A ranty, funny, dead-serious intersectional feminist blog.

Trayvon Martin, Rachel Jeantel, and the White Gaze

MLK and others marching with Black Lives Matter signs8/23/2015 – In the two years since I wrote this post, racism—especially racism resulting in brutality and/or murder perpetrated by police (and police wannabes like George Zimmerman) or lethal neglect by same—has finally been recognized by many as the crisis it has been for as long as any of us have been alive and so much longer. Social media has been a big part of shining a spotlight on the issue—specifically Black women on Twitter, who have been responsible for creating trending discussions on topics ranging from the school-to-prison pipeline to #BlackLivesMatter, a movement created by three Black women after the Zimmerman verdict.

Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.  It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.

~Alicia Garza, co-creator #BlackLivesMatter

Over the past two years dozens of Black men, women, and children have been murdered by police. And yet, fewer white and non-black people than I’d like have risen to the challenge to see outside their own gaze, their own experience, and attempt to truly gain an understanding of how our privilege blinds us to so much. Too many default to defensiveness, anger, and intolerance when faced with the truth that when they are not actively part of the solution to the problem they benefit from, they are the problem. The problem is white supremacy (not the ideology, but the system) and in the simplest and most general terms, it means the darker your skin, the harder life is going to be for you in the U.S.

I spoke with a white woman friend the other day who reminded me of a time when she and another friend of mine “fit the description” (something that happens to Black people regularly) of a couple who had just pulled off a robbery. She described how terrifying it was to see the cops coming toward her with their hands on their weapons, ready to draw in a heartbeat. And we talked about the tweet I read a year or so ago in which a Black man talked about how surprised he was to learn from his white friends that this was not something they experienced every time they encountered law enforcement. For him, that was just what cops did.

Below is what I had to say two years ago about the Zimmerman verdict. Below that are some words about what it means to be white in a country that treats white as the default and treats Black as less-than. And a challenge to white people sitting on the sidelines to actively work on shifting their perspective and hopefully, become part of the solution. Here’s another one: if you want to be part of the solution, talk to your white friends about this. Here’s one person’s advice on how to do that.


TrayvonandDad

The cost is too great.

8/18/2003 – It’s past time I spoke about this. I’ve said previously that my words seem lost, but I’ve got to find some that describe the dark pit that opened up in me the day the Zimmerman verdict was announced. I’ve got to find words to talk about the fact that racism is my problem. Our problem. It’s not going away until every one of us says that to ourselves—claims it, takes it on as a very real part of ourselves and recognizes it to be a slow-growing cancer eating us alive.

I sometimes feel the need to assert that this blog is opinion first, and journalism second or third or maybe not at all. I do my best to be informed about the topics I’m writing about, but I have accepted the fact that I can’t know everything and sometimes I have to write from my heart. From my gut. I just have to write.

This piece is pure opinion. I don’t watch television. I’ve read about the case, but I can’t claim to know the nuances, and I certainly don’t know Florida law or what limitations the jurors were up against or anything like that. But there are things I know in my heart. In my gut. And I have to say them.

I believe Trayvon Martin was stalked and murdered. I believe George Zimmerman is a murderer. I believe that George Zimmerman’s  murder of Trayvon Martin was racially motivated. And I believe the circus that surrounded the trial—even viewed from afar by someone who doesn’t watch tv and catches up in dribs and drabs via social media and the web—points up in no uncertain terms the fact that the United States of America is in a crisis of racism that threatens to tear us apart.

zimmerman

Justice is broken.

I don’t think Zimmerman woke up on the morning of February 26, 2012 with plans to find and murder Trayvon Martin or anyone else. But I do believe he was “on patrol”—out looking for trouble, and for George Zimmerman, a young black man walking in his neighborhood spelled it out in all caps. I believe that in the 911 clip most of us have heard at least once, George Zimmerman whispered not “fucking punks” as he claims, but “fucking coons.” And I believe that when Zimmerman stopped his truck, got out, and confronted Trayvon Martin, that Martin was probably terrified and very likely defended himself. Who the fuck wouldn’t? And maybe Zimmerman was in fear of his life at that point. Maybe he wasn’t. I know for sure that if he hadn’t had a gun in his hand, that boy would still be alive. I know for certain that if he had listened to the dispatcher who told him not to follow, that Trayvon Martin would never have felt the need to defend himself. I know that if George Zimmerman had not been the AGGRESSOR in this situation, no aggression could possibly have taken place between them. None. Because Trayvon Martin was not trouble in all caps or lowercase. In that moment, Trayvon Martin was a teenage boy on his way from point A to point B to enjoy a can of tea and a bag of candy. And in that moment, George Zimmerman was the boogey man—a guy following him. A guy who stopped his truck and got out and harassed him. A guy who shot him dead.

I’ll say it again in case I wasn’t clear: Despite what that jury found based on whatever broken excuse for a book of laws they’ve got down in Florida, I believe George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin, and I believe that racism led him to the choice do so.

George Zimmerman is a murderer. And a racist.

rachel-jeantel-1

Rachel Jeantel

Now let’s talk about Rachel Jeantel. What more proof do you need that the default setting for media viewing is WHITE than the disgusting reactions to this woman as she took the stand and told her story. Self-styled critics took to Twitter to  ridicule her speech and mannerisms. Some thinking themselves especially clever referred to her as “Precious.”  Memes sprang up calling her “retarded,” and making Fat Albert jokes. When I searched for an image of her, it was difficult to find a shot that wasn’t a still grabbed from video in order to capture a strange expression and then use it to further the “retarded” narrative. And this is not the worst of it.

It’s tempting to write off these tweets and memes as representing a small segment of society that doesn’t really count–to label the people writing and making them as  “just racists” as though the word describes other people—not people we know. Not ones we hang out with. And yet, if you pay attention, you don’t have to walk far to encounter someone who isn’t afraid to show that side of themselves to the people they trust, and from there, a couple of steps will land you face-to-face with someone who hears the things that person says and lets them pass even though they don’t agree. Turn around and you’ll find a child listening, absorbing. Follow that child outdoors and listen as she repeats the racist’s words to her friends.

It’s a virus in our heads, and we aren’t doing enough to fight it. I’m not doing enough. Talking to some teenagers recently about racism and privilege I found myself getting discouraged as their eyes glazed over, my words seeming to pass through them like atoms. But it’s them we need to reach. This fear of the Other is taught. Put a group of children together, and they may notice differences—may even ask questions about them—but the fear comes later. It’s learned. And it can be unlearned.

I remember when, as a child of three or four, a friend of my father’s came to visit. He was the first black person I’d ever seen, and I thought he was beautiful. I loved the way his smile seemed to shine so brightly–and he was always smiling. I asked my mother about some of the differences I noticed, and she answered, giving me no sense that my questions were wrong or made her uncomfortable in any way. But when I asked him why the palms of his hands were lighter than the rest of him, it was as though all the air went out of the room. My parents hissed something at me about being impolite, but the man just laughed. I was a child, and I wasn’t afraid. I just wanted to understand.

Exactly.

Exactly.

As a white person, I believe it is my job to help end racism. People who say we should be colorblind miss the very important point that people are different in all sorts of ways and ignoring those differences honors no one. It erases cultures. It makes everyone white. Colorblindness is not the answer. Understanding and compassion are the answers.

I’m challenging myself to reach out and find ways to end racism in my lifetime. I’m working to increase my understanding and compassion around racism, and through that understanding and compassion, I hope to reach others. I’m talking to people about racism—especially young people. I’m becoming aware of the programming in my own head, noticing the white gaze through which I have learned to see the world and through which so much media and art is presented to us—presented as the norm, just as the male gaze is presented as the norm.

Guess what? They’re not. White isn’t “normal” any more than male is. Normal is a world full of people from all walks of life. Normal is cultures upon cultures, each one more fascinating than the last, and many of them living and thriving within the mostly white one some of us think of as the “norm.”  Normal is pretty much anyone and everyone you meet when you walk outside your little bubble, put your smart phone away, and look around you.

There’s a world of color out there, and it’s time white people woke up and tuned it in. It’s time we actively took control of our gaze and shifted it to include everyone. I’m calling on all of you to challenge yourselves–notice the programming and change it. Help others to change theirs. We have to do it. We’re the only ones who can.


Related:

5 Ways the Prosecution Blew the Zimmerman Case

It’s worth noting that when I checked the WordPress thingy for related articles, one option was something about GZ’s “media lynching.” I seriously have no words. I keep typing and backspacing. Just…ugh.


Respectful discussion is welcome and encouraged. When in doubt, see the Comment Policy.

43 responses

  1. thanks for not pulling your punches – I loved this, it’s what I would have said if I could have managed to articulate how horrifying I found absolutely everything about this. thanks again, I love your blog. also this is worth watching http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSAvgUywGsM

    August 21, 2013 at 9:14 am

    • Hi gram,
      As you present that link without comment, I can’t know what your aim is. However, I will present this, from the Southern Poverty Law Center, on the linked report’s author (with a section on this report):

      http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/profiles/jared-taylor

      August 20, 2013 at 7:33 am

      • Sorry Rosie. I was in a bit a hurry, had to pick up a prescription. I was only showing stats about black on white crime. I just Googled it real fast. I do recall seeing on BJS website and will attempt to supply that link.

        August 20, 2013 at 7:59 am

          • Yes, that looks like a good resource on crime statistics broken down by race, although I don’t see numbers on race-specific crimes. The other report, which did claim to have those numbers, skewed them to fit a narrative according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

            August 20, 2013 at 8:53 am

            • I have seen it broken down by race but am unable to find it. And it is a federal government site, not a private site. I have work to do now , so it will be awhile before I can start to look again.

              August 20, 2013 at 9:15 am

  2. Author Jack Cashill in the following story documents the kind of “racism” that is the real problem today:

    How a Missouri Rodeo Became a Phony Scandal
    By Jack Cashill

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/08/how_a_missouri_rodeo_became_a_phony_scandal.html

    This and the Zimmerman trial and other incidents going back quite a while now document the systematic profiling and attacking of people because they are white and a black didn’t like something they said or did.

    Lynching is alive and well in America. It is just the color of the victims that has changed.

    lwk
    free2beinamerica2.wordpress.com

    August 19, 2013 at 9:11 am

  3. “As a white person, I believe it is my job to help end racism. … I’m challenging myself to reach out and find ways to end racism in my lifetime.”

    You probably can’t. That’s because you are white.

    I watched Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech live on a black and white TV and as a young white boy was inspired by it. A lot of black people today worship the ground that Dr. King walked on but have betrayed almost every principle he lived for, principles like love, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

    Back when I watch Dr. King on TV white racism was a huge problem. Today the biggest problem is black racism. Many blacks hold onto their bitter racism like a treasured family heirloom.

    You’ve perhaps heard or seen a butterfly trying to break out of its cocoon? Perhaps you have been told how that you can’t help it. If you do so then it will be too weak to survive. That’s kind of how it is with black people how you can’t really help them until they break out of their cocoon of racism.

    Well, maybe there is one small thing you can do. Stop making excuses for them.

    lwk
    free2beinamerica2.wordpress.com

    August 19, 2013 at 4:32 am

    • I strongly disagree with your assertion that “black racism” is “the biggest problem.” When black people are the privileged class and white people are systematically oppressed as a group, feel free to come back and talk to me about the poor white people and “black racism” and I *might* keep a straight face. Also, I don’t believe I’m “making excuses” for anyone.

      August 19, 2013 at 4:51 am

      • “When black people are the privileged class and white people are systematically oppressed as a group,…”

        You mean when George Zimmerman is profiled as a “white Hispanic” and systematically oppressed in a show trial meant only to appease black racists and white apologists?

        lwk
        free2beinamerca2.wordpress.com

        August 19, 2013 at 5:17 am

        • You and I are not going to agree on this, and I think you know that, so at this point you are just here to argue and I don’t have the energy to argue for argument’s sake. I’ve got other things to do. However, I am going to clarify a couple of things for anyone else who happens by:

          1. George Zimmerman may be ethnically Hispanic, but that does not prevent him from enjoying privilege.

          2. George Zimmerman cannot be “systematically oppressed as a group.” He is one dude, and I’m not sure how he was oppressed, but whatever. His “show trial” ended with him walking out a free man with a smile on his face. If you think he got a raw deal, I don’t know what to tell you.

          Now, feel free to take your “black racism” flag and go wave it somewhere else. You’ve had your say.

          August 19, 2013 at 5:38 am

          • “George Zimmerman cannot be “systematically oppressed as a group.””

            He was systematically oppressed as an individual after being “profiled” as being white – the media made up a new racial term of “white hispanic” to facilitate profiling Zimmerman as a white.

            “His “show trial” ended with him walking out a free man with a smile on his face.”

            And he will have to be looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life for some black who will want to exact “justice for Trayvon.” He has had his reputation destroyed, and probably has much of whatever his assets were before wasted to defend himself in a politically motivated prosecution clearly without legal merit.

            “George Zimmerman may be ethnically Hispanic, but that does not prevent him from enjoying privilege.”

            That pretty much sounds to me as a classic example of racism. That is, your racism where you think it is ok to classify people based on race – or “close enough” as a “_white_ hispanic” – and presume they have “enjoy[ed] privilege” and that justifies your racism. Your racism is a peculiar kind too, a racism directed against yourself because if your views are correct, then you are equally guilty.

            Of course your views are not correct. But the guilt remains. Guilt – unearned guilt – is a very destructive force.

            lwk
            free2beinamerica2.wordpress.com

            August 19, 2013 at 8:44 am

    • The butterfly metaphor assumes that white people are either leaving the “cocoon” alone or helping people of color to open it. What’s actually happening is that many white people are trying to hold the “cocoon” closed, stapling it shut through a racist war on drugs and other policies that are meant to send young people of color straight from school into the prison system.

      Stop making excuses for them? Next you’ll be talking about bootstraps.

      Also, “white Hispanic” is not a new term. It’s a pretty old one. And pointing out that privilege exists based on race and that there are different levels of privilege based on the how white you are is not racist. Pointing out racism is not racism. Comparing the Zimmerman trial to a lynching? That’s racism. As is calling a person of color “a black.” Damn.

      August 19, 2013 at 9:29 am

      • “[Racism] is calling a person of color “a black.”

        “Comparing the Zimmerman trial to a lynching? That’s racism.”

        Basically any disagreement with you (and people like you) will be called “racism.” That is the way it works. Repeat it over and over again as if words are facts.

        Dr. Miguel Faria described it accurately in an article today:

        Liberal Orthodoxy and the Squelching of Political or Scientific Dissent

        http://www.gopusa.com/commentary/2013/08/19/faria-liberal-orthodoxy-and-the-squelching-of-political-or-scientific-dissent/?subscriber=1

        Here is a quote that perfectly describes the tactic you are using:

        -begin quote-

        In 1943, Lenin’s directive was further elaborated in the Communist Party of the USSR literature and republished in People’s Daily World, the official newspaper of the Communist Party USA. It read: “When certain obstructionists become too irritating, label them, after suitable build-ups, as Fascist or Nazi or anti-Semitic…. In the public mind constantly associate those who oppose us with those whose name already have a bad smell. The association will, after enough repetition, become ‘fact’ in the public mind.”(7) And presto — guilt by association and the opponent is effectively discredited!

        -end quote-

        Quoting Lindsey again:

        “What’s actually happening is that many white people are trying to hold the “cocoon” closed, …”

        That of course would be Democrats who want to keep blacks on their “plantation” so they can harvest their votes. Dr. Thomas Sowell described it as the “soft racism of low expectations” of white liberals. Dr. Walter Williams has written that if flaming KKK racists or Aryan nations types had been put in charge of politics decades ago they could have hardly done a better job than the many white Liberals claiming to want to help black people advance.

        But the idea that there is a large conspiracy of white people with the intent of keeping blacks in their place is nonsense. It was definitely true back when I watched Dr. Martin Luther King deliver his famous speech, but it is not true today. Most of those people are either dead or in rest homes now. The younger generation of whites instead have black athletes, musicians, rap artists, and Hollywood stars as heroes.

        “…a racist war on drugs and other policies that are meant to send young people of color straight from school into the prison system.”

        I think the War on Drugs came from the now obviously false premise that we could stop the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S. It wasn’t intentionally aimed at blacks, although many blacks seem to have become its victim. You would think after Prohibition and Al Capone that politicians could have seen that their initial premise was flawed.

        As a person with strong Libertarian leanings I would support ending the War on Drugs and legalizing the sales of many drugs. The consequences of the War on Drugs is not just blacks killing each other fighting over drug turf. It is the militarization of our police and the destruction of our Constitutional right to be safe in secure in our homes from military invasion by machine gun armed policemen.

        lwk
        free2beinamerica2.wordpress.com

        August 19, 2013 at 10:01 am

        • “Basically any disagreement with you (and people like you) will be called “racism.”” <–See that right there? That tells me you have no respect for me or my readers. I asked you to take it somewhere else, and then I went and had a nap, and here you are back again. Don't you have anything else to do? I sincerely hope you do, because you're done here.

          August 19, 2013 at 10:08 am

        • sonofadiddly

          I’m not disagreeing with you that a black person is black. That’s not a disagreement. What I’m doing is calling out blatantly racist language. Calling a person of color “a black” is dehumanizing. It’s calling them a thing rather than a person, as in “black person” or “person of color.”

          Like, you seriously can’t just call that me disagreeing with you. I’m calling you racist, because you quite clearly don’t think of black people as people.

          Here’s an example: Saying that some white Democrats manipulate black people into voting for them, that’s not racist. It’s probably true. Using the word “plantation” to describe it, invoking a term connected to the brutal centuries-long enslavement of black people (during which they were certainly not allowed to vote) and comparing that to using black people for votes – that’s racist. You’re just using a highly emotional word to manipulate people into aggressive responses and score points in an argument about people you have privilege over. How are you better than these Democrats?

          “But the idea that there is a large conspiracy of white people with the intent of keeping blacks in their place is nonsense. It was definitely true back when I watched Dr. Martin Luther King deliver his famous speech, but it is not true today.”

          Welp, random white dude went on the Internet to say it, so it must be true! The lived experiences of people of color, those don’t matter, because white guy says racism is over!

          August 19, 2013 at 3:42 pm

  4. Pingback: When I Grow Up, I Want to be Pendleton Ward | A Clown On Fire

  5. I grew up in Boise Idaho at a time when there were maybe a handful of black people living there. There were a lot of Asians and Hispanics. There also quite a few Basque in the area. Most people thought a lot of the Hispanics were Basque unless told otherwise. My parents raised us so that I didn’t even realize the differences until I was in Jr. High School. I’ve had various colors of friends laugh when they realize I don’t see the difference until it’s pointed out to me. One of my black ex co-workers still teases me about telling her that calling her own son the “N” word wasn’t nice. When she finally stopped laughing she apologized and told me I was right. I’ve never heard her use it since. lol

    I keep trying to be one of the educators who help move the “human” race forward to color blindness. And I always will be.

    August 18, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    • I sincerely hope we get to a place where “race” as we currently know it is an obsolete term–a place where cultures can thrive and we can celebrate all of our samenesses and differences without fear.Thanks, Rose.

      August 18, 2013 at 5:54 pm

  6. I had a family member comment to me that if you took race out of the issue, the verdict would have been the same.

    That’s clearly her white privilege talking because no, almost certainly the verdict would have been different (at least manslaughter), but the point I stressed to her was that you CAN’T take race out of the issue. The issue came into being because of race.

    Zimmerman followed Martin in the first place because of racial stereotypes. That much is clear. If Zimmerman hadn’t held those stereotypes to be true, none of this would have happened. End of story.

    But I think she wanted so badly to drain race out of the issue because of a subconscious guilt about the fact that she has the same prejudices. And I know her well enough to know she does. It’s so much easier to pretend racism doesn’t exist than to admit we’re racist and that being white gives us power and privilege we don’t deserve. This case is a stark reminder that taking the easy path kills innocent people.

    I also believe that Zimmerman’s current freedom has a lot to do with race. Case in point, Marissa Alexander. She feared for her life, she lives in Florida, she shot a gun to protect herself. The difference? She’s now serving 20 years even though no one was even injured. Oh, and she’s black.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    • That Marissa Alexander verdict is out of control. I read up a bit on it recently and there are conflicting stories about where she fired her gun–apparently there were two kids in the room and the shot was fired at a wall near them and the ex, not at the ceiling as I’d read previously (the bullet apparently ricocheted into the ceiling). So not quite the cut-and-dried case I’d heard it was, but 20 years? Something is terribly out of balance and yes, I absolutely think race was a factor. Alexander’s jury spent only 12 minutes deliberating, and I don’t see how you deliberate in 12 minutes. The whole thing stinks.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:20 pm

  7. a few things. first – and since you stressed the word “opinion” i will do the same – zimmerman definitely “killed” martin, but murder is a matter of intent. he may have murdered him, maybe not, the law says no, but he definitely killed him unnecessarily.

    he was set free not because of race (not saying you have suggested that) but because the prosecution could not prove intent and because the insane florida law that allows one to use deadly force if in fear of their own lives. i can believe that zimmerman was in fear of his own life. i can believe that – according to florida law – he used deadly force with florida (not human) justification. what i can’t believe is why nobody made the case that martin was using the SAME JUSTIFICATION when he allegedly went after zimmerman. however, even if one does make that case, the problem is not zimmerman v. martin. the problem is a law that induces a situation in which you better shoot before you get shot. whoever shoots first will be protected by the law. whoever draws slower will be dead and deemed inconsequential.

    i had been seriously considering moving to florida in the next few years. now i am not so sure.

    as for racism in general, i disagree that, because you are white, it is your obligation to do something about it. your only obligation is to take care of your own business the right way. it is not your job to do any more or any less than that.

    in society, we have things that promote racism, most notably in our schools. in NJ we have a state test that can decide the apparent “success” of an entire school building. if a building “fails,” then it’s possible that millions of dollars must be spent on programs to help specific students. if a school fails, it is possible that sports programs must be cancelled because the law mandates that money to be spent elsewhere. what is also mandatory is the way schools are judged. for example, there are 41 different statistics or what they call “indicators” with which a school is judged. those indicators are entirely about three things – race, gender, and income. in those 41 categories are things like “black low-income females” and “male middle-income asian” and “hispanic learning disabled.”

    for a school to “pass” the assessment, all – not most – all 41 indicators must be satisfied. all results are published. therefore, it is very easy, and also accurate, for someone to read the assessments and declare that “those handicapped mexicans made us lose our baseball team” or “those low-income black made us cancel the school play.” to say that could be both stupid and 100% accurate at the same time.

    until we stop looking at race, we will never stop looking at race. until we look at people and children as just “people and children,” we will constantly have racial separations in front of us. whether society likes it or not, society is making it worse. the media is making it worse. schools are making it worse. it all starts at the beginning.

    August 18, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    • I get that solutions can cause their own problems, but I disagree pretty hard with your assertion we should ignore race. I don’t believe we can ignore race in a racist society without ignoring the voices and experiences of people of color who are talking–if we’d only listen–about what racism is doing to them. The only race that *should* matter is the human race. But as long as white people are the privileged class in the US and people who can’t pass as white face systematic oppression and daily challenges specific to the fact that people identify them by their “race,” then that’s not the case.

      August 18, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      • “The only race that should matter is the human race.” so then let’s stop looking at race constantly. stop publishing race statistics. every time the news tells us the percentage of white/black in prison, it creates more separation. the more we look at race, the more we look at race.

        the only real solution i see is more interracial relationships and marriages. more interracial children. more “whites” who have “non-whites” in their families will cause those whites to have more positive thoughts towards other races.

        August 18, 2013 at 1:44 pm

        • I’d like to see more people coming together as communities and interacting across the invisible lines we draw all over the place. Some of it requires actually crossing those lines and getting out of your comfort zone, I think. And to address your earlier comment, you may not believe it’s your job. I do believe it’s mine.

          August 18, 2013 at 1:47 pm

          • about 20 of my years teaching have been in predominately (98%) black and hispanic towns. it wasn’t my first choice, but i did learn a lot being there. and i have to hope i helped a few minority (hate that word, but i understand it) kids learn to get along with an old white guy. i even earned the nickname “pop pop,” which i know was a big deal. doesn’t make me special, but it shows they accepted me.

            August 18, 2013 at 1:50 pm

            • It shows you reached them, and that’s awesome.

              August 18, 2013 at 1:52 pm

              • i think i did, and i didn’t take that lightly. thanks.

                August 18, 2013 at 1:57 pm

  8. Karen Schlosberg

    Beautifully said. Thank you!

    August 18, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    • Thanks for reading, Karen. I appreciate the kind words.

      August 18, 2013 at 12:40 pm

  9. Well said. I recently went through a lot of the same changes, realizing that I had become a bigot without even realizing it. The scariest part of that discovery was suddenly noticing that the people close to me thought that my prejudices were acceptable, even laudable. No one I know would ever point to me as a racist, even though I very clearly was. And that really fucking disturbs me.

    August 18, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    • Thanks, M. Yeah, it’s the people who know it’s wrong and say nothing who really need to step up.

      August 18, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      • Definitely. I also worry about the people who *don’t* know it’s wrong–who have been so brainwashed by subtle cultural norms that they don’t even realize what they’re saying or doing is harmful.

        August 18, 2013 at 7:17 pm

  10. Actually I believe it’s PATHOLOGY disguised as racism, as it’s a funny animal that pathology it can be, say and DO so many things…

    August 18, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    • Do you mean Zimmerman?

      August 18, 2013 at 12:23 pm

      • I mean racism spewing from anyone…it has more to do with the propagating of disorder…we’re not born racists…we’re taught racism, ignorance and bias…watch young children – they don’t know color they know they see another kindred spirit…it’s pathological disorder that breeds the contempt of racism…http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7392083

        August 18, 2013 at 12:56 pm

        • Seems to me (based on that abstract) that racism can be pathological or can stem from other factors such as “the stress-induced racist, and the socially misinformed racist.” It’s like racism can be a symptom of a lot of diseases–some societal, some individual. I dunno. Interesting to ponder, anyway.

          August 18, 2013 at 1:10 pm

  11. NotAPunkRocker

    Thank you for putting into words what I haven’t been able to say (or say nicely, actually). As upset as I was about how the verdict turned out (IMO), the worst part was being told that as a white female I shouldn’t “worry” about this since the main parties were NOT white.

    I expect my child to be active in social causes, which means I need to be a role model, even if he changes his view on where he stands as he gets older. Just because he is a male doesn’t mean he can’t stand up for women’s rights; just because we are non-believers doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stand for religious acceptance for everyone, etc. How is this any different?

    August 18, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    • Wow. Having just written an article about how racism is alive and well, I’m still surprised to hear that someone said that to you. Wow again.

      I wish I’d been more of an activist when my daughter was young. Thankfully, she was born with a passion for doing good. I’m so glad your son will learn from you the importance of taking a stand.

      August 18, 2013 at 12:22 pm

  12. I’m an old hippy. It’s good to see younger people taking on the challenge to change people’s minds and hearts regarding racism. Keep up the good work.

    August 18, 2013 at 11:54 am

    • LOL, Thanks, Gretchen! I’m no spring chicken myself. Doing my best. :)

      August 18, 2013 at 11:56 am

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