Re-Nigging on the Promises: #Justice4Trayvon

16 Mar

Another Black kid is dead.

This time it’s 17 year old Trayvon Martin.

His life snuffed out at the hands of an overzealous, trigger happy white neighborhood watch commander named George Zimmerman, who thought Trayvon looked “suspicious” as he walked back to his father’s home in a suburban Florida neighborhood with a pack of skittles and an iced tea for his little brother. Trayvon was unarmed; Zimmerman was packing a semiautomatic weapon.

How do we make sense of the senseless?

From the facts alone, it is clear that Zimmerman presented the real threat. But it has now been two and a half weeks since the shooting, and Sanford Police Department has declined to charge Zimmerman with a crime. Law enforcement officials claim they have no evidence to dispute Zimmerman’s claim that he acted in self-defense.

Apparently an unarmed, dead Black teen is not evidence enough.  If this were 1912 and not 2012, we would call a Black man killed by a one-man firing squad with no just cause what it is: a lynching. These days, we search for euphemisms.

Self-defense. That feels so inadequate.

I mean, whose selves really need defending if it is Black selves—primarily Black male selves—that keep being murdered?

It’s high time that we started asking some serious questions about how we keep ending up here.  Because there is most assuredly a racial logic—an alarming method – to this madness.

So come, let us reason, together. (Yeah, I got Biblical, because in times like these we need a savior. Take that as literally or as figuratively as you will.)

In one of the earliest reports I read about this murder, the author felt it important to mention that Trayvon was visiting his father because he had been suspended from school for a week. It infuriated me that this detail was there. It was a subtle way to suggest that this kid didn’t have his head on straight, that he had some flaw, that he had already demonstrated himself to be a disciplinary problem.

How does it feel to be a problem? It feels like gunshots, unheard screams, and a lonely, violent death.

It is now statistically documented that Black students are suspended 46% more than all other students, and account for 39% of expulsions, though they only make up 18% of the school system.  One in five Black boys is subjected to out-of-school suspension. The increase in zero-tolerance policies and automatic referrals to law enforcement are major culprits here. It is beginning to sound like schools have a zero-tolerance for students of color in general, and an aversion to Black boys in particular.

A story.

Years ago, I taught reading to a group of middle-schoolers in D.C. public schools. That year four of my male students –all African-American—were expelled. Three of them were expelled not for selling drugs on the campus, but for failing to report that they knew one of their classmates was doing so. As the Head of School told me, “we have an honor code and a zero-tolerance policy.” Nearly ten years later, I find that decision the most dishonorable of decisions I encountered at that school, which was a fairly dishonorable experience for me. What my boss didn’t seem (willing) to understand is that these students –while boarding students during the week—returned home on weekends, to the very communities where the dealers supplying the drugs to their classmate lived. To ask these students to put their lives and their families’ lives in danger in order to honor our honor code was an exercise in missing the point. So the kids were expelled.

I learned a lot then about how the cultures of discipline in public schools fail to honor the very real material realities that shape how kids engage in school. When scholars talk about a school-to-prison pipeline, they are not simply talking about the ways that systematic lack of educational access sets up Black people for a stint in the criminal justice system. They are also pointing to the fact that the very logic of public schools is designed to discipline Americans into a certain model of  citizenship, one that helps us to believe in the propaganda of equal rights that we are taught in our social studies classes, while obscuring the systematic inequalities that are on gratuitious display through the treatment of children of color, students with disabilities, and poor students.

I can’t help but wonder if it is this kind of discipline to which Trayvon had been subjected. School discipline should not be the pathway to a prison sentence or a death sentence.

A Black kid is dead. And blame must be placed somewhere.

I have zero-tolerance for a justice system that deputizes overzealous white men and vests them with the power to be judge, jury, and executioner, under the trumped up guise of self-defense . If this community fails to prosecute George Zimmerman, their silence, their acquiescence, their approval will constitute an official sanctioning of his course of action.

I can’t help but wonder what he must have thought as he was confronted for no reason by a white guy with a gun, while he was simply trying to go home.

Eyewitnesses said they heard Trayvon call for help. The police swiftly corrected them, letting them know that in fact, it was the white guy who had called for help. Even with eyewitness testimony, the police seemed incapable of seeing Trayvon as the victim. Young Black men are always the aggressors, right? Not the gun-toting white guy, who weighed 100 pounds more than Trayvon. Not the self-styled neighborhood vigilante with a documented disrespect for law enforcement. Nope. Just the Black kid, whose skin is (perceived as) a weapon.

Though Zimmerman had been charged in the past with battery on a police officer and resisting arrest, officers told Trayvon’s parents that Zimmerman’s record was squeaky clean.

What is this peculiar thing about whiteness that it makes criminals look like victims and victims look like criminals?

Trayvon’s skin, not his actions, not his character, made him a criminal. Blackness always looks suspicious. Whiteness always looks safe.

A history lesson.

In 1857, Justice Roger Taney infamously declared in the Dred Scott case that “a Black man had no rights that a white man was bound to respect.”

In this post- most-racial moment*, we must seriously re-evaluate this narrative of linear historical progress that we are beholden to. No, Black men don’t routinely find themselves hanging from trees. But that might be less an evidence of progress and more an evidence of white racial adaptation.

“Racial patterns [will always] adapt in ways that maintain white dominance.” – Father of Critical Race Theory Prof. Derrick Bell’s famous maxim echoes in my ears.

(No wonder folks were mad last week to see the re-circulated video of Harvard Law Student Barack Obama hugging his professor Derrick Bell. As Melissa Harris- Perry said, two brothers hugging one another is an unforgivable offense.)

Perhaps a hip-hop metaphor is more appropriate. Present white racial violence frequently samples its own racial past, but packages the narrative in ways that make us think we are making progress, that we are doing a new thing. But this shit ain’t original.

Take for example this 2012 campaign bumper sticker.

The challenge in getting stuck on this show of ignorance is that most racism isn’t that visible. And because it isn’t, white folks (like the many I saw comment on this photograph on facebook) can tell themselves that this is isolated racial ignorance.

They don’t have to contend with the ways that our legal justice system continues to renege on its promises of equality and justice for all, through the enactment of supposedly color-blind policies like stricter voter registration laws that are designed to exclude folk of color from voting, through campaign suggestions that racialize the welfare system, and through sentencing disparities that criminalize Black and Brown folks for life. White folks can see this bumper sticker and never think about the ways in which every one of these deadly racial encounters (which seem to be a not infrequent occurrence in Sanford, Fl.) constitutes a “Re-Nig(gerizing)” of the Black male body. 

Trayvon Martin  “looked suspicious,” Zimmerman told the 911 Dispatcher. In fact, to say  “suspicious” and “Black man” in the same sentence, feels redundant.

Black=suspicious=threat

White=safe=protection/protector

All these (short but long) years later, the racial logic remains the same. Black men are threatening. And murder is a proper response to that threat or a least an understandable one. Ida B. Wells could’ve told us that. And she did. But that soundtrack has been remixed to accompany us into a new era.

How does it feel to be white?

Whiteness, Critical Race Theorist Cheryl Harris tells us, is a “form of property.” In the classical sense, whiteness, like property, confers “all those human rights, liberties, powers, and immunities that are important for human well-being including freedom of expression, freedom of conscience, freedom from bodily harm, and free and equal opportunities to use personal faculties.” (CRT Reader: 279-280)

Does it feel like freedom? Whiteness.

Well it certainly looks like justice.

The kind of justice that we want for Trayvon.

But there is one problem. Trayvon is Black. And that matters when whiteness is the sine qua non of the American legal system, when possession of a white skin is the prerequisite for justice.

And it is precisely because of this deep-seated association of white skin with property, that George Zimmerman felt he had the right to “patrol” his neighborhood for interlopers and outsiders.

 It is not coincidental that Black men are routinely profiled for looking suspicious in nice neighborhoods “because they don’t belong there.” The battle over who belongs in neighborhoods– even though Trayvon’s step-mother lived there!—is just a modern site for a long-standing warfare over white racial entitlement to control land and every thing that moves on that land.

So despite our cries of #justice4Trayvon, we know that it is a toss-up as to whether Zimmerman will be charged with anything, that it takes a literal act of God for the system to work for us. That God is all we have, when the system works against us.

We keep hoping that reason will take over, that the facts will be presented in just such a way that the crime committed here will become visible, evident, to the powers that be. Somehow, I don’t believe that this is what President Obama meant by “the audacity of hope.” And if he did, I hope he realizes that hope in the face of mounting injustice is an unreasonable thing to ask of us. We are the post-post Civil Rights Generation, the Hip Hop Generation. And we are tired of hope and dreams deferred.

If the persistence of racism has taught us anything, it is this : that racism is not rational. It literally doesn’t make any sense. Yet, we keep appealing to reason, even though we feel like taking it to the streets, because we know that such acts of violence, would be perceived as irrational. Threatening. And met with all consequent force.

 Yet we keep appealing to reason, in hopes that someone will listen.

As we appeal to the system, signing petitions calling for the prosecution of George Zimmerman, we hope against hope, that the system will not decide that Blackness alone makes one a probable threat, worthy of execution, just a few hundred feet from one’s home. And yet, that decision has been made thousands of times. Will Trayvon be any different?

You think our lives are cheap, and easy to be wasted, as history repeats, so foul you can taste it…His life so incomplete, and nothing can replace it”–Lauryn Hill

*Thanks to Rhea C. for the “most-racial” reference.

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105 Responses to “Re-Nigging on the Promises: #Justice4Trayvon”

  1. scintodj March 16, 2012 at 8:31 AM #

    I have to say the basis of this story is quite sad and angering. Of all the things that people call un-American, this should be at the top of the list. Considering Sanford’s demographics and history, this is not surprising considering some parts of Central Florida would align themselves with Alabama and Mississippi’s governors requesting interracial marriages be made illegal, a most grievous point of view. It is more than obvious that something needs to be done to ensure Zimmerman is held accountable for killing Trayvon.

    Now considering I am a white male some of my concerns may far by the wayside since references make it seem as though my life is grand. There is no doubting that there is racial inequality still in existence on both sides. A white man can easily be picked up in a black neighborhood, but the portrayal would be to get him out kf harms way even if he is there for drugs. Whereas the black man in a whote neighborhood would be arrested for suspicious behavior. With that in mind, what About a black person doing the same thing to a black boy or man. It certainly is not only white people guilty of this heinous act. I wonder if there would be such outrage if he was let go, or is there an automatic assumption that he would not be forgiven for saying that he was acting in self defense?

    There is obvious injustice in America and the world as a whole, and some statements in this article come across offensively, though understandably so. Our experiences shape who we are and how we perceive almost everything. When I was younger I was subjected to cracker day at school where the few white kids got beat up just because and nothing was done about that. Yet I don’t perceive all black people as angry and violent. I live In an urban area with a high mix of races and cultures with prominent and wealthy people in all racial brackets. That is not to say there is no racism, but perhaps geography is something of an influence. Now I may be called ignorant and blinded by my white privilege, but keep in mind in the writings of this site, which I follow with personal fervor and wishes of success for all founders and contributors, that not all white people feel they are privileged above anyone and not all of us benefit from the system the way it is assumed. I am quite aware through these articles and discussions that the system as a whole has racial underpinnings, but don’t assume that all of us are pleased with the way the system works for whites. Not all of us subscribe to the theory of being better than others.

    • scintodj March 16, 2012 at 8:33 AM #

      And that bumper sticker!? Absolutely infuriating.

    • Xeginy March 16, 2012 at 8:26 PM #

      The thing with having privilege is that you don’t have to actually DO anything for the privilege to benefit you. You don’t even have to think you’re better, because society has already decided that you are better.

      If you know anything about privilege and oppression, then you should know that it’s not an individual thing. The problem is not individual people acting racist; the problem is that racism is institutionalized and in every corner of this society. So I applaud your ability to not perceive all black people as angry and violent (would you like a cookie with that?) but it doesn’t mean that you’ve somehow removed your own white privilege. That will always be with you.

    • Emma March 17, 2012 at 9:37 PM #

      White privilege (just like male privilege) isn’t something that goes away because you become aware of it.
      As white people, we benefit every day, even if we don’t sit around high fiving each other for being better than others. And if “not all white people feel they are privileged above anyone”, then they are wrong. The world we live in is constructed to benefit white people, so we ARE privileged, even if we don’t want to be.

      Trying to distance yourself from that or acting resentfully towards people who (rightfully) assume that you have white privilege only perpetuates the problem.

  2. The Ramblings of an Intellectual Sistah March 16, 2012 at 8:35 AM #

    Reblogged this on The Ramblings of an Intellectual Sistah and commented:
    Another black life cut, Another blog.

  3. Lady Unfair March 16, 2012 at 8:46 AM #

    Reblogged this on No Regrets.

  4. David Ikard March 16, 2012 at 9:46 AM #

    amen and amen!

  5. Derek Jeter March 16, 2012 at 10:25 AM #

    This is the most bias and unprofessional article i have read in a while. Race has nothing to do with this at all, and there is no proof it is a factor. A human killed another human which is a shame. You took it upon yourself, someone with no legal experience, and no direct knowledge of the situation, and automatically blamed the older gentleman of murdering this boy because he was black. There is no proof of this, and there is no proof that the killing was justified, so legally there is no way you can indict the man for murder. It is sad that a young man was killed, but race has no factor, and if it did, there is no way of knowing. You are only a racist if you think about race, and here you think about race way too much. I would say you are actually racist against white people, but i don’t know you and it would be wrong to judged just as you judge in your article. As for the stats about black males and school punishment, you get punished if you act out, plain and simple. Don’t blame the rules, which is an asinine excuse, blame the people acting like jackasses and getting them selves in trouble. If you fuck up you get punished, it so happens black males fuck up more.

    • crunktastic March 16, 2012 at 11:08 AM #

      Ignorance is apparently bliss.

      • deereeder March 16, 2012 at 12:40 PM #

        Perfect response.

    • Kate March 16, 2012 at 11:35 AM #

      Pardon me, do we live in the same world? The attitude that the author of this blog “talks about race too much” is exactly why issues of racial inequality have stopped improving in this country. How can you say that race played no role in this killing? It is true that we cannot reconstruct with certainty the thoughts of the killer at the time he pulled the trigger, but discounting it as a probable contributing factor is even more presumptuous than stating its presence as a fact.

      Ignoring the role of race in the treatment of students in schools, particularly where the enforcement of rules is concerned, is wrong. Students of color are not by any means treated equally in inner-city public schools. Additionally, nothing is done to mitigate the impact on their school life of the disadvantages they face as a result of institutional racism in daily life.

      I am a young white woman. I am enrolled in college. I read and speak two languages. I have received an enormous amount of special treatment on account of race and class in my twenty years of life. I have also volunteered and taught in communities where racial discrimination makes and breaks students’ futures. If the world ran on effort, merit and good behavior, it would be a much different place than it is.

      “it so happens black males fuck up more.”

      Seriously?

      YOU, SIR, ARE A RACIST. That is a sin for which there is never a good excuse.

      • Derek Jeter March 17, 2012 at 5:56 PM #

        I am black, i went to public school in Bronx, NY. I was treated fairly in my public school days. I am now in college. Im am not racist, so fuck you for judging me and calling me a racist, because i kept it real in my comment. Look who is ignorant now.

      • crunktastic March 17, 2012 at 6:11 PM #

        It seems like you were waiting to trot out your “I’m Black (and think this ignorant shit about social realities, so clearly this is not about race) trump card.” I hope it had bells and whistles to accompany your wishful thinking. Perhaps such thinking means that you’ve been blessed or lucky enough not to have a negative encounter with law enforcement. And I sincerely hope that you don’t have to confront the reality of your faulty logic while being unfairly profiled or harassed by the police (or a random white guy who thinks you look suspicious).

        Time will tell, young Brother.

    • Evan Wenters March 16, 2012 at 5:22 PM #

      Actually this was a crime. The perp in this was the man who killed an innocent person. A person walking down a street is not a suspicious person. There is a recording of the 911 call where he is clearly told to wait for the police. He was in his car when he saw the VICTIM, which means the PERP was not in danger. The PERP got out of his car and confronted the VICTIM. Only the PERP was armed. Only the PERP had a criminal record. Only the PERP fired a shot. Only the PERP survived. I am a former police officer and I think I have a greater sense of what constitutes a crime. This was a CRIME. This was at best Manslaughter at worst Murder. Either way he should have been arrested that night. Especially when you have witnesses stating that they heard the VICTIM yell for help. Why would the man with the gun yell for help. He was the only person on the scene with any type of weapon. It is obvious that you are the one who is biased. The only reason the white PERP thought the Black VICTIM was suspicious was because of his skin color. One way or another this PERP will do time. The only question will be if it is a state or federal prison that he will do his time. He better hope it is a federal prison, because he won’t survive in a state prison.

    • Color Blindness leads to death March 16, 2012 at 7:15 PM #

      Fuck you, stop trolling.

    • Amy March 17, 2012 at 4:25 PM #

      “You are only racist if you think about race”

      Completely false, in fact this is why American Society has been failing to make any progress on getting rid of racism, because no one wants to talk about it. Although a social construct, race and racism are real and all around us in contemporary American Society. The only way there is any hope of moving toward a future where people of all races can truly have equal chances is if people become more conscious of racism in society; nothing is going to change if you ignore the problem or pretend it doesn’t exist.

    • what March 17, 2012 at 11:42 PM #

      Wait, people still think racism against white people is a thing?

  6. paul March 16, 2012 at 10:44 AM #

    thank you so much for writing this. this whole situation is infuriating. as an asian american who gets quite frustrated towards much of his community’s silence around issues of race, consider me an ally.

  7. libby March 16, 2012 at 11:59 AM #

    This just blew me away. I can’t believe this is happening. Oh God help us. For you’re all we can count on now.

  8. marita gowin March 16, 2012 at 1:12 PM #

    You Go Woman!!! I was already weeping by only the informational beginning of your letter!

    In the late 60’s and early 70’s some people named all police officers as “Racist Pigs”. I don’t agree that this name calling referenced all Police Officers either then or now. But with some individuals it is certainly applicable. And not in regards to Police Officers.

    My blood and blood pressure are boiling.

  9. Not You (@HeadyHeathen) March 16, 2012 at 3:12 PM #

    I don’t believe in god but I do believe if we all came together as a community and make phone calls, write letters, etc. something can be done.
    Two hands in work can achieve a lot more than two hands clasped in prayer.

  10. Coffey (@Coffey0072) March 16, 2012 at 7:33 PM #

    And this is the type of response I’d expect from someone, who operates within an ignorant and potentially racist frame of mind. It’s likely the same thought process that Zimmerman possessed, considering how he literally STALKED Trayvon Martin, due to what was *obvious* racial profiling… despite being told to wait for a police cruiser to arrive… because he thought “these a*ssholes always get away.”

    You say there is no proof that the killing wasn’t justified, but fail to ignore the fact that this GROWN MAN fought an unarmed boy, he outweighed by 100 pounds, had no LEGAL authority to apprehend him or do so, and then essentially killed him, because of some preconceived notion he held about a young Black boy walking in a gated suburban community, not doing anything other than … well… WALKING and because Zimmerman believed he didn’t belong there. You’re sadly mistaken if you think that’s not operating within a racist mindset… and you’re DEFLECTING when you accuse people who call out racism, racist.

  11. brains March 16, 2012 at 7:54 PM #

    first, zimmerman is hispanic, not white.

    second, it doesn’t matter what race zimmerman is. he’s a cop wanna-be. he’s a nothing who thought he could be something by going after an unarmed child. it was not a white man going after a black boy, and to make that statement only makes you look like you have racial issues. i get the feeling that you are anti-white as much as you think zimmerman is anti-black. zimmerman probably was anti-black. i have no problem believing that, but for you to spout anti-white will not improve the situation.

    third, i hope zimmerman fries in the electric chair.

    fourth, you have every right to be angry about the murder of trayvon. you have every right to want zimmerman to get the death penalty. and you have every right to want to flip the switch yourself. if i had the power, i would hand you the button. but let me ask you this – if trayvon were white and if zimmerman were black, would you feel the same amount of anger? would you even have written about it at all?

    • crunktastic March 16, 2012 at 11:19 PM #

      1- Zimmerman is white and Hispanic. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/us/justice-department-investigation-is-sought-in-florida-teenagers-shooting-death.html

      2- The larger argument points to the racial logic that makes us unable to see Black men/boys as victims. Even when the released 911 tapes, which the cops tried to cover up, clearly show this kid begging for his life.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/16/trayvon-martin-911-audio-_n_1354909.html

      So I stand fully by my original argument in regards to this point. And I stand by the fact that the racial logic I point to is an outgrowth of a white supremacist system. No apologies.

      3- The whole point is THIS WOULDN’T HAPPEN TO A WHITE KID. A white kid walking along in a suburban neighborhood wouldn’t seem suspicious, wouldn’t be profiled and harassed. But if in some alternate universe a Black man did to a white kid what Zimmerman did to Trayvon, he’d be under the jail. Wouldn’t even need to be a conversation.

      • brains March 17, 2012 at 7:30 AM #

        if you want to spit in zimmerman’s face – i’m with you.
        if you want to stomp on his balls – i’m with you.
        if you want to slice his wrist and watch him slowly die – i’m with you.
        if you want to feed him to sharks – i’m with you.

        but once you start pointing at “white supremacy” then you lose me.

        do white and black get treated differently? at times, yes, but not 100%. but you can’t let zimmerman represent a white society.

        answer this question – if zimmerman was black, what would you be talking about right now?

        the crime here is that an idiot shot an innocent boy, and a family had their child ripped away from them. that’s the crime. whatever zimmerman’s background is doesn’t matter because you have to look at florida’s stupid law about self defense and deadly force.

        zimmerman will get what’s coming to him, one way or another. i’m certain about that. if the law doesn’t do it, someone else will, and i’ll just say, “oh well.” but race problems will never go away if we continue to focus on race.

        in my state, the yearly school testing rules say that scores must be broken down by race. the state wants to see which races passed and which didn’t. and if even one racial group does not pass, your whole school is labelled at “failed.” it’s completely stupid. when parents look at those scores, they’re not looking at kids, they’re looking at race. and if the whites, asians, hispanics all passed, and if not enough black kids pass, then the school gets labelled as failing. and then everyone will say, “oh, look, the black kids made us failed. we failed because of the black kids.” all that does it promote racism. and that’s at the state level.

        when halle berry won an academy award, and everybody made a big deal about a black actress winning whatever she won, that was dumb. by making a big deal about her being black, it was as if she were handicapped or something. we have to look at her as a person, as an actress, just like anyone else. if we say, “wow! a black woman won!” what good does that do? halle berry should have said – “uh, excuse me. i’m not a black actress. i’m an actress. that’s it.” and i’m not saying to forget about heritage. no way. i’m saying don’t make it the first thing we look at.

        there has to be a day when we just look at each other as people. until that happens, we will never all be the same. we have to stop focusing on differences. differences separate us as a society.

        have a blessed day.

  12. Dionysus March 17, 2012 at 5:31 AM #

    I’ll be at a rally in like 5 or 6 hours and I cannot wait to get on the fuckin’ mic.I don’t even have the money to take the bus but I’ll walk before I let this boy die in vain.

  13. barbie March 17, 2012 at 9:44 AM #

    THIS IS SO TERRIBLE THIS WAS A SEVENTEEN YEAR OLD YOUNG MAN.I CONSIDER HIM TO BE A BABY AT MY AGE.WHO APPOINTS THESE OLD PEOPLE THAT LIVE BACK WHEN THEY WERE TRIGGER HAPPY AND TRY THEM OUT ON OUR CHILDREN.I AM A CONSIDER WHITE WOMAN IF THAT IS MY COLOR I THINK I AM LIGHT TAN BUT THATS BESIDES THE CHILDREN.I HAVE BLACK /Brown. Grandchildren and their is no different.These our are babies. I think the whole neighbor is respongable for allow this old man to watch their property.RIPbabyYour family will be in my prayers._

  14. kristenwarner March 17, 2012 at 9:48 AM #

    Colorblind trolls are so far behind they think they’re first. The utopia hasn’t happened yet darling. But that doesn’t matter to you cause you need to believe that people are transparent and not racialized. Don’t worry. Nothing to see here. Move along, move along.

    • what March 17, 2012 at 11:52 PM #

      Exactly. Even as a mixed white/native american woman I can say that keeping quiet about racism is no better than racism itself. It makes people uncomfortable, sure, but progress was never made by keeping everyone in their comfort zone.

  15. Sara Tansey March 17, 2012 at 7:10 PM #

    Reblogged this on narcissism for the dubiously modest and commented:
    this is a story i hadnt heard until i read it at the crunk feminist collective blog, and one that gets lost all the fucking time. thank you for telling it, and i hate that you carry the burden of telling it.

  16. ChristiKennedy March 17, 2012 at 9:36 PM #

    This shit depresses the fuck out of me. I was going to post an eloquent and hopefully thought-provoking reply but all that needs to be said has been said, for the most part. The evidence is out. Facts are clear.

    He did not have to tail the child.

    He did not have to approach the child with a gun.

    He had no right to interrogate the child.

    He escalated the situation unnecessarily.

    He killed an unarmed child and claimed self-defense.

    It has been 19 days and still no arrest.

    As a mother of two teenage boys, this breaks my heart. Where is the justice?

  17. Lala March 17, 2012 at 9:49 PM #

    I am so glad the Travon Martin case is getting some attention. It was cold-blooded murder and the police just…shrug. It was racist in that deadly white supremacist way where you know when you come down to it your life isn’t worth a hill of beans to the powers that be.

  18. Lynwellyn Gudger March 17, 2012 at 11:07 PM #

    You argue that Zimmerman is not white and therefore there is not a race issue. How exactly? The African-American community in Stanford have past frustrations with racism. I point this out to imply it is a race issue because of the historic and ongoing problems with race relations in Stanford. These relations frame the situation. The situation does not have to be black and white for race to be a factor. Race became a factor when the police picked Troyvon Martin’s body up, drop it at the morgue, and did not attempt to find out where he belonged and he was shot blocks from his father’s home. Race became a factor when the police told Tracy Martin that his son’s murderer was squeaky clean, even though many neighbors made complaints about Zimmerman’s over zealousness and he had been charged with assaulting a police officer. Race became a factor when the Stanford police refused to arrest Zimmerman, accepted his word over the victim and then defended Zimmerman, even though they did not have all the facts of the case. Race became a factor when Zimmerman’s father published a letter saying that his son helped people in the community and had many black friends, even one who stated they would trust George Zimmerman with their life, and then lied about the circumstances of the case by stating “At no time did my son follow or confront Mr. Martin,” when it is clear from the 911 tapes that he did:

    Zimmerman: “These assholes always get away, Shit, he’s running,”
    Dispatcher: Are you following him?”
    Zimmerman: “Yes,”
    Dispatcher: “We don’t need you to do that,”

    Martin is running and Zimmerman tells the dispatcher he is following then the dispatcher says we do not need you to do that and Martin ends up being shot by Zimmerman who was supposedly not following him; that makes no sense. I am not arguing that Zimmerman did not act in self-defense that I do not know. What I am arguing is what the F*ck kinda of police force goes and gives a shooting suspect that has scuffled and shot a boy close to half his size “the benefit of the doubt.”

    I think the confusion here is the focus on Zimmerman’s race, when the issue is that police wrongfully arrest, beat and murder young boys all the time in our major cities, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Austin, Miami, Detroit to name a few. This problem has been with African-Americans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Koreans, Mexicans etc. for a long DAMN time Therefore, this situation is about RACE BECAUSE RACE IS WHAT Troyvon shares with many other boys of color disproportionately affected by authorities that MAKE THE CRIMES OF COLORED BOYS A PRIORITY AND THEIR DEATHS INSIGNIFICANT. The race of Troyvon Martin matters even if Zimmerman’s race does not.

    Furthermore, As for your comment about whether it would matter if it was a white boy and black man.To that I would say. If the Black man worked as a community watch officer, carried a gun around, harassed his neighbors, then after shooting a boy dead got lots of nice special privilege in the form of “benefit of the doubt” from the Police, the Persecutor, and a father that is willing argue that his son is the true victim, while there is evidence to the opposite… HELL YEAH IT WOULD MATTER.

    • Christi March 17, 2012 at 11:30 PM #

      I’m fairly certain his race played a factor as to why the phone call was placed in the first place.

  19. Joseph March 17, 2012 at 11:25 PM #

    Excellent piece! I couldn’t have said it better myself. You hit every area and subject there was on this tragic and all too common story. However, being objective here, I did see that you mentioned in your story that the killer, George Zimmerman was white and I have also seen other sources quote him as being white. However, looking at his picture and according to a statement from his father, George Zimmerman is hispanic with mixed heritage.

    With stories such as these where emotions run high (for obvious reasons), I think that we need to exert cautious restraint and take in and look at the information with a critical eye. In our lamentations and pursuit of justice and truth we cannot sacrifice truth at the alter of convenience just because it fits an archetype that comfortably fits our narrative.

    The reality is that the media is more likely to follow up on a story of this magnitude when the perpetrator is white (and not hispanic) because in a society structured on edifices of racism, as you so eloquently point out in your piece, the media is not reporting the news to America in so much as it is reporting the news for and to “White America” the subtle implication therein is that the news is being reported to “those that matter”.

    Lord knows how many young black and brown men and boys die in our urban and suburban streets every night and it doesn’t make the local news more so the national news circuit. The sad truth is it’s a “better story” if George Zimmerman is portrayed as white, even if he’s not, because the perception, and I would argue is that “White America” doesn’t care about black on black, brown on brown, or in this case if George Zimmerman is hispanic as his father attested (I’m sure he would know), brown on black crime and thus this story then loses it’s “attractiveness”.

    As you attested to in your post, “whiteness”, according to Critical Race Theorist Cheryl Harris , is a “form of property”. Using Cheryl Harris’s theory, I would then posit, that like stolen property, White America seemingly only takes a vested interest when white bodies, serving as “symbolic property” are viewed to be impeded against or involved in situations (like this one) where they might ironically be viewed as victims of “injustice”. If this is indeed the case, then I think that by misappropriating whiteness on to Mr. Zimmerman, we miss an opportunity to have a dialogue about the tensions that exist within the black and hispanic communities that are often not discussed because we are operating off of false premises.

    Does this mean that there is not an endemic problem in America when it comes to crimes involving white perpetrators and black victims and the accompanying miscarriages of justice? Of course not, I am just stating that in this situation, upon deeper assessment that may not be the case.

    However, what is at stake is the ability to address the cultural myths that inform the mindset of someone like George Zimmerman who was led to believe that a young black boy like Trayvon Martin was some form of potential threat because “he wasn’t where he was supposed to be” and therefore looked suspicious.

    The cultural mythologies that this nation has told itself and continue to tell itself are the issue here. It is these mythologies that continue to inform the triggermen of these situations that typically result in the death or incarceration of black and brown bodies. It is these mythologies that continue to inform our national narratives and make black men and boys “suspicious” whether they are found in the burbs’ or in the “hood” and it is these mythologies that continue to inform our day to day discourse in the context of our race and gender relationships. We’ve operated under and been victim to myths long enough, we shouldn’t feel the need to use them when they become convenient for our cause. In matters such as these and in light of so many other historical precedents where justice went unserved some may find it apt or tempting to cut corners to make sure that THIS time, justice is served.

    However, I think we need to be prudent, diligent, and critical in our assessments and more importantly be guardians of truth for it has been abused and usurped for far too long.

    • crunktastic March 18, 2012 at 6:42 AM #

      I appreciate your thoughtful and cogent engagement. Let me say first, that Hispanic/Latino is an ethnicity, not a race, so Hispanic/Latino people can be white or Black or mixed race, etc. It is not entirely clear how Zimmerman racially identifies. It is clear from that letter his father penned to the press declaring that he “isn’t racist and has black friends” that he probably doesn’t see himself primarily within a Brown/Black racial spectrum. Unless someone asks him, there’s no way to know.

      What is fairly clear from his actions is that he made assumptions about Trayvon’s alleged “criminality” that are deeply rooted in mainstream ideas about Black bodies, ideas which lots of folks hold. Those ideas issue from white supremacist ideology.

      Further, the ways in which the police gave Zimmerman the benefit of the doubt, trusted his word, and refused to arrest him, suggest that there is some level of white privilege going on. As I’m sure you will agree, clearly marked Brown/Black Latino folks do not receive such gracious treatment at the hands of law enforcement. Furthermore, at best, from looking at his picture, Zimmerman is ethnically/racially ambiguous, so it makes sense that the police would assume he was white rather than Brown, particularly since the neighborhood in which this happened is predominantly white. (I’d also be willing to bet that the last name Zimmerman had some influence on their racial assessment.)

      In any case, what I’m saying is that whatever the “actual” race of Zimmerman, the ways this case has played out absolutely follow the schema of previously clearly Black/White cases. And that is because race is not just about identity, but about the ways that power and discourse converge to enact on bodies, that are clearly identified in particular ways.

      So I do take issue with your assumption that I called Zimmerman white because it made my argument easier. I was not aware at the time that I wrote this piece that he was anything other than white. Furthermore, it seems clear that what is happening in this case is about the particular race relations of Black folks to the Sanford Police Department (which has a history of racially dubious killings at the hands of law enforcement) and is in fact, not about some inherent Brown/Black racial tensions.

      Thank you for your assessments and for pointing out the ways that Zimmerman’s racial identification complicates the narrative. Part of what you point to is the problem of what we do when folks who fall into the category of the racially marginalized engage in activities that we usually associate with those who have racial privilege. I think that’s an important question. And I think what it attests to is the power of white supremacist ideology to shape the engagements of folks who are not white in the classic American sense.

      In that regard, I stand by my original arguments:

      A Black kid is dead, presumed a criminal.

      A non-Black (mixed race white-Latino) man killed him, presumably based on a range of white supremacist assumptions about Black criminality.

      The police have afforded Zimmerman the protections that are often afforded to white men in cases like these.

      An injustice has therefore been done and needs to be rectified.

      • Joseph March 18, 2012 at 8:49 AM #

        Thanks for your response. Just to clarify some points:

        1)I wasn’t making an assumption that you called him white in order to framework your argument better. I apologise if it came across that way. What I stated though was that I can understand why (media outlets especially) would rather framework the story around his whiteness rather than his “brown-ness” if he so considers himself. It seems as if most reports are going with his whiteness. I simply deferred to the fact that may not be true. However, I 100% agree he thus far has been afforded all the privileges afforded to whites regardless of what he identifies himself as.

        2) I’m glad you caught this:”Part of what you point to is the problem of what we do when folks who fall into the category of the racially marginalized engage in activities that we usually associate with those who have racial privilege” I wanted to go deeper into that but had already taken up so much of your time and space. It is an important question and one that I believe needs to be examined in this tragic case.

        3)My point was not to state that this case was about black/brown tensions, rather, that if Mr. Zimmerman did identify himself as brown it would highlight tensions that already exist but are rarely addressed nationwide. However, in Sanford or nationally you are right, the narrative is not that, and as I stated in my post, I doubt this story would receive as much national coverage as it has.

        4)In regard to all your original points you will find no argument here. I agree with you completely. It is said that the arch of the universe bends toward justice. It frustrates me to no end that in 2012 I will have to raise my almost 2 month old son and tell him things about this world in order to protect himself that white parents will NEVER have to tell their kids. I think that black people themselves are operating under some mythologies that are affecting them negatively. Yes, there is a “black president” , yes we can n ow vote and have the ability to marry whom we please and yet in all the areas that REALLY matter we are still flagging miserably behind. Housing, education, income, employment, rates of incarceration, and health care, all of which are leading us to an early grave.
        I’m angry and I’m hurt and yes, I take this story personally. I’m
        tired of reading stories like this one and I’m tired of feeling like
        that arch is bending far too slowly, sometimes doubting if it’s even bending at all.

        5)Let me raise my legal concern here. Dr. King once said “Let us not forget that everything done in Nazi Germany was legal”. When one looks at the Florida self defense laws and compares it to other states, Florida’s is by far more broad and voluminous in it’s interpretation. Zimmerman could legally shoot Martin if he was”attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felon”. If Zimmerman “believed” it was necessary to do so to prevent death or bodily harm to himself then within this legal framework it would seem that the law is on his side. Unlike the majority of other self defense laws, he has no responsibility to retreat and he has the right to attack in any other place where he has the right to be.

        With the burden of proof resting on the prosecution, if this case even goes to trial, it would be an uphill battle proving that Zimmerman (in his mind) did not believe his life was in danger. The law as it reads is literally on his side. I’m praying I’m wrong. I differ to the words of a heartbroken and frustrated Dave Dennis, former co-director of C.O.R.E. and his words reference the death of James Chaney in 1964 ” I know what they’re gonna say, not guilty! !That no one saw him pull the trigger- I’m TIRED of that!”

        Almost 48 years later Dave voices the sentiments, hurt, frustration and anger that echoes and ruminates deep within our soul where we’re STILL tired and STILL mourning lives and attending STILL attending funerals, asking questions that don’t get answered and mourning deaths that don’t make sense. You can see that short clip here: http://youtu.be/VTUcikLEGzA

      • crunktastic March 18, 2012 at 9:15 AM #

        I share your hurt, pain, frustration, and anger. My dad would say, Trayvon Martin’s funeral was a “funeral we didn’t have to have.” A senseless death. And now that I’m reading the story about the 13 year old kid who witnessed this, and is dealing with anger, stress, and sleeplessness (because he feels like Zimmerman could just as easily have targeted him), I’m sickened.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/17/trayvon-martin-killing-yo_n_1355795.html

        My heart goes out to you and every parent that has the task of raising a Black son. I mean how does one reconcile the fact that in the 21st century, a young Black man could become president, or could more likely not live to see 18. Those extremes are so damn far apart that I can’t see how it wouldn’t create an existential crisis of the highest order. At base level, it’s scary as hell.

        In some ways, words really just aren’t sufficient.

        Thanks for the earnest dialogue. It is truly appreciated.

  20. bottleneckanalysis March 18, 2012 at 3:56 PM #

    Reblogged this on bottleneck analysis and commented:
    the *most* racist era

  21. Anita March 19, 2012 at 2:57 AM #

    This may not be the time and place for this request but I would be interested on a discussion on what Joseph points out – racial tensions between people of color (black, hispanic, korean, indian, native etc.). I grew up in a Sri Lankan household in Canada and my mother held the same prejudices against black people that Zimmerman and other people like him do. In response, I would always try to reprimand her and explain that as people of color, we should support one another because we are fighting against the same system of oppression. It seriously drives me insane when I hear a black person call an indian a paki or an indian call a black person a nigger. What the what? I currently live in South Korea and as a brown person I’m automatically labelled a second class citizen and maybe because we’re a smaller community of foreigners but the only people I can talk to about this are my other black and brown friends. I can never imagine any of us turning on the other.
    Something else that was on my mind after reading this article is talking to white friends about white privilege. Every time I bring it up, it has ended in an argument. I should probably mention (if you haven’t gathered already) that I am not eloquent, especially when speaking. My boyfriend is white and he says that I come across as angry and that puts people off. The main argument that makes people angry is the privilege – “but I didn’t come from a privileged background, I had to work my way up the ladder even though affirmative action worked against me. If I can do it, they can.” How do I explain to people that you were able to do it because of that privilege. How many colored kids from your poor neighborhood did you see that made it out?
    Finally, what are the solutions? We can educate people about white privilege, racism in institutions etc. but where do we go from there? How do we transform the system when racism is so entrenched? This is 2012 and after years of education and activism, Trayvon still got shot.
    I feel angry but even more so, I feel hopeless.

    • Lynwellyn Gudger March 19, 2012 at 6:30 AM #

      My meaning is tension between ethnic and racial groups and the Authorities.

  22. Joseph March 19, 2012 at 8:31 AM #

    Reading through the comments on here today and emotions are obviously still high. I wanted to add that G. Zimmerman was not a swastika, white hooded, cross burning, member of a white supremacist group a la American History X. It’s easy to understand how people end up using such characterisations but we need to speak using the language of truthful moderation without extremist characterisations. While the reality is that there are people within our society that adhere to these extremist beliefs( statistics support that) I am of the opinion that these extremists are the minority.

    No, what we see in a George Zimmerman is a far more insidious and embedded type of cultural brainwashing that informs him and millions of others that Trayvon was a menace that needed to be feared and if necessary- executed. George Zimmerman, whether he goes to trial or not, is not the dragon that needs to be slain here. He is not even the monster that the media and others who hold that opinion are depicting him to be. He is in fact our neighbour, the checkout girl, the person in customer service, a teacher, a waitress. It’s easier to embody evil as something that we can take in and even understand. It’s much harder to do so when we put a human face on it and see it as weak, frail, flawed and…… human. JUSTICE4TRAYVON but not at the expense of our humanity or the humanity of others.

    • crunktastic March 19, 2012 at 11:10 AM #

      You know, I agree that we need transformative justice models. On most days.

      But today, I am angry and sad. Zimmerman proves that there are sometimes boogie monsters and things that go bump (or bang!) in the night!

      So forgive me if I’m not ready to start talking about Zimmerman’s humanity. Because from my perspective, when have we ever not been talking about his humanity? When has his humanity ever been in dispute by the folks who have the power to determine the outcome of this situation? The state sees him as human and is treating him as such. Would that they would do the same for Trayvon and his family.

      I’m content to live with my anger, my outrage, and my desire to see un-transformative justice enacted on him every time I see his picture. I will not always remain here, but Black folks are entitled to our anger. In my political understanding, part of acknowledging Black humanity is acknowledging the legitimacy of Black outrage and anger, the same perhaps anger that Trayvon expressed to Zimmerman upon being followed.

      That said, I agree with your assertions about the ways in which this is a very normalized set of beliefs. And I do get your larger point, namely that if we make Zimmerman into a monster, it obscures the very ways that the folks we interact with every day hold the same kinds of beliefs about Black males than can lead to these kinds of outcomes.

      But from where I stand, we’re just gonna have to figure out how to hold in tension Black outrage and anger (towards Zimmerman and all the other instances of this happening) and a humanizing imperative in talking about racism. I am unwilling to subordinate the former to the latter. Not today.

      • Jack Dover March 19, 2012 at 4:37 PM #

        Hate to tell you this, but Zimmerman wasn’t white. Funny you didnt mention this in your article, but yet your Knew that he weighted 100 lbs more then the victim.

  23. Nikesha March 19, 2012 at 5:50 PM #

    There is no justice for Black men in this country when they find themselves caught between ire and a bullet. There is only death without provocation. Without justification.

    It has been like this since Black men have been seen as a threat to wholesome society.

    In times of slavery Black men were brute beasts to be contained, controlled and trained like horses; to be made docile and domesticated like dogs. When slavery ended Black men were to be feared because of their potency. Hung like horses they were stereotyped as lusting over White women and wanting to ravage them. Thus the genteel southern belle must be saved from the might of less than a man who cannot contain himself.

    This thought process persisted and persists today. This thought process lends itself as to why a man convicted of rape in 1978 and released from prison five years later didn’t find out until February 5th of this year he was as innocent a he said he was.

    For some reason in this country there is a perpetual fear of Black men by many; including their own women.

    It is fear that leads to senseless lynchings. Instead of trees and ropes assailants use guns, more guns, and more guns, pick up trucks and other vehicles.

  24. CPC March 20, 2012 at 2:03 AM #

    Articles like this is a great way to stay angry. From the sillyass title, through the provinicialism it stinks of, it’s so stale and tired that it approaches irking me more than the deaths of young people. Where’s the post about brothers killing brothers? Or do we only raise the valhe of one death because he was killed by a white man? Of course Mr. William’s family should get justice, but what of all the unsolved murders in Memphis, Philly, Chi; cases where it’s all too obvious of the race of the killers? Do those victims not deserve an angry post about how their deaths are manifestations of neglectful policies?

    This case has all the trappings towards righteous indignation, and every possibility meaning nothing because you’d rather jerk off to the race of Zimmerman, than confront the fact that working class folks have all the tools for their empowerment at hand.

    • crunktastic March 20, 2012 at 5:30 AM #

      Your reactionary, short-sighted response is stale and tired. The idea that we can’t address this injustice because there are other injustices is completely whack. So it is clear that you have no consistent argument but rather that because I didn’t offer the kind of analysis that you think I should, that you in fact want to use this post as a masturbatory emission for your own anger. Take that shit elsewhere.

      If you want a post that holds brothers accountable for the violence they commit, read this one.

      http://crunkfeministcollective.wordpress.com/2010/12/23/do-we-need-a-body-count-to-count-notes-on-the-serial-murders-of-black-women/

      And here is the post from yesterday that our CF Brother Ashon wrote about Trayvon.

      http://crunkfeministcollective.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/the-love-of-black-mothers-and-the-care-of-black-children/

      If you can’t get your attitude and disrespect in check, be clear that future comments of yours will not be posted. We won’t be disrespected in our own house.

      –Crunktastic

      • CPC March 20, 2012 at 9:43 AM #

        Ha! “Reactionary” you call me, then you end your rant with a threat of censorship.

        Christi (below) is money-in-the-bank, a point I touch upon by saying Mr. Martin’s family should indeed seek. And there should be fellows joining in to help the family (though, it sucks that the parasitic black clergy class is once again on the scene). But there’s a sense that this death should rise above the rest because of the assailant. It seems people want to wallow in the fact that the murderer is white, which is not far from the murderer’s initial thought upon confronting Mr. Martin. If white people are still so evil, and black folks still chained down, why should folks show solidarity with eachother? There’s nothing revolutionary about that perspective. The reality is different, and tragedies like this are even less frequent and the response more forceful due to its unity that backs it. There’s

        And this is the point of dialectic: if you did make the point I’d readily support, I wouldn’t comment and respond (and thus show support for your blog).

      • Christi March 20, 2012 at 11:16 AM #

        What I really want to know is where I stated anywhere that we don’t pay attention to Black on Black crime? I was refuting CPC’s statement. I agree that it is pure ignorance on part of those who feel that Trayvon’s case is no different than the crimes that occur within our own community with no care or awareness of the social issues you mentioned. I wholly and truly agree. I also feel the media and not this blog but far larger and powerful outlets only cover stories like these because of its value.

      • crunktastic March 20, 2012 at 1:39 PM #

        I was saying that we on this blog don’t write a lot about Black-on-Black crime. The rest of my comment was directed at CPC, for his belligerence and his unclear and contradictory critique.

    • Christi March 20, 2012 at 9:19 AM #

      If you delve a bit deeper, one may consider that in our own community there -is- an outcry when our children die. There are rallies and speeches and the Mayor postures and promises to stamp out crime before fading away. There are no suspects to question and charge. There is no national coverage. Only negative portrayals of the ‘hood’ before they move on to the sports segment. All I can add is that in Travyon’s case, there IS a suspect. That is a boon in itself. A suspect that has not been properly investigated but a suspect. There’s a target and there’s enough evidence to press for a proper investigation. Had the local law enforcement done their jobs, there wouldn’t a national hooplah.

      • CPC March 20, 2012 at 9:48 AM #

        The last part of the last line, I’m not so sure. But your central point is money, because in many northern cities, the threshold for shooting someone is so high, it nearly approaches impossible. Yet, it’s bizarre Mr. Zimmerman is out, chillin’. But the feds are involved now, so Mr. Martin’s family may get the justice for this tragedy.

    • Joseph March 20, 2012 at 11:28 PM #

      @CPC and Christi The reason why THIS story gets the coverage that you state is lacking in light of black on black crime or brown on brown crime is because in the context of the national narrative it is deemed by those in the corporate media industrial complex who, being informed by the mythological cultural narratives that perpetuate nationally, deem the lives and deaths of black and brown bodies are of little interest or consequence to whom the news is broadcasting. .That is just an example of how endemic and systemic racism is rooted into American society. The reality is that the media is more likely to follow up on a story of this magnitude when the perpetrator is white because in a society structured on edifices of racism, the media is not reporting the news to “America” in so much as it is reporting the news for and to “White America,” the subtle implication being that the news is reported to “those that matter”. Therefore, all narratives are of self-interest for and to “white society”. Don’t think for one second that when the president or any other public figure gets on tv and talks about “we” that the majority of brown and black people think they are talking to them. We know all too well from our daily experiences and the realities of our respective circumstances that the president, government or any other public figure or institution is considering us in that statement. Unless of course they are trying to sell us some shit. As Ice Cube’s character Dough Boy said in the classic Boys n The Hood “Either they don’t know, don’t show, or don’t care about what’s going on in the hood. They had all this foreign shit, They didn’t have shit on my brother man”.
      As you stated, lord knows how many young black and brown men and boys die in our urban and suburban streets every night and it doesn’t make the local news more so the national news circuit. The sad and ironic truth is that the only reason this story is making the national news circuit is because George Zimmerman IS white. The tragic irony is that white society is not interested in this story because of some concern that some how this man is going to get away with the murder of a unarmed black child but rather their interest is informed by their mythology beliefs that some how white people do not receive a fair trial in the American judicial system when their is a black body involved. They actually believe that white men are treated unjustly in the American court of law when it comes to black bodies and that by not following the story their will be some miscarriage of justice perpetuated against (in this regard) George Zimmerman! How is that for irony!? That example is just how crazy and delusional the issue of race is in America. Especially as it is viewed through the lens of “white society”. Their response to the question of race is there is no race issue and if their is an issue of race raised then it is they themselves that are the victims of discrimination, unfair and prejudicial treatment and the targets of persecution of and by black and brown people. Shit is insane.

      • Raylene CapnMorgan Yarmum March 21, 2012 at 6:52 AM #

        Just a thought: this story, as it’s in the south, also can be used to feed the narrative of racism only existing in bad, prejudiced individuals (e.g. the stereotypical racist, right-wing Southerner), leaving any of the good, nice people free from any accusations (e.g. white Northerners who don’t show overt racist tendencies).

      • Raylene CapnMorgan Yarmum March 21, 2012 at 6:54 AM #

        Completely left out the main part of the last post: the story can then be used to implicitly state that systems of oppression just don’t exist; there are instead just aggregates of “bad” people in places like the South where self-defense laws exist.

      • ronwf March 29, 2012 at 10:51 AM #

        The sad and ironic truth is that the only reason this story is making the national news circuit is because George Zimmerman IS white.

        The truth is that this has been sitting around for a month after it happened and only made the national news because the family saw that claiming George Zimmerman was white instead of Hispanic was a way to inflame racial attitudes and get the media involved.

        In fact, I have sympathy for Trayvon’s family – if it was my kid, I’d use any means possible to get some non-local cops involved in this, so I’m not condemning them. But I have an entirely different attitude towards those who are using this so they can get the cameras focused on themselves and promote themselves as the source of truth instead of making sure they know what it actually is first.

  25. CPC March 20, 2012 at 2:08 AM #

    (correction to my last comment: Mr. Martin, not Williams, as I mistakenly wrote)

    • Christi March 20, 2012 at 10:41 AM #

      You assume that Blacks want to wallow in the racial implications of the case but fail to clarify that its the race of the victim and aggressor that makes for a sensational story. Everyone is wallowing. The media is having a field day with this subject. Handsome, young black male in possession of a few snacks and the almost predatory-looking ‘hispanic white’ male stalker with a loaded gun. Its movie magic and the media is in a frenzy. The media will lend this kind of coverage to the stories that raise ratings. Just don’t ever assume that Blacks simply don’t care when the aggressor is a black male. ‘They’ just don’t care as much as we do, when it comes to local area crimes born of poverty.

      • crunktastic March 20, 2012 at 11:02 AM #

        Lots of problematic assumptions here from both CPC and Christi.

        I take serious issue with the notion that we don’t care about the violence that happens in our communities. That’s total BS. We don’t spend a whole lot of time covering Black-on-Black violence on this blog, because, the homicide of Black males predominates in sites that focus on Black social problems. Furthermore, we tend to take a systemic analysis to social problems, so the problem with focusing on Black-on-Black violence, is that those analyses often tend to ignore the ways that racism and poverty position people of color in environments with lack of access to jobs, education, and mental health resources, necessary for ameliorating and reducing violence. In other words, violence is talked about as the problem rather than as a symptom of larger problems. It is not feminist to pathologize racial minorities, and most black-on-black discourses do just that. Moreover, we take issue with the centering of racial narratives on the plight of Black men, because that tends to mean Black women are excluded from the conversation at all. Plenty of Black leaders/bloggers/politicians talk about “black-on-black” violence, and then there are calls for copious mentoring programs, for Black men to stand up and stop the violence, etc. So we don’t have a whole lot new to add to that conversation. We chose to cover this story, because we could be a part of a national effort to bring visibility and put pressure on the authorities to investigate further. Furthermore, some CFs are mothers to Black boys, others of us are aunties, cousins, mentors, etc, to Black boys. Trayvon’s life matters to us like the lives of all people of color matter to us.

        If you dislike how we roll here, there’s a simple solution to that problem, and I think you know what it is.

        Peace,

        Crunktastic

      • CPC March 20, 2012 at 11:22 AM #

        Christi, I certainly don’t suggest a generalized view of “blacks wallowing”, or “blacks not caring” To the contrary, black people care very much about public safety, education, healthcare, transportation and overall culture and civilization. The reasons for violence in black and brown communities is all too easy to comprehend, and little of it is the fault of families and citizens who live with, in and around it . Unlike President Obama, I don’t think the problem is black people “not working hard enough”, or not “raising their children right”. My remark was pointed and limited to this piece and its author, and some of the comments. Sorry if I gave the opposite impression.

        As much as I hate the natural lowering of expectations of black people, I equally detest the malignant suggestions of white people’s qualities (Again, with respect to this article). Racial prejudice, or fear of the other, is something that is in us all, as part of the evolutionary process handed down to us. Though we (blacks) are the minority in this country, it doesn’t take a long time to spot black reactionaries, misogynists, homophobes, or theocratic windbags who, when in the saddle, easily live down to their white, brown, or Asian counterparts.

        Per your media point, it’s all entertainment. We live in a world ripe with vicariousness and sensationalism, so this story stays blowing up until Natalie Holloway’s cousin gets lost.

      • ronwf March 29, 2012 at 10:54 AM #

        I have been reading stories about racial incidents and attitudes for decades. But this is the first time I’ve heard the term “Hispanic white” used to describe an individual. It’s amazing the lengths that desperate self-promoters will go to somehow make this guy white instead of Hispanic. If he’d been the one shot he’d have been Hispanic, no one would have called him “Hispanic-white”.

  26. Joseph March 20, 2012 at 11:36 PM #

    For the record, there are some comments on this blog and others that should be completely disregarded. Not all peoples on the internet are who they pretend to be. Some people are on the internet and internet blogs for the sole purpose of “gaslighting”. They are in fact ministers of misinformation as means of heisting the narrative and calling people to question the authenticity of their perceptions.

  27. Raylene CapnMorgan Yarmum March 21, 2012 at 6:44 AM #

    Hey, is it possible for me to get the references you mentioned here? I was trying to find the CRT reader you listed, but I can’t find it by that title.

  28. dweetta March 23, 2012 at 10:00 AM #

    Well anybody that want to exercise their gun , well if something happen we will lie an call it self defense ,Sanford Florida is Th best place you want o be , stand your ground , any trigger happy . gun toting Watt Earp and Billy the kid ,where have you been all my life. I GO MAKE SURE THEY DO NOT GET AWAY WITH ANYTHING ,AH.

  29. Emmie March 23, 2012 at 2:29 PM #

    We don’t know if George Zimmerman felt any entitlement or privilege by virtue of being “white.” He might see himself as Latino, but with a white dad. He might see himself as a white person of Hispanic ethnicity. Though I sometimes read that option in lists of demographic statistics, it’s an identity I’ve really only heard expressed by two people I know in real life. He could also see himself as Latino or Hispanic and also white.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/who-is-george-zimmerman/2012/03/22/gIQAkXdbUS_story.html?tid=pm_lifestyle_pop

    His mother is Peruvian and she (and he) might not actually see herself as white at all. Regarding those demo stats, I saw one school go from 0.5% Native American (one student in the school), 35% Hispanic, and 40% White one year to 25% Native American and 50% White the next year. When the format didn’t allow for Hispanic/Latino as a “race,” a lot of people did not choose White as their race.

    People need to be able to talk about the detriments of or aggressions against blackness without juxtaposing it to *only* whiteness. Clearly, there aren’t just two options.

    It’s also pretty clear that Zimmerman’s motivations included paranoia and a vigilante complex. It’s a separate question of how his “percieved whiteness” affected the motivations of the local police force that has a history of mismanagement.

    • crunktastic March 23, 2012 at 7:56 PM #

      It’s also pretty clear that Zimmerman’s motivations included racism– anti-black racism. Moreover, the ways he acted: calling Trayvon “a fucking coon,” saying “they always get away,” place his actions squarely within the racial discourses of white supremacy, even if he himself is a person of color. “People” need to be able to speak about anti-Black racism’s origins in discourses of white supremacy, so that we don’t get caught up on the bodies of the person’s enacting the racism. That being said, whatever Zimmerman’s race, his treatment at the hands of law enforcement has afforded him every protection historically given to white men, particularly white racist vigilantes. There is not a long history of law enforcement giving these kinds of protections to Brown people. It is precisely because of these facts/historical contexts that I have refused to read this narrative as part of a larger narrative of Black-Brown tensions, because those tensions tend to take an entirely different form than this narrative of an ethnically ambiguous man who masequerades and acts in ways entirely consistent with the most ardent of white supremacists.

    • ronwf March 29, 2012 at 10:59 AM #

      Emmie, have a look at my link below. As far as voter registration goes he identified himself as “Hispanic”. He did not choose “white”.

      Why do you think that George was paranoid? He lived in a complex that had numerous break-ins over the last year. The cops were called to it 402 times that year. He personally broke up at least one crime in progress. If you live in a location that has seen repeated crimes perpetrated by young kids it’s not paranoid to think that a young kid you’ve never seen before might be up to no good. It’s prudence.

      And why is everyone calling Trayvon by his first name and George Zimmerman by his last name? Is it because Trayvon’s first name (but not his last, Martin) emphasizes his race but that George’s last name (but not his first) emphasizes what people would like us to believe is his?

  30. efehler March 25, 2012 at 12:37 AM #

    Dear Christie: I want to say that the “media frenzy” is nowhere near as potent as it would be if the shooter had been an older black male and the victim had been a white child, or a bi-racial latino/white child with a white parent….the shooter would have been IMMEDIATELY imprisoned, and likely battered on the way…..the story is gaining momentum because it ACCURATELY portrays the institutional racism in our justice system and the human variables that activate the process of justice (or in this case DO NOT activate the process of justice) the response of the media towards this travesty has been a VERY legitimate frenzy, and will hopefully bring with it a deepened sense of consequence to all the other “neighborhood watch” people who feel justified to STALK and AGRESS and KILL an innocent young person on suspicion of racial stereotypes….

    These crimes that expose heirarchy dynamics will continue with the same momentum they have had for centuries if there are not social and legal consequences….(similar to the powerful response that came against Rush Limbaugh for his aggressive and oppressive comments towards Sandra Fluke a few weeks back)….

    to Crunktastic: Thank you for your powerful words and your courageous vulnerability. As a white woman I have benefited hugely from my membership in the dominant “race”, and though I cannot comprehend what it is like to be vulnerable to racism (as the person of privilege whose race stereotypes me as educated, beautiful, capable, moral, upright, and wealthy)….I can comprehend what it is to be vulnerable to sexism (as someone who is stereotyped to be over-emotional, fragile, weak, low in IQ, and disposable as a sexual treat)….When I speak out about sexism I always experience rebuke and increased toxicity aimed towards myself and my loved ones……I know that for you to acknowledge the inherent race dynamics in this crime, and to share about your own experience as a mother of a young black son, means that you will have to endure emotional/verbal vomit from people who do not want the pattern to be challenged…..

    Thank you for your wisdom and for bringing such a dignified and strong response to such a horrifying reality regarding race dynamics in our country…

  31. ronwf March 27, 2012 at 11:17 AM #

    Everyone seems to be presuming that George called 911 about this kid and followed him because of his race. Where’s the evidence for that? It’s not enough to simply say that “Trayvon was black, therefore George must have been suspicious of him because he was black.” How about some proof?

    It is not coincidental that Black men are routinely profiled for looking suspicious in nice neighborhoods “because they don’t belong there.” The battle over who belongs in neighborhoods– even though Trayvon’s step-mother lived there!

    Maybe, but this has nothing to do with a nice neighborhood. George lives in a majority-minority site that has seen about 18 different reported thefts, break-ins, assaults, etc. in the last year and has made 402 calls to the cops over that time – and almost all the perpetrators were teenage boys that didn’t live there. George has made a few of those calls and has been credited with helping to catch one perpetrator and preventing a number of crimes. Given the nature of the neighborhood and George’s level of involvement it’s invalid to simply presume that George was suspicious of Trayvon purely or even mainly because of his race. It makes a lot more sense that George saw – once again, as he had many times – a teenage kid who didn’t live in the neighborhood and – again, as he had many times, often preventing a crime – went to check him out.

    His life snuffed out at the hands of an overzealous, trigger happy white neighborhood watch commander named George Zimmerman

    He may be trigger happy (we’ll see what the investigation shows), but he’s Hispanic. Mom is 100% Latina.

    Law enforcement officials claim they have no evidence to dispute Zimmerman’s claim that he acted in self-defense. Apparently an unarmed, dead Black teen is not evidence enough.

    No, it’s not. Why should it be? Especially since there’s other evidence, such as cuts and bruises and grass stains on George’s back which support his story that Trayvon, a 6’2″ football player, assaulted him. In order to arrest George, the cops have to figure that they have enough evidence to disprove George’s story. Now, maybe the local cops are covering up for George. God knows that kind of thing happens. But that means that the State cops or the FBI or whoever have to step in and themselves come up with the evidence that George is lying before they can make charges stick.

    I’m 6’2″. I could easily mount an unarmed assault on someone else that would leave them with no other option than to use a weapon on me to make me stop. The fact that Trayvon was unarmed is a very good reason to ensure that this tragedy is thoroughly investigated by non-local law enforcement, but it’s not sufficient to presume that Trayvon was shot down in cold blood.

    I mean, whose selves really need defending if it is Black selves—primarily Black male selves—that keep being murdered? It’s high time that we started asking some serious questions about how we keep ending up here. Because there is most assuredly a racial logic—an alarming method – to this madness

    Good point. But given that the vast majority of the killers are also black people you’re not going to save many black people by emphasizing deaths due to racism on the part of their killers. Racial killings need to be exposed. They are a special kind of evil, but Black selves keep being murdered in America because they’re being killed by other Black selves, not by Hispanics or whites.

    I can’t help but wonder if it is this kind of discipline to which Trayvon had been subjected.

    If you actually look it up it turns out that he was found to be in possession of a baggie with traces of marijuana in it in school. Not that holding some weed means that the kid is a hopeless drug addict or a sociopath, but the white kids in my local school would and do get a 10-day suspension for that on their first offense and get expelled on their second offense. And during those 10 days they wouldn’t be visiting relatives, they’d be in an assessment program that they’d have to finish or else they’d be expelled.

    I can’t help but wonder what he must have thought as he was confronted for no reason by a white guy with a gun, while he was simply trying to go home.

    He was confronted by a Hispanic guy. First have a look at his picture, and remember that his mother is Latina. In any other context – voting rights, employment discrimination, allocation of educational dollars, housing – you’d all be calling him Hispanic. You can’t have it both ways. He doesn’t become white just because it’s convenient for this message but not for others.

    This is a damn tragedy. I cannot imagine what this young man’s mother is going through. Dragging Trayvon’s name through the mud is wrong. But presuming that the death of a young black man is automatically due to racism while ignoring the facts is going to hinder finding a solution, not help it.

    • crunktastic March 28, 2012 at 5:43 AM #

      If you had typed this bullshit to me two weeks ago, when the 911 tapes hadn’t been released (after the cops had to be forced to release them), when we couldn’t hear Zimmerman proceed to follow Trayvon after being instructed not to, when we couldn’t hear Zimmerman say “they always get away,” when we couldn’t hear Zimmerman say what sounds like the words “fucking coon,” when we couldn’t hear Trayvon beg for his life, then a gunshot, then silence, then I might grant the sincerity of your intentions.

      At this point, you just sound like a silly apologist for Zimmerman’s ridiculousness, particularly your need to defend why he came to the erroneous conclusions he came to.

      Also this whack argument that you are making about him being Hispanic, as though that undercuts my argument is absurd. Hispanic is an ethnicity, not a race; there are white hispanics. Martin Sheen, Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez for instance. 2nd, Zimmerman has been treated with the protections afforded to white men, not Brown men. As you point out, normally in the context of voting rights, employment, immigration, housing, the police are no friend to Brown people. But clearly you see that he has been afforded every protection usually given to white men–the benefit of the doubt, the trotting out of dubious laws to defend his murderous actions, etc. Furthermore, at the point that his white father wrote that terrible editorial talking about “he has black friends, so he isn’t racist,” um, that is classic white people speak.

      Show me some statistics (that you didn’t get from Fox News) that support the idea that the vast majority of killers are Black people. Let’s just use Wikipedia for this. (I know it’s not a scholarly source, but it seems to draw on verifiable statistics.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_crime_in_the_United_States#Murder

      Now let me point you in particular to this language here:”52.2% of the offenders were Black, 45.8% were White, and 2% were Other Races. Of the victims in those same crimes, 50.9% were White, 46.9% were Black, and 2.1% were Other Races. The report further stated that “most murders are intraracial” with 86% of White murders committed by Whites, and 94% of Black murders committed by Blacks.”

      That’s the sound of a whack-ass theory imploding. The overwhelming majority of white murders are committed by … wait for it…white people!!! And um, while half the offenders may be Black, let us be clear that the nearly 46% of white offenders is not a low number. Not by far. Let us also be clear that Black and Brown people are disproportionately poor in this country, and poverty helps create conditions of violence. Let us also be clear, that these numbers do not reflect proven discrepancies in arrest, prosecution, conviction, or sentencing.

      Between the 1890s and 1937, something like 3500 people were lynched in this country. Mostly Black men. Rarely were their (usually white) killers prosecuted. This idea that white people don’t literally get away with murder everyday is not borne out by the facts.

      But even given the murder statistics, in this case, we know who the victim is and we know who the perpetrator is. We know that Trayvon wasn’t trying to rob the neighborhood (bc who would be robbing a neighborhood that they are already staying in while on a half-time break to the corner store.)

      And let me tell you what: I’m so highly offended by this attempted smear campaign RE: Trayvon’s suspension. Trayvon’s character is not in question. And as a minor, his suspension should’ve been private. But Black kids aren’t worthy of FERPA protections apparently. And in case you hadn’t heard: neither school suspension nor weed possession are capital offenses. And you know what else, Zimmerman isn’t judge, jury, or executioner, and Trayvon wasn’t on trial.

      It is clear that there are things you need to believe about the functions of race in this case, and then there’s the truth. But what I won’t do is spend time trying to convince you that long-standing narratives about Black criminality, about Black males as suspicious, threatening and violent, about Black men always being told they “don’t belong” in nice neighborhoods, didn’t influence Zimmerman’s engagements with Trayvon that night.

      What I will tell you is that the 911 tapes make it pretty damn clear that Trayvon wasn’t the aggressor. Zimmerman had a bone to pick, and he picked it with Trayvon. Trayvon begged for his life and ended up dead. Anyway. They can put Zimmerman under the jail for all I care.

      Tim Wise does a much better job of breaking down what is at stake here, if you care to read more:

      http://www.timwise.org/2012/03/trayvon-martin-white-denial-and-the-unacceptable-burden-of-blackness-in-america/

      • ronwf March 28, 2012 at 8:47 AM #

        particularly your need to defend why he came to the erroneous conclusions he came to.

        This is a prime example of why discussions of racial issues in this country are so difficult. Whenever a situation with possible racial implications (such as this one) comes up, the Left immediately insists that it WAS racially inspired. Then, when someone says “Let’s investigate this and see what happened” the Left immediately moves to shut off debate by claiming that proposing alternatives and asking for an investigation to see what happened and get all the facts out in public is “defending” the person involved.

        But clearly you see that he has been afforded every protection usually given to white men–the benefit of the doubt,

        Then there’s this – again the presumption of racism, in this case on the part of the local police department. It is presumed that only white people get the protection of the law and that minorities (blacks, Hispanics, etc.) do not. First, no one has any idea how the local cops treat people. Second, no one wants to ask – it’s dogma that they’re racist, so let’s not have actual facts interfere.

        the trotting out of dubious laws to defend his murderous actions, etc.

        The law in question may well be dubious, but the law is the only basis under which the police can make arrests. Making arrests of people outside of a basis under the law is one of the chief ways that law enforcement has harassed and punished black people. I should think that doing so is not a practice you’d want to encourage.

        (that you didn’t get from Fox News)

        If I said something based on the presumption that all blacks or all gays or all (some_other_group) shared some common mental or emotional or physical attribute I’d immediately and rightfully be branded as a bigot. But it’s very common to impute that all people not immediately supporting accusations of racism are conservatives and that all conservatives watch Fox News. For the record, I never listen to Fox news. Not that I expect an apology, I”m sure you’ll find some way to rationalize your bigotry.

        Wikipedia? Nope, sorry. I don’t accept Wikipedia as a reliable source for this kind of info. Too many people with an agenda can put up falsified data. Find a primary source.

        By the way, you seem to have missed the point. I didn’t say that the majority of killers in this country are black. I said that the majority of killers of blacks in this country are black – which the statistics you cite support.

        We know that Trayvon wasn’t trying to rob the neighborhood

        True. But George Zimmerman didn’t. And given the apparently large number of robberies and other crimes committed by teenage boys in that neighborhood one can see where a non-racist would wonder why a kid he didn’t recognize was walking around. Now, is that why George approached the kid? We don’t know yet. My whole point here is that when people say “Oh, he chased that kid down and shot him only because he was black” my answer to them is neither “Yes, he did” or “No, he didn’t) but “Maybe. We don’t know that yet.”.

        Black men always being told they “don’t belong” in nice neighborhoods,

        Did you even read what I wrote? This isn’t a case of a black man being told he didn’t belong in a nice neighborhood.

        And let me tell you what: I’m so highly offended by this attempted smear campaign RE: Trayvon’s suspension.

        The comment I was responding to concerned an apparent disproportionate treatment of kids according to their race when school suspensions are given out and whether or not the suspension that Trayvon got was appropriate to his offense. I pointed out that at my local school all the kids there – white and black – get much worse for the same offense, so what Trayvon got wasn’t inappropriate by that standard.

        Absent any history of assault – and there doesn’t seem to be one – I agree that the reason for Trayvon’s suspension has no bearing on this case, and that bringing it up is a smear campaign.

        “But Black kids aren’t worthy of FERPA protections apparently.”

        Neither is anyone else. This kind of information always gets out when a situation has this much attention on it. The media always finds someone to blab.

        And in case you hadn’t heard: neither school suspension nor weed possession are capital offenses.

        Which is why I said “Not that holding some weed means that the kid is a hopeless drug addict or a sociopath,”

      • crunktastic March 28, 2012 at 9:12 AM #

        And yet, you have no answer for Zimmerman’s own racist language as recorded on the 911 tapes, which is why you skipped the first paragraph of my response to advance these asinine arguments. And your citation of statistics about who kills whom have no relevance, because we KNOW who killed whom.

        Your need to understand Zimmerman’s warped thinking is your own project. And I’m wholly uninterested in it. There’s not anything you can say that will make me give a flying fuck about WHY he did what he did. I’m very clear as to why, and you and I can just disagree on the reasons. I think it is about race; my scholarly training and personal experience as a Black woman back up those conclusions. And I’m good with that. If you don’t like it, tough titty.

        Have the conversation with someone that you feel is more “objective.” I make no claims to objectivity, race-neutral analysis, or to not being on the left, and if that’s the kind of convo you wanna have , I invite you to go find that convo on another blog.

        Peace.

      • ronwf March 29, 2012 at 11:01 AM #

        You noted that I didn’t respond to your first paragraph. So now I have. Now I’m interested in why you didn’t respond to MY first paragraph. Why do people assume that George followed this kid solely because of his race? What evidence is there that he has not and would not have followed a white kid?

  32. ronwf March 28, 2012 at 8:11 AM #

    The question was raised above as to how George Zimmerman self-identified his race and/or ethnicity. We have an answer. See http://freebeacon.com/registered-dem-killed-trayvon/ . He self-identifies as a Hispanic and a Democrat.

    • crunktastic March 28, 2012 at 9:01 AM #

      This doesn’t mean he isn’t white! How hard is that to understand?

      • ronwf March 29, 2012 at 10:43 AM #

        As I just stated – you really should read comments before you reply to them – the question was raised above as to how George Zimmerman self-identified his race. A question was asked and I answered it. If you have a problem with the question go talk to the people who raised it, not me.

  33. ronwf March 29, 2012 at 10:42 AM #

    when we couldn’t hear Zimmerman proceed to follow Trayvon after being instructed not to

    a) Zimmerman claims he didn’t, that Trayvon came after him after he started to return to his vehicle
    b) A 911 operator is a civilian dispatcher, not a cop, and has nohttp://www.myfoxorlando.com/dpp/news/trayvon_martin/032812-exclusive-robert-zimmerman-interview authority to tell Zimmerman to do anything

    when we couldn’t hear Zimmerman say “they always get away,”

    So what?

    when we couldn’t hear Zimmerman say what sounds like the words “fucking coon,”

    Numerous people think he’s saying “fucking coon”. Numerous other people think he’s saying “fucking prick”. That tape needs to go to the FBI for analysis.

    when we couldn’t hear Trayvon beg for his life,

    You can tell who that is on the tape? You know what Trayvon’s voice sounds like? No. “we” don’t hear Trayvon beg for his life on that tape. Trayvon’s family says that’s Trayvon on the tape. George’s family says that’s George on the tape here. Both families are too invested in this to believe either of them – I’m not accusing them of lying, just of having their judgement clouded. Once again, let’s get that tape off to someone who can analyze it.

    The difference between you and me is that you’re buying one side’s narrative on what happened, whereas I’m buying neither. I”m not defending George, I’m saying that we need to know what happened before we start making judgements. You might want to ask yourself why you’re so eager to make a judgement before the facts come out.

    • CPC March 30, 2012 at 12:00 PM #

      ronwf, you’re correct in dismissing the extrapolations people make with regard to this issue. Mr. Martin’s death is ANOTHER in a series of unfortunate deaths of young, black men. You would think this happened far more often than it has. It also leaves open the possibility that when a black person is alleged to have killed a white person (or God help us, a white-Hispanic), the right-wing will react the same, in a score-settling fashion. Which leads me to think that Crunktastic’s reaction is NOT left-wing, as you stated earlier, but as reactionary as my fearful hypothetical. If the deaths of young, black men are not investigated as seriously – as I believe Mr. Martin’s death was not, and it’s hard to imagine his race not playing a factor – shouldn’t the shooter’s race be irrelevant. And if black suspects are pursued vigilantly, say, in gang cases or drug cases, then aren’t the inequities of the justice system far more obvious, and easier to address? This posture of “see, we told you they’re all racist!” actually has no solution to it. As i stated earlier, ascribing odious qualities to an entire race is wrong and counterproductive.

      Per your points about the particulars of the case, that is what a trial is for. That the Police made the decision that was made leaves more questions open, and the feeling that justice wasn’t attempted. How can a person being followed – indeed, hunted – who ends up dead by the follower’s hands and gun be deemed to be in an offending position once he’s lying dead on the floor when police arrives? How can the word of Mr. Zimmerman be so money, that all investigations end that night? He should’ve been arrested and tried, and then make the points you make. “Trayvon came at me…I said prick, not coon…911 is a civilian, not an officer” These are all points for a jury to decide, not for the police to take at face value. I’d hate to say it, but few black men are ever THAT fortunate.

      • CPC March 30, 2012 at 12:04 PM #

        per my line “you would think this happened far more often that it has”: I was referring to a white civilian killing a black civilian. Not sure if that would be obvious.

      • crunktastic March 30, 2012 at 8:21 PM #

        Nuance. Such a simple word. Yet so hard for the simple-minded to execute.

        “Which leads me to think that Crunktastic’s reaction is NOT left-wing, as you stated earlier, but as reactionary as my fearful hypothetical…This posture of “see, we told you they’re all racist!” actually has no solution to it. As i stated earlier, ascribing odious qualities to an entire race is wrong and counterproductive.”

        In fact, pointing to the operations of white supremacy as a discourse, a discourse which is not limited to white people solely, is actually a sophisticated analysis of race/racism that does not pivot upon needing to identify any particular white person as the enemy.

        That being said, we know in this case that Zimmerman committed this murder, and that he should be held accountable. The idea that we shouldn’t contextualize what he meant by statements like “they always get away,” and “fucking coons,” because this makes us look reactionary and racist is of course ludicrous. The fact that the two of you reject a social analysis about the ways in which Black men are always encoded as criminal and suspicious and the ways those ideas are rooted in a history of white supremacy suggests that facts present an inconvenience for you. I could give you a book list on the topic, but you’d just call the scholars left-wing reactionaries.

        Further, even though it remains unclear how Zimmerman ethnically identifies, it is fairly clear that he was treated in ways usually afforded to white men. Given the history of unfair and unjust legal treatment towards Brown and Black people, Zimmerman certainly has not been treated like the majority of Brown-identified folks. I stand by my original argument that he was treated by and acted as a white man in this situation. Folks can reject that reading and many have, but they can’t reasonably reject the operations of race. They can’t reject the fact that people of color often hold racist beliefs.

        In any case, what I am is done with this ridiculous discussion from two folks who need to believe that we live in a post-race universe. What I don’t get paid to do is un-confuse life and bullshit. You’ll have to find someone else/some other blog for that.

      • ronwf April 3, 2012 at 2:05 PM #

        It also leaves open the possibility that when a black person is alleged to have killed a white person (or God help us, a white-Hispanic), the right-wing will react the same, in a score-settling fashion.

        Blacks murdering whites already happens far more often than white people killing blacks. It happened in Chicago 2 nights ago and there was no “right-wing score-settling”. Possibility must bow to reality and facts. That’s not happening.

        It is interesting that in juristictions where “hate crimes” exist you usually see a crime by a white person against a black person charged as a hate crime but you almost never see a crime by a black person against a white person so charged. If there is any “score-settling” going on, it’s likely the black-on-white crimes.

        I’m all for an investigation. Whether that leads up to a trial depends on the investigation. The police conduct investigations all the time that do not lead to an arrest or trial. George’s word doesn’t have to be money. Don’t forget that our legal system is predicated on a presumption of innocence. The cops don’t have to believe George – they just have to be in a position where they cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he’s lying. At that point there’s no justification for an arrest or a trial.

        Let’s get the investigation to a State or Federal level and see what it reveals. My issue is not with people suspecting that this incident may have had a racial aspect. My issue is with people presuming that it actually did.

        Crunktastic said:

        The fact that the two of you reject a social analysis about the ways in which Black men are always encoded as criminal and suspicious

        Yup. You’re right. I do. Black men are not always encoded as criminal or suspicious. If they were I rather doubt that one would have been elected President, not to mention the numerous other black men who occupy positions of power in government at all levels. I note that you also reject an analysis, one where George folllowed Trayvon not because he was black but because he was an unknown young man in a neighborhood where unknown young men had committed break-ins, burglaries and other crimes repeatedly in the area and where the police had been called in to the area 402 times over the last year. Just because he was black does not mean that he was followed because he was black. If you have paid attention recently to the news you’ll see that someone at NBC actually edited the 911 call that was broadcast to make it seem as though Geroge said he was suspicious because he was black. The unedited call shows that while he initially said that Trayvon was suspicious – because of the way he was acting! – he never mentioned that Trayvon was black until he was specifically asked by the 911 dispatcher what Trayvon’s race was.

        Just because something bad happens to a black man doesn’t mean that racism was involved. It also doesn’t mean that it wasn’t, and such a suspicion should be a factor in the investigation. But absent actual evidence the presumption of racism is itself evil.

      • crunktastic April 3, 2012 at 3:02 PM #

        We certainly won’t come to a meeting of the minds. So I’m done. I’ll just wait for the Grand Jury to decide whether to bring charges on April 10 and hope they have the courage to charge this guy and let a jury of his peers decide his fate.

        Peace.

  34. ronwf April 6, 2012 at 11:16 AM #

    So, now, what have we seen?

    The 911 call that showed that George said “he’s suspicious. He’s black” – until we find out that NBC edited out the fact that George didn’t volunteer the information about his race and that George’s comment actually ended before he said “He’s black” and further editied out the the 911 dispatcher asking George what Trayvon’s race was that George then answered by saying “He’s black.” Apparently George didn’t think that Trayvon’s race was significant enough to mention until he was directly asked. But NBC thought they knew better than we do what’s important to know and hear.

    The 10 seconds of video that was trumpeted as not showing that George had been injured – until it was enhanced to show that hey, he WAS injured. And we have also seen the rest of the video, where multiple cops walked up to him and closely examined his injuries.

    We have heard the 911 call George placed actually analyzed to take out the noise and find out that he said not “fucking coon” but “it’s fucking cold” – which, for Florida, it was quite unseasonably cold that night, and raining too.

    And Lord knows what other selective editing of videos and calls and misquotes and misrepresentations have occurred. We don’t just need George Zimmerman and the local cops investigated. We should have NBC and CNN investigated as well. People need to be fired, and George needs to sue them.

    You’re right, we don’t live in a post-racial period in the United States. There’s still plenty of racism out there. And this blows up the notion pretty much for good that it’s only white people, or that people like Al Sharpton are against it. It also blows up the notion that NBC and CNN can be depended upon for facts.

    • crunktastic April 6, 2012 at 11:36 AM #

      You know what? We’re done. Any future comments from you will not be posted. Take this bullshit to a pro-Zimmerman site and knock yourself out.

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