Wednesday, May 09, 2012

More Thoughts About Trayvon Martin

So George Zimmerman was finally arrested.  He spent a few days in jail while his lawyers jockeyed for terms of bail and release.  Now he's walking around free with a monitor on his ankle.  The story of Trayvon's killing is not done by a long shot and along with his family, friends, and many supporters want genuine justice for Trayvon.   There was nothing good about the laws in Florida that absolutely allowed Zimmerman to target and kill this kid.  It was for nothing save an outsized ego of a wannabe cop who felt entitled to do what he did.

There were people on the right, pundits and people "in the game" who did everything they could to smear Trayvon, to make a 6 ft, 140 lb teen into such an outsized threat that Zimmerman's only choice was to target, follow and ultimately shoot him.  And I don't buy it for a second.  I'm white.  But all I need is to remember the times when I was growing up and doing things like running errands for my mom or walking to the store or library or ice skating or the myriad other things I did, where men would follow me with vulgar propositions and the fear I felt especially when my efforts to evade their attention fell short.  Running away was not always effective and sometimes trying to dodge them made things worse.  I thought it just was a girl thing, but my late brother assured me that he had similar experiences.  So even with a little bit of white privilege I think I get it.  I get how Trayvon could have felt scared to death over Zimmerman targeting him.  I think I get that it was likely a whole worse because of the racial and ethnic elements.  Over the years, I've heard some of my black or biracial/multiethnic acquaintances warn their own kids about keeping away from most white folks entirely, minding their own business, lowering their eyes, speaking softly, not running, and not touching anything that isn't theirs and more.  They do so out of fear for things like their kids being killed like Trayvon was.  Certainly things- behaviors my sisters and other white friends never worried about teaching their kids. 

There are so many layers of the dark side hovering over this and bigotry is a huge assed player.   I believe the racist resentment toward our President has been used by many people agitate and whip up racist sentiments around the country and especially in the so-called "red states" with the intention of dividing the nation.  One of the lessons I learned as a child is that racism is taught and sticking with it is a choice.  I turned my back on those few adults in my childhood who preached racism.  I repudiated it then and I do now.  It is immoral.  It is wrong.  There is nothing that will legitimize bigotry for me whether it is aimed at our President or children like Trayvon Martin.