How to Seem Racist: A Guide

Racist Zimmerman SupportersIt feels like this needs to be said: Pro-Zimmerman folks, when you celebrate the now decidedly legal shooting death of an unarmed adolescent, it’s ghoulish—and it makes you seem racist.

Here’s why: Trayvon Martin was a kid. He didn’t have a criminal record—his killer did. Martin had a legitimate reason for being in that neighborhood that night and he had the right to defend himself when, after he ran away to avoid confrontation, Zimmerman admittedly chased him down. When you reflexively call a young black kid a “thug” you seem racist. There’s no other reasonable explanation for gloating about an unnecessary killing.

If you see Trayvon Martin’s life as having equal value to any other person who chooses to walk down the street, there’s no need to dislike him. He was a hapless victim.

And saying, “this is not a race issue”—doesn’t make it not a race issue. Just as being offended by being called racist doesn’t make you less racist.

That’s not color blindness; that’s tone deafness.

The numbers tell us African Americans endure inequities, both legal and circumstantial. They are disproportionately targeted, disproportionately incarcerated, and disproportionately poor. Saying “nu-huh” doesn’t make that untrue.

Also saying, “But Obama is president!” makes you seem racist. There have been 43 white presidents, out of 44. Really, don’t bring up Obama—whom you irrationally hate—as proof racism is over. Just don’t.

Zimmerman defense attorney Mark O’Mara, in the wake of the not guilty verdict, said: “If George Zimmerman were black he’d never have been charged with a crime.”  Former RNC chairman Michael Steele (fired by Republicans on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, by the way, months after winning the House for his party) replied on Twitter: “Is he high?”

Because with few exceptions, black people who kill white people (or black people for that matter) will not be found to be justified in our legal system. Ever. This is according to data compiled by the FBI in their Supplemental Homicide Report. Sarah Childress at Frontline writes, “Whites who kill blacks in Stand Your Ground states are far more likely to be found justified in their killings. In non-Stand Your Ground states, whites are 250 percent more likely to be found justified in killing a black person than a white person who kills another white person; in Stand Your Ground states, that number jumps to 354 percent.” For black shooters? There’s a negative 60 percent chance their actions will be found justified in court.

The most widely cited example of this is the case of Marissa Alexander.  In 2010, she fired a warning shot to ward off her husband, against whom she had an order of protection. She tried to use Florida’s Stand Your Ground law in court. The judge rejected her bid and sentenced her to 20 years in jail.

She didn’t kill anyone. She’s the mother of three. But she’s African American.

White people who feel they are the real victims of racial prejudice—their evidence consisting of them saying so out loud and on camera—seem racist. To proclaim you’re the one who really suffers seems unempathetic to people who have been systematically oppressed by the law.

That’s why you sound racist, O’Mara.

“I’m sure there were some fabrications, enhancements, but I think pretty much it happened the way George said it happened,” Juror B37 told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in her first interview. If self-serving lies don’t make you dismiss the credibility of someone who’s gunned down an unarmed black kid—you seem racist. You seem to sympathize a little too strongly with the killer who arguably would not have gotten out of his car in the first place had it not been for his loaded gun.

tina dupuyIf you feel like Martin is responsible for his own death because he wasn’t docile and apologetic; that simply running away from a guy stalking him wasn’t good enough; or, that he should have known better than to wear those clothes in that neighborhood on that night, you seem racist.

And if your opinion would be different if he had blond hair and blue eyes…

Tina Dupuy
Taking Eternal Vigilance Too Far

Thursday, 17 July 2013

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Comments

  1. babysoft says

    Exceptionally well written – love the quote of denying you are racist doesn’t make it so.

    I’d agree with some of R Zwarich’s counter except for . . .those are not all the facts. Upon leaving the police station after the initial arrest, police photos show Zimmerman with only minor scratches and injuries. The photos of a bloodied Zimmerman with a broken nose only show up after he has visited his brother and his father (a Superior Court Magistrate well versed in the court system who then does the talk show circuit and within days claims Trayvon muttered tonight you die MFr or something of that nature in the altercation – and within days it was ‘truth’ . . . the defense did exactly what it was supposed to – change the story of what was close to a choir boy teenager with a few minimal digressions into a street thug scenario. His father would know who to hire. He saved his son’s life. It is still a case of injustice, and race was a big part of it . . . .and no one is overreacting here.

    We need to have many conversations about walking while of color in this country, how we treat each other, oppression, and thank you for having the courage to have it Ms. Dupuy (and President Obama in your impromptu press conference Friday). And denying this was largely about race (if Trayvon had been walking while White it wouldn’t have happened) it would never have happened or (Trayvon wouldn’t have been charged with murder if he had stood his ground when feeling threatened by Zimmerman and shot him) doesn’t make it so, R Zwarich. We are not overwrought, maybe more exposed to the real pain of those we care about.

    • R Zwarich says

      Thank you for these thoughtful comments, babysoft. I’m not sure what photos you are referring to that show only “minor scratches and injuries”. Could you cite a source where these could be viewed? Apparently you think that Zimmerman might have had an accomplice inflict his injuries to support his story? Seems very unlikely, but possible. I’d sure like to see the pictures you are offering here as evidence. If there is a clear discrepancy between these pictures as you claim, seems like that would have been a major factor in the trial, and I just don’t recall that it was.

      Your assertion that “if Trayvon had been walking while white it wouldn’t have happened” seems very unlikely to me. Zimmerman, (who struck me from the first as an earnest but rather creepy cop wannabe), was on alert for anyone who looked suspicious, and I think it is very likely that many types of white people would have been profiled by him just as Martin was. It sure seems likely that a white youth wearing a hoodie, with maybe some tattoos, piercings, etc, (for example), would almost certainly have drawn this self appointed neighborhood guardian’s attention. Any person, of any race, whose ‘profile’ did not fit the neighborhood, would likely, imo, have found themselves being watched, followed, etc, by this wannabe cop. How do you support your far reaching assumption that no white person would have found himself ‘profiled’?

      Anyway….Thanks for the comments, and if you can refer us to the photos you mention the points you make would habve a lot more weight.

      RZ

      • babysoft says

        ET: Smith took photos of Zimmerman at the police station. Prosecutor Guy walks through those photos with her. (Superficial, insignificant injuries)

        • R Zwarich says

          Thanks for these efforts, babysoft. I did google to search for the pictures you reference, but came up empty. The pictures I referenced can be viewed on Wikipedia by searching ‘Shooting of Trayvon Martin’. One, showing his smashed and bleeding face, was actually (according to the caption), taken at the scene of the shooting, with Zimmerman sitting in the back of a police car. The other, (showing the injuries to the back of his head), was taken at the police station. These pictures were not taken later, as you reported.

          Best to you,
          RZ

      • babysoft says

        I attempted to post the link to the photos and my comment is held for editing, and the photos I’ve tried to post do not post. Not sure what else to do. It’s a slide show from cbs news if you google it.

    • R Zwarich says

      Thank you for these thoughtful comments, babysoft. I’m not sure what photos you are referring to that show only “minor scratches and injuries”. Could you cite a source where these could be viewed? Apparently you think that Zimmerman might have had an accomplice inflict his injuries to support his story? Seems very unlikely, but possible. I’d sure like to see the pictures you are offering here as evidence. If there is a clear discrepancy between these pictures as you claim, seems like that would have been a major factor in the trial, and I just don’t recall that it was.

      Your assertion that “if Trayvon had been walking while white it wouldn’t have happened” seems very unlikely to me. Zimmerman, (who struck me from the first as an earnest but rather creepy cop wannabe), was on alert for anyone who looked suspicious, and I think it is very likely that many types of white people would have been profiled by him just as Martin was. It sure seems likely that a white youth wearing a hoodie, with maybe some tattoos, piercings, etc, (for example), would almost certainly have drawn this self appointed neighborhood guardian’s attention. Any person, of any race, whose ‘profile’ did not fit the neighborhood, would likely, imo, have found themselves being watched, followed, etc, by this wannabe cop. How do you support your far reaching assumption that no white person would have found himself ‘profiled’?

      Anyway….Thanks for the comments, and if you can refer us to the photos you mention the points you make would habve a lot more weight.

      RZ

  2. R Zwarich says

    I hope that Ms. Dupuy, and other fellow progressives, will try to realize that despite their passionate feelings of outrage, the larger society is not polarized into pro-Zimmerman right wingers rejoicing in his acquittal, (as Ms. Dupuy cites), and outraged pro-Martin forces shaking their fists and shouting “racism” at the top of their lungs. Many of us are pro-Truth, and realize that in this tragic case the truth is simply not known.

    I wish that Ms. Dupuy, and others who are feeling such outrage, would stop and think about that. As the saying goes, we all have a right to our own opinions, but we don’t have a right to our own facts.

    The big problem with the Trayvon Martin tragedy, (and so many progressives’ overwrought reaction to it), is that the most crucial facts of this case are simply NOT known. Yet many progressives are basing our reactions on our own assumptions which serve our biases.

    Ms. Dupuy, for example, avers that Zimmerman himself has said that he “chased down” young Martin. Within the common meaning of ‘chasing someone down’, this is simply NOT true. What Zimmerman says he did, and what the evidence seems to support, is that Zimmerman did get out of his vehicle to ‘follow’ Martin. Following someone, and ‘chasing someone down’ are far different things.

    According to the only account we have of what happened, (which is Mr. Zimmerman’s), Zimmerman got out of his vehicle to follow what he considered a suspicious character. He lost sight of Martin, however, until Martin rushed up on him from behind and attacked him. The evidence shows that Martin knew he was being followed, and took evasive action. The person to whom Martin was speaking on his cell phone during this period, has said that she believes that it was Martin (her friend) who indeed attacked Zimmerman. She cites the tone of voice he used when he said to her, “I’ve got to go take care of some business here”. It sounded to her, she said, like what a black man would say before he went and started something.

    So……According to Zimmerman’s account, he did not “chase down” Martin. Martin had apparently ducked out of sight and doubled back to come up from behind on the person who was following him, and immediately launched an attack.

    Many may believe that Zimmerman lied, and that his account is fabricated. Indeed, it may very well BE fabricated. But there is simply NO evidence indicating that his account is not true. Therefore, we simply do not know.

    I wish we would all be clear headed enough to repeat that to ourselves. We simply do not know for sure what happened. If we could make that simple realization, we might also realize that our overwrought outrage is entirely rooted in our own highly biased assumptions.

    The pictures taken of Zimmerman by the police, shortly after the shooting, certainly do not prove Zimmerman’s account, but they are most certainly consistent with it. Zimmerman’s smashed and bloody nose and face, and the bleeding wounds on the back of his head, clearly show that he was getting the worst end of whatever transpired before Martin was shot.

    So I would ask Ms. Dupuy, what if Zimmerman’s account is true? So we have this kinda creepy cop wannabe, a self appointed neighborhood guardian, on ‘high alert’ after a spate of recent burglaries in the neighborhood, whose suspicions are aroused by a big strong strapping youth who Zimmerman ‘profiles’ as a suspicious character. After following Martin in his car, Zimmerman loses sight of him. So, full of the courage provided by the gun he has concealed on him, he gets out of his vehicle to try to see where Martin went. He can’t locate him, until he is turning to go back to his vehicle, whereupon this big strong kid suddenly ambushes this soft and portly man from behind. Because he is likely far stronger than Zimmerman, he quickly gains the advantage, and pins Zimmerman on the ground, and proceeds to beat him viciously, until Zimmerman fears for his life, draws his gun, and shoots his attacker.

    Let’s please repeat one more time: We do not know if this account is true or not. It may be a complete fabrication. But we must face the fact that it very well may be true.

    We do know that this account is consistent with all the facts we do have. Am I wrong? What facts do we have that contradict this version of events? In the absence of any evidence to contradict this account, the jury found Zimmerman innocent because there was no evidence that he had not ultimately acted in self defense while he was being brutally beaten, and there was clear evidence that he was being beaten. (The pictures of Zimmerman’s injuries have been published). Two jurors have said that by their own natural emotional biases, they initially thought Zimmerman was guilty of manslaughter. It was only after they carefully re-examined all the evidence that had been presented that they reluctantly realized that there was NO evidence proving that Zimmerman was guilty, and that NO evidence contradicted Zimmerman’s claim that he acted in self-defense.

    So…I ask Ms. Dupuy to consider how it affects her premises (of racism, etc) if Zimmerman’s account is indeed true. In the absence of any evidence contradicting his account, why should we assume it is not true? If it is true, then are we not forced to agree that in spite of how we may feel about ‘profiling’, Zimmerman was legally armed, and was doing nothing against the law, or even ‘wrong’, when he was attacked by Martin, and he was being brutally beaten by this strong young kid when he drew his legally concealed weapon and shot his attacker?

    Anyway……I hope that at the very least Ms. Dupuy will face up to her own obvious bias in her claim that Zimmerman himself says he “chased [Martin] down”. Surely all reasonable people can see that there is a big difference between merely following someone, and “chasing them down”. Ms. Dupuy is distorting what Zimmerman said to serve her own bias. She is contorting the facts, and in doing so, she is injuring the truth.

    The death of Trayvon Martin is as tragic as any needless death always is. But for those progressives who realize that serving the truth is the greatest asset that progressives have, it is painful to watch our fellow progressives abandon the truth so easily to serve their own biases.

    R Zwarich
    rzwarich@gmail.com

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