I was 24 years old when my best friend Ron was murdered a couple days after his 25th birthday. I can remember the devastation I felt when I received the call that he was gone. How could this be? I had just got off the phone with him. He was supposed to be celebrating in preparation for meeting me the next day at the Georgia Dome for the FAMU vs. Tennessee State football game. To this day, his loss still doesn't make any sense to me and just thinking about it makes me want to cry all over again.
I can only imagine how devastating it must have been to be the last one to talk to Trayvon Martin on that fateful night when he lost his life. Rachel Jeantel has a lot on her shoulders, and I'm sorry as a Haitian descendant she doesn't speak the King's English the way you want her to. But does that give you a right to ridicule her?
If you followed the trial on Facebook and Twitter then I'm sure you came across a lot of disparaging comments that were directed at this young lady for the way she spoke as well as her demeanor. More focus was placed on Miss Jeantel's speaking ability then what she was actually saying.
My heart went out to her. I don't know how many adults could deal with the type of pressure she was under and remained composed. It's very easy for us on the outside looking in to say what we would do if we were in her situation. If anything, I believe that Miss Jeantel wasn't properly prepped by the prosecution team and what we saw on television was a reflection of that.
We as Black people have a problem when we see a Black person on television who doesn't carry themselves in the manner in which 'Representative' black people are supposed to carry themselves. Whether we voice it out loud or not, a lot of us are afraid of what other people i.e. white folks are going to think about a black person who doesn't speak with precise diction. We are afraid of how it will reflect on us as a collective and as individuals.
So here lies the Question of the Day: Does Our Criticism of Rachel Jeantel Say More About Us or Her?