And here’s the long-awaited return…
My heart goes out to the family of Trayvon Martin. I know that they were hoping for a type of justice that showed sympathy for their son – and who wouldn’t be – and I’m sure they feel let down by the system today. In some ways, it must feel as if they’ve lost him all over again.
I can’t say if I think George Zimmerman is guilty of murder-two. I will say that I think his actions were at least somewhat racially motivated. Nothing I’ve heard from the case(1) has convinced me otherwise. I don’t mean to say that Mr. Zimmerman is racist; what I mean to say is that, here, now, in America, racial tensions are very real and play a factor in everyday life. I believe both Mr. Zimmerman and Mr. Martin were acting, in part, on the information they have regarding those tensions.
As much as I would like to say otherwise, the truth is that I act differently when approached by an unfamiliar person based, in part, upon that person’s race. That’s just one factor I use. How a person dresses is another. Sex, gender, number and types of tattoos, cleanliness, the spacial orientation of a ballcap if one is being worn, how they walk, how they carry themselves, how they talk, accents, word choice, verb conjugation…All of these things are factors that mitigate how I deal with a stranger.
Humans are a frightfully dangerous species. Looking at these sorts of non-verbal cues – which, yes, are socially constructed – are a large part of how I navigate these dangers. I wish that weren’t true, and I work on it. But a large part me is simply too scared to let these initial judgements go.(2)
- And the media coverage has been embarrassingly thorough…
- To be fair, have a hard time trusting anyone – family, friends, people I’ve known for decades. I can only hope that my approach to people isn’t everyone’s, because it certainly isn’t a kind way to be.