The Color of Justice

In a white supremacist society, white people are the victims EVEN WHEN they are the perpetrators. #TrayvonMartin via Son of Baldwin

So, so much fuckery happening in the state that I currently reside it, I can barely process it all. A young boy leaves to get a snack and ends up dead — probably the most tragic juxtaposition of doing anything to ‘taste the rainbow’ ever. Firstly, Florida’s awful stand your ground law is truly the stuff nightmares are made of. Please consider yourself informed if you plan on ever coming here. Everyone is in some danger, but brown and black bodies are especially unsafe here which each passing year of this madness.

Secondly, I’ve found some of best sense-making, calm-after-the-infernal-storm-inducing and people of color rage on some tumblr and facebook interwebs and wanted to share some powerful contextualizations; for their grief, their rage, their solidarity, overstanding, love and fierce truth-telling, when I couldn’t even find the words to myself. If, as Dr. West has said, “justice is what love looks like in public” — then how much do we love slain children of color? Not a whole bloody lot, it seems like.

“Whiteness is White people telling a person of color that not all White people are bad and saying so would hurt their feelings when they are expressing their pain over one of their babies being killed.” – theoceanandthesky via Son of Baldwin

Save Your Tears (For the Day when our Pain is Far Behind)

“It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.” —Mahatma Gandhi

White people, this is for you. And only you.

For a long while, during discourses about racism, race relations, and human rights in general, I have watched you and your interject your opinions time and again, derail the discussion, and center it on yourself and your feelings. And I have watched—and participated in—the attempts to either shut you up or make you realize that these issues are not about you; these discourses are not a personal attack on you. You aren’t even welcomed in those discussions most of the time.

This one is. This one is yours. Feel free to interject, but don’t cry when we barbecue you. You’re the one who came with a thin coat of BBQ sauce on your ass.

Recently, if you have kept tabs on the POC on here like you are so wont to do at the wrong time, you may have caught wind of the cold-blooded murder of 17 year old Trayvon Martin (TW: violence). I will condense the story for the convenience of those who haven’t heard it, and to keep you focused on this thread.

George Zimmerman, the self-appointed Neighborhood Watch President for a gated, mostly-white community in Florida, stalked Trayvon Martin in the middle of the night, and shot him; not once, but twice. The police tell Zimmerman not to follow Trayvon and to let them handle it. Zimmerman claims that Trayvon looked suspicious. It was raining, Trayvon was on his way home from from the store with candy for himself and his brother, and he had on a hood.

Before you ghost your fingers over the keyboard to bang out some indignant defense, ask yourself this: had Trayvon been a white kid, would Zimmerman have stalked and shot him?

Had Trayvon’s screams for mercy and begging for his life been that of a white woman, would Zimmerman be able to walk freely? Would the police be trying so ardently to cover this up and chalk it up to an honest mistake?

He shot the boy twice. Not once, twice. Once to silence his screams, and second to finish him off. That’s what we call an execution…a double-tap. That’s an execution if ever there was one. If I didn’t think Zimmerman was just another racist white person, I’d be demanding to look in to see if it was a sanctioned hit.

It was not someone trying to protect his neighbors. It was someone looking for a reason to kill someone, and all the better that the person happened to be Black. Why?

Because in this society, we are conditioned to believe that Black lives hold little to no value in comparison to white lives. In this society we’re conditioned to believe that Black boys are destined for prison and one less Black boy in the world is one less Black boy in the prison system that your tax dollars clothe and feed. In this society, we are taught that Black people are expendable and interchangeable, incapable of anything more than lawlessness and decadence.

It’s 2012, and Black people aren’t safe in their own neighborhoods. In white neighborhoods, where some of us go to escape REAL dangers of everyday life in the city. And here we are, being taught that the no where is safe for us. We’re in danger from real criminals in the city, and we’re in danger from our white neighbors in the suburbs. And what did Trayvon’s fellow neighbors do? What did they do?

They defended Zimmerman.

How can they look Trayvon’s parents in the face, now? People who live in the same neighborhood as them who are burying their firstborn son because one of their neighbors EXECUTED HIM?

We’re angry. All of us. Every last one of us are angry, and you all should consider yourselves lucky that we don’t rise up and take every last one of you out, now for this. Because this demands more than that. This demands justice. This demands vengeance.

Zimmerman should not be rotting behind bars. He should be executed, as he executed an unarmed, Black boy—his own neighbor, on the grounds that he looked suspicious. When he came up to Trayvon, how come he did not immediately recognize him as his neighbor’s son? As someone he has probably seen everyday going to school and coming home? How come as Trayvon begged and screamed for his life, Zimmerman didn’t back off?

Where was the compassion of the man who claimed he was protecting his neighbors? Compassion does not dwell in the hearts of those who have decided to kill. A true self-proclaimed protector would exercise reason, would retreat, would stop themselves from doing something that could possibly bring harm to another.

But Zimmerman is not a protector. He is a cold-blooded murderer, and he went through with the execution because he knew—even if it was a subconscious knowing—that the law would always be on his side because he is a white, cisgendered male, and Trayvon is what society will write off as just another nameless Black boy who was probably never going to amount to anything.

That’s what Whiteness does to you. That’s what Whiteness does to us.

But I’m not going to let this pass into memory. We’re not going to let this be swept under the rug until there’s justice meted out, or until Zimmerman’s blood soaks the streets.

Either way, we’re not going to be silent about it.

Now, if you want to interject, feel free, but it would be in your best interest to utilize reading comprehension before you do…because I am not fucking with you people anymore. No GIFs, no image macros. This is not a joke. (via thegoddamazon)

I keep thinking about this simple fact

None of those neighbors went outside.

None of them poked their heads out a door or window and even shouted a cursory “Everything alright?”

I think about that, and I think about how people like Zimmerman are cowards. That’s who they are by definition. Because they would never get into a fair fight, or fair altercation with anyone. A man like George Zimmerman, like most racists, waits and lurks, and only when someone makes the mistake of being alone, or being outnumbered do they act.

It makes me think about how my last year of school a cop followed me off the bus, up the stairs (three flights) and into the place I was interning, because ~someone~ said I was smoking pot on the street. (Full disclosure, I was smoking the ENTIRELY tobacco crutch from the end while I was walking the two blocks from my bus stop to my internship. I walked past the town commons where every spring at least a 100/200 white college kids smoke pot on the green.

But me, dressed for work, smoking tobacco in a rollie, I get followed into my place of employ.

And at that moment I’m thinking about how a few months prior a trans woman was assaulted not only by my campus police, but by the townie PD (Fuck it, I’m putting you on blast AMHERST PD). And I’m thinking “Oh god, I’ve never been happier to have a white lady for a boss, because she’s going to stand here and make sure he can’t do anything.”

Y’know, and here’s the thing about this whole situation, I was lucky enough to get off with a slap on the wrist. The guy took my information and intimidated me. Which is…like…I still think of myself as lucky. But I was shaking. And I was thinking he could do whatever he wanted, I sure hope my boss keeps an eye on this, because no one’s gonna believe me.

And here’s the thing, I knew being Black, being someone who smokes rollies, being someone who just exists there’s a sort of twisted lottery. At some point my number’s gonna come up and a cop will approach me for no reason other than sport. That time I got lucky. I just got shook.

Another time, who knows.

The point of this story: White people can save POC from being killed. And, even when they can’t intervene, or their presence isn’t enough intervention we all know your voices carry more weight than ours. If you ever hear a cop getting loud and angry with someone, you better go outside and see what’s happening. You not only have a legal right to watch any and all interactions between police and people, but it’s your duty to keep an eye on the cops.

And if you think you are “one of the good white people”, you damn straight better start doing this. Spare us the bullshit about how it’s “dangerous” because it is not dangerous for you and if you know what the fuck privilege is you’d KNOW that. Also, spare us the whole “I don’t know if that’s me speaking over the POC” bullshit – it’s saving fucking lives. It’s being a witness. Being a witness is something that isn’t speaking over anyone. BE A FUCKING WITNESS. Stop hiding and then acting shocked that these things happen. BE A WITNESS and help hold cops accountable. (via note-a-bear)

If you feel the need to a) pronounce Zimmerman as not-white (which, make no mistake, HE IS WHITE whether you like it or not), and b) tell the world that you are a good white person who did not kill anyone

You are the child of the Devil and should shut entirely the fuck up. Entirely.

This is not the time for your white shenanigans.

Your lack of empathy disgusts me.

You have no value on this earth.

Am I dehumanizing you? Am I “racist” for telling your racist white ass to stop making shit about you? Whatever. You will never ever have to worry about being shot in cold blood while begging for your life just for walking down the street with your pale face and no other reason, nor will you ever have to worry about whether it would have been brought to justice.

SHUT

YOUR

MOUTH

COMPLETELY

Unless and until you learn how to say “This is a terrible thing/I am so sorry to those grieving.”

You should have nothing else to say. Not one damn word. (via poemsofthedead)

“do not tell anyone, in any oppressed group, to be patient… patience is not a political strategy. it is a diversionary tactic, it is a patronizing recommendation made only by those that do not believe that oppression is killing us all.”

— Dr. Omi Osun Joni L. Jones gives 6 rules for allies (cross race/gender/sexuality/ nationality/religion etc) in her keynote speech given 2/19/10 at a luncheon sponsored by Abriendo Brecha Vll Conference and The Seventeenth Annual Emerging Scholarship In Women’s and Gender Studies Conference UT Austin. (mentor, educator, powerful leader, theater artist and cultural worker working in the jazz aesthetic.) via Kim on facebook

What we must do:

Please do not forget Trayvon Martin. His killer, George Zimmerman, still has not been arrested.

What you can do: Call, fax, or email the District Attorney’s office, Sanford Police, and political representatives to ask them why Trayvon Martin’s killer has not been arrested.

1.  State Attorney’s Office – Sanford

Attn: Florida District Attorney Norman Wolfinger

State Attorney’s Office
Criminal Justice Center
101 Bush Boulevard
PO Box 8006
Sanford, Florida  32772-8006
Telephone:  (407) 665-6000

2.  Sanford Police Department

Sanford Police Department, Attn: Police Chief Bill Lee, 815 West 13th Street, Sanford, FL 32771

Telephone: (407) 688-5070

3. Florida Governor

Office of Governor Rick Scott, State of Florida, The Capitol, 400 S. Monroe St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

Governor’s office Telephone: (850) 488-7146

4. Florida legislators

http://www.flsenate.gov/senators/find

(a)  The Florida state senator for Sanford, Florida is David Simmons.

David Simmons, 251 Maitland Avenue, Suite 304,Altamonte Springs, FL 32701
Telephone:  (407) 262-7578

(b) The Florida state representative for Sanford, Florida is Jason Brodheur.

Jason Brodheur, District Office, 114 West First Street, Suite 208, Sanford, FL 32771-1273

Telephone: (407) 302-4800

(c)  The US representative for Sanford, Florida is Corrine Brown.

Representative Corrine Brown, 2336 Rayburn HOB, Washington, D.C. 20515

Telephone: (202) 225-0123, Fax: (202) 225-2256

(d)  The US senators for Florida are Marc Rubio and Bill Nelson.

Senator Marc Rubio, 317 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC, 20510

Telephone: (202) 224-3041

Senator Bill Nelson, 716 Senate Hart Office Building, Washington, DC 20510

Telephone: (202) 224-5274 (via amantesuntamentes)

And don’t forget to sign the petition if you haven’t!

“People still don’t get it. we don’t hate White people. we hate Whiteness. Whiteness is what killed Trayvon Martin. Whiteness is what killed Emmett Till.” – theoceanandthesky via Son of Baldwin

 

Photo image via Sista Shay

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