Friday, March 23, 2012

Quote of the Day


"But I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly to not let their children go out wearing hoodies. I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was."

-- Geraldo Rivera on Fox News

I don't need to tell you that this is, in classic Geraldo fashion, a shockingly dumb thing to say. It's cut-rate reductionism expressed in the most clumsy and artless way possible, and the Huffington Post, also as it's wont to do, is already tearing Geraldo apart for it through various headlines that feign outrage in the name of page hits.

But here's the thing: While putting the blame for the death of Trayvon Martin as much on his hoodie as on the bullet fired by George Zimmerman may be ridiculous at face value, the larger point that Geraldo is making is more sound than you might think. He's just making that point very, very badly.

It goes something like this: Like it or not, a book actually is judged by its cover. There's a calculated reason that the cover of a book looks the way it does -- it's designed to immediately impart a very specific sense of recognition in the potential reader and to be a fair advertisement for the book's contents. There are certain things about your personal "cover" that can't be changed: Your race, your age, your facial features (in theory anyway). Your physical characteristics generally are what they are and therefore it's thoroughly unfair and flat-out wrong for someone to judge you based solely on them.

But the way you choose to dress or otherwise adorn yourself is exactly that -- a choice. Your choice. And while in a perfect world no one would draw immediate conclusions about you based on your personal style, news flash: We don't live in a perfect world, and ignoring or defiantly thumbing your nose at the fact that there may be certain unintended consequences to the image you choose to project is both irresponsible and thick-headed.

Is it unfair that a lot of very dumb people immediately look at a kid in a hoodie, a ball cap and low-slung pants and think "thug?" Yes.

Is it unfair that a douchebag in a bar looks at a girl in a tiny skirt, a midriff-bearing top, minus a bra, with a pierced belly-button and a tramp stamp and thinks "she wants sex?" Yes.

But again -- life isn't fair.

I have tattoos. About 20 of them, at last count. At no point while I was inking the hell out of my body did I accept anything less than full responsibility for the image that I knew I might be projecting to the world. I understood what I was signing on for when I got the things and accepted the potential consequences.

Now before anyone shouts that I'm blaming the victims*, let me go ahead and shoot the hostage: I am -- to an extent. No, unlike Geraldo I don't think that wearing a hoodie is what got Trayvon Martin killed -- not by any stretch of the imagination. A lot of people wear hoodies besides the ones who, as Geraldo puts it, are seen on surveillance tapes sticking up 7-11s. But again, his larger point about "stylizing yourself as a gangster" and how it might very well lead people to "perceive you as a menace" makes a lot of sense. As he says, the "cover" that we present to the public is in fact what people will judge you on, at least at first.

And that first impression that George Zimmerman had of Trayvon Martin -- whether caused by the color of the kid's skin or some other factor -- wound up being his last. Because the conclusion that Zimmerman wrongly jumped to got Trayvon killed.

Adding: Alexandra Petri of the Washington Post feels quite a bit differently about this subject but articulates her points really well (and makes a pretty amusing argument for the idea that, by his logic, everyone Geraldo meets should automatically assume he's an aging 70s porn star). It's very much worth taking a look at what she has to say.

*Just wanted to say that I added an "s" to the end of "victim" because people are already assuming that when I said victim, I specifically meant that I was blaming Trayvon Martin. I wasn't and I'm not. I'm talking about in general -- that each of us bears some responsibility for how we choose to present ourselves to the general public.

52 comments:

Jay said...

Saying something with "big words" doesn't make it right. This was a text-book white privilege article.

TK said...

I have to disagree. I don't think that what he was wearing made any difference whatsoever for two reasons:

1) Had it been a white kid in a hoodie with low-hanging pants and a ball cap, the outcome would likely have been different.

2) Had Martin been wearing shorts and a t-shirt, the outcome would likely have been the same.

Yes, the world is imperfect and unfair and we judge people based on appearances. But the comparison between this and something like tattoos doesn't really work either. I've got a mess of tattoos as well, and I guarantee that if you and I were walking down the street together in the same outfits, I'm likely the one who would be judged more harshly. Not because of one or the others' tattoos, but because of my skin compared to yours.

Of course, you and I walking down the street together in the same outfit would also be really, really awkward.

Thomas B said...

To be fair, Chez - I don't think it's just really, really dumb people who look at the tailored "thug" image and think to themselves "thug". The five dudes who mugged me 18 years ago looked just like that. I'm not a dumb person (at least I don't think so), but if I see some dudes (or a dude) walking toward me in the dead of night on a lonely street, I'm going to fear for my safety. I'm not going to shoot the dude, but yes, if he looks like a thuggish duck and quacks like a thuggish duck, then I'm going to go ahead and see him as a thuggish duck.

J. Dack said...

Here's the thing that sucks about this topic: I agree with you and I agree with her. It's some kind of... paradox?

The problem is that those on the "don't blame the victim" side are right, but I think they're also being naive.

Of course it shouldn't be this way, but it is, and I'm skeptical that talking about it on the internet to raise awareness is going to do anything to change human nature.

I just don't know if this is a solvable problem.

Atlantalee said...

I hear what you're saying, but the kid was only 17... old enough to know people might judge him, but probably not experienced enough to understand the consequences.

And how do you explain to a teenager that he can't or shouldn't wear what his friends are wearing because of the color of his skin? How would you have reacted to that as a teenager?

nietzsche's peach fuzz said...

Wow, Chez..

I am usually in 99% agreement with most of what you say but not this. This is akin to blaming a rape victim for "dressing like a slut". Especially since 99% of Americans own and wear a hoodie. Fuck, I'm typing with one on right now paired with baggy sweats to match (for the record, I'd like to pretend I just came from the gym..Let's keep that fantasy alive) It's an asexual practical piece of clothing, especially when it's raining, which IT WAS the night Trayvon was murdered.

Geraldo is just doing that right wing tap dance of "how can we jingle the keys and distract people from the real issue here that SYG laws are just a facade to pick off 'thug' minorities 'cuz they threaten our whitehood majority?...I Know! blame it on what the kid was wearing!" It is just another way to turn the message away from gun control and racism and back towards that dangerous misnomer of 'scary urban youths'

Can clothing be threatening?..sure. Look at the bikers and redneck motorcycle hells angles types. They might make me leery as a gorgeous petite liberal female but they don't because that's the stereotypes I grew up with in Colorado. (in fact one of our legislators ran a bill this session barring establishments from discriminating against this type of clothes-wearer. I wonder if black kids in hoodies would have gotten the same consideration?) Maybe I'm in the minority because a bunch of black kids wearing hoodies don't scare me either because I treat them like they are: kids. You know what does scare the shot out of me? Assholes wearing their gun in their holsters like some Wallmart version of John Wayne. What scares me even more? Carry and conceal laws.

Chez said...

Totally agree, TK. I'd very likely get pegged by quite a few people -- at least in white society -- as being less of a threat because I'm white. And that's completely fucking unfair. But I think what Geraldo was trying to get at -- and it's worth mentioning that he used his own son as an example -- is that fair or not, a brown kid dressed a certain way is going to draw attention and be assumed to be a certain way. You said it yourself: a white kid in a hoodie and all that crap is no big deal -- it's when you combine it with the "wrong" skin color that things get ugly.

And yes, I do think that race was the pivotal trait that got Trayvon killed -- that led Zimmerman to make the entirely wrong assumption about him.

nietzsche's peach fuzz said...

So you think the solution is to have black kids dress more "white" I know that's not what you are saying, but that is the perception. Just like when women starting wearing skirts and cleavage and stuff, they were put down and told "you won't be taken seriously". And we women worked hard to change that perception. It's not the clothing that needs to change, it's society's perception and it starts with placing the blame for the heinous crime where it belongs. And that ain't on a piece of clothing especially one that is as innocuous as a freakin' hoodie. They sell them at the Gap for chissake. THE GAP!

Anonymous said...

I agree. People do tend to think along the lines of "walks like a duck, talks like a duck, must be a duck". As the parent of two young men, I always told them it was their choice if they wanted to walk around looking like whatever, but they had to accept that people would judge them accordingly. Nothing excuses the fact that Zimmerman targeted and shot the poor kid with zero provocation and needs to be held accountable for his terrible actions. I would much rather see my son in a black hoodie than an orange jumpsuit!

Chez said...

I don't want black kids to dress white. I'd love it if people could wear whatever the hell they want and there would be no judgments -- and yes, I'm all for changing the perception, absolutely. What I'm saying, though, is that right now -- at this very moment -- certain looks provoke certain responses. And actually, in the future that will happen as well -- it's human nature to jump to conclusions based on the way we choose to present ourselves. Again for the cheap seats -- the whole book/cover thing.

TK said...

I get what you're saying, but I still disagree with the fundamental premise. Clothes may well affect how people see and judge you, but...

fair or not, a brown kid dressed a certain way is going to draw attention and be assumed to be a certain way.

My experience has been that if you take out the "dressed a certain way," that's the real truth of it.

TK said...

Sorry, I'm not trying to belabor the point but...

Again for the cheap seats -- the whole book/cover thing.

Agreed. Totally agreed. Except that in this case, the cover was skin color, and I'm guessing it had nothing to do with clothing.

That's not to say that style or fashion wouldn't be a factor in other scenarios, but I feel that it's not relevant in this one.

nietzsche's peach fuzz said...

@TK, Exactly. If you peruse Zimmerman's 911 calls he wasn't just concerned about 'black kids in hoodies'. It was also black kids in tank tops. Black kids in leather jackets. Black kids in Ambercrombie. This is not a book/cover scenario. This is about prejudiced perceptions of black youths. This is about distracting the nations attention away from the insane agenda of the NRA to turn this country into a a fucking war zone. "Kill upon threat" bullshit laws. Threat meaning "minority" in their eyes. It's stomach churning to think we are even talking about he was dressed as if it has a valid standing.

The hoodie argument is a red herring.

(also, forgive my typos... my hand muscles are so worn out from my vigorous gym session...)

Jeff Metzner said...

There's truth in what you're saying, and I think that's the reason we as a society have decided that we would rather trust trained professionals to handle life-or-death situations rather than vigilantes. The problem IMO, was not that Trayvon was wearing a hoodie but that he was pursued by someone who was too bigoted and untrained to know that he was supposed to look past that. (Not that the cops are perfect, but at least they've been taught how to defuse a situation safely before they hit the street.)

renhalz said...

Sorry Chez, love you, but can't co-sign on this one with you. The way "perceptions" are changed is when you completely destroy the excuses used for perpetuating them.

Trayvon was wearing a hoodie because it was raining. Trayvon was a young man, walking home from the corner store, talking to his girlfriend on the phone when he was accosted and assaulted by a lone, crazed lunatic that only so Trayvon's skin color as justification for confronting him and ultimately taking his life. There isn't even a hint of evidence that the hoodie was the reason this nut job was "suspicious" of Trayvon; it was the fact that Trayvon was a young black male walking through this gated community; that's what Zimmerman found "suspicious". Rivera's sorry attempt to find some justification behind Zimmerman's actions by saying it was an article of clothing that caused this is just a ridiculous red herring.

Chez said...

I really must not have come across as clearly as I thought I did. I'm talking about the larger point, not the Trayvon case specifically. I even said that I don't think a fucking hoodie is what got him killed. Zimmerman almost certainly found the kid suspicious because he was black.

Geraldo may indeed be looking for excuses and justification beyond sheer racism, which as we know if a forbidden topic of discussion at Fox. But he is actually right when he implies that people will judge you based on the clothes you wear. For fuck's sake -- that's common sense.

JohnF said...

Oh, Chez. You and your White Privilege!

Chez said...

I know, right? I'm clutching my pearls.

Riles said...

Regarding Geraldo's comments, hoodies are controversial now? This must all be Rocky Balboa's fault, training the way he did in that gray hoodie. Sly Stallone must apologize.

nicole said...

hmmm..i've read every comment on here, and my pov is pretty much the same as TK's.

I agree that people judge is by our appearance.

BUT. Does their judgement extend a right to take action which is detrimental to us and illegal?

OF course NOT.

You can't tell people not to wear hoodies because they might be attacked by racists, just like you can't tell women not to wear sexy clothing because they might be raped by some misogynist asshole.

If you tell them such a thing, you are implying that they have some control over it, and thus, if the worst happens, they are also at fault.

And, of course, they aren't.

JMO

nicole said...

"I'm clutching my pearls. "

Pearls and tattoos.....sweet! :)

Anonymous said...

"We don't live in a perfect world, and ignoring or defiantly thumbing your nose at the fact that there may be certain unintended consequences to the image you choose to project is both irresponsible and thick-headed."

I think the idea that I can and should anticipated all the excuses someone could come up with to conclude that I'm a thug, is irresponsible and thick-headed. This week, it's hooded sweatshirts. Oh wait, are we sure it's not sweatshirts in general? What about gloves? They're notoriously associated with criminals. Do I need to be wary of wearing them? Exactly how am I supposed to predict what some idiot is going to use as a pretext for justifying his racist assumptions about me.

kanye said...

I'm not sure what's harder for me to believe: That this song is 23 years old, or that's still so true. Maybe even more so now than when it was written.

House of Freaks: White Folk's Blood

Claude Weaver said...

Here's the thing that sucks about this topic: I agree with you and I agree with her. It's some kind of... paradox?

Kinda. But it really means your brain is in working order. Much more than some.

Thing is, I get what Chez is saying. Just because it is an ugly perception, and you say it is an ugly perception, it isn't going to change that ugly perception overnight.

And unfortunately, too much of pop culture, especially that which is geared towards minority youth, glamorizes and indulges in criminal culture. We idolize some really repugnant figures, and kids naturally want to emulate idols. So they dress like them, act like them, and then wonder why people think they are like them. If this is the image you wish to project, why are you suddenly surprised that people react to it? If you dress up in a straitjacket and yell gibberish (or vote Republican in 2012), I am gonna think you are crazy until further notice.

It is a fairly complicated issue, because while on one hand you should be able to wear whatever clothes you wish without hassle, on the other, you can't control what people are gonna think about it. And in a mind as twisted and misled as Zimmerman's (and we all know as of late that he isn't the only one), applying logic and reason is futile.

To end, let me say this: while such a discussion is important to have, Geraldo was dead wrong for associating it with the Martin case. it trivializes and tries to excuse a heinous crime and an avoidable tragedy. And Rivera should be ashamed of THAT.

Steven D Skelton said...

Being a teenager (from Seattle) in the 90's, I dressed most days in ratty jeans, a t-shirt and a flannel and wore my hair long and raggedy.

One winter, I shaved my head. The world treated me different from the day I walked out of the barber shop and continued to until I started wearing nicer clothes.

Although nothing of my being was at all a skin head...straight edge or otherwise...I looked exactly like one.

Lesson learned. I looked like a skinhead and I was treated like a skin head. Duh!

Steven D Skelton said...

Chez

You made yourself perfectly clear...don't apologize.

And if anybody is offended by what you said, it's on them...not you.

Your point is perfectly reasonable. We dress the way we do because we want to present an image to the world.

People here are saying that isn't fair and lamenting that it hasn't changed. Load of crap if you ask me.

Do we really want a world where people make no value judgments at all based on appearance? Then what the fuck would be the purpose of all the time and effort we put into our appearance?

Matt Osborne said...

Chez, last time I checked there were seven hoodies in my closet and not a one of 'em say "wearing this gives strangers permission to shoot you" on the tag. I'm hearing an echo of "if you don't want to be raped, don't dress like a slut."

Sure - everyone is responsible for the way they dress. Gun owners are also responsible for pulling the trigger. Hoodies don't kill people, people with guns kill people.

Sheriff Bart said...

http://geraldoinahoodie.tumblr.com/

This didn't take very long.

VOTAR said...

So many people missing the point here.

As I read it, Chez is not saying that Trayvon's appearance justified Zimmerman's actions, but it IS part of the explanation of them.

There is a vast difference between trying to understand Zimmerman's reaction (in an academic sense), versus justifying or excusing it. And like it or not, we live in a world where one's attire broadcasts information about us that others will interpret in ways we cannot control, based on images they've already been exposed to. Like it or not, stereotypes don't materialize out of thin air. We are taught by pop culture to expect a certain behavior from people who deliberately present themselves a certain way. And these images are often not only tacitly presented, they're often celebrated by those who adopt them.

Goths want to look dark and goth-y.
Bikers want to look like tough bearded dudes wearing dusty leather.
"Gangsta" hip-hop performers want to look thuggish and menacing.
Porn starlets want to look slutty.

Otherwise, none of them would bother to make all that effort.

So yes, Zimmerman must be held accountable for his actions, but I don't think -- however racist he may seem to us -- that he went out that night thinking "I'm gonna shoot me a black kid." But in the hyper-vigilante fever he had obviously worked himself into, it is somewhat believable -- not justified -- that his actions were informed in some part by his learned and culturally reinforced preconceptions about a person who seemed out of place in his neighborhood, and a black kid wearing a hoodie at night in a gated community certainly can, like it or not, contribute to that misconception.

I feel pretty comfortable understanding this without any hint of feeling as though I'm "blaming the victim."

indigotea said...

Yes, but it doesn't make the hoodie-wearer any less dead to be blameless, does it?

Until we live in a perfect society, it's sensible to err on the side of caution. Wait a beat before going through the green light so the jackass trying to beat his red light doesn't T-bone you. If you're a hot young girl, don't dress in a mini skirt and tank top and get close to blackout drunk in the company of douchebags. Because you can be completely right and innocent, but it won't save you from harm.

I want to minimize the likelihood that the evil people of the world choose me to victimize, while I'm waiting for society to figure out a way to stop them from victimizing anybody.

FabMax said...

But he is actually right when he implies that people will judge you based on the clothes you wear. For fuck's sake -- that's common sense.

No. It's really not.

Common sense would be jugding someone by their actions, not by their appearance.

Ghisent said...

Agree with TK - I don't disagree with the fundamental point. I simply don't think it's particularly applicable in this instance.

Chez said...

I never said it was applicable. In fact, I said it wasn't. I used the remark as a jumping off point.

SteveR said...

I think there's a lag between the initial appearance of the mode of dress and its evolved version. The hoodie look may have denoted a thug originally, but over time, it has become quite harmless in the mainstream. However, types like Zimmerman haven't caught onto the new meaning of the hoodie. There's the lag, the gap.

It's like still believing that jazz is the devil's music.

I think the middle ground is "wear what you want, but be careful where you wear it."

Anonymous said...

ok, Chez, you've got a point, the way we present ourselves to the world does have an impact on how others see us. my dad always told me that. but have you seen any pictures of Trayvon??? he has the face of a thirteen year old (and a very well behaved one!). talk about judging a book by its cover! hoodie or not. the asshole who killed him did it because he was black. would he have killed a white kid with a hoodie? hell no. and from what you wrote and replied in all of the comments you agree with that too. so why are you trying to justify or provide a reasonable motive, or an excuse, or whatever for what Geraldo said? this has has no justification and no other motive than racism (and a trigger happy white fuck with a gun). it was just a kid wearing a hoodie! for fucks sake, what kid doesn't wear a hoodie? gangster image my ass! he was a black kid and the racist killed him, end of story.

Milton (i'm posting as anonymous because for some reason that is the only way my posts are accepted)

Anonymous said...

hell, if it's because of the gangsta image, why hasn't any white vigilante asshole killed Justin Bieber yet?

Milton

R. Herndon said...

Let me start by saying this.. I do not consider Geraldo in any way a brain trust or even a halfway decent interpreter of culture. So this statment just comes off to me as one more glaring example of his "lameness."

I think your assessment of Trayvon's sartorial choice as a possible contributing factor to his death is an odd and strangely formed.

I can only see it as being as wrong as saying a woman encourages rape by wearing sexy clothing. If she is naked you still shouldn't touch her unless you know her well enough to be invited. Even then you had better be damned sure she wasn't intoxicated, drugged or crazy. Because you will be called to account for your actions if she later feels she was wronged.

Which you have acknowledged.

That's a long way to say this - a hoodie is not a sign that the wearer is a threat. So before taking action against a "perceived" threat you had better be damned sure that the wearer of the hoodie is indeed "trouble." Otherwise there will be some very serious accounting to be done.

Zimmerman wasn't acting responsibly. The police had clearly told him to stand down. The police understood the nature of the situation and tried hard to inform Zimmerman that he had done enough.

Until you have been denied service at restaurant because of your color, or have been questioned by police because you kind of look like some other black guy, you will never understand.

No amount of wearing the right clothes will do. If a person has decided to judge you as a threat strictly by appearances, they have already limited your chance to carry on as any American should have the right to. I've been on the receiving side of this kind of reactionary.

It's painful and frustrating to hear someone you think might have a clue could be so lame as to "blame the hoodie."

Mart said...

Few years back went for a midnight run in 10 degree F weather. Icier than I planed and was mostly walking the hills and I started to freeze in my too light layers with a hoodie on top. I noticed the sun had melted the ice on the sidewalk across the street and started running pretty fast to warm up. All of a sudden a car swerves onto the sidewalk and I nearly fall over it. I realize it is a cop car and my next door neighbor was rolling down the window. I'm stammering Jesus Mike it's Mart, what the hell? And he says Jesus Mart, I see a hoodie sprinting down the street in freezing weather in the middle of the night, what the hell you expect?

Claude Weaver said...

I love how people are still missing the point. For the cheap seats:

CHEZ IS NOT EXCUSING RIVERA OR ZIMMERMAN. NOBODY IS BLAMING MARTIN OR THE HOODIE.

Chez is simply saying that Rivera, in his own stupendous;y idiotic way, did make an interesting point that should be addressed. That is all.

Or let me put it this way: there are people in this world that are indeed so backwards and reactionary that they could and would still consider a hoodie more threatening than a suit. We should be aware of this, if only to be able to prevent these deluded people from using said superficial nonsense as legitimate defense.

hell, if it's because of the gangsta image, why hasn't any white vigilante asshole killed Justin Bieber yet?

1) He has bodyguards.
2) Most likely, they don't know who Justin Bieber even is.

I know it was a joke, but it still fits the point.

namron said...

Whether it was stated inartfully (at best) by Jerry Rivers or thoughtfully ( as usual) by Chez, the point is we all want a world that should be, but we live and function in a world that is.

Capt Clown said...

There's huge overlap between racism and classism, and some people who are prejudiced against the racial minority underclass don't consider themselves racist because they don't have a problem with a black businessman in a suit, just "the ones who cause trouble".

The problem is when white teenagers dress down they look exactly like what they are: Teenagers trying to look cool by trying to dress rebellious. When minorities dress down, the classist/racist intersection causes a lot of people to see them as thugs.

So middle-class white teenagers caught with drugs get a slap on the wrist because they're "good kids who made a mistake", while poorer minorities who do the exact same thing get the book thrown at them because "this is the start of their criminal career".

Chez said...

Good point, Capt.

Anonymouse said...

I agree with the clown...a phrase I say far too often. While I still believe there is racism in today's society, and some of it is institutional, the socio-economic divisions in our country is becoming far more difficult to overcome.

When I served in the navy from 2000-2006, I was exposed to a wide variety of people throughout the country and the US. Being poor sucks and it causes a lot of long term problems. A piss poor rural kid from Kentucky ain't gonna get exposed to crack cocaine and the gansta culture of rap, but he is gonna get exposed to meth and redneck culture that puts the same emphasis on excessive drinking and other self destructive lifestyles. The poor rural kid has as much of a chance to have a supporting family unit as any poor kid from the city. If your poor and in a nicer area where people don't think you belong, the po-po gonna fuck with you, no matter your color.

The frustrating thing I always found when dealing with junior sailors (all of which had diplomas but far too many could not read or write functionally) was that they accepted their situation. Kids with clear learning disabilities were just past along until they graduated. Kids having kids, with most of them never knowing their dads and just folks struggling to stay above water with zero long term goals. Just real depressing shit.

Kids get in trouble all the time, but if their family is around and has any bit of social standing, they get a slap on the wrist. You poor? Better hope they don't execute you.

Geraldo's a jackass but there is a serious undercurrent in the US, from a variety of different social groups, that view education as either a waste of time, or something to look down upon. The US is a weird fucking country.

R. Herndon said...

Claude -

"CHEZ IS NOT EXCUSING RIVERA OR ZIMMERMAN. NOBODY IS BLAMING MARTIN OR THE HOODIE." (no need to shout, man)

The point wasn't very nuanced. It leaves me "cold."

I don't think he blames Rivera. I don't feel that Chez directly blames the hoodie. But the suggestion that Trayvon's hoodie provided a negative first impression also suggests fault belongs in some way or amount in Trayvon's court.

Like I've suggested before you can't know unless you have been there. It's likely you have not.

On different note - this whole thing could have escalated into the kind of hate filled violence that took place immediately after Rodney King was beaten. This time I think people are tired and weary. All we want is justice. It doesn't seem to be on time. This incident is worse than King's. Yet people have chosen to react in a very civil manner.

I am approaching 60 years. I believe that American society suffers cycles of cultural ineptitude. I feel we have entered one more deep trench wear Trayvon's death is a marker along a road filled with misunderstanding and determined ignorance.

TheReaperD said...

There's racism and classism. Racism sees a black man in a fancy suit and says "he must be a drug dealer" whereas classism sees anybody not dressing/looking at "their level" as either a threat or trash (because classism, like racism, goes both ways). But, no matter what the name is or why the distinction, it all comes down to human tribalism. The difference is between those who have enough reason to say, figuratively:

"They're not from my tribe. *breath* Ok, let's see if they're friendly."

verses:

"OH MY GOD! THEY'RE NOT FROM MY TRIBE! KILL THEM!"

Unfortunately, racists, religious fanatics, bullies, many conservatives, etc. all are driven by fear (explains why Fox news is all based on scare mongering and is so successful) and react based on that fear, rather than rational action. Does this excuse their behavior? Hell no! We live in what is supposed to be a civilized society and such behavior should never be tolerated.

To apply this to the topic at hand, does this explain Zimmerman's behavior? Yes. Should be be allowed to get away with it (assuming the facts fit what information we have been given)? No.

Sheriff Bart said...

Dude shot an unarmed kid. What the fuck are we arguing about?

Anonymous said...

"George Zimmerman suffered a broken nose, and had an injury to the back of his head, he was attacked by Trayvon Martin on that evening," Sonner said. "This was a case of self defense."

I think i'll wait until all the facts are revealed before I jump to any conclusions.

Chez said...

It's "would be," Fab. But unfortunately it's not at the moment.

BevB said...

Chez

You say that "ignoring or defiantly thumbing your nose at the fact that there may be certain unintended consequences to the image you choose to project is both irresponsible and thick-headed"

I say that your comments are not only irresponsible and thick-headed but also inflammatory and totally fucked-up!!!

As what you are implying is that black people should think a lot more carefully and not dress in the same way as their white peers or face the "natural consequences" of being hunted down and shot dead!!! And females should not dress too provocatively or face the inevitablilty of being raped!!! etc


And no matter how much you try to back-track, you are invariably placing the blame for violent, brutal, senseless acts of crime at the victims feet!!! As In your eyes victims of such heinous crimes
should have made better choices in how they chose to dress and therefore are just as culpable as their crazed offender!!!

How pathetic!!!


BevB

Anonymous said...

We are always so quick to form judgment.

There was a reason the police did not arrest Zimmerman immediately and it may be more based on the law and the facts than anything else.

But that won't get headlines.

Chez said...

Sorry, Bev. I couldn't hear you. Could you add a few more exclamation points to your comment?

Anonymous said...

BevB
the thinking that goes behind the mentality of "blame the victim" (however suttle it may be) usually comes from one who perpetuates a lot of hurt on others. It's how they rationalize and numb themselves to the all the damage that they cause: "See, if they weren't so gullible or stupid or weak, I wouldn't have been able to hurt them, soooo they deserved it!"

About the Trayvon case, I will wait until all the facts are out because I know how the media loves to manipulate stories and/or sensationalize - it's all about how many hits they get for their story. Who cares if they destroy someone's life - they probably deserved it anyway (right?) for being so weak or stupid!