Your kids never miss a thing.
Nothing escapes their attention. They look down and overhead, noticing objects you’ve passed a dozen times but never seen. From birth and after that they are like sponges, observant and attentive, and as in Elizabeth Alexander’s new book “The Generation of Trayvon,” you want them to see the best.
Despite the fact that the struggle lasted four hundred years, the number one problem of this century, says Alexander, still remains a “colored line”. Generations have been doing the “race,” but it remains a challenge, and it both complains[s]”and” is outraged that … our youth still has to fight this. “
She grew up “in the black”, but Alexander’s children were brought up in a neighborhood where someone sent out a watch about two black boys riding bicycles. As the mother of these boys, now men, she knows the anxieties, dreams of worries and fear of not being able to save them.
As a black mother, it is impossible to “completely protect our children,” she believes.
Part of the problem is that we don’t always see the superiority of white when it’s hidden right in front of us. Alexander points to works of art and paintings that hang in respectable places, but on which there are awkward or even outrageous backgrounds that often go unnoticed or that take decades to change once seen.
And we return to what we saw: Alexander calls his sons and black people under the age of twenty-five “the generation of Trayvons.” These are young people whose names are mentioned when we talk about the police, and young people whose names we do not know. We see, and still wonder, how mothers can keep their children from “demonizing” or teaching them to “access sources of power that transcend this American nightmare of racism and … violence”. How can she protect them when they themselves are accustomed to taking “responsibility for a horror they could not prevent”?
“I want,” she says, “for our youth to take a break from the endless work that is racial work and the ghostly anxiety that is part of what it means to be black.”
How do you mark your pages when reading a book? No matter what you use, keep them close at hand, because almost every second paragraph of the “Generation of Trayvon” contains one or three sentences that you will want to memorize, reread, or flip in your mind.
Author Elizabeth Alexander uses personal stories, black literature, history, racial violence, and current events to depict pain in the pages of this book. There’s outrage here too, but it’s different from what you’ve read: he shows himself, then leans back and waits for what the reader will do before getting another punch or sigh, another George Floyd, another Angola, another ‘shock’ from belated understanding ”.
That’s what makes this book so necessary to read, so thoughtful and compelling. This is what makes it something you want to share with your older teen and friends for discussion. Find “Generation of Trayvon” and you won’t miss a thing.