Further reading on the Zimmerman verdict

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. 

Continue reading

A moment of silence

For Trayvon.

For his parents, who are grieving and have no justice.

For Rachel Jeantel, who said Trayvon was one of the few guys who didn’t make fun of her.

For Marissa Alexander, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing warning shots against her abusive husband–and for being a black woman–while George Zimmerman walks free.

For everyone who wasn’t surprised by the verdict, because they’d already been told so many times that their lives were worth nothing.

For the mamas who are afraid to let their sons walk to the corner store for candy and iced tea.

For a “justice” system that was never built to protect anyone but rich, het, cis white men.

For a country that allows this to happen, again and again.

For all the rage and heartsickness and the searing, bone-deep need for change.

Saturday Links, 7/6/13

I love this collage made by Hannah.

I apologize for the lateness of this week’s links! But it was totally worth it–yesterday I had an epic day celebrating the birthday of one of my close friends, involving: laser tag, arcade games, pooling together our arcade tickets so that the birthday girl could win a crayon-shaped lava lamp, dinner and drinks at an Irish pub, and then hanging out and playing board games while wearing fancy dresses in a room at a historic downtown Boston hotel.

It was all-around awesome. I have amazing friends, and sometimes having all-day adventures with them, and getting away from screens and thinking too much, is exactly what I need.

-ModCloth has been taking some great steps toward expanding their plus size range (and making it actually sized like typical plus clothing, unlike their old sizing system, in which a 4x was equivalent to a small 22). One example of the gorgeous stuff they’re putting out is this Edwardian dress, which is coming soon. I can’t even begin to describe how much I love and want it!
-I recently came across Eff Yeah Indigenous Fashion, which showcases indigenous art, fashion, and design from around the world. Most of their posts include links where you can support indigenous artists. For example, one of my recent favorites: PowWow Styles, which is colorful beaded jewelry made by a woman from the Cree/Sioux tribes.
-Eff Yeah Indigenous Fashion also has some good posts on how to appreciate indigenous fashion without appropriating it.
-This pastel jeweled flower crown is pure eye candy.
-Domino Dollhouse has a 40% discount code, listed on their homepage, which expires tomorrow. If you’ve been waiting to get something from them, now is your chance.
-In other DD news, check out this sneak peek of two dresses that will be available soon. I love both of them!

Fat Activism
-Closet Puritan talks about the ways that fat people are often gaslighted.
It isn’t over until the fat babes sing: an ode to musicians of size.
-Awesomeness: fat, happy, and healthy women photographed by Gabriela Hasbun.
-Ragen is starting an exciting fat activism history project (at the bottom of the post)!

Communicating climate science through music:

Climate and Sustainability
United we sweat: building a fossil fuel resistance.
-A lyrical and powerful alphabet for climate change.
-The Boston Globe has a great article about churches and other faith groups divesting from fossil fuels.
-On a related note, a major Norwegian pension fund has dropped tar sands investments.  Woot!
-The GROW (Gather Rise Organize Win) divestment gatherings look really promising.
-Bill McKibben, my #1 climate justice hero, has a new book coming out in September! He’s a brilliant writer, and I can’t wait to read it.
-Sandra Steingraber, another one of my climate justice heroes, writes about the silence of science and the eloquent activism of people of faith.
-Yet another climate hero: Tim DeChristopher on Letterman: “stop and think about what it means to be too late” on climate.
-Beautiful and haunting: artist Chad Wright portrays the American Dream washing into the sea.
Michael Pollan on agriculture’s role in fighting climate change.
Obama’s Lincoln moment?

Everything Else
-An poignant reminder not to judge poor people for their devices: a homeless man and his BlackBerry.
More women are dying from painkiller overdoses: epidemic, or something more complicated?
-A different, and equally important, perspective on the Indian Child Welfare Act (which I talked about in last week’s Friday links): My uterus will not be used to fill your tribal rolls. I really like this comment on the piece as well.
Rachel, Trayvon, and the saddest thing I’ve ever read.
Playing by the rules: white privilege and Rachel Jeantel.
An open letter to new Teach for America recruits.
Entitled students, grades, and obedience: what is education for?
Putting googly eyes on everything is the best thing ever.

Thoughts on Mia McKenzie’s letter to white liberals

Earlier this week, Mia McKenzie of Black Girl Dangerous wrote about being saddened by her own lack of empathy toward the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, which she attributed to burnout from all the times when white people ignored violence against people of color.

My first thoughts were: I can’t. I just can’t. This is raw and honest and important, but I just can’t deal with anyone expressing a lack of empathy for the victims–no matter how understandable her reasons, no matter how clearly she wants to be able to empathize. Not after last week.

Then, a few days later, it showed up on my Facebook newsfeed, and I read it again.

It still hurt to read. Not only because of the lack of empathy that still hit me viscerally, but also because of McKenzie’s assumption that only white people were harmed by the bombings. In fact, one of the three people murdered at the Marathon was Lu Lingzi, a student from China. I’m not ok with erasing her.

Also, the effects of the bombings and the subsequent scary-as-fuck manhunt were felt city-wide. This wasn’t a white-Bostonians trauma: it was an all-Bostonians trauma.

That said, I still think McKenzie’s piece is important, and I’m glad she wrote it.

It’s a painful read, especially as a Bostonian.

And I really wish she had acknowledged that people of color were in fact affected by the bombings.

But that doesn’t change her immediate, visceral reaction, or the very real circumstances that led to it.

That doesn’t change the truth that racism kills children like Trayvon Martin.

That doesn’t change the truth that many white people ignore the suffering of people of color, and that even those of us who are trying hard to fight racism can do better.

McKenzie’s pain–and that of her friends who reacted similarly–is real. Boston’s pain, both individual and collective, is real.

As hard as it is to hold them both in my mind, to simultaneously honor both kinds of suffering, I will try.

Because I want to work toward a world in which neither has to happen.