On Trayvon Martin or how to miss what is there

I believe the courts decided correctly that George Zimmerman did not break any laws.

That is the problem.

One child is now dead because of his (Z's) recklessness and no law was offended.  It seemed justifiable to the jury because the child was black and wore a hoodie; two things suffused with enough symbolic threat to America that the child who engaged his stalker was deemed more at fault.  The kid was given the death penalty while his killer is free.

Yes, Zimmerman acted in self defense.  He really did. He had to defend himself from his attacker.
But who really attacked whom?  Did Trayvon have reason to be equally as scared?  It would be unthinkable if this case set precedent to convict white women who confront the men stalking them.  I was taken aback when Trayvon was described as a threatening 6'2".  I'm 6'3"

Zimmerman's pursuit was judged as inconsequential by the law because the power of blackness is a much greater threat that justified the tailing, which led to the confrontation, which led to fight, which led to the shooting. To the jury at least.  And at the very least, even if they are convinced race played no part, they decided that menacing children at night in the rain because they might take stuff is more acceptable than confronting your stalker.  In the meantime the media has lit upon the hoodie** That's creepy.

Should Martin have confronted Zimmerman like he did?  Probably not.  But that just can't be the real problem here if such vast swaths of our society are quick to point out how "thug" a hoodie is, as if that somehow justifies anything.  It doesn't.  It just confesses the deeply embedded racism* in America.

The Zimmerman case is about race.  How can it not be if the judge had to exclude it at the outset of the trial? Excluding it is itself an admission it exists and affects the consideration of things.  My conclusion so far is that the case demonstrates something I learned from some friends and a book, Divided by Faith, that if your mindset is shaped by individualism as most white folks are (guilty, here), it's easy to see the case as a tragic tale and only allow a particular data set to be used in deciding the right and wrong of what happened.  If you have a different sensibility,different worldview, then perhaps there is a larger picture that emerges in which a black child was killed and it's ok by the law.  Which just happens to be something that has happened many times in our nation's history.  

Martin's death is one of many that happened unjustly in our country that day, but the common story becomes a place where we can see how these unholy dynamics of power are at work in our national body.  Or choose not to see them.  But that is no real choice at all if we believe we are called to participate in the body of Christ and find our humanity in him.

In the meantime, pray for his mother who has been clinging to Jesus through it all.

**Their just seems such much here to mine in understanding the sybolism of America's pathologies.  To be honest, I'm not down with the hoodie movement, because these things become too "cool".  I picture lots of well meaning kids rushing to the GAP to pick up a new hoodie to make a statement instead of accepting and caring someone who is really different from them.  Which incidentally, is what Rachel Jeantel said was true of Martin, that he "Rachel Jeantel, the teen who had been speaking with Martin on the phone at the time of the murder, spoke after her testimony to say Trayvon was “one of the few guys that never made fun of [Jeantel], about the way [she] dressed, about the way [she] talked, about [her] hair, about [her] complexion… about [her] weight.”
*uggh, don't even like to use that word it gets so twisted.  Racialization?  Racial sin?  Presumptive white bigotry?  institutionalized xenophobia?  Sin.  that's really the best I can do.


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