I know you think you won last night. When the verdict was read, I'm sure you exhaled for the first time since that fateful night last year when you stood on a patch of grass on a street in Sanford, Florida, and murdered a seventeen-year-old boy named Trayvon Martin. I'm sure you think you dodged a bullet yourself last night. But you didn't. And I'm writing this so you and everybody else will remember that there's no free lunch.
In the grand scheme of things, George, we get away with nothing. No matter how it looks. No matter how much suave and bravado and quasi-sincerity we put out there for the public, deep in our souls, we always know that what we plant grows -- for good or ill. You plant beans, you get beans. And my dear mis-guided fellow human, you have most definitely planted some pretty horrific beans. They're not magic, but they will grow into a vine that will choke you every day for the rest of your woebegotten life.
Trayvon Martin is still dead, of course. And you are not. In the simplest sense, that alone appears to make you the winner, right? But no matter how many photos show up online of adolescent posturing to prove his so-called manhood, Martin was just a boy. And a boy with a future, at that. A boy with college scholarships on the horizon. A boy who drank soda rather than beer. A boy who had skittles in his pocket, unlike you, who carried a big gun instead, telling yourself it was "necessary."
You didn't win last night. You were just given a get-out-of-jail-free card. Like Judas got from Jesus. It wasn't an exoneration. Everybody in the world knows you murdered Trayvon Martin. How does that feel knowing that you can never, ever be disconnected from this heinous act, from this innocent boy's body, from this moment in your own life history when everything else you will ever think, do, or be became inconsequential next to this one ugly fact? If it doesn't weigh heavy this morning, believe me, it will come to weigh heavy soon, and then, you will understand Judas' agonizingly lonely pain.
I get that you were just the triggerman. You aren't the Godfather or the Consigliere. Hell, you aren't even one of the regular made enforcers. You're the crazy brother. The one that embarrasses even those who don't really have a problem with your craziness other than the inconvenience it causes when it draws attention to what omerta is supposed to hide.
What made you crazy? The White Supremacist system this nation is rooted in, that's what. The White Supremacist umbrella we are all -- Black, White, and Latino -- raised up under. The White Supremacy that taints our laws, our policies, our history, our social institutions, and our culture. There's no escaping it. There's no denying it. And there's no erasing it. We're stuck. We either push up our sleeves, break out the shovels, and dig up those White Supremacist roots, laying them out in the sunshine to be dried up like the raisins of five hundred years of denied justice or they will destroy us as surely as they killed Trayvon Martin and destroyed you.
"But I'm free!" I hear you chortle. "I'm not destroyed. I'm home with my family having a beer and a big breakfast." Maybe. But the virus of White Supremacy with which you were infected even while you were being spoon-fed baby cereal, which spread and strengthened and made you crazy, still courses through your veins stronger than ever this morning. Like a lethal cancer with no known cure, it's killing your humanity every second you think you're alive, even while it makes you feel invincible and entitled and superior to African-Americans.
Like drug addiction and diabetes and sexually-transmitted diseases, this entire nation is riddled with the death-dealing epidemic of White Supremacy. You're just one little carrier, George. One predator in a nation where it's always hunting season on Black boys like Trayvon Martin. You didn't win last night. You lost on the day you were born.