I have been avoiding discussing the verdict in the George Zimmerman case because of the explosion of inflammatory commentary throughout the mainstream corporate media and in the various social media forums. I felt we needed some time to reflect and think about the case.
I'm currently writing a newspaper article on the verdict, my community's responses, and race in America. So I just want to compile a few reflections right now and I will return with a more complete written response in the near future.
1)I'm tired of people trying to defend Zimmerman as some kind of benign "neighborhood watch" citizen who was frightened by a young boy. This does not seem to match up with his prior public written statements: Zimmerman’s Old Myspace Account Reveals Racist, Sexist, Violent Behavior
2) I am extremely frustrated that Americans are unable or unwilling to recognize "institutional racism" in America. Any person who is not mentally disabled, who believes that institutional racism is not real is either: (a) trapped in a highly selective solipsistic media feedback loop that keeps them directed/distracted away from reality or (b) they are intentionally trying to inflame racial tensions by denying the racist realities of our society.
I think Martin Bashir provides us with a clear, relelvant example of 2a:
I think this short video refers to some important questions in regards to 2b:
3) This all led me to revisiting/rethinking earlier studies/research into how the fantasies of racial difference are used to divide working people in the interest of a dominant elite: Theodore W. Allen: The Invention of the White Race
4) This led me back to a powerful California Newsreel documentary called Race: The Power of an Illusion
5) and my attempt to understand the manipulation of racialized fears (of the other) through globalized conceptions of "terror" (through Linebaugh and Rediker's "The Many Headed Hydra" as a lense for the present) Michael Benton on the The Many-Headed Hydra
6) and Spike Lee's important film Bamboozled, what is the role of our corporate media in these problems: Spike Lee's Bamboozled and the Representation(s) of Race
7) Essentializing, blanket claims about any group of people, that are used to minimalize, discriminate and demonize are dangerous and irresponsible (because they incite fear, distrust, hatred and violence): this includes ones based on skin tone/color (dark/light, black, brown, red, yellow and, yes, white), age (young/old), gender, sexuality, class, region, profession, faith/non-faith, politics, nationalism, etc..... These type of statements/claims are a sure sign that the speaker/writer is not seeking discourse or understanding, rather, they are being dismissive and seek to divide people/communities.
8) Just a lighthearted video (although some will no doubt be offended by the position) attempting to poke fun at our investment in notions of superiority over other beings.
[note on this last video, LW would like to make the objection that we are not monkeys, we are apes -- duly noted]
Michael Benton: Reflections on the Lexington Town Hall Meeting (North of Center)