My Thoughts on the Zimmerman Trial Thus Far

I watched the Zimmerman trial most of the day yesterday.  Here are my preliminary thoughts on the matter.

For those of you who believe that this is not about race, my very serious question to you is this:

What would convince you that this was a racially motivated incident?

I ask that because I find that when disagreeing with some people about race, often there is no reason to have a conversation because one side is convinced of their truth and though the facts change, they refuse to change their minds.  There is no use in talking with folk like that.  Assuming that you’re prepared to accept that this was racially motivated or at least entertain the idea, let me give you this scenario:

Let’s say that Trayvon Martin was a young White woman, and George Zimmerman was a middle-aged Black man who saw some “suspicious” woman walking in the rain in his neighborhood.  Let’s say he followed her, and when he called the police, dispatch told him twice not to follow her.  Let’s say he ignored that directive twice.  Black George Zimmerman follows White Tracy Martin who appears to be running and hiding from him, as she ducks and hides between buildings.  At some point she confronts Black George who does not identify himself as the neighborhood watch person.  Nor does he alert White Tracy Martin that the police are on the way.  Instead, an argument ensues, and shoots her.

Would anyone be willing to argue that Black George was afraid of the suspicious White Tracy?  Even if Tracy was a White male, would anyone be willing to argue that Black George was afraid of Tracy?  One way to ferret out your true feelings on this matter is to leave the facts the same and change the gender and race of Trayvon and Zimmerman.  See if you feel the same way about things.

ON THE ISSUE OF FEAR…

When you listen to the tapes and language that Zimmerman used–note his very calm demeanor as he spoke with the 911 operator and disobeyed directions to not follow Trayvon.  According to Zimmerman, it was raining.  Trayvon was holding something unidentifiable in his hands and reaching for his waistband.  It was dark.  Trayvon appeared to be on drugs or behaving strangely.  At no point did Zimmerman sound afraid or even nervous.

After Trayvon looked into Zimmerman’s car, he took off running, and Zimmerman took off after him into the night.  Remember, Zimmerman’s complaint was, “These fuckin’ punks always get away.”  Zimmerman was judge and jury.  Trayvon was guilty–of what I don’t know, but according to Zimmerman, Trayvon had no business walking in the rain at night with Skittles and some tea.

HERE’S WHAT I THINK HAPPENED…

Police BrutalityWanna be cop, George Zimmerman, was feeling particularly excited about his glorified position in the neighborhood, and he was all too ready to go too far with it.  Remember, the job of a neighborhood watch team, generally, is to observe and report suspicious activities to the real police who might still shoot Black people indiscriminately, but at least they have a storied history of doing so (I couldn’t resist y’all).

When he saw Trayvon Martin walking in his neighborhood, he was excited to spring into action–gat in tow.  He saw a young Black man walking in the rain and decided that he must be guilty of something.  Had he seen a young White woman walking in the rain, he would’ve pulled alongside her and offered her a ride to get out of the rain, or he might have waited to see what the wetness would reveal in a perverted manner.  Had it been a young White male, Zimmerman might have identified himself as neighborhood watch, and felt good about that, but because he saw a young Black male with a hood (it was raining after all), he decided that he was on a real police case and that he had an opportunity to be a neighborhood hero–to have a story!

From Trayvon’s POV, some strange dude in a car was following him for no reason, and he wasn’t about to lead him to his father’s house, and he wasn’t about to let the dude get the drop on him either.

The cat and mouse went on as Zimmerman stalked (yes STALKED) Trayvon, and when he found Trayvon, Zimmerman pushed the action.  He accosted Trayvon, who promptly defended himself and in doing so, beat the dog shit outta Zimmerman until Zimmerman shot this teenager dead.

The end.

This is certainly an issue of self-defense, but nothing that Zimmerman did suggests that he was defending anything other than his pathetic need to be somebody in a neighborhood in which apparently he didn’t couldn’t even remember the name of the streets on which he lived and defended.

Zimmerman InjuriesAs an interesting note, Zimmerman claims that Trayvon was bashing his head into the concrete.  I once pushed a dude down in a bar, and when he fell and bumped his head, he had a huge knot on his head.  Zimmerman, who had his head bashed into the concrete, had two scratches that had band-aids on them the next day.  No bruising.  No knots.  No lumps.  No stitches.  No truth.  Just bullshit.

When White Women Approach Black Men at Night Be Ready

Dear Diary,

Last night I took the dog out for his nightly shit so that I could be reminded of my place in the universe.  The homeowner’s association had apparently voted to replace the grass that my dog normally fertilized with some sort of turf, and it was taking Sebastian a bit of getting used to.  Normally he was quick.  He could pee and poop and have me back in the house in under five minutes, but with the turf, he was inspecting things a bit more.

I wore a black wife beater, some camouflage shorts, and some fresh Adidas that I don’t get to wear often.  It was cold.  It was ten o’clock.

SebastianSebastian and I were accosted by our overly gregarious, middle-aged neighbor with his unfriendly Jack Russell Terrier, “There’s your friend girl” the space invader encouraged.  I noticed that he decided to wear shoes this time.  Maybe because it was late.  But, he did have on that same creepy Hawaiian shirt!  Where in the hell do they even sell those?

I gave Sebastian and the Jack Russell sufficient dog-ass sniffing time, and there was no incident this time.  Finally Sebastian found a spot that was worthy of his shit.

Just as I picked up his load, a demure woman whom I’d seen in distance walking toward me was upon us asking in a quiveringNegrophobia voice, “Can I just talk to you for a minute?”  My mind raced.  I thought of my kids.  I kicked myself for not having brought my phone.  I imagined this modest looking white woman yelling rape or screaming, and as “help” arrived to see her stabbing my lifeless body, everyone understood her preemptive strike because, after all, negrophobia is a legitimate legal defense, and besides, I’m 6’4″ and wearing camouflage and black on a dark night with my dark skin wearing dark Adidas walking a dog that is half black.  I lamented having decided to wear my contacts instead of my glasses, which made me seem more approachable and soft.  I was terrified of her.  She was a full foot shorter than me, and I was terrified of her.

I kept my distance, remained stoic, and agreed to give her a minute.  She started crying.  She cried a sentence or two, and after having her repeat herself, I understood that she had failed to make good on some opportunity to uphold her spiritual beliefs.  In fact, her exact words were, “I fucked up.  I had an opportunity to do good, and I didn’t.”  Now at this point, I thought I was a gonner!  I thought for sure that I would never see my children again.  I thought I would be stabbed to death in this gated community.  I thought this emotionally distraught white woman would shoot me, and I would be blamed for being in a well-to-do community in the first place.

As she cried real tears, fear gripped my heart.  I didn’t know what to do, so I asked her what her spiritualTibetan Buddhism belief system was.  I figured if she was a Christian or Muslim or Catholic, I could maybe stitch together something that sounded like it was in the Bible or Quran.  No luck.  “I’m a Tibetan Buddhist.”

“Oh.  Well, I don’t know much about Buddhism, but I’m sure there isn’t a group of people sitting in a room awaiting your arrival so that they can judge you and tell you how poorly you performed on some spiritual task.”

“Well, no it doesn’t work like that.” (sniffles with tears streaming)

“The fact that you’re crying, though, I think is a good thing.  To me that suggests that you have real conviction about your beliefs.  Your contrition symbolizes that you have integrity about your beliefs, and that’s a good thing.  That means you take this seriously, and you should.”  Now right about here is when her eyes opened wide, and she looked at me as if I was delivering some amazing Word.  She nodded as I spoke.  “My suggestion is that you not spend much time beating yourself up.  You recognize that you didn’t handle this situation the best way you could, and it hurts you.  That’s a good thing.  Now, move on from that, but don’t beat yourself up.  You want to be moving forward from a place of positivity.  It’s unproductive to try to move on from negativity.  That’s something I’ve learned irrespective of one’s belief system.”  She nodded in agreement and cracked a small smile.  “What’s your name?”

“Ashley.” (this is a pseudonym since this lady turned out to be my neighbor!)

“My name is Sundjata.”  We shook hands, and my fears subsided just a bit–not enough though.  “Well look Ashley, I’d love to chat with you a little more, but I have my baby in the house, and I have to get back in the house.”

“Oh okay.  No problem.  Yeah.  You have to take care of that.”

We started walking (awkwardly) in the same direction, and it turns out that this woman, Ashley, who I’d never seen before, is my very close neighbor.

I don’t know that there’s a lesson or a moral or anything like that.  I will say that I was shocked that this woman was willing to talk to me.  I suppose a la Charles Ramsey, I should’ve known something was wrong when a little pretty white woman came crying to my arms.  I’m not the most approachable-looking brotha, and I wasn’t dressed in an approachable manner.  I’m just glad that I had a jewel to drop.  I hope my positive outlook was of use.  I like to think it was.

This is my real life.  I simply couldn’t make this stuff up.

Aaron Hall’s “Don’t Be Afraid”…Give These Lyrics a Second Listen

So I’m stuck in Cali traffic with a giant smile on my face because I’m literally jamming to a ’90s mix of music until Aaron Hall’s “Don’t Be Afraid” came on, and shit got real.

Maybe I’ve been watching too much Law & Order SVU, but me thinks me hears the song of a rapist. I’m just sayin’…read the words and sing along.

Negrophobia, Reasonable Racism, and Standing Your Ground

…’Negrophobia’ and the incorporation of what has been referred to as ‘reasonable racism’ or the notion that, because of their perceived dangerousness, the irrational fear of blacks might be justified in situations where whites take preemptive action (shooting) to ward off their prospective attacker(s)…But the obvious problem with such a premise is that, in the socially constructed minds of many whites and some racial minorities, all blacks and Latinos look like potential robbers.  In the end…crime becomes racialized or, put another way, crime becomes associated with particular racial groups” (Gabbidon 2010).

Negrophobia Continue reading

C’Mon! Not Elmo!

So the gentleman who does the voice of Elmo was accused by a lover (whenever we’re talking about a man who unexpectedly turns out to be gay, we collectively say “lover”…I think it’s required somehow) of having sex with him when he was underaged.  TMZ says what needs to be said on the story itself, and you can click here to read that.

But isn’t hearing that the voice of Elmo might have engaged with sex with an underaged dude a bit like hearing that the Tooth Fairy has been touching kids inappropriately or that Santa has been shacking up with moms when he slides down chimneys?

I mean, it’s Elmo.  The voice of Elmo can’t sleep with underaged boys can he?