I have a huge problem. I’m supposed to be working, and I can’t. You saw that Miley Cyrus post I tried to pull off– fail. But since one of my many jobs is to share my thoughts on goings-ons in the world I’ve decided to blog about this moment. Normally, when something like this happens I take a few minutes to let myself take it all in, to research facts, and to write something kinda smart and focused and not overly emotional. I love blogging, but I don’t confuse it with journaling and I don’t want to make this moment about me and how it makes me feel. However, I literally cannot stop thinking about what happened to Trayvon Martin and what didn’t happen to George Zimmerman when he was acquitted of murdering the 17 year-old boy. I also cannot stop reading all of these articles and the comments that are going along with: E!, Jezebel, The New Yorker, etc. Click inside for more.
The truth is, I feel like I can’t say a lot about the case because I did not watch the entire trial. In fact, I watched very little of it and I’m somewhat self-conscious admitting that. If I were 10 years old again, my parents would have sat my ass down in the living room and made me watch that trial every single day. And then I would have had to read articles on it, and probably write some kind of paper about it that my Mom would have edited or something. That’s how it was in my house. I was, like, 8 when I first watched the entire Roots series, and I would cry and cry and my Mom would not allow me to not watch it because she felt I needed to see it and I needed to see it at a young age.
Maybe that’s why I don’t follow some of these stories as closely as I know she would have wanted/forced me to– I’ve been seeing shit like this since I was 7 and now I’m tired. I realize how weak that sounds, but I seriously just want to block it all out and listen to my Yeezus album.
But I can’t. Because even in Yeezus, it’s there. This New Yorker article referenced Billie Holiday‘s Strange Fruit lyrics with their title: GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, NOT GUILTY: BLOOD ON THE LEAVES. And I thought about Kanye‘s new song Blood On The Leaves in which he samples Nina Simone‘s version of the haunting ballad. There’s no escaping this. We live in this world, and there’s no escape.
The truth is, I’m a lot more cynical about race relations in America than I let on. During the Paula Deen situation I sort of let it show through– that I don’t have a whole lot of faith in a very particular brand of White America and therefore don’t expect much from them. Because I was raised by two professors of African and African-American history I was raised on Roots, I was raised on the Eyes On The Prize documentaries, I was raised on Emerge magazine. I still remember seeing those photos of Emmett Till in the casket when Emerge put his mom on the cover. Nothing’s supposed to shock me anymore.
I told my partner in crime/babymaking that they were totally going to acquit Zimmerman and I was completely prepared. I wasn’t gonna get angry, because I know how it works in so-called post-racial America. But when we watched Judge Debra Nelson giving her final statement to the jury before they went to deliberate I was suddenly, completely shocked. She kept saying something about the circumstances under which it’s perfectly okay to take a human life. She kept reminding the jury that, in the State of Florida, you can kill someone sometimes and it’s fine. I know it’s called the Stand Your Ground law or whatever, but it really hit me when I heard her saying that– even when you don’t talk about race or racial profiling– we live in a world where sometimes it’s okay to kill someone. In fact, it’s okay a lot of the time.
And that scared the shit out of me. Now I can only hope that I do something productive with that fear. And I hope that everyone who’s busy Facebooking and tweeting their outrage will also find something productive to do with their fear. And I hope that Trayvon‘s family achieves some sort of peace from something other than our justice system, which is simply not designed to benefit families like Trayvon Martin‘s.
Okay one more Kanye reference before I go. When Kanye West publicly declared George Bush doesn’t care about black people, I only took issue with it for one reason– it singled out George Bush, as if he was the only person in the world who didn’t care about black people. Wealthy white people everywhere do not care about black people. Hell, lots of middle class and working class white people everywhere do not care about black people! And if we’re really gonna keep it somewhat real, lots of black people everywhere do not care about black people. Like, not even a little bit. It’d be nice to see that change sometime soon. You know, before all this non-caring gets someone– or someone’s child– hurt.
P.S. Pretty sure I’m done blogging for the day.
P.S.S. One of my former professors from Sarah Lawrence just shared this, in case anyone wanted to know:
A company called Koch Brothers supported Zimmerman…So lets show them HOW we support Trayvon…The products they sell…Angel Soft, Brawny, Dixie, Mardi Gras, Quilted, Soft N Gentle, Sparkle, Vanity Fair, Zee and Georgia-Pacific. Skittles and Arizona juices supported him as well. (Sidenote: Koch Brothers also donated heavily to the Romney campaign.) If you’re going to play the capitalism game, people, know the rules. Boycott Koch, forever. Thank you.
[Photo Credit: Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty]