Saturday, July 20, 2013

I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me

I have made it my business to avoid the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case. To me it's just another court case singled out for special media attention, one out of the thousands that occur in the U.S.  It is just one of all those that illustrate the continuing prejudices and racism  that continue to run through our society.

Where is the outrage for all the other sons who are assaulted or killed because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time through no fault of their own?

I hate that this case was presented as a referendum on justice for all the kids (regardless of their race or ethnicity) who are unfairly suspected to be up to no good. It's too much pressure for a case like this to withstand.

Those people who were looking to this case for justice would be satisfied with nothing less than the conviction of George Zimmerman whether or not he was guilty of breaking the law. (Maybe the law is bad and should be changed, but that is an entirely different issue.)

Friday, President Obama was quoted as saying, "Trayvon could have been me."  That is certainly true. I imagine he was watched and monitored unfairly through his whole life, probably more so as he entered elite universities, etc.

I do think that the prevalence of racism is better than it was 35 years ago. That is not saying that I think it's good.  Racial profiling still goes on everyday, just ask your Muslim neighbors.

We don't even have to be in any particular category to be watched.  President Obama said that Treyvon Martin could have been him, but the truth is that we're all being watched and monitored everyday. If you didn't realize it before, the recent information that has come out about the NSA data collection systems and capabilities has shown it to us.

We all have cause to feel like Trayvon being watched and followed even though we haven't done anything illegal. Where's President Obama's outrage about that?

What happened between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman that fateful day is a tragedy.  Period.  It's just about two people, one African-American and one Hispanic, and their families.  It's tragic enough without making it the standard bearer for justice in our society.

Rather than asking one person to be punished for the sins of our society, perhaps we should look at the institutions within our society that have us running so scared, acting so paranoid, that we must watch everyone in order to feel safe.


Very well said. It was a painful topic to discuss with my children. Thankfully it also gave me hope that their generation does better.

Joy: I can't imagine having to talk about this with your children. And I feel for the people who wanted the guilty verdict for Zimmerman regardless. The feel a lack of justice in their everyday lives. There is no comfortable result here.

I agree with you. A very tragic confrontation and death. My biggest issue all along has been the fact that a "neighborhood watch" program run by residents allowed guns! I sure hope MY neighbors don't take it upon themselves to carry while walking our streets. If they want to protect their own house okay, but don't carry a concealed gun around my children or pets! I really don't know or trust my neighbors to do that!

Marla: That is a great point! The idea of that is very disturbing. I hadn't really thought about it that way.

You make an excellent point about holding one case up to represent all similar cases...makes it so difficult to evaluate whether justice was served on the merits of the evidence in this case. It's particularly difficult when the case is tried in the media. We're shown a biased version of the evidence leading up to the trial so that we have little basis to rationally appreciate what goes on in the actual courtroom.

The one thing that sticks with me is that Mr Zimmerman was advised to stay in his vehicle during the 911 call. Had he followed that instruction, none of what followed would have happened. A Neighborhood Watch program is simply and report. You're not a cop. Report your suspicions, follow the instructions of the proper authority, and wait for them to come and talk to you about what you reported.

Travis: The benefit that I think that this case can have is as a conversation starter about the institutional racism that is illustrated in so many ways here. That sounds like it may even be starting now.

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