Friday, July 19, 2013

about that trial

So, the Zimmerman trial.

Everyone's talking about the outcome of the trial, and pretty much nobody agrees.  There are a lot of vindictive words being thrown around, and I'd imagine that numerous friendships are at least on really rocky terrain if not falling apart entirely over this contentious topic.

Facebook is a bit of a battleground, at the moment.

I've been kind of avoiding it, but here are some of my thoughts on the topic.

On the day of the acquittal, I learned about it and voiced my preliminary dismay and heartbroken feeling at the inevitable social outcomes of the decision.  That it speaks loud and clear to the value of black lives in this country.  That it sends a message that minorities are right to be afraid, because they can be pretty much killed without repercussions.  That an unarmed kid can be stalked and killed and his killer is acquitted of all charges.

Okay, so that's what I meant.  What I said was something along the lines of `oh my god, Zimmerman was acquitted.'

The first response I heard to that, from another person in the room?


Good.  Good.

The word rang in my head, and I'm sure I made some pretty spectacular faces in those following seconds.

The speaker was quick to backpedal a bit and point out that zie was happy not because of sympathizing with Zimmerman necessarily, but because the trial wouldn't be dominating the airwaves any more, and so there would be other stuff to watch on TV.  That it was over, regardless of the decision, and so it was good because we could all move on with our lives.  I don't remember the exact words, so I'm paraphrasing here.

The thing is, I'm not sure that's any better.

Sympathizing with a killer because you think he was right, because you're doubtful of the truth, even because you're a racist jerkface is one thing.  But dismissing such a culturally relevant issue because you don't want to think about it?  Because you've forgotten how to care?  Because it's just pesky with the world being terrible and people caring and then bothering you about it all the time.  It would be so easy not to think about this, not to have to look at it, not to have it taking up processor cycles in your brain if only everyone would shut up.  It's not about race!  Go away!

Well, guess what.  Not everyone can 'move on with their lives' now, and we do not live in a magical post-racial society.  Parents everywhere are terrified that their kid can be profiled due to simply existing, and maybe killed for existing, and maybe that killer will go totally unpunished, and they're not wrong!  They've had it confirmed in a court of law.  The judicial branch of the government has dealt a serious blow to a huge portion of its citizenry.  Living with discrimination is one thing, but having it shoved in your face in such a brutal, heartbreaking, and visceral way is one step further.  I am ashamed of this verdict, not because of details of the trial and specific judicial proceedings and the specific situation that this specific dude was in or whatever, but because of what it means.  And it means that people of color have yet another very real reason to be afraid of the government that is supposed to protect them.  That as a country, we are failing our people.

And that's why my heart is broken.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, well, like my sister used to say: Consider the source. That idiot who got away with murder is now being picked up for wife abuse. And these crackers down here in Florida still don't get it. Blindness everywhere.

    And a heart does break when a life is lost for no good reason.


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