There has been so much good, thoughtful writing about the verdict and the social systems that allowed it to happen. Here are a few of the best pieces I’ve come across:
–The Zimmerman jury told young black men what we already knew.
It is a complicated thing to be young, black, and male in America. Not only are you well aware that many people are afraid of you—you can see them clutching their purses or stiffening in their subway seats when you sit across from them—you must also remain conscious of the fact that people expect you to be apologetic for their fear. It’s your job to be remorseful about the fact that your very nature makes them uncomfortable, like a pilot having to apologize to a fearful flyer for being in the sky.
–White supremacy acquits George Zimmerman.
When Zimmerman was acquitted today, it wasn’t because he’s a so-called white Hispanic. He’s not. It’s because he abides by the logic of white supremacy, and was supported by a defense team—and a swath of society—that supports the lingering idea that some black men must occasionally be killed with impunity in order to keep society-at-large safe.
–We are not Trayvon Martin: a Tumblr exploring race and privilege through people’s personal experiences. The creator of the blog explains here why he started it:
So much of the coverage and trial has been about race, Trayvon’s race, and what that meant for him. But all to often those of us who get the benefits of racism can’t see. We can’t see it because the world just appears normal. Living a “normal” life means i don’t have to think about race.
But race shapes my world as much as it shapes Trayvon’s, and it is my responsibility to see that and change that.
–What bell hooks knew about George Zimmerman in 2001: on the incredibly relevant bell hooks quote that’s been making rounds on social media, but turns out to be from a book she wrote twelve years ago.
–Trayvon Martin: a mother’s lament in black, white, and brown.
Then I knew. My boys had the privilege of being able to be wise guys, to be rough housing little boys. My friend’s sons did not. It was not just good manners my friends were demanding, they were training their sons to survive.
–Domestic violence and George Zimmerman’s defense.
In our current moment of post-verdict protests, we should reflect on several moments in which the legal system failed Trayvon Martin. But, as his cousin’s and former fiance’s disclosures suggests, the system fell apart long before the fateful night that Zimmerman profiled and murdered this innocent teenage boy. And I cannot help but wonder if Zimmerman had been held accountable for the violence he had already inflicted on girls and women, that Trayvon Martin might be with us here today.
–Black transwoman to black cis/transman: an open letter for Trayvon and the rest of us.
As a black* transwoman I want you to know that I never abandoned you or took the easy way out. A war was waged on black* bodies the moment the first slave touched Virginian soil in the 1600′s. So I transitioned from “male” to “female” because I just needed to be in more comfortable battle fatigues.
–If Trayvon Martin had been a woman…
Seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones was shot to death as she slept on the couch with her grandmother during a midnight Swat raid on her home in 2010. Last month, three years after her death, the child’s killer, police officer Joseph Weekley, walked from a Detroit courtroom after his involuntary manslaughter case was declared a mistrial. Where were the headlines and protests?
–Trayvon Martin and the irony of American justice.
It is painful to say this: Trayvon Martin is not a miscarriage of American justice, but American justice itself. This is not our system malfunctioning. It is our system working as intended. To expect our juries, our schools, our police to single-handedly correct for this, is to look at the final play in the final minute of the final quarter and wonder why we couldn’t come back from twenty-four down.
–Racism is every American’s problem.
Though Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law contributed significantly to Zimmerman’s acquittal, the root of the problem reaches far deeper and stretches all across these United States. We must forget the convenient narrative that racism only thrives in the South. Racism is an American problem. We all need to stop trying to absolve ourselves of responsibility.