Trayvon’s Heart Missing for White, Mom Jury

I think we need to talk about the other elephant in the room regarding the Trayvon Martin case:

this jury of predominantly white “Moms”- or so I keep hearing.

As if, magically, this will take away any issues of race or privilege or any other issues…simply because all these jurors were mothers and female.

I’ll just go ahead and say it and take the heat: some of the biggest people with racial issues I know are white feminists. Mind you I did not say every, I did not say ALL, I said some. Simply…some.

I found out first hand when I was the first blogger to publicly ask former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to step down from her run so then Senator Barack Obama could claim the nomination for President. 99% of my hate mail came from white feminists who were shocked and appalled I dared ask a woman to get out-of-the-way for a man. They accused me of being at traitor to my gender. They accused me of being a N-gger lover, out to “impress” the “other” minorities, while ignoring my own. They also told me women needed this more than people of color and I should know that because I AM a woman. How dare I fail to understand their struggle and how dare I put those of color’s struggle above women’s struggles?

So when I heard the jury was made up of a bevy of white females, I did not feel any better for the prosecution’s chances. Even if they were liberal, white, females. I knew all too well the history of racism some of these women carried in their hearts and I knew some believed their plight was far worse than any other minority’s plight. I also knew, deep down, some may be harboring some very racist views.

It was the age-old “but our struggle is harder than your struggle” fight that I’ve watched play out over blogs over the years. Even on my own.

But hey, maybe I was way off base. Maybe my gut feeling was totally wrong and these were enlightened, totally biased free women. Sure they might have the usual issues anyone would have with race and gender and class, but perhaps they were smart enough to put all that aside for the trial and move forward like rational humans.

And then came Anderson Cooper’s interview with one of the jurors. My stomach churned and sadly, I felt like my initial thoughts just might be true. I certainly didn’t feel any better about my theory as to the panel composed of George Zimmerman’s peers. Juror B37 said she had no doubt Zimmerman was “afraid” – my question…how afraid can you be if you take your gun and pursue the person you are allegedly afraid of? But what caught my attention most was juror B37’s comments on witness Rachael Jeantel. “A lot of the times she was using phrases I have never heard before and what they meant…that’s way they talk…” (emphasis mine)

Does she means the way teens talk? Doubtful. I think considering she was discussing her “communication skills” she was speaking directly to race. Directly. Go ahead and click on the link to her discussion of Jeantel. How she felt bad for her. How she felt she was uneducated. Really? She was speaking about her being a teen then? Juror B37 sure tried not to say it, but it was clear to me she was speaking about race.

And to Jeantel’s credit, she was respectful of the juror’s comments, even saying her parents helped her calm down and she was raised to not cuss and respect her elders.

Certainly doesn’t sound like someone who was ashamed of herself or her education to me there Juror B37. In fact, Ms. Jeantel out-classed you and showed her education far better than you did on national television.

So where does that leave us? With a generation gap or a racial gap? Or does that just leave us with those who are upset at the verdict and those who are not?

I’ve been told I’m race-baiting by even bringing up black witnesses and white jurors in this case. But an unarmed black teenager was killed, he was considered suspicious for walking through a neighborhood in the rain, carrying candy and tea. SO VERY SUSPICIOUS that George Zimmerman felt it necessary to follow Trayvon with a loaded gun.

I can’t think of any teen or man who wouldn’t confront Zimmerman if they were being followed. And there sits this jury of predominantly white women actually thinking it’s Zimmerman that was scared. The man with the gun. The man who did the following. SO SCARED HE FOLLOWED TRAYVON. If you are scared and afraid for your life, do you chase after the person who you are afraid of? I’m just asking here. And if you are a white woman sitting on that jury -are you the typical stepford-wife thinking Mr. Zimmerman was oh so brave for following that thug of a black boy daring to traipse through their neighborhood?

Nevermind it was Trayvon’s neighborhood too. Because I get the distinct feeling neither George Zimmerman nor the white, female jurors thought of that neighborhood as Trayvon’s either. Even though it was.

Tie in Juror B37’s comments on Ms. Jeantel and I see exactly how this went in their minds. Yes, I am a mind reader. (That’s sarcasm, people…I’m giving you my own theories here, not fact).

And to say race didn’t come into play is either total denial on the jury’s part or just another sad chapter in the long history of white, sometimes very feminist, women denying the plight of people of color in favor of their own struggles.

This isn’t a competition. We are not post-racial and we are not post-gender and we are not post-patriarchy.

Imagine what we could do together if we could only see the other’s fight and help. See the other’s pain and history and empathize instead of compare.

If we could only see the facts surrounding the death of a young man and not let things like our prejudice of a black woman’s “education” get in the way of her account of that fateful night.

And if only Juror B37 could have seen into Trayvon’s heart the way she claims she could see into Zimmerman’s. The man who pulled the trigger. Why is it she knew Zimmerman’s heartfelt intentions yet she couldn’t fathom Trayvon’s intentions and heart? Even after the witnesses and those who told of his unarmed walk home. His entirely legal, unarmed, entirely NON-suspicious walk home. But B37 couldn’t find any heart there…

and I can only come up with one reason why…

Meanwhile THIS white, feminist Mom has nothing but a broken heart for Trayvon and his parents. I can’t imagine their pain. I can’t imagine how they must feel after a jury of women couldn’t find reason under the law to put the killer of their son behind bars. I can not speak to the racism they may feel due to this case or the fallout regarding race sweeping through the nation. I can only speak to what I know. and I know white women. I am a white woman.

Sadly I had hoped they would see into the heart of a young boy before they saw into the heart of a shooter.

Comments

  1. Nicely done, Erin. Our feminist history teaches us that when men know things are going sideways they find women to hide behind. Like seating an all white, all women jury. They always front the shitstorms with women. Always. As if we are the ones with all the power. (insert all the swear words)

  2. TaMora Jackson says:

    Thank you for this! I wrote something similar. Your points are well taken!

  3. I agree with you completely. I wish I could say the verdict would be the same if it were a white man and white boy. Or a white man, white girl. How about if both were Latino or African American? I am guessing the verdict would be just the opposite.

  4. I have been disappointed in the trial since it was pushed aside in the first place. The attorney general didn’t want to do it at all. Watching it play out was a progression of heartache.
    I am also a white feminist. I have never felt so useless as an advocate. Especially as the wife of a black man and mother of mixed race children. I wish I could wish white privilege away. I want to line deniers up and force use some sort of magic spell to make them accept it.

  5. Then much more friends can easily talk about this problem

  6. Trayvon was beating the sh*t out of George Z, and beating his head against the concrete. Trayvon was ON TOP of Zimmerman when Zimmerman killed him in SELF DEFENSE. What part of that don’t you understand?

    If you feel Zimmerman ‘dissed’ you, then walk away; you have no right to beat him half to death.

    Look at the facts.

  7. The ‘facts’ Tan are that you and I were not there that night. What we DO know is that Trayvon was unarmed and walking home.

    UNARMED – and being stalked by a man who suspected he was up to no good. We do not know if Mr. ZImmerman feared for his life…as a man with a firearm I can’t imagine why he would fear for his life. Trayvon, on the other hand, was unarmed and being trailed. Wouldn’t YOU tell the person following you to leave you alone? And if he didn’t and ‘words were exchanged’ wouldn’t YOU say something?

    No… you wouldn’t? Really? You’d just run home? Give me a break. The facts as laid out in court show that we have NO IDEA what happened once the two met face to face- except that Mr. Zimmerman shot an unarmed teenager. Unless you consider a sidewalk a weapon, which the prosecution did.

    And my point here wasn’t to go over what you think happened or what I think happened, it was to discuss white feminists and their issues with race. My that Mr. Zimmerman was so brave for protecting those Stepford Wives from those ‘shhhhh don’t say it outloud… you know, those kinds of people’ in their neighborhood. Right? Because no matter how hard a person of color may try, the white flight mentality reigns and they still don’t believe Trayvon belonged in that neighborhood in the first place, THUS why you believe your so-called facts.

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