrible tragedy into anything that makes sense. It was a tragedy. But what you do write can insight riots. It can produce hate instead of love. And to imply some sense of nobility as you write it is just sad. It matters not if your children are black or white or mixed or anything else. Tragedy is tragedy. And the fact of the matter is....it doesn't have a color. And to assign it a color to promote some sort of agenda is to take away the true nature of the tragedy which is the loss of ANY human life. The death of a black young man is no more a tragedy than a hispanic young man's death, or even (gasp!) a white young man's death in the same circumstances. To make this young man's death a battle cry for an entire race of people is so sad to me. So hang who you must on your blog. Call for people to be outraged and insight hatred of all kinds to continue in the name of nobility. In the end, it could have easily been you or me. And since you don't know what color I am, I would hope that my death in such a manner would have been seen as a tragedy, and not as a platform for millions to turn against each other based upon the color of my skin. If people truly understood the depth of God's love and mercy, we would not have all of this hate lingering. Jesus the Lamb of God would not have written on public blogs calling for "justice". He would be visiting the one person who's life still remains in that situation....he would surely embrace him and love him, and he would forgive him. That is the Jesus I know. The neighborhood watchperson has a mother, too. Who wishes to comfort her. I know Jesus will.
Donna - July 17th, 2013 at 4:53 AM
Grace, well you are obviously as white as they come and have never actually socialized with or had close black friends or you would never make such out of touch with reality statements. Not that I'm even going to waste my time is responding to the things you said in response to the letter, just so you know, Zimmerman was not beaten severely. He never even needed one tiny little stitch in his face or head. In fact, Trayvon did not have even a tiny little drop of Zimmermans blood on his hands or fingers or clothing. No blood at all. If he had beaten the man that badly he would have been covered in blood. Easy for you and your kind to say that color doesn't matter, you have never lived for one day in someone elses skin and walked in their shoes.
Heather - July 18th, 2013 at 9:50 AM
So Donna what exactly do you mean by you and your kind when referring to Grace??? That is the rudest thing I have ever heard....1) do you know Grace personally to know what kind of person she is? You are no better than Zimmerman by thinking you know someone when in fact you don't so get over your hypocritical self
Annais - July 27th, 2013 at 3:37 AM
OMG, what a bumnch of racists, blacks and whites..leave color out of it, the problem is the human race NOT one race..outrageous things are committed by all races (and most deaths in history actually committed by the YELLOW race, Asians, at the hands of MAO..) all this attention for ONE teen, just because of corrupted, scum bag Al SHarpton..you people are being USED..(useful idiots) ..300 kids LITTLE kids died in Chicago, (they happened to be black and killed by black gangs) and none of you here gave a damn...but now? time to replace the Sandy Hook outrage for this..BECAUSE A GUN was used..if he would've killed the teen any other way, it wouldn't have been so big...AND if it would've been perpetuated by another black teen, it wouldn't caused a stir..i thought this letter above was a joke...a BAD joke..the way she writes, it's like knife twisting in my perception...unreal! stir MORE resentment! no black dolls? blacks don't request them!..black bandaids? blacks might find them offensive! omg all of you forget, as these neglectful parents who couldn even buy this 17 year old a cheap car to get him off street, do not follow MLK's philosophy: JUDGE PEOPLE BY THEIR CHARACTER NOT THE COLOR OF THEIR SKIN, if YOU do it, (as the racists above who hate whites) YOU ARE THE PROBLEM TOO! i suggest pick a country where you think they might have the perfect society and MOVE THERE..i'm stayin here the BEST country in the world, where tragedy and outrageous things will happened as everywhere else..! bunch of fools
Dave - March 30th, 2012 at 11:54 AM
The only thing worse than racism. A false accusation of racism. It perpetuates lies.

Phil 4:8 says "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

This is a great reminder to us not to rush to judgement.

A few notes
- Zimmerman is a democrat hispanic
- Zimmerman and his wife tutor minorities (including black kids)
- One of Zimmerman's best friends is Black
- Zimmerman cried for days after the shooting
- Zimmerman's job as neighborhood watch was too look for suspicious/unknown characters
- There had been a series of break-ins in the neighborhood
- Trayvon was not this small little innocent 12 year as seen in the picture. He was a 6'2" 17 year old

My guess is this was a horrible/tragic series of misunderstandings having nothing to do with race. If we as a society seriously want to move on from the racism that muddles the waters of our past then we have to quit looking for race in every motive. Are there racist in this country, absolutely. Every time a white guy kills a black guy or vice versa is it a matter of racism, absolutely not.

One other note, Jen you talk about how blind you were to how "white" our society is and how saddened you were by that. If you're really saddened by that then you have to be mad at capitalism not white people. Capitalism is run by "majority rules" and the fact remains that America is made up of 72% white people and 12% black people. Every body wants equal representation in all forms but the truth of the matter is that as a manufacturer you're going to always play to your biggest audience. Take dolls for instance - you can easily find blonde and brunette dolls but red heads are more rare - why? Because red heads only make up 4% of our society. People buy things that they can relate to and again capitalism plays to majority. Does that mean that the manufacturers are anti red heads. No! It means that they're trying to make the most money they can and they're not going to produce equal amount red head dolls to try to "look good" because they won't sell equal amount of red head dolls and they're go out of business. One other reason why you won't find dark skinned dolls in your Wal-Mart is because you live in a predominately white community. Go to a predominately black community and you'll find them there. Again that's Capitalism at work.

With all of that said I can appreciate the new perspective that you're experiencing, however I think it's a stretch and inappropriate to relate those feelings to this case. Zimmerman might have been guilty of an unjust death but based on his life, his acquaintances and his response to the death (crying for days) he's not a racist. And once again the only thing worse than a racism is a false accusation of racism. Let's not perpetuate a lie about someone especially when we don't have all the facts, all we have is emotions and speculation.

I'd be interested in knowing what your thoughts are on the latest news coming out that is confirmed by an eye witness that Trayvon was the one beating Zimmerman and Zimmerman's claim that Trayvon approached him and started the altercation?
Nicole - April 1st, 2012 at 4:46 PM
Have you taken a psychology or criminal class? An eyewitness testimony has been greatly scrutinized as the technology in modern forensics has advanced. Studies have proven that because of cognitive processing (how each individual sorts out what is witnessed and how each of us being different influences that) eye witnesses testimonies are not that reliable.

A research publication of the aforementioned problem by Iowa State University says "Although there is no way to estimate the frequency of mistaken identification in actual cases, numerous analyses over several decades have consistently shown that mistaken eyewitness identification is the single largest source of wrongful convictions" (It can be found here: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/jbs/soc3101/EyewitnessIdentificationWellsSeelou.pdf with more references to studies on the first page, second paragraph).

And if you wanted a couple more reads:
http://www.amazon.com/Convicted-but-Innocent-Wrongful-Conviction/dp/0803959532
http://www.innocenceproject.org/understand/Eyewitness-Misidentification.php



Also, I'd be interested in knowing your thoughts on the recent findings concerning the 911 call and the identification of the person screaming for help. Two forensic voice identification experts have confirmed, with technology, that the person screaming for help could not in fact be Zimmerman.

Dave - April 2nd, 2012 at 10:03 AM
You're missing my point. I don't know, just like the rest of the country doesn't know, whether or not Zimmerman is guilty of murder. My point is I don't believe he is a racist. While I can't make a judgement on his heart the things in his life don't add up to being a racist. He's hispanic - he has black family members - one of his best friends is black - he tutors minorities including blacks, the list goes on.

The sad and dangerous part is when people start to speculate on things they don't know and then draw conclusions from that speculation and begin to believe it as fact. That's a lie from the devil and it doesn't accomplish anything good. This has turned into people calling for the death of Zimmerman and a bounty being put on his head. Tell me where that makes sense in our system of due process?
Dave - April 2nd, 2012 at 12:42 PM
I should add one more thing. You're highlighting the possibility that an eyewitness is inaccurate. How about we take a look at the media for two seconds and see what they are doing in this case.


A portion of the 911 call plays as follows -

Zimmerman: “This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.”
911 operator: “Okay. And this guy, is he white black or Hispanic?”
Zimmerman: “He looks black.”


NBC aired the following

“This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.”

How do you think that portrays Zimmerman. It's a complete 100% misrepresentation of Zimmerman and the phone call. This could only have been done if NBC were interested in making headlines and stirring the pot. There's no way that an intelligent person edited this together thinking that it communicated the full scope of the 911 call. A 5 year old could point out the difference.

And we're suppose to trust the rest of the information that we're getting from the media? Really? Guilt or innocence is going to be decided in the public forum based on information that is conveniently edited by NBC leftists. Give me a break. This guy is getting persecuted based on TV ratings.

Here's the article in case you'd like to read it for yourself.
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/trayvon-martin-nbc-news-editing-911-call-306359
Shawnta - April 12th, 2012 at 10:51 AM
For someone who was supposedly beaten so badly by a child he sure didn't have any bruises. And just because you are fighting with someone does NOT give you the right to take their life. As of today, Mr. Zimmerman is being charged with second degree murder and his mother will lose time with her son, but has the opportunity to see him. On the other hand, Trayvon's mother doesn't have that luxury. It is pure ignorance that someone would say that this was not racially motivated.
Dave - April 12th, 2012 at 11:32 AM
Have you looked at the latest news on this? Here's a link that shows that ABC was able to provide a better picture of George at the police station. Clearly his head was severely beaten. http://www.eurweb.com/2012/04/abcs-enhanced-video-shows-cuts-on-zimmermans-head/

Also this "child" was 6'3", 5 inches taller than Zimmerman.

And finally I strongly disagree with your last statement. I would suggest that it is pure ignorance to assume that it is racially motivated. You can go ahead and ignore the stated facts above about him having friends and family that are black, tutoring black children and his black friends coming to his defense but you can't ignore what he did 2 years ago when a black gentleman was beaten by a police officers son. When Zimmerman learned that the accused (caught on tape) was not going to get punished he distributed flyers demanding that the community “hold accountable” officers responsible for any misconduct. Does a racist even care, no way! A racist would applaud that kind of beating.

(link - http://www.theblaze.com/stories/george-zimmerman-demanded-discipline-in-racially-tinged-2010-police-corruption-case/)

Not everything is racist.

Morgan - July 15th, 2013 at 8:26 PM
The media reported false statements regarding Zimmerman not having any bruises or cuts on camera. They later stated they had made a mistake and apologized for the error, but it didn't go away did it? People still believe it.
Trayvon was NOT a child. I can tell you as the mother of a 17 year old that they are YOUNG MEN, 6 foot plus inches and 170 pounds of pure muscle and strength.
If someone is on top of you, pounding your head into concrete and punching blows into your face and stating the words, "You are going to die tonight", you most certainly then have the RIGHT to defend yourself in any means possible. Zimmerman (per records) did not draw his weapon until he was in this predicament. I would bet 1000.00 any sane person would do the same thing. This was more than just "a fight".
Trayvon was not a sweet innocent child like the media has fed the public. He was a troubled young man, a drug user, in trouble with police, and he had burglary tools.
Stop believing the lies. The media is notorious for misleading the public, to cause race riots and problems and more problems, so they continue to have stories, and ratings.


Melissa - July 17th, 2013 at 3:00 PM
So everything Zimmerman said is gospel to you, no lies. What are the "records" did not draw his weapon? Zimmerman had a long police record (violent crimes) and was on both uppers and downers (Adderall for ADHD and a downer, I can't remember the name, for insomnia. I have seen no info about Trayvon being in trouble with the police, please tell me where you found that info. Oh and the burglary tool everyone speaks of was a screwdriver which apparently is a regular tool when some carry it and a burglary tool if carried by a black person. Zimmerman was not a sweet innocent man like some media is feeding the public. He was on psychotropic meds, arressted for violent crimes more than once, and was carrying a gun and hunting people.Stop believing the lies Morgan.
Sorry for the length of comment but I am sick of the lies about trayvon!
Meg - July 14th, 2013 at 8:49 PM
^^^perfect Dave. Thank the media for making it a race issue.
Mom of 3 - March 31st, 2012 at 8:11 AM
Band aids? Really? The biggest problems facing African Americans in this country are black-on-black crime and the disintegration of family. Not racism.
Elisabeth - March 31st, 2012 at 1:40 PM
Jen,
I’m not an avid follower of your posts but have read several posts before this one and have enjoyed each one (your Christmas post was a life-changer in our house). I must say that I was pretty disappointed in this most recent post though. Not because of your sympathy for the black population but for your application to this case. For someone who claims to strike while the iron is tepid, it seems like you jumped onto this bandwagon a bit premature. I guess the reason why I took so much offense to this is because I feel like George Zimmerman’s name could have very easily been replaced with my husband’s name. Let me tell you why:
A few years ago, my husband and I lived in a bad neighborhood in Orlando, FL. The area known as “pine hills” was appropriately referred to as “crime hills”. My husband is someone who loves to help others, especially those in need. This passion for the helpless has actually led to a career as a police officer. (though at the time of this incident, he was a mechanic) One night as he was changing his oil, two men approached him with a gun and demanded his money. By God’s pure grace (and an intimidating dog) they did not come in the house and my husband was not harmed. The police came, the helicopters came, the dogs came, but the two men got away. Three nights later, the men retuned to a neighbor a few houses down. Same story, worse results. The men beat up this neighbor pretty badly. Police, helicopters, dogs, no search results. For a few weeks after that, my husband and I would drive around the neighborhood (in our SUV) looking for these men or anyone looking suspicious. Yes we had a gun in the car (we always do—even the cops understood why when we told them where we lived). Had we found the two men (who were black) we most likely would have wanted to trail them until the police arrived to make sure they didn’t get away again. Isn’t that what George Zimmerman did?
Are you aware that there had been burglaries GZ’s neighborhood leading up to this incident? Are you also aware that some of the suspects’ descriptions actually matched that of Treyvon? (DEFINITELY not saying that Treyvon did any of those crimes) Could it be that GZ, like my husband, was simply trying to put a stop to the crime in his neighborhood? Might I also add that if my husband were attacked, like GZ claims he was, and if he was on the ground getting the crap beat out of him like GZ and two witnesses claim (and like the 911 call verifies), then there is a good chance that that situation could have also ended in the tragic way it did for Treyvon. Then, my husband would be called a racist and murderer not only by the media but by his brothers and sisters in Christ, like you. What if it’s true that George Zimmerman wasn’t stalking Treyvon because he was black but was just trying to do his part to keep the families in his neighborhood safe? What if the only reason Treyvon seemed suspicious to him was because he matched the description of people that had been terrorizing his neighborhood?
I’m not saying that GZ is completely innocent but I won’t say that he’s a racist and a murderer without knowing all of the facts. Sadly, I’m disappointed that you would.

S - July 14th, 2013 at 2:11 PM
Thank you. Great post Elizabeth.
B - July 14th, 2013 at 11:10 PM
Well said. Thank you.
There were also drugs found in Trayvon's system, which no one seems to talk about.
There is a very good chance that this was not a "racial" case.
Tangerine - July 25th, 2013 at 5:06 PM
Well maybe if you're really keen on avoiding a tragedy, how about not trailing suspected criminals with a GUN ? And leave police work to ....erm...the police!
Rachel - March 31st, 2012 at 6:49 PM
Well, after looking through the vast amount of comments on here, can I just ask us all to take a collective deep breath?

Jen, thank you for what you wrote. I understand the situation is complicated and that there are many different viewpoints, but in the end, it is from a mother written to a mother who is suffering from a terrible injustice. Period.

So, ready? Breathe in.... breathe out....
Ms. Carol - March 31st, 2012 at 11:39 PM
To Dave: Obedience is better than sacrifice being that said if Zimmerman had obeyed the 911 operator Trayvon would still be alive today point blank but he wanted to play superhero. Trayon did nothing wrong in defending himself against a stalker! this is common sense???
Dave - April 2nd, 2012 at 9:53 AM
Ms. Carol - My point is we don't know what he did. Zimmerman claims that he stopped following him but he did look for the closest street sign so he could give the officers some direction on where he last saw him. He then claims that he was attacked by Trayvon. That's not a case of Trayvon acting in self defense, that's being the offender. Every one is claiming that he attacked Trayvon when there's no eye witness to corroborate that but everyone discredits Zimmerman's story because he's the one that didn't die. The facts are still being worked out. Y'all can speculate all you want but the only thing you have to go on is the speculation of other people who also weren't there. That's a great way to make an innocent man guilty. Just wait until you're in his shoes then you won't be so quick to judge.

Besides all of that my bigger point is not that Zimmerman is guilty or innocent of murder but rather that the evidence seems to be pointing the fact that he's not guilty of racism. We can't judge the mans heart but we can draw conclusions from his actions. Which include the above mentioned items - he's Hispanic - he's has black family members - one of his best friends is black. Racism surely exists but this isn't the case to make the argument for it.


Mica - April 2nd, 2012 at 1:27 PM
As a young black woman to a white woman, thank you :). I am a product of this world, the type of person you spoke of. I have been trained by my family to change my tone, my speech, my walk, to change me really, every time I enter a room with white people in it-because it is important that they not feel threatened by me. I've been taught by the world to keep my arms just slightly aloft while shopping so that the security guards watching/following me know that I'm not stealing. I am the first black student in 17 years in the graduate program in the department of Zoology at my school where I'm a year away from my PhD and I'm often called a "credit to my race," at the same time as they treat me like an outsider. I am half white by the way, though I consider myself black. The white half of my family disowned my mother when she birthed her first black baby and refused to meet me until just years ago. And yet, I do not attribute the entire white race with this type of hatred- after all, that too, would be stereotyping!

I too am outraged by this situation, just like everyone else, but I am not surprised-I've lived with these types of tragedies for too long. I pray that your children, and those that I plan to have, will live in a world better than the one we live in, but I have my doubts. And so, like me, my children will have to be taught how to live as a black person. They must be taught to handle racism/stereotyping, no matter who it comes from.

I have no doubts that you will teach your children to be proud. I hope that you can teach them not to succumb to the stupidity of others. Most of all, I hope that they will never need these "extra lessons" that many of us have had to receive. This was beautiful and I appreciate you speaking out. I will most assuredly be sharing this. God bless you!!!
Julia Leinen - April 2nd, 2012 at 3:49 PM
amen.
Veronica - April 3rd, 2012 at 12:24 PM
I have to tell you how wonderful this is. Very moving. Thank you for writing this. I hope you don't mind I linked to it at my new blog: MomsforTrayvon.com (started with the ok of Martin family PR).

More voices like yours need to be heard.
Susie - April 3rd, 2012 at 1:56 PM
Jen,

I love your heart for adoption. And I love your love for Trayvon’s family and for yours. And I love your heart for racial unity. And I love your heart for the Lord.

Those are all so beautiful.

But part of me is also concerned.

I can’t help but think of Philippians 4:8 – to think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. Now whether or not Zimmerman did that is one issue. But that’s not the issue we answer for. We of course answer for our thoughts.

Now I know this may sound extreme. But negatively defining a person by telling them what they are, what they think, and what their motives are is a pretty intense thing. You may well be aware that it’s actually called verbal abuse. http://doublehockeysticks.com/2012/01/31/my-heart/ Now what Zimmerman did or did not do, again, is his. But what we do is ours before the Lord.

We may never be sure exactly what happened and exactly what the motives were. But what is for sure is of course our Lord. And what is for sure is His command to us. He tells us to think things that are true – actually, factually true. And he tells us to think things that are noble – what is a possible noble explanation?

Again, what is ours to answer is not whether Zimmerman did this. What is ours to answer before the Lord is whether we have pure, noble thoughts – including in our assessment of George and his motives.

Andy Stanley unpacks this thinking well as he talks about 1 Corinthians 13 love: http://www.northpoint.org//messages/life_apps/part-5.

I am absolutely saddened about Trayvon’s death and for his family. My hope is that in our emotions, we would still honor God’s Word and His creations – all of them! : )

Much love to you and your family.
Annita Whisman-Rackley - April 3rd, 2012 at 4:07 PM
Bigotry happens in every race, religion, etc. Yes, it is a tragedy. But I do not despise my own race because another race has experienced discrimination. I am part Cherokee. Ever heard of the trail of tears? My ancestors immigrated from Europe, doubtless to escape persecution religiously or ethnically. Bigotry is a global problem, and we must do our best to solve the problem without pointing fingers at any one race, color or creed. Very lovely article, however. No race should be made to feel guilty for wanting to marry into their own race and preserve racial purity, nor should anyone be made to feel guilty if they desire an interracial marriage. It is a hard question. Why? "He that is without sin, let him cast the first stone."

Stephanie - April 3rd, 2012 at 6:07 PM
Thank you for at least trying to understand and for admitting that racism still exists. It took a strong person to do what you did and I applaud you! Enough said. I pray that noone else has to go thru what Trayvon's mother is going thru, but we all know sadly, that it will happen again. All we can do as a HUMAN race is pray for each other, at all times. We know that children are not born racist, they are taught to be racist children who grow up to be racist adults and that is a sad reality. I pray that everyone else who reads her lettter understands what she is trying to say and not attack her for being honest. I commend Jen and her family, because she has put her family out there for CRAZIES who may want to retaliate because she wrote the letter. I pray that God continues to strengthen and keep her and her family and I pray for peace and understanding for all of us. I pray that others GET it just as Jen did. God Bless!
r. - April 4th, 2012 at 8:17 PM
I do not think this makes much sense. I work daily with people from dozens of countries and a wide variety of pigment levels. At a certain point a human being just begins participating in humanity. I am very happy you adopted kids from an impoverished area, but poverty knows no genetics.

Band Aids are not one color. We buy dolls of all colors for kids in our neighborhoods. There are other places to shop than Walmart or Target.

The glaring flaw in this post is a burden of guilt that the author is attempting to dump on other people as if we are collectively racist. That is patently ridiculous. Just go out there and be a charitable and hospitable person. This kind of faux activism just makes it seems like Black kids need more help than other kids. Go out there and grab as many as your finances permit, whatever color they are is irrelevant.


LED - April 5th, 2012 at 7:24 AM
KONY 2012
calvin - April 5th, 2012 at 10:17 AM
Im a black male from the state of GA, God bless you mom for the story ,it just let's me know there a still good people in the USA, to bad there are still so many nuts who still hate others
lindsey - April 5th, 2012 at 10:59 AM
Jen, Thank you for sharing, I appreciate your words to Trayvon's mother. Our world is in a sad state.
Hank - April 5th, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Well written! First off all, the gift of adoption is something special. We have a 5 year old daughter from Vietnam. God brought her to us in 2008. While I don't agree with everything you said in this, I respect your point of view, but I just do not agree with some statements. I am not sure where you live or what Target you shop, but I see Asian, Hispanic, white and black dolls all over the place and yes at Target. Not sure maybe they were all sold out? Hmm...Band-Aids in one color? Again strange. While I will not pass judgement like many are about this case and basically trying to convict the man prior to his day in court, it makes me sick that people are marching in the street just because a young black man was killed. Hard to say if I recall this happening in the reverse. http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/article_5facf0f8-6b62-11e0-a889-0019bb30f31a.html. Look here, was this racial? You decide. White on black, black on white, yellow on blue, it happens all the time and yes it is sad, but who says this is a racism case? Have not seen that. Are some crimes race based. Yes. But some are not. What we have are charged up citizens fueled by the likes of Al Sharpton et. al. Anyway this is just huge time bomb waiting to explode into riots. Sad...
amy - April 5th, 2012 at 5:01 PM
As evidenced by the comments beneath this beautifully-written, thoughtful, and brutally honest post, we need more people like you to help us heal. Thank you so much.
Alyssa - April 5th, 2012 at 8:34 PM
Just found your blog today, and you won me over to reading your blog on this post alone. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing. It's not popular for white people to speak out on racism, but it must be done! Thanks for your courage.
Melissamelissamb - April 6th, 2012 at 6:58 AM
Wow! All of you people are missing the damn point. Your turning this into a racial war. All black people LOVE martin luther king. Well hed be very disapointed if he were he today. "I had a dream that black and white people come together"- why celebrate martin luther kng day? Theres no need too. Clearly we havent come together. And Ill tell you why. Trayvon Martin story is no longer about him and his death. Its about blacks vs. whites. The martin page is pretty much a place to bash white people. His mother is sending the wrong mesage along with cnn and yahoo. Everyone. It should not matter that Trayvon was black. Just like it ahould not matter that Zimmerman is spanish. An innocent life was taken thats all that should matter. If his mother wants to make a differnece in the world and protect people of all race then send the right message. Its not about skin color. Skin color should no exist. Trayvons mom- try to make peace. You have the attention of many people. Use it. Because the one ad only reason why racism is still around between all races is because its allowed. CNN saya oh black man died and on white man died. During every news cast or newspaper the color of skn is involved. That shouldnt be the case. Dont teach your kids there is a difference between black people and white people. Refer to people as people and not by color. Otherwise, this world will be a giant wall of hate against race.
tara - April 8th, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Hello all, I a African American Mother, to all of you that has shown mercy to tryvon;s mother may God Bless you to those who have shown there ignorance He with out sin Cast the First Stone its bad enough that we show so much hatred toward each other than loving each other I have read most of the comments and to Miss Jen may God protect you and your family. Let me just say hatred is a very ugly thing we are not looking for you to like us just respect us there are bad on both sides of the fence and non of us should be proud of this, As for you President does it matter what color he is he's being hated just because of the color of his skin really. Im sorry but there is a lot of good white people out there and there are some really good black people out there but there is also some really bad whites and really bad black this is life and truth but we are all not like this and it is really disappointing that I have had to read some of the dis respectfulness that people have for one another. And grateful for the love that is being shown to the Mother of Travon, but let us not forget his mother is going thru something I hope I will and many of you will ever have to experience in life- to lose a child is hard for any mother or father I constantly live in fear for my son who is about to turn 17 he is a good child, gets good grades but can sometimes be a hand full after 20years I find myself a single mother, without his father to help me raise him to the man he should be, but I believe in prayer and I believe everything happens for a reason, its not for us to know or understand but I do know that God loves us all and he will bless those who bless the meek. This country was founded on Gods words and its seems like we have forgotten that. Regardless if my ancestors were slaves or not today I have a choice to love and do away with hate and rage, it serves me no purpose in life. And that is what I have been teaching my son. He is also being racially profile just because he has tattoo's on his body which believe me you I wasn't happy about him having them, and he goes to a prominently white school with over 3 thousand kids, he is not a big child and he stays to himself but because he has these tattoos his teacher assumed he was in a gang, never did she ask him to look at them or why he had them on his body, and if she would have ask she would have seen bible verses and messages of love to his Father and his beliefs. When did a ragged cross with a fathers initials become gang related He doesn't dress like most of the kids here and he likes wearing hoodies, since I have moved to Texas i a prominently white neighborhood he has been called niggers and other crazy things, but I continue to pray for those people not lash out at them, that will solve nothing I choose the power of God instead of going to the school and putting that teacher in her place. My point is we as a nation are going to have to do better than this we was bought here in changes we now for many of years have been freed but yet we still act like we are in those time. We ARE NOT. and weather you like what I've had to say or not May God Bless you All.
Meg - April 9th, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Chad you make me sad. Get real.
Melissa - April 10th, 2012 at 10:45 AM
I wish every white person would open their eyes like you Jen. Thank you for the post. I truly fear for my future black son.
Zuri Gee - April 11th, 2012 at 5:11 PM
Like the book "The color of water'' a white mom prays for her son not to be harmed by criminals and the police.The perception of law enforcement is different depending on who the individual is.My sons white assistant principal complained of my son wearing pants low.I admonished my son to please don't call attention to himself as to he's ALREADY black.assistant responded''Don't say that and make him think the police are his enemy''I spoke of innocent unarmed black males in the news that were killed.his response,''They must have done something to cause it''i responded he was speaking like a true''all American''white male.sickens me,the ignorance.Does any white mom upon delivering a boy have the thought i had looking down at my newborn''Did i have you for someone to hurt you?''as my 12 year old autistic son who is cognitively 4 years old grows past 5''4 and has temper tantrums,i decided to start on meds,to control adhd and tantrums mainly...don't want his temper tantrum to be misconstrued as usual ''He tried to resist'' he has already been grilled with visible hatred by a police officer who's supposed to ''serve and protect'' for flapping,which autistic kids do.My 20 year old walking home at 1 am from restaurant followed by police car questioned if he had any guns or weapons,after responding no.one pointed finger at him and made gesture of shooting then blew the tip of his finger laughed and drove off.who's gonna protect the innocent black males from licensed assassins.18 year old Bronx boy murdered in front of his grandma police kicked in door cause he ran.was revealed they lied neighbor let them in.child was trying to get rid of marijuana he had ,like always they thought he was going for a gun in which he had none.charlie sheen,lindsey lohan,jim belushi found with illegal substances.they're alive and well.
christian - April 12th, 2012 at 3:01 PM
I am appalled by reading your blog. This should NOT be a race issue. It should not even be in the media. You are responding to the media - NOT to the facts. I am a Christian and I am embarassed as I read what you wrote. I do not live in Florida. I do not know the facts of the case. I believe that God is the ultimate Judge and Jury. And He will deal justly with Trayvon and Zimmermann. We are all held accountable for our actions. Innocent people die everyday.
aventura - July 16th, 2013 at 4:47 PM
I am a Christian, too. And for those of us that believe in Jesus, we understand sometimes that even when we don't agree, we aren't called to be embarrassed or 'shame' anyone's interpretation of the world around them. This is her experience. She is trying to take a step and help heal, instead of act like it isn't a big deal. I find that many of the people who say, 'it isn't about race' or 'get over it' haven't experienced a lot, and refuse to even have the sympathy or divinity to say 'I don't understand, but I'm here to help.'

Its the essence of why people don't take us Christians seriously, and even find us hypocritical at times. What should she be ashamed for? Being honest? Or being one of the few Christians willing to start a conversation, even if imperfect in the approach? Because let's face it, I haven't heard one Christian on TBN or Daystar stand up and take this on, even if they're wrong. Say something, say you want us to be a better nation. And hiding under a rock and saying it shouldn't be discussed doesn't heal- and as a Christian, that would be rather contradictory, right?

God is still God, and he alone is perfect. And in spite of all that I've accomplished, and all that I've believed, that didn't stop people from calling me the N word, or a store associate from following me in Bloomingdale's and telling me to my face that I shouldn't be here because 'you can't afford it'. In 2013.

Only God knows what really happened between Zimmerman and Trayvon, but this incident is just a reflection of what happens to college educated, hardworking child of hard working immigrants, Bible-believing Christians like me..... and this case is a catalyst to express the frustration, and work with people like Jen, who have open hearts and minds and true honesty to acknowledge that the same God who will judge Trayvon and Zimmerman (as you put it), is the same God who has called us to be socially responsible for one another, and the same Christ, who led by example, to plea the cause of the ones around us that can't. After all, how do you carry out the charge to 'preach the gospel' and expect people to listen, when you won't hear the cries of the very same people, whether you agree or not? Just saying.....

Sincerely,
A married, college educated black woman, living in Florida with a 1 year old son,
With the faith to believe that there are good people like Jen who just simply want to work towards healing. I'll take it however it comes.
Billie Riley - April 12th, 2012 at 3:42 PM
Dear Jen,
I'm so sorry that so many have turned your blog into a battlefield. Your thoughts were honest and heartfelt. All you wanted to do was reach out to this grieving mama and show your support for this family. I stand with you, girl.
Oliviaash - April 14th, 2012 at 1:31 AM
I really like reading your blog, i do.

With that being said, I really hope that you don't sincerely think you know the struggles of an African American mother in this country just because you couldn't find a black babydoll or the fact that you "got" a son from Ethiopia. To me, it's kind of an incredibly insulting post. Sorry.
James - April 18th, 2012 at 10:42 AM
I think it's more about realizing that she's scratched the surface of understanding because of those things. She never claims to fully understand the hardships and struggles, but she does pour out sincere compassion and love because even the littlest things in life (like not finding a black baby doll) are indicators of larger problems.

Does she know all of the struggles? Certainly not! But does that mean she can't realize those struggles do exist and have a heart for understanding them and seeing them rectified?
Emily Stone - April 14th, 2012 at 9:26 AM
Wow, I am so thankful for this post, Jen. Thank you for saying what needs to be said...it was a risk and it was worth it no matter the response. Look at all of these comments! If it is sparking this much dialogue...that is a GOOD thing. You are raising awareness. I shared the link on our "Saturday Sampling" here: http://www.stonewritten.com/?p=3869
Lisay - April 18th, 2012 at 9:30 PM
Well done and well said.
Bethany - April 23rd, 2012 at 7:26 PM
Ignore the haters. This is a beautiful letter and as a white women married to a very white man, with a very Honduran foster son, working in a predominately Latino neighborhood and apart of a mostly Asian Church community, my eyes have been opened to my own white privileged and the systemic racism that is very much still in existence. If people don't recognize that, it's because they are most likely white and do not have to deal with it on a daily basis. I stand with you and look forward to helping my own children not only recognize God's creativity in how he created us all, but to celebrate it, seeing the equal value in every single person.
kelsey - April 26th, 2012 at 3:23 PM
A topic that you could easily have been afraid to tackle, and yet you wrote with grace and dignity.

Simply wonderful writing.
Jessica - May 3rd, 2012 at 1:06 PM
Thank you, Jen. Just thank you.
Sadn - May 3rd, 2012 at 10:47 PM
A bit surprised to see such "heated comments" on a Chrustian blog. Really??

Even more so a post surrounding a topic that was twisted by media.

White boys, tan boys.... Many die each day. Where is the letters to their mothers if this is not ab race??

We have come far as a country--yet the simple truth is that racism exists today amongst all groups. Somewhere right now someone doesn't like somebody because of the color of skin. And it is all wrong. It's sad how racism is often one.

Also, there a dozens of dolls available with different skin colors. Princess and the pea, Anerican Girl Collection just to name a few.
Lawrence - May 17th, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Awesome letter God bless you and your family!!!!!
Wally - May 18th, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Lady - black bandaids and black complected dolls are out there - you just weren't in the place to find them. Stop your whining and begging, get off your knees and live your life with some self respect. There is no reason to apologize for anyone's behaviour but your own.
You're acting like a guilt filled idiot, when you have no guilt attached to you. Raise you children as self respecting children, and like so many other black people, they'll become self respecting adults who contribute to society's advancement.
But enough of this self aggrandizement....
Amanda D - July 2nd, 2012 at 5:43 PM
Jen, I have not read all of these replies-it would take me a week! You know, as a Christian, that the media is liberal and they love to twist things to fit their agenda. How about, it's just horrible that he died, period. This is not a racial injustice as Zimmerman himself is half Hispanic. I can't believe you were in Target and didn't find a black baby doll. They are everywhere. We have no trouble finding them in any store we frequent. They make clear bandages as well that match any skin tone. :-) Sister, I love your writing, but I'm sorry I read this. While beautifully written, it's emotionally charged and simply not accurate. Disappointing.
Tom - July 28th, 2012 at 4:00 PM
I agree, this blogpost appeared to have been written very early, based solely on the popular news reports available. Now that significant amounts of evidence have been released, Trayvon's legacy appears to be one that I pray the youth of this nation (black and white) avoid at all costs. Your thoughts on the stereotyping of black youth rings true, but in this specific scenario they are horribly misguided. After months of constant verbal attack towards Zimmerman, using no evidence to back that attack other than a headline or a news blurb, I would hope that people might start making amends and attempting to report the truth. Next time you have the opportunity to write this blogpost, take some time and wait. Wait for the evidence to come out. Wait for the news to paint a balanced picture (you may have to wait for a long time). Wait for your emotions to calm. Wait for the truth.
Graham - December 4th, 2012 at 10:38 AM
Uh-oh, Jen... Looks like your pietistic, soft-Left shilling for the media narrative has blown up in your face again: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/03/15647937-defense-posts-george-zimmerman-photo-from-night-of-trayvon-martin-shooting?lite
E - February 5th, 2013 at 10:22 AM
Ignore some of these moronic responses. Thank you for talking about something that most people are afraid to talk about. The topics of racism, privilege, hatred, and inequality are difficult ones to discuss- unfortunately America likes to think of itself as innocent in those areas, only hinting here and there at our faults (minimizing them). But at the end of the day people NEED to start talking about it, addressing their inner biases and their evident prejudices. This began, and ended as a race issue and to pretend it's not one now is just falling to ignorant denial. THANK YOU for being such a stong woman, and for sharing your story- not enough people speak up and speak out. Everyday I am fighting these -isms, and ignore these idiots in talking about "waiting" ALL THESE IDIOTS DO IS WAIT. and waiting isn't good enough. Nothing will get changed in this world if all we do is wait. Your post is real, it's significant and it's happening EVERYDAY in this world whether these people acknowledge it happened to Trayvon or not. So I ghive you all some advice; open your eyes and your minds, confront those biases that you so clearly have- as we all do. Ignoring them, pretending they aren't real and that they're not there will do no one any good. Start getting educated.
Mike - July 14th, 2013 at 12:42 AM
Are you kidding. I'm sure if you look hard enough you can find photos of just about any gang member at a young age and sell it as 'he's a nice young man'. Get off the 'black vs white' band wagon. The case was determined in a court of law and Zimmerman was found not guilty. I'm sorry that the press or rumor control wanted to decide on half information or black vs white drama. It's a sad world we live in that the media has more influence then the court.
Dawn - July 14th, 2013 at 10:20 AM
As the mother of seven adopted children, 2 sons who are black, two hispanic, and two daughters one who is black and one who is Haitian, I stand with both of you.
We need a million moms march.
Sara Lyons - July 14th, 2013 at 10:49 AM
"I stand with you". Thank you for putting into words so eloquently what I have been trying to.
Melanie - July 14th, 2013 at 11:59 AM
SO Beautifully written. My heart bleeds and breaks for all involved. A child is lost..that is a tragedy!
aj - July 14th, 2013 at 12:50 PM
I can't believe the bias confirmation at work here. (google that)

A few facts:

- Zimmerman was not white
- Zimmerman was not racist
- Zimmerman never changed his story
- Zimmerman cooperated with the cops
- Zimmerman was never told to not follow Trayvon (he was told that he didn't "have to do that")
- Zimmerman was attacked
- Zimmerman was watching the neighborhood (that's what neighborhood watch people do)
- Tayvon told him "you are going to die tonight"
- Trayvon was not a "little boy", despite what you have been fed.
- Trayvon was a 6 foot 2 man (almost 18)
- Trayvon was a pot-smoking dropout
- Trayvon had a history of fighting
- Trayvon used a racial epithet to describe zimmerman
- The neighborhood had seen a rash of break-ins in the previous weeks and months

Turning Zimmerman into a white racist will not bring back trayvon... nor will it solve real racism. Nor will it bring the african american community up from their struggles. not even one step up. If anything... crying racism in this case is a huge leap back.

sad.

While typing this, a couple of black kids got shot in black neighborhoods by black assailants. And no one is talking about them.
Jennae - July 17th, 2013 at 3:31 PM
You conveniently leave out the facts that:

- Hispanic people are capable of racism too. We all are.
- Zimmerman took MMA classes.
- Zimmerman also has a pending sexual abuse charge.
- Zimmerman is the only one of the two with an arrest record.
- Zimmerman had called the police reporting suspicious black men on many, many occasions before.

I mean, if we're going to consider Trayvon's background, just be sure you're doing the same for Zimmerman, who %u2014 in case you didn't notice %u2014was a grown man who should have been more capable of making responsible decisions than a teenager.

You made a lot of assumptions and generalizations too:
- That Zimmerman never changed the overall story, but there were a lot of inconsistencies. But no biggie, you know, since the only other person who could refute his story is dead.
- That Zimmerman was attacked. Unless you were there, you don't know that, neither do you know WHAT Trayvon said to him, least of all that he was going to die.
- Trayvon was NOT a dropout.
- Would you consider your 17-year-old son a man? Your 17-year-old son who was still in high school and living under your roof?
- Would you appreciate people judging your 17-year-old son if they found out he had smoked weed (as many teenagers do, though parents like to stick their heads in the sand and pretend they'd never do a thing like that).
- Did you ever fight in high school? Does that mean it would've been OK for you to be killed?
- What would you have done, at 17, if a strange man was following you in the dark?

Just admit that you can relate more to Zimmerman than you can to Trayvon (who, by the way, is dead), and that that admission in itself is evidence of bias. Then maybe we can get somewhere.

Oh, and BTW, please don't pretend to care about the "black kids [who] got shot in black neighborhoods by black assailants." I DO care since they could be my brothers or nephews or my husband or son. I do talk about them. You clearly don't since I'm sure the only time you've ever brought them up is to try to make your point on this case. So save your platitudes.
shauna - July 14th, 2013 at 1:50 PM
I didnt follow this case so I don't have the authority to comment on it.. but I will say, that I agree 100% about the remnants of racism still alive and well in our country. I live In Texas, I am also white, blonde and blue eyed. My daughters who looks just like me but only a bit tanner { because their Dad is Italian } have never been singled out or feared for any reason.However, just this year we had two foster girls come live with us... { hispanic/black mix} they favored more black skin. They were beautiful, big brown eyed girls, with gorgeous curly hair and cute smiles..... but yet, the children in this small town of new braunfels decided they were too dark to be played with.

I saw even my own kids friends { children from good christian families } reject them and some even said they were not "pretty" enough to play with.... too dark to be pretty, actually came from one girls mouth. I was in shock.

Children are not racist. they are afraid of the unknown, unsure of differences. It is our job as parents to make sure our children are not afraid... and they have opportunities to be around other skin colors/ cultures. Simply tolerating other cultures is STILL a form of racism.... accepting all people and encouraging our children to see past { skin color, weight,style of clothing, etc } and truly seeking the inner being, takes some work... but is worth it.

My husband has sleeves of tattoos and sometimes wears a beard, i tell him, when she shaves his head bald, if i didnt know him, i might cross the street if we were headed for eachother. He looks straight out of prison at times.... just goes to show... we can not judge a person by their outer self.... and this is an everyday challenge we must face as people.

We truly limit our capacity to love, when we judge and fear.Racism stems from fear... and fear is taught... by even people who consider themselves " not racist "

Maybe some of us just need to travel more.. and realize there is world outside of the "white" box we live in.

thanks for the article... It was beautifully written.

jess - July 14th, 2013 at 2:12 PM
you said this better than i ever could have. as a white momma of a black daughter, i stand with you and agree 100 %. Thank you for sharing this. THANK YOU!
LaFawnduh - July 14th, 2013 at 3:34 PM
The picture of Trayvon shows him as a12 year old. He was 17.
NYCGUY - July 14th, 2013 at 3:58 PM
Author is typical of white guilt who sees race in everything.

I feel sorry for her kids who has a mother who sees the color of their skin before the content of their character.

Any person that gets upset over "white band-aids" cannot be taken seriously.
Jane Ellen - July 14th, 2013 at 4:19 PM
Thank you. Very well said. I am the very white mother of two beautiful biracial children, Auntie to a child adopted from Ethiopia and all manner of combinations of nieces and nephews and their children. To be white with little exposure to other than that in this world is to be a fish who does not see the water. It has been eye opening to see all the ways racism shows up. It is not crying wolf. It is very real. And Trayvon's murder shows that we have miles to go.
Ric - July 14th, 2013 at 4:30 PM
Thank you for sharing your compassion. I hope the drivel of the ignorant rolls off your back. To literate, your point is clear: systemic racism remains in our country, and the privileged are the least likely to see it. You can ignore the verdict and even the killing and still see it in people's responses to the various details of the case.
Karen - July 14th, 2013 at 4:51 PM
I'm glad the jury looked at the EVIDENCE and not relied on feelings. Feelings that were developed on the spin of the media. NBC edited the dispatcher call which painted Zimmerman as a profiler. That's where it began. Now people are emotional based on the media's spin.
Grover - July 14th, 2013 at 4:54 PM
Well said, A.J.
Adrienne - July 14th, 2013 at 5:51 PM
As a mixed girl raised by a beautiful white Queen, I find you refreshing! So many just don't get it. My own mother's eyes were opened raising her own brown babies. Thank you for your heartfelt words and understanding! Hope it's contagious!
Maryrose - July 14th, 2013 at 6:13 PM
I wished I had the gift to write so eloquently. Thank you. As the white other to four beautiful mixed children.
Beth - July 14th, 2013 at 6:38 PM
Wow. Love this.
You are right about society conditioning us to think we aren't racist when in actuality it's still a very prevalent issue. It's sad because I find that it's almost encouraged these days...epecially in comedy and t.v. shows or even in music. I'm totally guilty!
Matt - July 14th, 2013 at 6:47 PM
That was a great story, and defiantly helped remind me of the hidden ways that black people are still being oppressed. However, I still don't understand how a Hispanic man, killing a young black man, and being found not guilty. Has brought this all front and center again... People need to KCCO
Pam - July 14th, 2013 at 7:27 PM
Jen- my husband and I were also lead to adopt and we were lead to the most beautiful little girls, both African American (although they both have American Indian in them too-my oldest has lighter almost tan skin and more "white" people hair-my youngest, dark skin and beautiful African American hair). I too have gone to Walmart and was frustrated because there were no black or darker tan barbies!! I couldn't believe it! I've also-being white and growing up in almost all white schools, communities, etc.- have had my eyes open to more things due to our family's mix. I did start seeing things differently in college and eventually married a Hispanic man from Central America. Now, we get looks when we go places, we've had older generations of family ask why we were adopting "black" girls...right now we just try to shield our girls and let them not worry (we do have some talks, but not too much) and let them be kids. I have many of the same fears and worries for my daughters that you do for your son add they grow older. Growing up in Kansas, there's not much diversity in the area we are living.
Thank you for this letter and it is how many of us feel. I know their are so many hate groups still alive and well and it makes me afraid for my girls as they grow up! Prayers for our families and our nation.
Toni - July 14th, 2013 at 7:51 PM
Thanks so much for expressing this so so so beautifully. More eloquently than I could have. I am white but married out of my race and have three sons that society see as Black.
Really! - July 14th, 2013 at 9:42 PM
This is said with no disrespect intended but this post is the core of our problem in America. To take this poor woman's suffering and use it as a forum to expand on personal experiences is beyond selfish! If you grieve for her then tell her but please do not think that saying I couldn't find dolls or books will help her mourn. As the New York Times said a "white Hispanic" shot the young man to stir up sales in any way possible. If you want to address racial injustice in our country then do it, don't blow smoke at the expense of a grieving mother. This post is not different than the old cliche "some of my best friends are black". You nor anyone else feels her pain. You may have had unpleasant experiences but they were yours not hers. I think it is shameful that you would exploit this event and in doing so try to cover your intent with pretty words or how you had to,sit down on the floor,in Target and cry. Our country has so many problems and many of them stem from prejudice but to second guess theses (6) women who brought in the verdict based on law is so not right. People need to get over themselves and do something about the problems instead of writing some nonsense blog that will do nothing except stir up emotions.
matt - July 14th, 2013 at 9:50 PM
to say zimmerman was guilty is false...none of you were in the courtroom, none of you were at the scene of the shooting. all you know is the names zimmerman and treyvon, and what the media has told you. if you believe the media, then your an idiot; a puppet. why cant you think for yourself anymore. our peers who were in the jury did that, and found zimmerman innocent, which means all of you who dont feel justice was served are dumb. there was more said in the courtroom that you know. basing your opinion off of the media just shows you how stupid ppl are now. pulling the race card id old...get over it.

Ann - July 15th, 2013 at 12:33 AM
Two lives have been ruined. If you think for one min that Zimmermen will have an easy life from here, your wrong! You don't think Zimmermen feels bad for what he felt he had to do? I'll be shocked if he lives to die of old age! Posting that picture of Trayvon when he is 12 years old, is an injustice! You're playing into the media. This "letter" makes me angry. We have a BLACK president and you're saying this country is still full of racists? We were going to be racists if he was voted in or not . . . there is no way of making some people happy.
Jeanna - July 15th, 2013 at 5:54 AM
I wish people did not make this about race. Don't we all bleed, feel emotions, get sick, raise families, worry over our children, etc. I am looking forward to the time when people look at each other as people and not profile them. I pray the Lord comes soon because we as humans are so imperfect. We need the Lord to sort out all man has messed up. In the meantime I wish everyone peace, love and a sound mind. Please have love in your hearts.


Laurie - July 15th, 2013 at 7:33 AM
If this case had gone before the grand jury, there would have been no trial and all of this would have been avoided. The evidence was not there. If the news stations (which got wonderful ratings while all of this was going on and continue with the aftermath) and the NAACP would have minded their own businesses (and let's face it, the NAACP stirs up ugliness between races) we would not be typing here today. I bet GZ would do things differently if he had a chance, his life is forever changed also. As for the initial letter typed to Trayvon's mother, I agree, my heart breaks for her. HOWEVER, the angelic pictures being pasted all over the media are not the Trayvon of the night of the shooting. By the way, GZ is not white.....so why is the Hispanic community not up in arms....because only two groups of people protest and get media attention....blacks and gays!
Iamtrayvonmartin - July 15th, 2013 at 1:04 PM
.."and the NAACP would have minded their own businesses"

I'm glad the NAACP stood up, somebody had to and I hope they continue to do so.

To the author, THANK YOU!
Rose - July 15th, 2013 at 6:22 PM
Whoa Nellie...don't try to lump him with US! He's not hispanic! As a hispanic woman his mother chose what he would be...a ZIMMERMAN and a murderer. To the lady that wrote this piece...it was beautiful and I found it to be heartfelt.

Sandy - July 15th, 2013 at 12:07 PM
Racism comes in all colors. I myself, a caucasian individual has experienced racism in my local Walmart! Racism is taught. It is not something that you are born with.
Tee - July 15th, 2013 at 1:19 PM
I have nothing but respect for anyone who can tell the truth in the middle of this madness. I would imagine it's hard for White people in this country to accept your words considering that it exposes the privileges that you enjoy without a second thought. Sometimes, the truth hurts, and you will get backlash because of this fact. Ms. Hatmaker, this is a beautiful post, and don't let all the garbage posts on here convince you otherwise. I think your words are brave, and your words sincere. I am a Black woman, and this is one of the few times I've heard a White person in this country who recognizes the many things automatically afforded to them because of the color of their skin. ONE love %u2665
Shannon Wolfe - July 15th, 2013 at 1:25 PM
This sums it up. Throughout elementary school everyone welcomed him with open arms. This white mother of a bi-racial son lost my naivety when my son was in middle school and began to look like a "man" and became a "suspect" from just walking in a white neighborhood to his friend's house in the middle of the day. That was just the beginning. My heart is broken and I can not let fear get the best of me but it is a justified fear.
Sarah - July 15th, 2013 at 1:30 PM
I re-read this today, with tears running down my face, and also shared with my coworkers. My heart is broken for Trayvon's family, who have once again heard that their son's death didn't matter enough (enough to hold anyone accountable? enough to not refer to Trayvon as the aggressor?). I am sick for them and for the bias that this decision underscores. Thank you for shining a light.
Doug - July 15th, 2013 at 11:46 PM
Trayvon was the aggressor, but we can still love, empathize and pray for his family!
Kay - July 18th, 2013 at 12:55 AM
Why? Because GZ said so? Its funny how he gets the benefit of doubt. Its sad that you don't understand being black means never being a situation where you might have to do whats right because if the other person is white..your wrong. Im sure you teach your children to run from strangers (a fact from the 911 tape) and Im sure you teach your children to defend themselves if ever they felt they were in danger (also a fact based on 911 calls of scuffling) Now if your child was being followed and chased (we dont know if GZ stopped, you only have his word) would you feel its justice he died?
Ms. Small - July 15th, 2013 at 1:31 PM
Thank you Jen, this is beautiful. I stand with you as well. You comment "But I%u2019m learning what is going to happen six years from now..." made me cry because I am going through that as we speak. And I've never heard it articulated by anyone except for myself. God bless!

Gisela - July 15th, 2013 at 1:59 PM
Thank you for sharing! You are a wonderful person, and I am sorry for some of the stupid remarks here. Stay strong!
Kari - July 15th, 2013 at 2:40 PM
Thank you for this, and my best to your family.
Bridgette - July 15th, 2013 at 2:57 PM
Thank you for this. As reading this, my clothes are soak and wet from crying. You touched my heart in so many ways. Not everyone is racist, and it's very sad our country has to be divided because of this. Take care of your son, and may God continue to Bless you.
Anetra - July 15th, 2013 at 4:39 PM
Thank you for this.

I pray Trayvon's mom and dad are able to see this.
Joey t - July 15th, 2013 at 4:40 PM
This is way overboard. Jen is a narsacist. She has a "white hero complex". Every time black injustice rears its head, you can garantee there will be certain whites who pretentiously thrust thier way into the discussion to satisfy thier own ego. Desperately trying to endeer themselves to the black community. She broke down in a Walmart because there were no black baby dolls ? What an a** **** . I cant beleive Jen Hatmaker actually linked a 4 page story all about herself and her great dedication to the black race. You are such a wonderful person Jen is to black people, while throwing everyone in the white race who someone she understands under the bus. This is a classic case of Jen Hatmaker projecting her own instincts of being highly prejudiced on to the rest of the white race, of whom she makes highly prejudiced unfounded judgements of. Make no mistake about it, Jen's article ( of which she undoubtedely cried the whole time writing while fantasizing in the thought of her wonderful self ) and I suspect Jen's whole life, is centered around her own glorification of herself.
Amy - July 15th, 2013 at 5:14 PM
Have to agree with joey t,. This woman is over sympathetic for the purpose of illiceting sympathy from Blacks. As if she is afraid of Blacks.
Linda - July 15th, 2013 at 7:01 PM
to Amy, she is not afraid, she is just speaking the truth and nothing but the truth. and the truth will come out. God has the last word.
Erin Smith - July 15th, 2013 at 8:15 PM
Dear Jen, I have been a fan of your mom blogs for a while, and I do think think that your letter speaks with sympathy for Trayvon's family. But....do you really think this is a case of racial profiling? Do you honestly think that if your son was walking home from the store and was approached by a security guard that this same thing would happen, or maybe your son would have said, "Hi, sir, I am just walking home from the store and not doing anything wrong." Did you watch the trial and hear the testimony of how Trayvon called Mr. Zimmerman "Creepy Ass Cracker" and even used the "N******" word to describe Mr. Zimmerman. I doubt your son would act that way so, just because their color of skin is the same you are placing them in the same sterotype? I was conflicted reading your letter. As a fellow Christian, I am too sad for the entire situation, but to overdramatize the fact that it could be any black man in the same shoes at Trayvon is just not right in my opinion. But then again, it is your opinion which is why I can disagree with it.
Lisa M. Carstens - July 15th, 2013 at 11:23 PM
wow one mother reaching out to another to show sympathy and she gets hit with negative comments.... this could have been anyone's child! white black mexican chinese japanese female gay..... there are so many people this could have happened to... LETS JUST FOCUS ON THE FACT THAT A CHILD DIED!!!!!!! why can't we come together for the mother and family who lost their child? Stop bashing people for their way of showing sympathy and humility and remember this could have been your mother, father, brother, sister, cousin, aunt, uncle friend pastor, teacher, enemy, boss, employee,..... it all seems to touch home if you think about it..... IT COULD HAVE BEEN ME. so show some sympathy and and get off your soap box and support each other as human beings because it could have happened to you. In the words of Rodney King! " Can't we all Just get along?"

Antoinette - July 16th, 2013 at 2:48 AM
Sweet Letter...Thank you for sharing your views...ALL your children are beautiful!

Blessings to you and Travon Martin Family!
Jason Nicholas Selby - July 16th, 2013 at 6:23 AM
Heartbreakingly well written.
I am a mixed parentage British man - Creole/Indian/Irish/Jamaican - who completely understands you.
Thank you for being so honest.
We don't ALL don't see certain things until through circumstance we are forced to.
You children are very lucky to have such wise parents!
Good luck!
We Are All Trayvon. x
BlueMountainGirl - July 16th, 2013 at 7:04 AM
Beautifully written, Jen. Please exercise your right to delete the hateful comments that have been posted. You wouldn't allow a hateful person to come into your home and defecate on your living room floor--consider your blog as sort of a "living room" and delete those comments. Giving these haters a soapbox on your blog will do nothing to change their hearts or minds. They are certainly free to go start their own blogs if they have something to say.

At the end of the day, an unarmed male, who was legally a minor, is dead. George Zimmerman is the one who killed him. These are two facts of the situation that no one is disputing. Justice has not been served. I grieve with you, with Trayvon's folks, and with all who understand the senseless stupidity of it all.
Gee Smalls - July 16th, 2013 at 8:22 AM
Jen, Thank you, you expressed all of my fears about having to raise a child of a minority. I'm sure that your apology is accepted even though it is not needed. You did nothing wrong, ignorance is bliss. However, when you embark on a journey like this believe me it is tough. To stand outside the norm. God Bless you and whatever you do please don't take these negative comments to heart. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, even when you don't want them or don't agree with them. In spirit I stand along side you and I will keep you in my prayers.
Jenn - July 16th, 2013 at 9:36 AM
I am sitting here now, choking back the tears because my two, sweet brown baby boys would never understand why their mamma was sobbing. They shouldn't have to understand. Not at two years old. Not at 12 years old. Not at 22 years old. I wish they would never have to understand this.

Thank you so much for what you have written. You have spoken my heart.

My husband and I are as white as white can get. He has red hair, blue eyes and skin that burns if he thinks about the sun. I have strawberry blonde hair, blue eyes and fair skin. People used to joke that our kids had no chance but to be pale red-heads.
The town we live in had KKK marching through it only a little over a decade ago. The church I grew up in had racist leanings, though they would never admit it. Some people were blatantly racist but everyone dismissed it because they were old and "that's how things used to be".
We were given all kinds of problems when we brought kids from a nearby neighborhood to church because they had the misfortune of being black.
I thought I understood. And perhaps I did more than some people.

But then my boys entered our family. It opened up my mind to things I never wanted to think about, let alone believe. Being the parent of black children changes a white person. I believe it changes for the better. There are some things we will never understand. We cannot, being part of the privileged class (not by choice, but by birth). Yet, being the parent of a black child brings an understanding that I wouldn't have otherwise. Realities are brought to light that would otherwise be hidden. We cannot escape the truth. Our only option is to change the truth. To create a new reality. We can only do that by being honest and having an open dialog. We will never change the world by ignoring the reality and keeping the truth to ourselves.

Thank you for sharing your heart, for it mirrors my own.



Carrie - July 16th, 2013 at 2:10 PM
Thank you for acknowledging your ignorance. Thank you for becoming aware. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your story. Thank you for giving your love to all your children. Thank you for being willing to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. As a African American momma, whose heart broke into pieces on Sunday morning because I knew that could have been my son. You too now know that fear that lurks in the corners of your heart for your brown son, in a way it will never for your white one. No judgement, just truth. It takes courage to remain open. It takes courage to be open. Your experience and story is real and needs to be heard. Because, let's be honest, people who look like you are more likely to listen to you than they are to me. There is no time for guilt. (Don't even entertain it.) You were given the skin you are for a reason. Use its resources. Its privilege to better this world. For your son and mine. Peace be to you, my sister. And blessings to you and yours.
Leti - July 16th, 2013 at 2:13 PM
I was almost in tears. This article explains what so many cannot put into words because of the hurt. I noticed that there are a lot of negative comments. It's disturbing to see that some of the people who commented seem to lack sympathy for the life that was lost and respect for the author of the article.

Almost every black child in America can recall a time when they first realized they were being treated differently simply because the color of their skin. It may come from a teacher or someone in a store the person happens to be in.

Often times, especially in a professional setting, if anything is said about the little systematic atrocities that occur, it is usually seen as complaining and/or paranoia. It is also met with "times have changed" "wow racism really does still happen" look or comment. It constantly and quickly gets dismissed.

This is a very honest and thought provoking article. I hope that the conversation continues and that good things along with actual changes come from this. It's always comforting to see people come out of their comfort zone and offer support for a cause.
Lynn - July 16th, 2013 at 4:42 PM
Thank you for the honest post. I would love to hear your thoughts a year on, but perhaps you do not want to re-open this can of worms. I do worry for your son, as I worry for mine. I am across the country, but I will be standing up as best I can, with you. It's so hard to convince someone of racism if s/he has not experienced it first hand, or seen a loved-one experience it. Keep standing up for your children. You are making a difference, even if it does not always feel that way.
Reenie Banks - July 16th, 2013 at 9:40 PM
Beautiful letter. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.
talargie - July 19th, 2013 at 12:28 AM
Great starter for reflective thinking and dialogue. Brain can be uncultivated and raw. Look if you really think a doll of a different race is great for a black kid in order to educate him about other races then don't you think Walmart should carry many black dolls for the white kids too. Or do you assume whites don't need to learn about other races. The article is addressing raw and one sided ideas such as yours. Most of the time it is very hard to get a listening ear from those in position of power. Their ear is plugged with many prejudices and pride. Listen your own sister and try to understand her plea. The issue is more than the two men. Zimmerman is also a victim. I suspect he might not be suspicious and most importantly might not followed and killed the kid if he was a person without melanin on his skin. What happened after that is history. Let us go deeper. The discussion should be on the cause not only the effect. Let us go back and deal with underlying ideology instead of the event.

Stacey - July 22nd, 2013 at 8:34 PM
Thank you from one mother to another for this powerful letter. As the parent of a mixed race child, it infuriates me when Caucasians think that it's okay to make their racist comments in my presence. It's like white people think that because the color of my skin is white, that I am somehow a part of their "insider group." They assume that I will not be offended by their off-color remarks. And when I call them out on it and tell them I'm offended and that I have a Black daughter, suddenly they start telling me about how great Black people are and about their childhood Black friends whom they loved dearly (as though somehow the fact that they are making racially stereotypical remarks somehow relieves them of their duty as a moral person because they happen to be friends with a Black person.) And 9 times out of 10 it's not the blatant racist comments that even sting the most. It's not always someone walking up to you and saying the "N" word (even though my daughter has had someone use that word to her). That sort of aggressive, outspoken racial hatred is easy to recognize and it's easy to combat because the people saying it are usually so ignorant that it's a total waste of time to even try to educate them. It's very clear and easy to spot someone wearing a KKK hood or holding up a sign that has the N word on it. But the racism that I encounter is the racism that is just below the surface, the comments about what an "articulate" man someone is when they are a Black man who doesn't use street jargon and is well educated. The racism I encounter is the assumption that I will somehow join them in their comments and agree with their position due to the color of my skin. And when people say things like, "My next door neighbor is Black" or "But I have lots of Black friends, " it makes my skin crawl. Because I know what they really mean.
So to you, maam, thank you for being brave to stand up for your children (biological and adopted), for Trayvon, for compassion and love for his mother and his father and for posting such an honest letter that brought me to tears reading it. And it saddens me deeply that on some level, I feel grateful that I have a girl instead of a boy, because I know that the struggles of Black men in our society are slightly different from those of Black females. But I do have the experience of white people staring at me with distain as I carried my brown baby. I do have the experience of having to explain to my child why a white girl in school called her the N word. I do have the experience of having to explain to my child why a little boy didn't want to attend a school dance with my child because, "He'd rather be caught dead than to go to a dance with a Black girl." So Bravo to you for opening up this public discussion. I know you have touched my heart and hopefully touched the hearts of many others in the process. Kudos to you.
Sad - September 10th, 2013 at 7:21 AM
Yeah, when they say "My next door neighbor is black" they mean "My next door neighbor is black." How horrible! Listen, I totally get that some people are racist. That's wrong. No question. But all too often people jump to conclusions about statements and what is in the heart of the speaker. You are ASSUMING that when someone says "articulate" in reference to a black person they are, in a round about way, expressing their shock that someone of a darker complexion/different background could possibly form a coherent sentence and speak well. That is your assumption, and your issue. Don't get me wrong, some people may be suggesting that. Others, however, may simply be paying a compliment because the other is a gifted speaker. We live in a culture that thrives on finding victimhood in every situation. Compliments paid with generous, clean hearts are taken as offensive remarks. I too could be offended if someone pays me a compliment, says I'm articulate, whatever because I'm female. That's sexist, and how dare they?! But life is too damn short to be riled up about everything I could twist into being an issue. People need to stop twisting everything into a racial issue, because if you try hard enough you can do it about everything. No one achieves greatness but constantly assuming the victim's position, and the sooner everyone (whether it's related to race, sex, or class) chooses to stand from a position of strength and cooperation, the sooner there will be progress. The longer everyone twists everything into some horrible transgression and identifies strictly with their "victimized" group, as opposed to with all of humanity, the longer we'll all be at war with one another.
Joseph - July 24th, 2013 at 11:23 AM
Thank you, I believe that is how you sincerely feel and not just written like some implied. God Bless you.
Rebecca - July 28th, 2013 at 2:33 AM
I too grieve for Trayvon. Why? Because he died. I personally wish that guns were not in existence. But my wish is not reality. The reality is that thousands of people die everyday as a result of needless violence. Hhwever, I don't feel that this should be turned into a black/white issue. The shooter is not even white. And just because Trayvon was unarmed doesn't automatically mean that Mr. Zimmerman was racist nor does that mean he didn't fear for his life. Suppose someone was breaking into your home in the middle of the night and attacked you, and you defended yourself and in the course of the struggle you killed that person, if that person turned out to be black, does that automatically make you a racist? No. If he was unarmed, did that make you any less fearful when he broke in? No, because you didn't know, you were afraid and trying to protect your family. A jury sat and listened to ALL of the facts and decided Mr. Zimmerman acted in self defense. He was in the neighborhood watch program. There HAD been reports of break ins. You have no idea what Trayvon Martin had in mind, what he was thinking or doing. Apparently he was acting suspiciously. Do you believe if Mr. Zimmerman saw a white man lurking around he would have said "Oh, it's okay. It's a white dude." Feel sorry for Trayvon"s mother, she lost a son. But don't assume because he WAS black and he was unarmed, that he was as innocent as a dove and that Mr. Zimmerman HAD to be a racist to be suspicious of him. Yes, race relations still have a long way to go to improve. I am the mother of two black children. Yes, they will face discrimination in many ways throughout their lives. But what I cannot abide is people assuming that all white people are inherently racist and that every situation where someone black is killed (maybe armed or unarmed) by the police or someone else, that it is automatically a situation of racism. No one should be killed. Yet it happens daily and we must have laws and policemen to enforce them because that is the nature of human society. Because of the violence we all face, neighborhood watches are formed and work in concert with the police. There are always going to be people who break the law both black and white and every other color. According to the testimony not only was Trayvon acting suspiciously but he apparently attacked Mr. Zimmerman. If he had stayed on the sidewalk and not acted that way, then things would have probably turned out quite differently. Your argument leaves Trayvon no responsibility for for his own actions. I have always told my children, "If you act ugly, bad things will happen". A lot of people would do well to remember that.
William Wallace - October 14th, 2013 at 12:59 AM
Plenty of White kids in this country need adopting.
Why bend over backwards to bring in an alien of another race?
Anti-racist is simply code-speak for anti-White.
Why not work for an end to world-wide White genocide?

Kate - November 19th, 2013 at 10:17 PM
^Um, what? That is quite possibly the silliest thing I have read all day. (And I have small children with VERY silly books).

Martin Luther King - December 13th, 2013 at 2:11 PM
Dear Trayvon's Morher,

I apologize for the pathetic apology and racial profiling put forth by Jen Hatmaker. Her liberal slanted position is not widely held by many Christian people like myself. Your son was killed in an incident that shouldn't have happened. Not because he was black or that Zimmerman is Hispanic but because he obviously accosted an armed man, got into a scuffle and threatened his life. The man retaliated with lethal force , end of story. Race was not involved. Hatmaker is a very misguided unbalanced blog hog. She must be reacting to some past anger or something. Please forgive her reverse racism clouding your son 's memory and your grief.
Amanda - December 15th, 2013 at 11:46 AM
After viewing your blog & your projects to uplift the black community (a job they refuse to do for themselves by the way) all in your quest to sell books and appear on your black Goddess's show OPRAH, I conclude that you are in serious need of professional help. I can only imagine the deep personal sense of self-loathing & hatred you imposed on yourself when another black God, Mandela passed.

Michelle - January 10th, 2014 at 3:36 AM
http://www.eurweb.com/2014/01/zimmermans-girlfriend-gives-chilling-details-about-his-violent-gun-episodes-watch/#more-412837
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