Trayvon Martin Updates

In case you missed it, yesterday afternoon I noted that ABC reported the lead investigator on the Trayvon Martin shooting recommended a manslaughter charge filed against George Zimmerman, but the state attorney overruled the recommendation. While we are all meant to be scrutinizing Trayvon Martin's background and personal details in another national round of victim-blaming, this little piece of biographical info about George Zimmerman, buried 30 paragraphs into this CNN article, might shed some light on why the decision to let Zimmerman away without charges was made: Zimmerman is the son of a magistrate judge.

That seems pertinent. Or, at least, more notable than Zimmerman supposedly being a registered Democrat.

I first saw that piece of "news" on Twitter yesterday, care of a conservative tweeter who said, "Sorry to burst your bubble, liberals, but Zimmerman is Hispanic and a registered Democrat."

Sorry to burst your bubble. That's literally what many conservatives think those of us objecting to this profound injustice feel about it—a bubble of excited joy that there's a dead black child who's been killed by a "white conservative," so we can make a political point.

I honestly cannot begin to comprehend the seething antipathy filling the space where a soul should be that allows one to imagine the people speaking passionately against this latest violent injustice are motivated by political gamespersonship.

And, unlike those revolting myteamers, I do not believe that identifying as a Democrat, or a liberal, or a progressive, or any other lefty affiliation, axiomatically renders one magically incapable of doing something awful. It makes no difference to me what George Zimmerman put or didn't put on his voter registration card.

The thing is, I am not a mother, but I am a friend to mothers, black and white, with black sons. Those boys are in my heart with every post I write, and in my head is every gutting conversation I've had with their mothers the past two weeks (and before) about their worry, so vast it's almost impossible for them to articulate. I am not concerned about scoring political points. I am concerned about those children and their safety in a country that promises them protection and justice, but frequently delivers neither.

My chest fucking aches with worry for those boys, and I cannot even imagine, not really, what their mothers feel. All I can do is try to say something, because leaving the business of speaking about a particular injustice to the people most overwhelmed by it is bullshit.

I guess I shouldn't expect people who imagine that I am gleeful at this awesome opportunity to take pot-shots at "white conservatives" to understand that, but if there's any humanity left in them at all, they really ought to fucking try.

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Recommended Reading:

Jonathan Capehart—The Killing of Trayvon Martin: More Questions: "It wasn't until Trayvon's father, Tracy Martin, called to file a missing-persons report on Feb. 27 that police went to his fiancee's house with pictures of his son's dead body. News reports have said that Trayvon's body was tagged as a John Doe. But the 'Partial Report Only' (pdf) that was completed at 3:07 a.m. on Feb. 27 lists Trayvon's full name, city of birth, address and phone number. How did police get that information? Was Trayvon carrying identification? Did police try to contact that home number? Trayvon's father called his cell phone several times. Why didn't police answer Trayvon's cell phone?"

Zerlina Maxwell—The Thug-ification of Trayvon Martin: "The victim-blaming machine that is normally reserved for high profile rape cases has reared its head in the case of Trayvon Martin. The spin has begun in the media to muddy the waters and place blame on the teenage victim Trayvon Martin. What's the best way to spin the February 26th killing of the unarmed skittle carrying hoodie wearing Trayvon into a 'justified' or at least 'explainable' shooting? Imply that the late teen is just another thug who was somehow deserving of his fate. This is the thug-ification of Trayvon Martin. It is a strategic manipulation of public perception with the purpose of turning Trayvon into a stereotypical black male predisposed to criminal behavior."

Michelle Goldberg—Why Conservatives Are Smearing Trayvon Martin's Reputation: "I'm far from the first to notice the similarities between the way people talk about Martin and the way they talk about rape victims, whose clothes and histories are often subject to scrutiny no matter how cut-and-dried the case seems. Like a rape victim, Martin's past is being excavated for evidence that he might have provoked the harm done to him. It hardly matters that even if Martin had gotten high every day, it would have had zero relevance; it's not as if marijuana use is linked to violence. Nor that it's not unusual for a teenager to come across as obnoxious on Twitter. People were looking for some tenuous justification for treating him as complicit in his own death, and now they've found it. (For the record, I was also suspended from high school, though in my case for smoking cigarettes. I trust that should a stranger shoot me in the street, no one will treat this as a mitigating factor.)"

Charles P. Pierce—The 'Color-Blind' [Fantasies] of the Trayvon Backlash: "It Is Never About Race. All those people arguing down through the years that the Civil War was about dueling conceptions of nationhood, or a clash of incompatible economic systems, or the ramifications of the 10th Amendment were all arguing, after all, that It Was Not About Race. Massive Resistance in the South in the 1960's was about resistance to overweening federal power because It Was Not About Race. The Wallace campaigns, and the politically profitable adoption by modern conservatism of the leftover tropes and trappings of American apartheid was about the embattled white middle-class in the North and not About Race because It Is Never About Race. Ronald Reagan kicked off his campaign talking about states rights in Philadelphia, Mississippi, not far from where they dug three civil rights workers out of a dam, because he wanted to show that a new paradigm had been established in American constitutional history, and it was not About Race because It Is Never About Race. Amadou Diallo was Not About Race. According to the Equal Justice Initiative, which tracks such things, dozens of children are currently serving sentences of life without parole, of whom two-thirds of them are children of color, as a result of laws passed by legislators wanting to look tough on crime, and those statistics are not skewed because of race because It Is Never About Race. George Zimmerman saw a black kid with a hoodie and gave chase with his gun in his hand. But that was not about race, because Joe Oliver and the Sanford police and the oh-so-very fair-minded media are telling us, hell, don't worry, It Is Never About Race."

Charles Johnson—Fox News Commenters Spew Yet Another Deluge of Ugly Racist Hatred at Trayvon Martin. [Content Note: Lots and lots of racist slurs and hatred at this link.]

Jennifer Bendery—Trayvon Martin's Parents to Attend Capitol Hill Briefing on Hate Crimes, Racial Profiling: "Four black caucus members who serve on the Judiciary Committee—Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Corrine Brown (D-Fla.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.)—came up with the idea for the briefing. ... It appears no Republicans are attending."

Yeah. Because there's no racial profiling and no hate crimes in the Republican districts. Who is it that's politicizing this again...?

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