“a fundamental human right”

Everyone and their brother has weighed about the George Zimmerman trial (1) by now.  An interesting site discussing white privilege is We Are Not Trayvon Martin, and Questlove of the Roots wrote a really compelling look at how this verdict has affected him. But, I keep reading and I keep thinking, and this is where I go to talk about stuff, so here we are.

Another thing I’ve seen from a couple of lawyer friends is their complaint that people who aren’t informed — i.e., have a law degree — shouldn’t be weighing in on the trial, the topic, their feelings.  That seems fucking ridiculous to me. I think that most people know in their hearts that something went terribly wrong here.  Even if the trial was locked down tight and the players all did exactly what they were supposed to do, guaranteeing the right decision by way of the justice system, there are so many other factors that scream out “THIS IS FUCKED UP.”

The Stand Your Ground law may not have been at the heart of what the prosecution or defense needed to prove/disprove, but the fact that it exists and was the reason that Zimmerman (among many) felt he could walk around the neighborhood like some sort of Gran Torino Clint Eastwood? That is crazy. I read a piece where the NRA said that the right to self-defense is a “fundamental human right.”

I could be way off, but I bet the Venn Diagram of NRA members and megaChristians overlaps quite a bit. I also remember that even PRE-hippie Jesus, there was that whole Ten Commandments thing … that “Thou Shalt Not Kill?” Remember that one? I don’t think those were negotiable. I don’t think that you can say, “Yeah, but if he’s on my lawn … OR Yeah, but if he’s walking through my gated community and looks suspicious.” I don’t remember Moses talking about any asterisks there.  Just — Don’t Kill. Period.

If we’re talking fundamental human rights — can a woman shoot a person trying to give her a transvaginal ultrasound? Self-defense?

Seriously, though — eating, shelter, healthcare. These are fundamental human rights. I’d go so far to say that now, an education should be a fundamental human right. But I’d get it if you can’t get on board with that.  I think you should revise your thoughts about what it means to get in on the “pursuit of happiness,” but we can save that for another time.

I hope, that if nothing else, this trial, this case, this verdict — allows white and black people to come together and talk. Be honest. I was just thinking about this the other day, actually. I’d love to start a column or a talk show or something about race. Because whatever “post-racial” is *supposed* to mean, it’s not here. It’s not even close. (2)  And I think if we’re ever going to get to post-racial, it’s going to start with just being real. Real talk, you know?

From the most important to most trivial. I just want to see people okay with being able to just to discuss things.  And, I’ll say that we’re far from there.  There are so many things I want to know about the experiences of people of color and am terrified to ask. Afraid I’m going to look racist. (3) Afraid I’m going to be seen as one of the people who hates, rather than wants to get intimate with a culture and a way of life that is different than mine.

I hope this opens something. I hope it opens up our eyes. I hope it opens up our hearts. I hope it opens up the truth that for all the changes that have occurred, it seems that not much has changed, after all.


(1) It’s telling that I want to call it the Trayvon Martin trial. He’s dead. He can’t be convicted of anything, and he wasn’t the one who needed to account for his actions, after all was said and done. But, his face and name are on my mind and it sure seemed like he was the one on trial — in order to prove that Zimmerman acted in self-defense, it seemed like it was a question of proving whether or not Trayvon was the problem, rather than the victim.

(2) There’s no way we’re “post-racial” when people of Mexican heritage and American citizenship can’t sing the national anthem without people losing their ever living minds AND when Cheerios releases a commercial with a mixed-race family and those same people freak the fuck out. Seriously? Are people mad because the LGBTQs are gaining ground on equality and love and happiness? Or what?

(3) Also, heads up: you can’t be racist if you’re a minority. You can be hateful, you can be prejudiced, you can treat people outside of your race/ethnicity like shit. But racism is a systemic, huge thing. Unless you are in a place of power/being able to oppress (i.e. in the majority rule), you can’t be racist.  All of a minority’s hate or prejudice isn’t going to keep the white man down. That’s just some sociology.


8 thoughts on ““a fundamental human right”

  1. So you can be racist if you one are of the power brokers of somewhere like Detroit? How about a black police captain that put all the white officers patrolling Cabrini and said “it’s our time now?”. The big problem I have is when an all black or close to it jury speaks, like in OJ the statements are made “well we must respect the jury”. When something like Travon happens, and the DA should be disbarred for bringing the charge when the law existed as it did, and the jury acquits, the response isn’t the jury spoke, the response is protests. Now Obama is keeping this alive with Holder. C’mon. Zimmerman is a punk cop wannabe, Trayvon was not the choir boy they made him out to be, and because both did things they shouldn’t have, a person is dead. All the evidence had Travon on top hitting Zimmerman’s head in the cement, according to the law as it was and is Zimmerman had the right to shoot him. Until you get whites to admit racism exists, and blacks to admit maybe quotas are reverse discrimination, we will go nowhere in discussions.

  2. One person did something he shouldn’t have — Zimmerman. If he didn’t follow him with a gun, they wouldn’t have had an altercation of any kind. Done and done.

  3. Are you talking morally or legally? Morally and common sense wise I agree. i hate neighborhood watches, but this is where you need to keep perspective. Legally he did nothing wrong. Did you hear Carter opine on this? If not I suggest you do.

  4. And speaking of Woe-town, Detroit files for BK, trust me it is only the beginning. Union driven public sector pensions, too many giveaways and nobody left to tax, since all the businesses have fled. This is a story that will be played out across the country. Some way the liberals will blame Bush. I am outa here soon as well as my neighbors. $7500 property taxes on a very modest home? I’ve checked elsewhere. $1500 for homes worth twice mine in other states.

  5. Barkley says many blacks are “racist” and agrees with the verdict, basically saying Trayvon snapped and Zimmerman may have overreacted, but not under the law. Now that star prosecution witness admits “Trayvon may have attacked Zimmerman and thrown the first punch”. But of course only because he was upset. You need to take a long hard look at the facts here and not just spout liberal catch phrases like “white privilege” which sound good but have absolutely nothing to do with what happened here. This was a neighborhood that was broken into on numerous occasions recently, the people were told by the cops “we can’t be everywhere, and maybe you should beef up the neighborhood watch”. Trayvon was 10 feet away from the house he was going to, why didn’t he just go in? No, he decides to confront and attack Zimmerman. I am sorry but that is what all the evidence shows. Did you also know burglar tools were found close to that house? That didn’t get in because the extremely prosecution friendly judge said it was too prejudicial. Did you watch any of it? First the prosecution says “Trayvon was backing away and George shot him”. After all the evidence including their own experts say “Trayvon was on top of George when shot”, they then switched gears and ridiculously tried to say George was holding him and Trayvon was trying to get off. They created so many “it is possible stories” that the they did the work for the defense.

  6. Again. He was told NOT TO FOLLOW HIM. There’s not a whole lot of wiggle room there. It could have been avoided. I refuse to believe otherwise.

  7. Well, this was brought up in the trial. The defense proved that the 911 dispatcher had no legal authority to tell him to stop. In fact they changed their instruction to the operators a few years back from “don’t follow” to “we don’t need you to follow”. Huge difference. Why the change? A neighborhood watch guy was following a bad guy, called 911 and was told to stop. He did. By the time the cops came a woman was assaulted and the dispatcher sued under the theory if the guy kept following the assault might not have occurred. By the way I might be doing some work for Bucky Beaver’s Habitat for Humanity. Met the Wisconsin director today.

  8. You rock. You do. I totally suck at keeping up with people’s blogs, but I’m happy I stepped over to read yours today!

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