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Thread: Trayvon Martin

  1. #1
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    Default Trayvon Martin

    A question and an observation, about the aftermath of the case:

    How come the protests in the US against the verdict were so small (if the media is to be believed, and except in Chicago, it seems)?

    I went on a protest yday that started outside the US Embassy in London (fuck that building is like something out of Ghostbusters). Turnout was okay given the weather and the time elapsed since the verdict/its slide down the UK news agenda - what was so fucked up was the reaction of bystanders. Some were exhibiting the usual irritation with the disruption to their consumerism, or just blank incomprehension, both of which I can deal with. But a very substantial minority had looks of wry amusement/contempt, which I have never seen before in reaction to a protest, and can only conclude was racialised, given that proportion-wise the demo was made up of considerably more black people than other protest I've been on, plus of course the details of the case itself. Just a sickening experience.

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    I've been following a lot of comments threads on this and what surprises me is how many people are willing to back the law on this and how vociferously. What (apart from hate) motivates someone to argue so powerfully and angrily for the rightness of the death of this man?

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    Absolutely. I've also been shocked by how infrequently (in those type of comments threads) the simple fact that a 17-year old is needlessly dead has been mentioned. So many commenters have just skipped over this 'detail', going straight into quasi-legal arguments as you say. Needless to say, white 17-year old, totally different story.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich View Post
    What (apart from hate) motivates someone to argue so powerfully and angrily for the rightness of the death of this man?
    I think in America there are probably a lot of white people who look at this case and think "that could have been me" (meaning Zimmerman, not Martin), but that doesn't really apply in Britain because (apart from actual criminals) virtually the only people here who own guns are farmers.

    Even the Daily Mail had a story the other day about how white people who kill black people in 'Stand Your Ground' states are 4.5 times more likely to be exonerated than when the victim is also white (although the same is true in non-SYG states but by a smaller margin).

    Edit: here

    Hywel, that's very depressing about people's reactions to the protest but I guess some people just can't muster any compassion for someone in a situation that they can't directly imagine happening to themselves.
    Last edited by Mr. Tea; 29-07-2013 at 12:13 PM.
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    I think racism is generally being re-legitimised in a way that would've been unthinkable 10-15 years ago. And yes, I blame the internet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Tea View Post
    Hywel, that's very depressing about people's reactions to the protest but I guess some people just can't muster any compassion for someone in a situation that they can't directly imagine happening to themselves.
    Definitely true, and especially if (some of) the observers do not regard the person who has been killed as a person at all, but rather as an entirely expendable and threatening Other.

    @crackerjack - it's really hard to compare eras, but that does appear to me to be right (and also with regard to anti-disability sentiment, misogyny etc). From everyday personal experience, I would say I hear people say things that are shockingly hateful more than I did 10 years back
    Last edited by baboon2004; 29-07-2013 at 12:14 PM.

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    i still think a lot of it goes back to obama: his election (and re-election against the rich capitalist white guy) has brought out a level of racism to the surface in many parts of the country. it was probably always there, but more restrained and often unspoken. now lots of people in the south and rural areas talk openly about wanting to take their country back, with the implication being "back from the liberals/gays/black/hispanics" who have threatened their comfortable way of life. add in the NRA's second amendment frenzy and it's the perfect cocktail for increased racial strife.

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    "So many commenters have just skipped over this 'detail', going straight into quasi-legal arguments as you say"
    Exactly. And getting really angry about it too.
    It does seem that, quite apart from the race issue, the "stand your ground law" is ludicrous in that a man can admit to killing someone and then claim self-defence and the burden of proof falls on the prosecution to show that it wasn't self-defence whereas in the normal course of events you would expect the person who has admitted to killing someone to need to come up with some pretty fucking good evidence that their life was under threat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo View Post
    i still think a lot of it goes back to obama: his election (and re-election against the rich capitalist white guy) has brought out a level of racism to the surface in many parts of the country. it was probably always there, but more restrained and often unspoken. now lots of people in the south and rural areas talk openly about wanting to take their country back, with the implication being "back from the liberals/gays/black/hispanics" who have threatened their comfortable way of life. add in the NRA's second amendment frenzy and it's the perfect cocktail for increased racial strife.
    Can see this in the US, obviously, and also the idea that there's a black president now, so racism is dead so STFU going on about racist cops/judges etc etc.

    But the same thing is happening here. I know comments boxes aren't exactly an infallible sample, but it's now entirely mainstream there - not just at places like Telegraph (where it's quite literally the majority of commenters when the subject is race/immigration-related and often when it's not), but in very significant numbers at more liberal (or less hysterically rightwing, at least) sites.

    I thought this racist van shit was gonna backfire spectacularly. But now they're talking of rolling it out nationally. It's pure dog whistle racism and it's fucking terrifying.
    http://www.newstatesman.com/business...assic-pr-stunt

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    Also has a lot to do with economic recession and anxiety. Fingers start pointing, blame finds scapegoats, and we have a global movement toward militarization, tightening borders, apartheid, and revival of Eugenics type racial "science".

    instead of focusing on fighting the forces which stops implementation of the cures for our collective ills which are surely there, ready, and available.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zhao View Post
    Also has a lot to do with economic recession and anxiety
    this. absolutely this. a booming economy papers over many, many cracks in society but as soon as it tanks all the tensions that were lurking beneath the surface reemerge with a vengeance. struggling people blame scapegoats for their problems. combine that w/unease caused by the US's transition from white majority to racial plurality, and the fact that it's much easier to blame illegal immigrants or black teenagers than it is to grapple with enormously and complex economic matters that are beyond many experts, let alone laypeople. can't say I agree w/zhao about readily available cures, or their realistic chances of ever being implemented, but the diagnosis is correct.

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    also specifically about Trayvon:

    -the right-wing media - the whole media, tbh - did a fantastic job of mucking up the debate on this from the get-go. if anything Trayvon is a more sympathetic victim than, say, Rodney King or even Oscar Grant but it turned into a morass of Florida gun laws, whether or not Zimmerman is "white" and whether that matters, whether or not it's a crime to wear a fucking hoodie, etc etc
    -speaking of Oscar Grant, a lot of people already have very little faith in the American justice system. it's difficult to be continually disappointed and outraged by something you don't believe in to begin with. even tho Oakland exploded over Oscar twice (once when it happened and once after that bullshit trial) the national reaction was, iirc, not very strong. of course now that's it a movie that won Sundance or whatever movie critics can rhapsodize over it. obviously, someone should get one of the other kids from the Wire to star in a Trayvon Martin flick.

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    Yeah, totally true about whether Zimmerman is white or how hard he was hit. Side-issues that are barely worth thinking about which have become the debate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by padraig (u.s.) View Post
    this. absolutely this. a booming economy papers over many, many cracks in society but as soon as it tanks all the tensions that were lurking beneath the surface reemerge with a vengeance. struggling people blame scapegoats for their problems. combine that w/unease caused by the US's transition from white majority to racial plurality, and the fact that it's much easier to blame illegal immigrants or black teenagers than it is to grapple with enormously and complex economic matters that are beyond many experts, let alone laypeople. can't say I agree w/zhao about readily available cures, or their realistic chances of ever being implemented, but the diagnosis is correct.
    yup, both of you nailed it.

    a friend of mine recently said "forget everything else. an adult shot and killed a kid, isn't that wrong?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by padraig (u.s.) View Post
    can't say I agree w/zhao about readily available cures, or their realistic chances of ever being implemented
    don't want to derail, just to clarify.
    surely we all know common sensical, easy cures:

    "surplus wealth" taxes for the rich and "excess profits" taxes for big corporations.
    put these funds into development and ending poverty.
    unkilll the electric car.
    etc.

    but i never said nuttin about the existence of any realistic chances of their implementation...

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