Responding to Domestic Violence and Murder in Post-Racial America

Link to Liz Dwyer's "Thank You, Post-Racial America, for Making it Clear that it's Open Season on my Black Sons"
Link to Liz Dwyer’s “Thank You, Post-Racial America, for Making it Clear that it’s Open Season on my Black Sons”

“The killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year was tragic. But in the age of Obama the acquittal of George Zimmerman offers at least that clarity. For the salient facts in this case were not in dispute. On 26 February 2012 Martin was on his way home, minding his own business armed only with a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles. Zimmerman pursued him, armed with a 9mm handgun, believing him to be a criminal. Martin resisted. They fought. Zimmerman shot him dead.

Who screamed. Who was stronger. Who called whom what and when and why are all details to warm the heart of a cable news producer with 24 hours to fill. Strip them all away and the truth remains that Martin’s heart would still be beating if Zimmerman had not chased him down and shot him.

There is no doubt about who the aggressor was here. It appears that the only reason the two interacted at all, physically or otherwise, is that Zimmerman believed it was his civic duty to apprehend an innocent teenager who caused suspicion by his existence alone.” – Gary Younge, the Guardian

Link to "Race, White Womanhood, and Trayvon Martin"
Link to “Race, White Womanhood, and Trayvon Martin”

“…Zimmerman’s attorneys successfully argued that those acts [of past violence] were inadmissible or irrelevant. But these accusations offer us other truths: that violence against girls and women is often an overlooked and unchecked indicator of future violence.

It was well-documented that Nicole Brown Simpson was a victim of domestic violence. In Zimmerman’s case, two pieces of character evidence never made it to the trial. First, a recorded statement from Witness No. 9, Zimmerman’s female cousin, in which she said that he molested her for ten years when they were both children, beginning when she just 6 years old. Second, a report filed in August 2005, when Zimmerman’s former fiancé sought a restraining order against him because of domestic violence.

Zimmerman’s pattern for violence had already been established: trolling a neighborhood for his victim, pushing her when confronted, attacking her character, and arguing that she was the aggressor when charges were filed against him. While the Assistant State Attorney Bernardo de la Rionda brought up both testimonies in bond hearing in April 2012, they were not presented as evidence during the trial. In contrast, the judge did rule that evidence of marijuana that was found in Martin’s system was admissible.

Such differences led many (including myself) to conclude, as Mychal Denzel Smith wrote, that ”Trayvon Martin and Black Manhood Were on Trial.“ But they also reveal a system of power that dismisses the experiences and voices of survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence as invisible and untrustworthy.”

Salamishah Tillet, The Nation

Link to "White Womanhood, Protectionism, and Complicity in Injustice for Trayvon"
Link to “White Womanhood, Protectionism, and Complicity in Injustice for Trayvon”
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