Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh have no shame.
They could not care less about Trayvon Martin or the millions of young men he represents. Instead they chose to exploit when they attacked President Barack Obama for saying that if he had a son, he would look like the slain 17-year-old.
During a "Hannity Radio" interview Gringrich said, “What the president said, in a sense, is disgraceful. It’s not a question of who that young man looked like. Any young American of any ethnic background should be safe, period. We should all be horrified no matter what the ethnic background."
He went on to say, “Trying to turn it into a racial issue is fundamentally wrong. I really find it appalling.”
Limbaugh followed up by calling Obama’s remarks a “political opportunity.”
Gingrich and Limbaugh don’t matter in the scheme of what is true. If you’ve been paying attention over the last week, you’ve repeatedly heard young men say, “I am Trayvon.”
You’ve heard mothers say, “That could’ve been my son.”
The photo attached to this piece is my 30-year-old nephew – one of three young men in my family who could’ve been Trayvon, not to mention a four-year-old nephew who is thankfully still oblivious to the negative projections of this world we live in.
When my nephew, Russell, who is pictured, was about 14-years-old, growing up in the Norfolk, Va. area, I wrote him a letter. I was living in New York City and my African American police friends told me how they feared for their young sons' lives. These fathers were worried that their children might one day be in the wrong place, at the wrong time - mistaken for someone else or simply misunderstood.
I urged my nephew to be careful. He thought I was nuts but I didn’t care.
Newt and Rush would like us to say race doesn’t matter, instead of having all races celebrate our uniqueness and recognize our different experiences.
Black men [and women] walk a particular path, just as other groups of people experience their own walk of life.
If we go through this world worried that our livelihood is going to be threatened, our homes are going to be broken into, someone is going to rob or attack us; the person that society or the media has most likely said we should fear is a person of color.
Not every black man carries that burden, but every black person is aware of the reality.
The beauty of this world is we bond with each other in spite of this truth, and many of us come to experience each other through a colorless lens. Perhaps that’s why Trayvon’s story has struck a chord at this time, after countless young black men have been killed before him.
The country sees his innocence. They see a mother’s broken heart and a father fighting back the pain. And while Trayvon’s life represents an aspect of the black experience, his eternal spirit has connected much of the country - except Newt and Rush.