While the “social media moment” may have passed, the Zimmerman verdict represents just one of countless examples in an on-going pattern of unrecognized white privilege lending justification to violence against black men. The need remains to continue the conversation about this case, particularly with respect to this pattern. One element of the pattern that is specific to white women is our stereotyped role as virtuous victims who need protection from “bad guys.” Looking at the Zimmerman trial with an eye to this narrative reveals how the verdict was shaped by the white female judge’s decision to frame the case in terms of Zimmerman’s fear, the white female jurors’ description of their key decision as a response to fear, and the significance of the white female neighbor in justifying that fear.
As we collectively mourn for Trayvon Martin and feel outrage for him, his family and all people who live in fear of a criminal (in)justice system which is designed to entrap and persecute them or their loved ones, we must reflect on the dynamics of racism and fear in our culture that not only allowed, but encouraged, Travon’s murder. From theWe Are Not Trayvon Martin tumblr:
The Trayvon Martin case isn’t about an isolated incident but about a pattern of behavior. It’s assumed that racism some how magically ended in the 1960’s. Instead, we’ve slapped a fresh coat of paint over it and then remarked about how great it looked. But the problems didn’t disappear.
And we must have a conversation about the System of White Supremacy and the white women jurors who released George Zimmerman. As one of our collective members posted earlier today on facebook, “White Supremacy let Zimmerman go, but it was a jury of almost all white women who did White Supremacy’s bidding.” The Daily Mail reports:
A jury of six women, five of them white and the other a minority, decided George Zimmerman was not guilty in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin.… Read more
How does experience of white/female socialization create a brick-wall enclosure, holding in my dream of myself and others? How do my thought patterns, my conceptualizations of relating to myself and others, enforce these bricks?
I feel I’ve made these bricks to model a brick I was handed at birth, collecting more over my lifetime, painstakingly making them in my mind’s workshop, firing them in my heart’s oven. The momentum in my life of white suprematicist privilege and body/beauty norm, nationality, literacy, class privilege overlapping with my experiences of gender, sexuality, and ability oppression create complexities that cannot be encompassed in brick walls. I feel a need to express my complexity through working collaboratively with others to tend spaces that allow for dialogue between multiple complexities. Beyond the brick story, into the living story.
I don’t want to make more bricks. I want to tend dirt and see what grows.