Zimmerman verdict: A green light for racist vigilantes

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2013/07/14/how_power_works_in_america/

This verdict allows every paranoid, sub-intelligent, vigilante with a gun to go on victimizing black youth

Just weeks ago, I returned to New York City from Fire Island on a Sunday evening, and decided to stop by my office.

After I let myself into the office, I noticed some Caucasians mingling around. I paid them no mind, since our office often has off-hours visitors who rent the common space.

“Can I help you?” said a middle aged white man, testily.

“No,” I shot back.  “But I can I help YOU?”

“What do you mean?”

“I work here,” I said. “This is MY office.”

“Oh,” he said, stepping back slightly.  “I saw you and just wanted to make sure things are OK.”

“Thank you, George Zimmerman,” I said.

Weeks later, my sarcastic one-off is more painful to me than I could ever have imagined. George Zimmerman’s acquittal leaves me feeling so nauseous.

This office exchange has been common to me my whole life. A testy “Can I help you?” doubles as a passive-aggressive demand for me to justify my presence even where I belong. Thankfully, I have never encountered an armed white person on the other end of that presumption.

Trayvon Martin paid for that common presumption with his life.

Zimmerman’s stooges and apologists claim that his deadly encounter had nothing do with race. And that his trial and acquittal have nothing to do with race.  His defenders effectively portrayed him as a hapless Samaritan who got in over his head. Meanwhile, they tarred Trayvon as a menace who failed to properly justify his existence.

These presumptions colored every moment of the Police Department’s botched initial reaction and the trial.

How does an armed adult defy the policy, chase down a youth, kill him, and then turn around and call it self defense? Defense from what? A fleeing kid? Was Trayvon Martin seen for his humanity? Or as a “fucking punk”? Are black men seen for our humanity or as three-fifths of a fucking punk? This verdict will have devastating consequences. It is an implicit green light for every paranoid, sub-intelligent, vigilante racist to go on victimizing black youth. Trayvon Martin is dead for no reason other than being black.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2013/07/14/how_power_works_in_america/

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