A piece (linked above) written by my friend JC re the Trayvon Martin Trial.
My own two cents? It’s heart breaking and devastating. It’s unsettling when you see Facebook friends and Tumblr users who literally say, “I don’t care about what’s going on with the verdict of the Zimmerman Trial” or “You all should check your privilege and stop acting so surprised that racism exists in our country… because we are ‘fighting battles within the confines of our personal experiences’ and we need to think first before we act”. You know, bullshit.
Here’s why: The reason why this case means nothing to you (specifically I’m talking about my Facebook user friend) is because you’re white. You have no way to possibly identify with the experiences of the brown and black people you associate with and because you’re white, this ruling does not (negatively) affect you in the slightest. But for people of color, it’s a different story. If Trayvon was white and Zimmerman black, I wonder what the verdict would have been then and who would’ve been found paying for the repercussions. You know the answer. And it’s disgusting to think that the US would more than likely find this “Black Zimmerman” guilty if their skin colors were switched.
And to you, my generic “check your privilege” , “think before we act”, “stand in solidarity” colleague, I wish you’d take your own advice and think before you post inconsistent ideas/rationales on Facebook. People ARE thinking. They’ve BEEN THINKING. And the reason these protests are happening is because we have thought about what this ruling means and how it’s continuously setting a precedence for failure amongst minority communities, and specifically in this case, Black communities. Their thoughts and emotions HAVE BEEN put into action, mobilized against daily injustice that gets overlooked — so how can you say that these people are not thinking first?
We are NOT SURPRISED that racism exists in this country still today. We are upset that there are individuals who really believe that we live in a post-racial world. We are discouraged by the fact that the system that holds our laws and our rights continuously oppresses the people that need its help and protection. We are saddened that people think we, of all people (advocates, activists, educators, lovers, and fighters), are surprised by the ruling. We are NOT SURPRISED. We are upset.
And Lord, help my colleague out, because they are clumping up our struggles under one God damn generic bubble — we are a community that has faced similar struggles, but we are a beautiful community of idiosyncrasies. Race is but a mere factor in the scheme of how we live our lives. And yes, though we struggled with equality for our Gay/Queer communities, these ARE NOT the same issue at hand and must merit their own remarks. We are complex. We have identities that overlap. Yes, we are fighting our own battles each and every day, but how do we fight the battles that are overlooked, repealed, forgotten, and are doomed to fail by our “American” system?
We DO NOT live in a post-racial society. There IS racism (and other forms of discrimination) wherever we go, whether it’s explicitly relevant in one’s statement or comments, or whether it’s implicit in someones look from across the hall or that small gesture as we approach them.
Be safe. Be kind. But do not fall numb to the words of social media. Let our actions and words resonate to apathetic and ignorant ears in hopes we can enlighten and educate our own kind.
Justice for Trayvon.