July 23, 2013

Racist responses to Zimmerman verdict

Top 20 hypocritical statements about the George Zimmerman trial

By Charles Badger1. Let’s start with the obvious one: if you think Zimmerman had a right to self-defense or to “stand his ground,” but Trayvon did not, then you might be a hypocrite.

4. If you think it’s racist to “inject” race into this and we should just be “colorblind,” yet you:

a) support “stop and frisk” (NOT-colorblind)

b) support “show me your papers” (NOT-colorblind); and,

c) support profiling Arab males at airports (NOT-colorblind, either)

…then what you really want is colorblind rules when it’s to the disadvantage of people of color but colorful policies when it’s to the benefit of white people…ergo: you might be a hypocrite.

7. If you understand (correctly) that Elizabeth Warren’s claim to Native American status in Massachusetts was laughable, yet don’t see that Zimmerman having a Latina mother doesn’t make his claim to being “Hispanic” any less laughable–because your race isn’t your family tree, it’s the treatment you’re accorded by others–then you might be a hypocrite.

8. Moreover, if you think Zimmerman being Hispanic is at all relevant to determining whether he racially profiled Trayvon Martin–as if, somehow being Hispanic means you can’t be racist–yet you believe black people are more racist than white people (a recent Rasmussen poll shows 22-percent of Americans think this) and you believe affirmative action is “reverse racism” by white people against white people, then you might be a very amusing hypocrite.

(Moreover, if you think Zimmerman “having black friends” and black relatives means he can’t be racist, you should acquaint yourself with the names Strom Thurmond and Thomas Jefferson.)

19. If you say, but “what about the 90%+ of black men killed by other black men?,” after all, shouldn’t black people be more concerned about “black-on-black crime?”; without realizing that says nothing about race and violence since 86% of white people are killed by another white person—because crime, is in significant part, a function of proximity and opportunity.
How to Completely Miss the Point in a Conversation About Racism

By Kyle “Guante” Tran MyhreAfter a week of comments and conversations, I wanted to address the recurring points that some white people have brought up in the wake of the Zimmerman verdict. Because it’s not just about Trayvon Martin; every time there’s a national conversation about race and racism, white people (yes, I’m generalizing; no, I’m not sorry) tend to have the same kinds of reactions.

Getting wildly, irrationally defensive even though it’s not about you:
My column from last week basically just says “if you’re white and upset about the verdict, here are some things you can do to confront racism in your own life.” That’s it.

But then come the comments: “It’s racist to say that white people are racist!” “Why do we have to make such a big deal out of this?” “I’m white and I paid to go to college so there’s no such thing as white privilege!” “Why do we have to be singled out?“ The people talking about racism are the real racists!” “We’re not all like that!” “I’m so offended!”

White people: “talking about racism” does not equal “attacking you personally.” We desperately need to stop being so insecure every time anyone brings up anything remotely related to race and racism. You don’t have to agree, but to immediately jump into “eyes-closed-and-screaming” mode speaks volumes about you and the kind of world in which you’d prefer to live.

Refusing to acknowledge the role that race plays in our lives:
“It wasn’t about race.” That was the most consistent theme in the responses. Time and time again, when there is a racial incident in this country, people of color point to the giant racist elephant rampaging through the room and white people say “oh that’s probably just the wind.”

Is it possible that Zimmerman would have approached a white kid the same way he approached Trayvon Martin? Sure… it’s possible. But the lived experience of millions upon millions of people says that it’s also extremely naïve to believe that.

When people of color talk about racism, they’re not just making things up. There’s no Black Santa who delivers big bags of money to anyone who claims to have been discriminated against. Racial profiling, harassment and discrimination are daily realities for millions of people. To just dismiss that as “whining” or “playing the race card” is unbelievably arrogant.

“Refusing to talk about racism” doesn’t end racism. “Ending racism” ends racism. If your house is on fire, you don’t just ignore the flames away. Maybe a better metaphor is if your neighbors’ house is on fire, you don’t tell them to “stop making such a big deal out of it.” You don’t look the other direction and say “but are you sure it’s on fire?” You help, or you get out of the way.

Focusing on the details and ignoring the big picture:
“Zimmerman was half-Peruvian!” “911 dispatchers don’t have the authority to give orders!” “Trayvon was big and really strong and got in trouble at school!” “Zimmerman had an African-American girlfriend once!” “Since Travyon was right-handed, and standing at x angle, and the moon was at y point in the sky, there’s no way he could have…”


I think the biggest misconception about the outrage around the Zimmerman trial is that people are mad about the verdict. To be fair, many are. But many more are mad because Travyon Martin happens every day in this country. It may not always end with a dramatic gun death, but young black and brown men are demonized, profiled, harassed, imprisoned and killed every day for being young black and brown men (and women too, let’s be honest).

The marches and rallies that have been happening recently aren’t just about Trayvon Martin. They’re about the culture that demonizes black and brown youth, assuming that they’re dangerous, threatening, and up-to-no-good. They’re about the lack of accountability and consequences in police brutality cases. They’re about disproportionate minority confinement. They’re about the selective application of the “Stand Your Ground” law. They’re about the gross over-representation of people of color in the criminal justice system. They’re about who is given the benefit of the doubt and who isn’t, time and time again. They’re about the continued de-valuing of black and brown life in this country.

Argue about the specific details of this specific case all you want, but nothing in the above paragraph is up for debate. That’s the big picture that we—especially those of us who identify as white—have to see, if we ever hope to transition from “having a conversation about racism” to “doing something about racism.”
Comment:  For more on Trayvon Martin, see America's Dual Justice System and American "Justice" Protects White People.


Antikomi said...

If you use the ad-hoc invention "white Hispanic" for George Zimmerman but reject the factual term "white black" for Barack Obama, you might be a hypocrite.

There's plenty of racism to go round. Anti-white racism too, on the part of those who "can't be racists." Rev. Jeremiah Wright with his "white man's greed" tirades is the color-inverse of David Duke, as anyone would agree if Wright's references to whites and blacks were swapped; and Brazil's Lula da Silva's "blond, blue-eyed people" quote is cut from the same cloth as the ravings in Mein Kampf. But acknowledging this is a no-no, because it pulls the rug from under the neo-Communist agenda.

As for the cartoon down, cute, but no black person in America has had any experience of slavery, with the possible exception of a black refugee in America having escaped slavery in Saudi Arabia, where it still exists. Again, inconvenient facts that don't serve the agenda.

dmarks said...

"If you use the ad-hoc invention "white Hispanic" ...."

We know very well that this Census invention was rather clumsy and handily criticized. But it is the retreat of those who try to get around the fact that the reality of the Zimmerman-Martin situation doesn't fit their pre-conceived notions and racial prejudices.

"As for the cartoon down, cute, but no black person in America has had any experience of slavery, with the possible exception of a black refugee in America having escaped slavery in Saudi Arabia, where it still exists"

Slavery has been widespread in the Sudan too. Rev. Wright's colleague Louis Farrkahan has praised this version of the institution of slavery. Barack Obama even went to a fan rally to worship Farrakhan.

Rob's cartoon has an "expire date" of the 1880s or so. This is the last time in American history where a black American male could have spoken this way (assuming this man had been an owned slave boy prior to the Emancipation Proclamation).

If Rob thinks this cartoon is relevant today, then, he has been rendered a hypocrite for his common (and usually correct) criticism of modern cartoons that depict Natives with a 19th century look.

Rob said...

Since "black" is a race like "white" while "Hispanic" is a country of origin, there's no comparison. "White Hispanic" would be comparable to "White African" or another designation that refers to geography, not race.

I've posted an article explaining the difference between race and country of origin twice now. As I said, you two are apparently too dumb to understand the words in front of your face.

Your opinion that the article is wrong is stupid and unfounded. When you have anything resembling a fact that contradicts it, feel free to provide it.

Rob said...

Proving your lack of intelligence, you've badly misunderstood the cartoon. It portrays a 19th-century slave and a 19th-century slaveowner using today's racial arguments to parody those arguments.

No one has claimed slavery still exists in America or today's blacks look like slaves. So your stupid straw-man arguments are just that: stupid.

Unknown said...

Rob - I disagree that White-Hispanic has no meaning. In all of Latin America there are people who were born in those countries (according to you, Hispanic). In my view to be truly Hispanic one must have Spanish ancestry. In Latin America some have indigenous blood and are not properly Hispanic, some have mixed heritage (Mestizo) and some are pure European blood (possibly Hispanic if ancestry is Spanish. But there are quite a number of English, Dutch, German and other European stock in Latin America.