An American Tragedy
Chapter Four: If We Must Die: Trayvon Martin and the Black Piñata
If We Must Die: Trayvon Martin and the Black Piñata
QUITO J. SWAN
Born in the British colony of Bermuda in the 1970s, I grew up amidst the later years of Robert Nestor Marley, Cool & the Gang, Saturday cartoons, Kung Fu movies like Secrets of Chinese Chess Boxing, Rasta as outlaw culture, a White oligarchic government, Boogie Down Productions and Slick Rick cassette tapes, Reggae sound systems like Stone Love, Rude Boy and Spanish Town, and the U.S. invasion of Grenada. My father and mother both held working-class jobs in Bermuda’s general post office. My father, a former jazz musician, was the son of a successful Calypso artist. His mother was an herbalist of sorts, and he had been raised on a farm. One of my most distinct childhood memories was that of him, my uncle and older brother clearing our hedges with machetes. Even though I preferred to spend my Saturday mornings catching lizards with reed traps, climbing loquat trees, fishing off the rocks with bait made from flour and water, diving into the ocean over the cliffs of Bermuda’s North Shore or riding a used bike that I imagined was a brand-new BMX, I was often summoned to join them in such laborious tasks. But as adulthood can transform mundane moments of childhood into nostalgic memories, when a childhood friend, Dubois, and I strolled into a local hardware store to purchase a few tools to do some yard...
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