The circumstances of the last few weeks necessitate that I CHANGE the column this week! The Absurdity of the verdict rendered in the Zimmerman Murder Trial compels me to say a few words, although the outpouring of words in response to the “Not Guilty” verdict seems to be endless at this point. Indeed the jury of 6 women, all white, with the exception of the token ambiguously colored person chose to lay the guilt of the murder of Trayvon Martin on the victim himself. It was Trayvon Martin, according to this jury, who attacked Zimmerman causing him to “fight for his life” by shooting the UN-ARMED Trayvon Martin through the heart fatally wounding him. WHAT? HUH? Come again? These white women and one ambiguously colored woman agreed to allow Zimmerman to be acquitted based on the right that Zimmerman, now the victim in their eyes, had to defend himself against the dangerously hooded 17 year-old Trayvon Martin. If that is not absolute absurdity, I do not know what is! It sounds like a Lifetime “made for television” movie where the white people are always redeemed in the end or rescued in the end or elevated in the end for their inherent goodness and basic decency. After all, white people have rights that black people just don’t have as this tragic case demonstrates to All of us once again.
Following the so-called logic of this all white jury, the defendant Zimmerman had the right to profile, follow and confront Trayvon with deadly force in the neighborhood where he, Trayvon, was staying with his father but Trayvon was not afforded any rights of his own to self defense. Huh? To be ambiguously colored in America most often means you “identify” as white just to clear up any confusion on that point. And this includes Zimmerman himself. So Zimmerman had the right to be in fear of Trayvon, but Trayvon was afforded no such right to be in fear of Zimmerman? This increases the absurdity when the racial history and racist legacy of the United States of America gives us documented evidence to the contrary. The legacy of violence towards Black Americans is clear, not only in the historic legacy of America but violence continues its devastating consequences in contemporary America too. There is something nauseating and disturbing about the derangement that infects white America’s perceptions of Black people and the whites’ embryonic understanding of culture, history or sociology beyond that which is dominated by Eurocentric perceptions and informed by a model that allows inquiry, study and basic socio-political theory to be guided by and through perspectives that are formed by the lens of the dominant cultural continuum.
America’s system of Justice is rotten at its very core. It does not afford equal access or protections under the law for ALL citizens. If the evidence in the case of Marissa Alexander of Jacksonville, Florida, a Black woman defending herself against an abusive partner by firing shots into the air, where no person was harmed, is convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison and the case of a George Zimmerman, who intentionally stalked, confronted and killed an unarmed teenage Black boy, is justified by a verdict of Not Guilty, does NOT convince you that our system is infected to its core with the disease of Racism, you have too many problems to be addressed here. You are in DENIAL.
Artistic Director and Founder
The Conciliation Project
Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University
Up Next Week: Age Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number