I have to admit, I was a bit surprised. I followed the trial on CNN, and while the prosecution didn't do the greatest job, I thought that he might be convicted of Manslaughter. Well I was wrong.
I was up really early today to catch as much commentary as possible. One of the attorneys for the Martin family said that while the prosecution did not make its case, that people would have to be 'intellectually dishonest' if they thought that race wasn't a factor in the case. We, the public, especially people of color, KNEW that race was integral to why this young man died.
Over the past couple of weeks I've been thinking about children. I babysit a 5 year-old black girl who is (while a handful) such a spirited, delightful little pumpkin. She is so full of confidence and is very loved by her adoptive mother, who is white. Like mine. A little girl that most likely will have to navigate black life in North America on her own.
She is a lot happier and more self-assured than I was at her age. Let's hope it stays that way.
She is not my child, but the thought that anyone could refer to her as a nigger or treat her like one, enrages me.
I also have 3 nephews. The eldest one is biracial and has some developmental issues. I feared for his safety way before this trial, because not only can he be coded as black and living in a predominately white community, but because he lacks the intellectual capabilities to fend for himself. The other two are young, white, blond-haired and blue-eyed.
Guess I don't have to worry about them.
..my thoughts are with my black friends raising little black boys and girls, who will need explanation, who will need a hug tonight, who will need to be raised in love and strength to carry them through this country that tells them everyday that their lives are less valuable than some others. - Scott Poulson-Bryant (Via Facebook)
I thought that someday I might have children, after this verdict I'm going to have to reconsider. I want my child's life to be perceived as just as important as everyone else's. Not that I thought it would previous to this but after this verdict, I don't think it will ever be. I never felt, and still struggle with the thought that my life, as a 40+ year-old woman, is regarded as equal to a non-black woman.
What this jury has done is establish a precedent that when you are young and fit a certain profile, you can be committing no crime ... and be killed and someone can claim self-defense ... we had to march to even get a trial and even at trial, when he's exposed over and over again as a liar, he is acquitted. - Al Sharpton on Trayvon Martin verdict
While Rachel Jentel, Trayvon Martin's friend was not on trial, essentally she was. I think that while young black men are targeted more often, black girls can also face the same amount of racial profiling.
A couple of weeks ago I was in a car with my friend when it broke down, and we had to pull over onto a residential street to figure out why there was black smoke billowing out over the gas tank. I was taking my cat to my brother's house, so we got out, put the cat carrier on the grass and called for a tow truck. We had pulled onto a residential street in a predominately white and jewish neighbourhood. It was about 12:30 pm.
As we stood on the corner near all of the stuff we pulled out of the car, this white woman carrying a baby comes out of her house and slowly walks towards us. She saw the cat carrier and asked us why we were there. She seemed nice, so we explained what happened. I even lifted the cat carrier so her son could see Huey. She slowly went back to her property and hovered outside. When my brother pulled up to take Huey, she stood on her driveway with her older son (about 4-5) and watched as I put Huey in the car.
I stayed with my friend to wait for the tow truck. In the interim, another woman came around the corner with 3-4 kids. The woman with the baby walked by us to meet the woman, and they were talking - we couldn't hear what we were saying, but the now-gaggle of people walked over and stood across the street from us, just starting at us. My friend and I looked at each other, like WTF? Then a man came down and I assume he was related to the second woman because he stopped and they excitedly told him something. He stopped, looked at us and observed for a minute until the tow truck came up. He ( rightfully so) seemed to understand - we were waiting for a motherfucking tow truck - and walked away. The others? They stayed.
The most infuriating thing was when the tow truck driver got of out the car and the second woman walked over and asked him what was happening, despite standing across the fucking street staring at us for about 10 minutes. You see, not only we were considered suspicious, apparently we didn't even have the value needed to be spoken to directly.
The second infuriating thing was that this incident happened just 15 minutes from where I live. I felt that we were not only suspect within this area, but that I didn't belong - or didn't have the right to LIVE in that area. The kids looked at us like they had never seen black people before.
Forget that I am a published author and both my friend and I are university educated and by no means appear threatening in any way, but it was obvious that we should have not been in that neighbourhood. When the tow guy was done, got out of there as quickly as we could, and decided to walk home. We were LIVID.
This was not the first time my skin colour was coded as being suspicious. When I was much younger, maybe 19 or so, another friend of mine and I were walking down the street - in broad daylight - when we were pulled over my a police car. To make a long story short, the cop asked for our ID's and accused us as being prostitutes.
We were humiliated. I think we walked for a long time in silence.
There have been numerous experiences between those two stories.
There will be people who will be happy that Zimmerman 'got off.' In relation to the legal evidence and the not-so-great prosecution case, I can see that.
What I will have a hard time with is people who feel that systemic and insitutional racism, and the internalized racism that automatically codes brown skin with criminal behaviour has no bearing on this case at all.
What I will have a problem with is non-black people who feel that their opinions on racism have more value than those who have experienced it firsthand. That their so-called 'rational' and 'measured' responses have more merit than those who legitimately express their rage and frustration.
I will also have an issue with anyone who says that the American legal justice system is colorblind.
This decision, while it could be considered as legally just, is morally unfair.