Okay, it's Thursday and people I know want my opinion on the Trayvon Martin case. On the case itself I have small opinion. Clearly an underfunded and under-motivated prosecutor put on a pro-forma case against a slick and talented (well paid) defense. A prosecution that couldn't even get a man or a person of color on the jury. A bunch of white housewives from Central Florida.....really, and someone was surprised by the verdict?
That being said, there were some things that I found interesting in America's continuing quest to alleviate past racial wrongs and that each convulsion brings about new and interesting surprises. In each case it involves an African-American male pitted against police, society or in Trayvon's case: armed neighborhood watch volunteer. From McDuffy, to Rodney King to OJ Simpson each decade returns us to that excruciating self examination of self and society asking ourselves "am I a racist.?"
|Choo shoe? Let's do lunch.|
Well, of course we are silly. Each one of us, big old racists, and elitists and classists and bigots. Who doesn't judge people at first glance? I personally use shoes as a measure of a man or woman, but that is just my shorthand for character. Everyone uses different metrics. I mean at least Paula Deen "came out" about her racism and it didn't do her a damn bit of good. Don't even get me started about fat people.
So in this latest round of high stakes judicial proceedings this is what I found:
Firstly, the African American community flexed some serious political muscle. I mean seriously, they did. Community pressure forced the City of Sanford to fire the Police Chief. Now, you might think this is no big deal, but in fact it is. An important official was relieved of duty in short order. That is no small thing. Secondly, they pressured the city to reopen the case and the State to prosecute. The prosecution might have been lame, but still it was a step.
|Bernadine: The worst thing is that he made me move out here where my children are in school with only one other black kid so they won't be improperly influenced.|
Secondly, not since the movie "Waiting to Exhale" and the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings have middle-class blacks been in the spotlight. This happened in a middle class community, with middle class people. People with connections inside New York Times to shame the local community. Educated people who live in gated communities called Twin Lakes. I mean not even Desperate Housewives was in a gated community.
Perhaps most interesting is the liberal use of the "N" word(Rush Limbaugh) by white people. Just a general "let your hair down" and admit personal racism by calling it "common sense" according Kathleen Parker and "black kids in the ghetto don't equate the future beyond next week, unlike white kids." according to Mike Barnacle. Then a general attack on any black person of consequence on TV such as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Soledad O'Brian as "racists" because they side with blacks. Maybe because they are black? Just sayin'.
Finally, no riots. Sigh, I had already picked out a great store to loot some John Varvatos chukkas from. No really, hurray, no riots. Riots are the sign of hopelessness, desperation. Clearly when teenagers wearing hoodies are killed in gated communities hopelessness and desperation are a difficult argument to make. (What teen, what adult male, doesn't own a hoodie? I'm gay and I own two.)
So two steps forward, one step back African Americans and all of us Americans. These painful events by two individuals reflect on all of us. I can't say justice was done, but I'd like to think hopefully that someday it will.