I apologize in advance for this. If this post offends you, feel free to chalk up what I am about to say to some sort of therapeutic exercise if it makes you feel better. I’m probably going to swear. It doesn’t mean I don’t love Jesus. It just means that sometimes, when a person feels a certain way, some words fit better than others. This might not make anything better, but it will almost certainly make me FEEL better…. And right now that’s enough. Who knows? Maybe one person out there will read this and decide to just shut their mouth and listen, instead of talking and defending and arguing and justifying, and maybe it will all be worth something.
Oh God, have mercy. If I hear one more white person make some horse shit comment about how “the white race” didn’t freak out when O.J. was found not guilty, I am going to fucking LOSE IT!!! Or if one more white face on Facebook talks about how this is “not about race.” I can not take it. I can not listen to it. NO MORE! Or if one more person “points out” that George Zimmerman is Hispanic (that classic Hispanic surname “Zimmerman”), so he wasn’t even really white. I’m going to spit. Or if someone uses the term “white guilt” as a way of explaining away the outrage over this situation that is felt by the caucasian me or the millions of other people who look something like me who are standing in solidarity with people of all colors who are taking this situation like the giant kick to the nuts of our souls that it is. LOUD NOISES!!!!
Right about now, a lot of people are starting to feel like, “Yeah, we get it–This whole thing was very tragic…. Can people stop posting about it now? So we can go back to talking about easy issues like abortion and gay marriage? **nervous laughter** WHEN ARE KATE AND WILLIAM GOING TO HAVE THIS BABY!?!?” No, we SHOULDN’T move on from this. And we shouldn’t stay politely quiet while all around us people keep saying the most ignorant shit imaginable–All while people with skin that DOESN’T make strangers clutch their purses a little tighter vocally lament how “unfair” it is that someone with dark skin might focus their anger on her or her kids “just because she’s white” and how that is “just as bad.” SCREW. OFF. Seriously.
I hereby renounce my whiteness! But you know how awesome it is being white? I can’t even do that. I’m white all the time, and as long as I stay out of “those” parts of town, I’m doing alright. You know, one time I took a short cut between two parked cars in a parking lot, and when I walked in front of a car with someone in it, our eyes met and the person locked her doors. It actually made me laugh. I remember thinking, “What…. Do I look threatening? I do have a pretty big beard right now–Maybe that’s it.” It completely shocked me. Imagine expecting that to happen. Imagine that happening and thinking, “Yeah, that’s about right.”
People are happy (and surprised? Usually “those people” are so prone to violence) that there hasn’t been a bunch of violence and riots and crap since the verdict, but I think it’s actually sad that there isn’t MORE outrage at this injustice. A armed man racially profiles a young black man walking through a neighborhood and (against the wishes of the 911 operator) chases after him, the young black man “stands his ground” with his fists, the armed man shoots him in the chest and kills him, and the system calls this shooting justified–There deserves to be some outrage! Unfortunately, many of the people who most closely identify with Trayvon Martin are probably thinking, “Yeah, that’s about right.” And that is what is truly tragic.
You know what? I am really not upset at the verdict. Sure, it sucks that there were five white women and one Hispanic woman on the jury, but our justice system errs on the side of “Not Guilty,” and I think that is a good thing. If I was on that jury and heard the judge’s directions and all the evidence, I might have come to the exact same conclusion–Not Guilty. What upsets me the most is the reactions of people who look like me to the claim that this situation had anything at all to do with race. All of the indignant ignorance to the very IDEA that this had anything to do with the color of Trayvon Martin’s skin. Well, after some of the garbage you people have written in the past few days, if it wasn’t about race before, it is now.
The best thing about this whole shitty mess is that it is now WAY more clear to clueless people like myself just how far away from some sort of “Post-Racial,” “It-doesn’t-matter-what-we-look-like” society we actually are. And the SCOTUS guts the Voting Rights Act because it’s not needed anymore…. What a crock. One little accusation that the system might still be stacked in favor of white people, and people let loose some of the most insidious, deep-down racist tirades that I have ever seen–All while claiming innocence of any prejudice, and at the same time feeling real anger over the “injustice” of reverse discrimination. “You didn’t see US throwing a fit when O.J. killed his white wife!” they say. “But we’ve got a black President!!!” they yell in unison. So fucking what.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m just going through the stages of grieving, and I’m stuck in Stage 2–Anger. Stage 1–Denial was when I was like, “No-fucking-way….” Although, I did go through Stage 3–Bargaining when I tried to make a deal with God to get people to stop saying things that made me want to cry…. I’m probably in Stage 4–Depression. And I don’t really feel like going to Stage 5–Acceptance. Anyway, here are two really good pieces from the perspective of persons who expect others to be afraid of them (like George Zimmerman was of Trayvon): One by Questlove titled Travon Martin and I Ain’t Shit (it’s fantastic), and another great one by triplee titled Should We Move On? Please shut your mouth and just read them. Try to empathize. Try to understand. Please….