I wanted to take a few days to let the decision rest on my mind and my soul before writing. I wanted to see the responses and let the emotion run through me, to let go of the festering anger and find my way back to rationality and the critical thinking mind. I wanted to be sure of my perspective before writing.
I wanted to take stock of the opinions, the hate hurled at the Reverends, the anger at the media about highlighting this case. I wanted to look closely at what was clearly a flawed crooked comparison between efforts put into the coverage of this case and the murders in Chicago. I wanted to listen closely to the people who place blame on black people, who talk about what’s wrong with black people, who put the fault of this tragedy squarely on the back of Trayvon Martin. I wanted to move away from my dumbfounded reactions to some of these postings … back to a calm critical state of mind.
Now, I am sure.
They found him guilty of walking. They found him guilty of being tall. They found him guilty of being menacing. They found him guilty of minding his own business. They found him guilty of wearing a hoody. They found him guilty of not running home when some creepy cracker was following him. They found him guilty of being a child that miscalculated a situation, as children and adults often do. They found him guilty of fitting the profile. They found him guilty of facing his stalker. They found him guilty of hitting his stalker. They found him guilty of reacting in a human fashion. They found him guilty of being at the wrong place. They found him guilty of standing at the wrong time. They found him guilty of being the product of a nation. They found him guilty of dying and causing a problem. They found him guilty of being black.
Many of you will not agree with my assertion … that does not change the fact that it is true. I did not arrive at these conclusions through emotional response. They are damning, but they are made from sincere observation and consideration.
If there is one good thing the verdict of innocence in the George Zimmerman trial has done for our nation it is this, we are again pushing the boundaries in an effort to excise more of the rot at the root of our nation. The United States of America, best experiment in governance in all of human history and without question the greatest nation on planet Earth, was founded on a rotten foundation, a peculiar institution that was so vile and breaking that it drove our nation to civil war, and continues generating disparity and animosity to this day.
My prayers are deep from my soul for the Martin family, for the soul of a child sent home far too soon, and the soul of a nation that over time has grown better, grown stronger with each test of adversity. I say this with all humility and honesty, the death of Trayvon Martin, this needless and horrifying death, most certainly serves a purpose and provides us with a lesson, if we but have the courage to listen and heed.
What is the lesson you ask?
It is the elevation of critical thinking within our social consciousness to truly recognize that racism is real, that the institution of devaluing black people is strong, and runs very deep, so deep that many people cannot even perceive it within themselves. Trayvon Martin’s life and death speak loudly to the current state of relations between ethnicities, intertwined with our stark and extreme political ideologies.
The lesson is there before us, and it speaks loudly of the sociological function and our fraying national dialogue, as people take sides closely in alignment with political affiliations. Many of the people who support George Zimmerman can’t even see their own racism. They rabidly defend their perspective, in every word and action devaluing the life and death of a 17 year old child.
The verdict of guilty in the Trayvon Martin case (innocence for George Zimmerman) is the continued guilt of America, a perspective that will make almost every conservative absolutely apoplectic. But the truth hurts.
The truth lies in the science. The truth is there for all to see, and we pay witness to it time and time again. The truth is in racial profiling. The truth is in what we call white privilege. The truth is in the ABC experiment on race where the white kid is stealing a bike and no one bothers to report him, the white girl is stealing a bike and one guy actually offers to help her, the black kid who is dressed just like the white kid is stealing the bike and a crowd surrounds him taking pictures, dialing 911, accosting him, and taking his bag of tools. The truth is in the sociological experiment where a 5 year old chooses a doll of preference, and even the black child chooses the white doll. When asked why, she says the black doll is bad. How does she know? It just is.
The lesson of Trayvon Martin is like a spotlight of truth on America. Racism has always been here, it festers here, it doesn’t need to parade around in a hood. And no, it is not as it once was, but it is not gone. To believe it is would be a grave mistake. The science shows us it is still here. Racism is the sociological function that is pervasive and deep, and allows juror B37, when asked by Anderson Cooper did she feel anything for Trayvon Martin to answer, “I feel sorry for them both.”
This is the break, the broken, the disparity of racism layered deep within the culture of America. Juror B37, who was pursuing a book deal, the height of shallowness in our modern Reality TV culture, is racist in a manner that we are still challenged to understand. She answered, “I feel sorry for them both.” Really? One of them is dead. She didn’t miss this fact surely. How can she elevate feeling sorry for them both to the same level, especially when one of them was just walking home before being killed for … perhaps standing his ground? How? She said Zimmerman’s heart was in the right place. She said actually said this. How can you say such a thing when his actions resulted in the death of an innocent child? How? Did she see Trayvon as an innocent?
This is the function in the ABC experiment. This is the function when even a black child chooses the white doll. This is the function that has white people asking whenever a black person is involved in any kind of altercation, “Well, what did he do wrong?”
Juror B37 walked into this case with a perception of Trayvon Martin based solely on the color of his skin. She stated that the first vote was 3 not guilty, 1 for 2nd degree murder, and 2 for manslaughter. Over the following hours six women who were not Trayvon’s or George’s peers to be exact, judged this case through the lenses of the American Justice System, American cultural norms, and the sociological function of racism that on some level rests within us all. They eventually arrived at a verdict that, though eminently legal and indicative of American Justice, was a direct violation of true justice.
The American Justice System provides equal justice under the law, with the basis that you are assumed innocent and must be proven guilty. How does this work when you are assumed guilty and must prove your innocence? Based on the sociological function every black person that enters the American Justice System risks facing this perversion of true justice.
Trayvon was guilty the moment George Zimmerman saw him, and with a loaded gun, decided to take enforcing the law into his own hands. No matter the possibilities, Trayvon was doomed.
Now George Zimmerman has his gun back, the same weapon he used to kill a child. He was never remorseful. All the talk of how he loves black people is incredibly disgusting to white, black, and brown alike. How soon we forget the love between master and slave, and though Zimmerman would still have worked in the fields or at best the master’s house, he still would have been one to curry favor and identify against his own, against the minority. He called Trayvon a coon, a punk, even after he had killed this boy and found out it he was simply going home; shocking, painful, but not surprising. It just is. These are the facts.
The rot in our culture allows a black woman to fire a gun into a ceiling and get twenty years in prison. The rot in our culture allows a 71 year old black man who shot and killed a person who was choking the life out of him to go to prison. The rot in our culture sentences a black football player to two years in jail for dog fighting. The rot in our culture allows a brown man to shamelessly kill a young black man of 17 years, to become the standard bearer of white culture, gaining money and favor. This same rot gives this brown man the temerity to show absolutely no remorse, and go on Hannity’s mentally vacuous television show … and ask for an apology.
I stated in my previous post the social science of this case powerfully informs the opinions of the people who are engaged deeply in this debate, be you layman, couch commentator, or television personality. The truth of this case is clear, and as Mark Geragos said, the racism of our system is at work in our courts every day, and we must shine a light on its underbelly. He is, without question, correct. We must see the rot, with the light the Trayvon Martin has provided, clear it out and once again evolve our culture to the next level, leaning deeply into discomfort, communicating with each other with passion and honesty, in order to right what has gone so wrong, and better ready ourselves for the next challenge.
Consider it critically.
The Aspiring Critical Thinker,