On "Senseless" Crime

[Content Note: Violence; racism.]

Referring to the murder of Trayvon Martin as "senseless" has come up in comments a few times this week, so I figured it warrants a front-page post.

To speak of these crimes as "senseless," while I do understand what is meant by it, masks the reality that in a frame of racist eliminationism, a crime like this absolutely "make sense."

This crime "made sense" to George Zimmerman, to the local police who failed to arrest him, to the state legislature who passed the law by which this killing might not be criminal, and to every person who has spoken out in Zimmerman's defense. Zimmerman has tons of institutional and cultural support.

Unequivocally, the sensibilities by which such a crime not only "makes sense" but is considered eminently reasonable, or even heroic, is racist, violent, eliminationist, and vile.

But we can't pretend that particular brand of sense-making doesn't exist.

That's just another flavor of the lone crazy gunman in a void narrative. No sense can be made of this tragedy! But we can indeed make sense of it, by staring white supremacy in its ugly fucking face, and being realistic about how "Stand Your Ground" laws empower bigoted bullies, and getting honest about how systemic active racism abetted by the endemic passive racism of apathy central to unexamined white privilege makes crimes like the murder of Trayvon Martin a logical and predictable inevitability, not a random and senseless tragedy.

It's not at all that this murder was "senseless." It's that it wasn't.

And we can't ever meaningfully subvert that detestable sensibility if we fail to acknowledge its existence.

Rinse and repeat for every bias against every oppressed class.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus