Just for living in your American skin

I don’t understand the partisan response to the killing of Trayvon Martin.

Yes, many liberals are upset that a child was gunned down with impunity. (It’s been more than a month now.) But they are not upset for partisan reasons or for “liberal” reasons or for Democratic Party reasons.

They are upset because a child was gunned down with impunity. That ought to upset conservatives too. I appreciate that the Republican Party ca. 2012 has a knee-jerk opposition to anything that President Barack Obama says, but just because Obama is saddened by the senseless killing of a child shouldn’t have to mean that Republicans should reflexively take the other side.

This shouldn’t be partisan. Those saddened and angered by the killing of Trayvon Martin are not fighting a partisan battle. This child’s death does not advance some liberal or Democratic agenda. Those of us upset by this are not saying, “A child has been shot and therefore we must restore parity between taxes on labor and taxes on capital gains.” We are saying that it is horrifying and wrong that a child can be gunned down with impunity.

There is no reason that conservatives shouldn’t completely agree with that.

Well, there’s one reason, but there’s no decent, moral, legitimate reason.

Here are a slew of links in response to the slaying of Trayvon Martin:

Judd Legum: “Trayvon Martin: The 5 Key Unanswered Questions

Eric W. Dolan: “Surveillance video shows no blood or bruises on George Zimmerman

Bomani Jones: “Trayvon Martin, and When a Black Man Deserves to Die

H. Samy Alim: “#WeAreTrayvonMartin: Breaking the silence around racial abuse

George Takei: “Trayvon Martin deserves justice

Charlie Pierce: “Trayvon Martin and the End of Excuses

Lenin’s Tomb: “Trayvon Martin and the history of lynching” (via)

Crunk Feminist Collective: “On Appropriate Victims: More on Trayvon Martin and Other Names You Need to Know

Judd Legum: “What Everyone Needs to Know About the Smear Campaign Against Trayvon Martin (1995-2012)

The Field Negro: “Let the push-back begin

Michelle Goldberg: “Why Conservatives Are Smearing Trayvon Martin’s Reputation

Chauncey DeVega: “Smearing Trayvon Martin: The Salem Witch Trials, Mass Hysteria, and the Specter of Black Thuggery

Charlie Pierce: “The ‘Color-Blind’ Delusions of the Trayvon Backlash

Zerlina Maxwell: “The thug-ification of Trayvon Martin: smear campaign distracts from the case

Ramona: “When Being Black Is All It Is

Ta-Nehisi Coates: “How Not to Protest the Killing of Trayvon Martin

Leslie Copeland-Tune: “Hoodies, Skittles and a Mother’s Nightmare

Suzannah Paul: “When race is the elephant in the room

Glennon Melton: “For Trayvon

Harold Pollack: “Personal moment: the Trayvon Martin case

Kristen Howerton: “Required Reading on the Killing of Trayvon Martin

Alan Bean: “Learning from messy narratives

Paul @ Disoriented. Reoriented.: “If Trayvon Martin Were a Fetus, Christians Would Be a Whole Lot More Upset

Elizabeth Rawlings: “White Christians Sleeping While Young Black Men Die

Lisa Sharon Harper: “Hoodie Sunday, Trayvon Martin, and the Confessions of a Nation

William M. Welch: “Churches rally around Trayvon Martin on ‘hood Sunday’

Richard Cizik: “An Evangelical Voice for Trayvon

Sojourners’ “Christians and Racial Justice Discussion Guide” available as free download.

David Remnick: “Bruce and Trayvon: American Skin

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  • http://twitter.com/Jenk3 Jen K

    I’ve had “American Skin” in my head for the last few weeks too.  

    Bruce sang it this week in Tampa: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nghqjBwZTiE 

  • http://twitter.com/yatima Yatima

    I don’t think they care about anyone after they’ve been born.

  • dragonet2

    you are correct.  Once they are living breathing children, they’d rather they starve, be homeless, no medical care, etc.  

  • JessicaR

    It’s especially galling when white pro-lifers will raise billboards about the “genocide” of unborn black children but stay stone silent when a 17 year old one is gunned down in cold blood.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, but he was suspended, you know. For drug charges! And he fought back against the guy stalking him! That makes him less of a human, and therefore, he deserves to die /sick racist logic

    I read the comments at the Field Negro post. I can’t handle them. I get so angry that I see red. These people are fucking stupid. Reality is here, they’re here, and never shall the two meet.

  • nirrti

    The blogger who writes the Field Negro posts said that he allows all kinds of racist comments on his site as a reminder that we’re not so “post-racial” as we think. I admire his reasons but lord, does it make reading the comments about people who look just like me stomach churning and headache producing.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    1. Knee-jerk racial denialism. (ie. Isn’t a Black president enough for you people?)  A childish insistence that the playing field is now equal and that White people enjoy no special advantages that others do not.  Even if the advantage is so obvious and fundamental as being able to dress for early spring without getting shot dead.

    2.  Keep in mind also that this incident has brought gun culture under hotter scrutiny than it’s had to deal with since the early nineties.   This particular niche of movement conservatism is a critical part of its appeal to would be converts.  A promise of epic heroism and a manhood that none could never be seriously be questioned again.  A promised entitlement to cosmic invulnerability and absolute mastery over one’s own house that overlaps in many ways with both Ellenjay’s Lovecraft Christ and pure unvarnished White supremacy, not to mention LARPing. 

    At any rate this triumph of the Right is one they’re quite proud of. A view of the 2nd amendment that gradually wormed from the lunatic fringe into not just the mainstream but official legal precedent.  Naturally they’re defensive about any challenge towards this new normal they’ve invented. 

  • Tonio

    That knee-jerk racial denialism by the professional commentators and columnists may really be defensiveness. Obviously this would include the fear of being accused of racism, but I suspect it goes deeper. A while back, one Slacktivite said that jingoism was really “My mommy is the bestest mommy in the whole wide world” misapplied to patriotism. Rather than accept that their country has major flaws just like any other country, they try to blame victims who they don’t like in the first place. Similar to how some fundamentalists would rather blame victims of natural disasters than admit that life isn’t just or that perhaps their god isn’t just.

  • JessicaR

    And you know, it connects to the hateful fucks who were pissed Rue was played by an actress of color. So many of the worst tweets were down right bitter that they had been “tricked” into caring about a character in the books (and she is black in the books BTW, so racist and rock stupid there folks), and finding out she was black made them feel cheated. And they moaned about how they couldn’t care about PoC. Pop culture reflects the larger culture and it’s a very hateful, ugly place right now.

  • Lori

    I don’t understand the partisan response to the killing of Trayvon Martin.

    Broadly speaking there are two reasons why responses to Martin’s killing are breaking almost perfectly along party lines.

    1. Racism. There are racists, and people with racist assumptions & attitudes, on all points of the political spectrum, but the GOP is the party of institutionalized racism. Folks on the Right are invested in denying and defending racism in a way that folks on the Left are absolutely not.

    2. The GOP is also the party of the NRA and its give no quarter approach to any incident that has the even the slightest possibility of resulting in any new restrictions on gun ownership. The gun control debate has been dominated for decades by a real scorched earth approach. If you pose any threat whatsoever to unfettered gun ownership the pro-gun folks will go after you with everything they have, and everything they have is a lot.

  • Anonymous

     #2 just smacks of paranoia. I don’t see how this case could be construed as a means to increase gun control (well, except for that tiny faction who will turn anything involving a gun into a gun control issue, but they’re moot now.) If anything, it will just lead to a clarification of the “Stand Your Ground” law.

  • Matri

    I don’t see how this case could be construed as a means to increase gun control

    How can you not? A psychological profile would have never allowed Zimmerman to own a gun.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    I don’t know, I think there’s a pretty big group of people who will turn anything involving a gun into a gun control issue.

  • Anonymous

     Well, I meant “tiny” in a relative sense. I’m sure the faction numbers in the hundreds of thousands.

  • Lori

     

    I don’t see how this case could be construed as a means to increase gun
    control (well, except for that tiny faction who will turn anything
    involving a gun into a gun control issue, but they’re moot now.) If
    anything, it will just lead to a clarification of the “Stand Your
    Ground” law.

    In absolute numbers those who will turn anything involving a gun into a gun control issue may be a tiny fraction of the population. The thing is, many of them are running organizations dedicated to one side or the other of the gun control battle. At this point the anti-gun side doesn’t get much traction, but the pro-gun side does.

    For a perfect example of this look at the response to the Gifford’s shooting in Arizona. Immediately following the shooting there was a spike in sales of high
    capacity magazines and the guns that use them, including Glocks like the
    one used the murderer. The spike happened because gun people thought the shooting would inspire a crackdown and moves to Take Away Our Guns. In reality even the idea of bringing back the ban in high capacity magazines got zero
    serious discussion.

    The fact that the high profile multiple murder and shooting of a member of Congress inspired zero actual attempts to introduce new gun control legislation didn’t even slow down the NRA paranoia machine. Last month the cover story on one of the NRA magazines (can’t remember which one) was about how everything depends on defeating Obama in November and how it’s “all on the line”. Because the man who mentioned gun control in passing in 2008, but has not pushed for any gun legislation since he’s been in office was just lulling people into a false sense of security. If he wins a 2nd term he is absolutely going to destroy the 2nd Amendment and Take Away Our Guns.

    The NRA’s positions have little to nothing to do with the reality of gun control legislation and everything to do with stoking paranoia to get people to keep membership numbers high and keep sending them money. They do this because it works every. damn. time. Their members are the GOP base and their very well-financed and well-organized lobbying efforts make sure that no one on the Right ever forgets that.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I am pretty sure that gun manufacturers love it when a Democrat goes into the White House, because the NRA whips their membership up into a buying frenzy, regardless of whether or not gun control is anywhere near that Democrat’s agenda. 

  • Anonymous

    This is actually true.  Not long after Obama was elected, ammunition prices went way, way up.

    It was a little annoying — I was a big target shooter back then — but since I wasn’t stocking up for more than the Zombie Apocalypse (that is, not at all) it wasn’t more than mildly frustrating.  And yet despite the twofold, sometimes even fivefold increase for expensive, popular ammunition — 7.62mm mostly, there’s a shocker — it was constantly out of stock, hard to get, and being bought up like there was no tomorrow.  Simply because some yahoos thought the UN was coming to get their guns, or a black man in the White House meant that Manson’s “Helter Skelter” was about to happen.

    I take some solace in the fact that the idiots were gouged, less solace in the fact that they were gouged and either didn’t know or didn’t care.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t see how this case could be construed as a means to increase gun control

    You’re talking about people who are afraid the UN is going to take away their weapons.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alan-Alexander/502988241 Alan Alexander

     You’re talking about people who are afraid the UN is going to take away their weapons.

    More importantly (and in keeping with one of the central themes of this blog), we’re talking about people who bought every book in the Left Behind series, thought they were all great and important books, and wholeheartedly believe in their underlying theology.

  • Anonymous-Sam

     These are also the people who are stockpiling munitions in preparation for the coming global catastrophe, so they can finally live their fantasy where they get to shoot anyone and everyone who comes near their house. These are also the people who have joined the 334 militia groups in the country (up from 42 the year before Obama took office) and the 1274 patriot groups (up from 149 the same year) and are just waiting for an excuse to repeat their favoritest war ever: The Civil War! You know, the greatest moment in American history, where Americans killed Americans! A war so awesome, they have to repeat it every year!

    Paranoia? YOU’RE ONE OF THEM. Boys, git the lynchin’ gear, we got ourselves a COMMIE.

  • Anonymous

     Again, they’re just a different flavor of Objectivist Jerky.  Pehaps peppered with gunpowder, but they have NO IDEA about the kind of world that they’re fantasizing about living in.

  • Anonymous

    I was talking about the pro-gun-control guys. Also, wow, I know the fringe right was paranoid, but not that much.

  • Stardreamer

    It’s more likely to be construed (and rightly so IMO) as a reason to either flat-out repeal the “stand your ground” law or make its application much more stringent. But either of those things will be spun as “increasing gun control”. 

  • Anonymous

     Right, which is why I aid “clarification.” Even the writer of the Stand Your Ground law said that he never intended it to be used the way Zimmerman used it. Maybe they use use language like “reasonable expectation of harm,” instead of “belief of harm.”

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    If you pose any threat whatsoever to unfettered gun ownership the pro-gun folks will go after you with everything they have, and everything they have is a lot.

    Considering “everything they have” involves quite a lot of guns, that could be considered threatening brandishment which would put me in a position in which I have legal sanction to employ lethal force in defense of myself, my loved ones, and my property. 

    They may want to think twice about attack after setting the damn precident themselves…

  • Steph
  • Lori

    What’s your point?

  • Steph

    That is not political at all. If it was, why was the GOP not all over this display of racial violence, or anyone else for that matter? Rest assured none of you even heard about this matter and you certainly didn’t see an uproar of white protesters demanding that the 2 African American boys be put to death for such a senseless act of violence.

  • Lori

    If you want to believe that I don’t suppose there’s anything anyone can say to chagne your mind so I won’t bother.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

     Were the perpetrators of that horrible crime arrested or charged with a crime, Steph? Or were they released after claiming self-defense? Are the victim’s disciplinary history files in school, his posts on Facebook and Twitter, and other details of his personal life being leaked to the media to be used to suggest that he deserved to get burned alive?

  • Anonymous

    The important difference will be the reaction from authorities. I somehow doubt the two African American teenagers will avoid arrest because prosecutors decide they acted in “self-defense.”

  • Lori

    OK. My initial response was overly dismissive because I was trying not to say something really rude. I’m still trying not to be really rude, but I have a better handle on it now so I’ll say just a couple things about the story you linked to.

    The story isn’t the equivalent of the Trayvon Martin case. The police acknowledge that it was not only a crime, but a hate crime and they’re apparently investigating it with the intention of charging the boys who did it. No one is saying that they shouldn’t do that. No one is saying that the 16 year olds were justified in setting the 13 year old on fire. No one is saying that the 13 year old brought it on himself or should not have been where he was. The victim’s parents don’t have to beg for help in seeing their son’s assailants punished because the police are doing their job. The case is a horrible crime and I’m sure incredibly traumatic for the victim, but it’s local news.

    Do you actually not get why that’s nothing like the killing of Trayvon Martin? His story did not blow up in the media purely because he was black and his killer self-identifies as white. It blew up because no one was even trying to charge the killer. Trayvon’s parents want justice for their son and when they realized that the Sanford police had no intention of giving it to them they went public. When it hit the news the response was 100% political. It appears that thanks to the wording
    of Florida’s law there may be no way for justice to be done in this case. That’s also political.

    And seriously, does The American Spectator really want to throw down about differences in coverage of crimes committed against whites vs POC? That is a competition that they will lose by a huge margin.

  • Tonio

    That American Spectator story is typical deflection. Wrongly making the story about individual prejudice to try to create false equivalence, instead of addressing Zimmerman’s abuse of power. It cannot be said often enough that racism is not about individual prejudice but about systemic discrimination and majority privilege. The day when young whites are routinely profiled by people in law enforcement positions, automatically treated like criminals, is the day we can talk about anti-white prejudice.

  • runsinbackground

    The proper response to any mention of The American Spectator is usually “the what now?” That goes double for their totally hilarious web presence.

  • Lori

    This is true. However, as I said, was having enough trouble not saying something really unpleasant. Getting into my opinion of TAS was not going to help with that.

  • Anonymous

     Yeah, that blog is totally unbiased and all.

  • Nequam

    Sometimes I wish the President would say he finds it very upsetting when people drink bleach.

  • Katherine McChesney

    We don’t have a President. What we have is a racist, Muslim-loving, Marxist, fascist, bi-sexual in the White House.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Citations needed. And explain what’s wrong with Marxism, bisexuality, and treating Muslims like people while you’re at it.

  • Baby_Raptor

    It must be really sad to have to make up so much bullshit to demonize someone. Can’t you point to something he’s actually done that you dislike?

  • EllieMurasaki

    The sad thing is I doubt she can. Because she’d be perfectly fine with everything he’s doing if it were a white Republican doing it. Whereas I can go on about the NSA spying and the drone strikes and the not even putting single-payer on the debating table and ending up sticking us with Romneycare.

  • Baby_Raptor

    The fact that she mentioned Bisexuality makes me think we have a fundie on our hands. A lot of them default to lying about someone’s sexuality when they need a quick smear.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Which is extra sad, because I’m not ashamed to be bi, nor (I think) would I be ashamed to be gay, nor (I think) would I be ashamed to be straight except in the sense that that would make me complicit in the general oppression of queer people and I sure as hell hope I’d be ashamed of that. Nor should I be ashamed of my sexuality, nor should anyone else be ashamed of theirs, whatever it happens to be.

  • dpolicar

    Judging from a quick persusal of their comment history, I’d say Katherine isn’t interested in policy. It’s the tribal conflict they get off on.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Because who needs facts, right? Sigh

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    How does your head not literally explode with all the hatred-baggage you seem to be carrying around?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    there’s a lot of extra space in there.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Look, will you just roll out the N-word? We can all tell you’re dying to use it to describe the christian heterosexual corporate capitalist we actually elected.

  • http://twitter.com/shay_guy Shay Guy

    In the Houston Chronicle, there were a letters-to-the-editor section a few days ago that focused on the shooting. I counted one false equivalence between Zimmerman and Martin, one outright victim-blaming, and one “The people claiming racism are the REAL racists!”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    Well, you don’t have to stupid to miss that Rue was black.  I missed it and I’m not stupid, I just tend to skim over physical descriptions of characters when I read unless the author really emphasizes them.  (I missed that Prim and Peeta were blond, too.)

    But not caring about Rue because she’s black!?!  That’s nuts.  Movie!Rue was completely adorable in a “creeping unseen through the trees watching you” way.  I wish they’d had more scenes with her.

  • ako

     Yeah, I also missed that Rue was black on my first read-through, because I sometimes miss details.  But it wouldn’t have occurred to me to be outraged over it.  Because the only reason for anyone to be upset, offended, or outraged is pure racism.

    It is kind of fun seeing the “I’m not racist, I’m just a purist!” crowd have to deal with someone pointing out that they didn’t even notice the details they’re supposedly trying to protect.

  • Emcee, cubed

    #2 just smacks of paranoia. I don’t see how this case could be
    construed as a means to increase gun control (well, except for that tiny
    faction who will turn anything involving a gun into a gun control
    issue, but they’re moot now.) If anything, it will just lead to a
    clarification of the “Stand Your Ground” law.

    Except the NRA pushed the Stand Your Ground law as an essential part of 2nd amendment rights. So while I agree this doesn’t have anything to do with increasing gun control, the NRA will see such a clarification as an unacceptable restriction of gun rights. (ie, what good is it to own a gun if you can’t use it?)

  • Michael Cohn

    “This shouldn’t be partisan. Those saddened and angered by the killing of
    Trayvon Martin are not fighting a partisan battle. This child’s death
    does not advance some liberal or Democratic agenda. Those of us upset by
    this are not saying, “A child has been shot and therefore we must
    restore parity between taxes on labor and taxes on capital gains.””

    No, but the people who are upset _are_ using this to advance their claims that implicit racism is still prevalent and influential in American culture, and that the motives and goals of people who feel threatened by minorities need to be questioned. If I believed that wasn’t true — and especially if I believed Zimmerman’s story that this wasn’t a case of racism anyway — then I’d definitely see this as a partisan fight. I can understand the desire to reserve judgement, but that interacts badly with the presence of partisan media outlets that will throw up all sorts of unfounded accusations and other distractions (as well as the possibility of an old-fashioned police cover-up).

  • Anonymous

    I don’t understand the partisan response to the killing of Trayvon Martin.

    Well, it’s kind of like how Sonya Sotomayor is a radical activist judge bent on creating legislation, while Antonin Scalia is strict Constitutionalist who simply wants to hue to the Founders’ vision of a multinational corporate oligarchy.

  • Anonymous

    “Yes, many liberals are upset that a child was gunned down with impunity. (It’s been more than a month now.) But they are not upset for partisan reasons or for ‘liberal’ reasons or for Democratic Party reasons.

    “They are upset because a child was gunned down with impunity. That ought to upset conservatives too. I appreciate that the Republican Party ca. 2012 has a knee-jerk opposition to anything that President Barack Obama says, but just because Obama is saddened by the senseless killing of a child shouldn’t have to mean that Republicans should reflexively take the other side.”

    Trigger warning: Racism

    I think that the Rethuglicans/Teabaggers are upset because a DEAD N***** is getting so much attention. It’s the fact that the DEAD N***** *wasn’t even doing anything that they could point to as an obvious crime* (other than, of course, being dressed in the stereotypical garb of the rap-loving, “40”-swilling, ho-humping, gun-toting Young Urban Thug — the infamous “hoodie”. Hell, even the mere *name* smacks of criminality!) that upsets them the most. At least if he had been *doing something criminal* this all could be easily ignored. (Or at least ascribed to “criminal” behavior on the DEAD N*****s part.) But now they have to explain why he’s dead. And they can’t.

    What also upsets them is that the guy who “allegedly” killed him was a self-described (and apparently self-appointed) neighborhood watch “captain” who was simply, selflessly, trying to make sure that *his* neighborhood was free of all the riff-raff/vermin/Other that night. Heck, that’s *HEROIC* behavior in the eyes of any conservative; upper *or* lower-case! But now they have to explain why this guy apparently *chased this DEAD N***** down even after he was told not to by a police dispatcher*. AND THEY CAN’T.

    That this DEAD N***** had a family that cares about him is; in Rethuglican/Teabagger eyes, at least; unfortunate and damned inconvenient because it means that now they’re raising this big uppity stink about wanting “Justice”, when everyone *knows* that “Justice” is for the Good White VFolk who pay their taxes (while the Big Bad Government is wasting it on Welfare Queens and Planned Parenthood and Social Security and the like) and not for DEAD N*****s in hoodies carrying bags of Skittles and iced tea. They also have to explain why the guy who shot the DEAD N***** hasn’t yet been (and, in all likelihood, will never be) arrested. Explain a law that allows people to shoot other people on the mere *suspicion* that they *might* be thinking of doing them harm — a law that’s basically a hunting license for whomever is smart or savvy enough to invoke it the moment the cops show up. Explain a law that apparently can’t differentiate between a firearm and a bag of candy. AND THEY CAN’T.

    So they blame the DEAD N*****.

    I have no doubt — *NONE* — that when all is said and done, the Rethuglicans/Teabaggers, the NRA, Rush Limbaugh and all the rest will be able to convince the American Public that it was George Zimmerman who was on his way home with Skittles and iced tea and that Trayvon Martin shot him. It may not be Reality, but it’ll be what happens.

  • Anonymous

    What Lori said. And please realize that the NRA will lay low for a while on this issue. Then when they think the controversy has died down, they will push Stand you Ground laws in as many of the 30 states that don’t have them as they can. Whipping up their followers into a racist frenzy isn’t hard and is enough to sustain them for now. Just having Obama in the White House has probably filled their coffers to overflowing.

    One of the articles that Fred links to says that there is a growing pacifist movement within young evangelical circles. Gee, could this be because these kids are the ones who’ve had to run for their lives in SCHOOL?!! Meanwhile, the NRA keeps pushing legislation that allows people to carry guns in schools and even day care centers. 

    And basically the racism surrounding Trayvon Martin’s death boils down to the fact that there are way too many people in America who don’t see black people as human beings deserving of the same rights as them. That’s why they are fighting the Affordable Care Act too — THOSE people might get medical care too.

  • Anonymous

    What we have here is proof that there actually is a Pro Kitten Burning Coalition.
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2008/10/08/false-witnesses-2/

  • WingedBeast

    In part, the response is a light through the veil over the racism one finds in conservative circles*.  But, that’s simply part of what clears that path more than what pushes them to take it.

    What pushes them to take this path of victim-blaming and attacking everybody who expresses solidarity with the Martin family is that the Republican party in general views itself partly as the party of not-liberals.

    They can say they’re the party of small government and more freedoms, but the Patriot act, attempts to inject the government between pregnant women and the decision on whether or not to abort, the attempts to get between teenagers and decisions about sex, these aren’t shrinking government or getting it out of our lives.  In fact, quite the opposite.  Since long before Obama, liberal has become a watchword of evil among Republicans, and Republicans have come to a situation in which they have to do all to avoid it.  Republicans have a base for votes, a base for contributions, but not a base core value that overrides the not-liberalness.

    * Not that all conservatives are racist.  Just that racists are more likely to find common ground in conservative politics than liberal.

  • Tonio

    The Simpsons stated it best: “Fox News – Not Racist, but No. 1 With Racists.” The reason for that common ground is that hostility to change inevitably means hostility to attempts to reduce privilege. The type of racism we’re talking about is properly understood as adherence in hierarchy. Partly a fear of young black men, and partly a belief in white entitlement that includes protection of life and property. The idea that Zimmerman should be held accountable for Martin offends the racial pecking order.

    I feel that “hatred” is technically accurate but too simplistic of a label. We’re talking about people who show little animosity toward non-whites as long as the pecking order is observed, and in many cases can even deal with non-whites as equals. But that’s not the case with anything that involves non-whites ranking above them or having power over them, such as as a supervisor or as a president. That may be how they perceive Zimmerman’s accountability for Martin.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    But what “power” was Martin holding over Zimmerman? The kid went to the corner store to buy candy and was walking back to his dad’s house. Is that really that threatening to the hierarchy, even if you live in the Jim Crow era? If they can’t see why deciding not to investigate a case in which a man hunts down an unarmed child and guns him down is dangerous precedent, they have a lot more wrong with them than “just” racism. I mean, what if the next guy trying to turn a suburban gated community into the Wild West hits one of their children, even if by accident? Would they really want to send out that message, that you can go around shooting people and you won’t even be investigated? Surely they at least care about the safety of their kids!

  • Tonio

    I don’t mean that Zimmerman perceived Martin himself as having power over him. I’m suggesting that Zimmerman’s apologists perceive any accountability for Martin’s murder as whites being pushed under non-whites in the pecking order. As if the judicial system suddenly became run by non-whites or suddenly started entitling non-whites to treat whites however they wish. Says much about how the apologists view the judicial system in their own favor.

  • Tonio

    I see the bashing that Michelle Obama has endured illustrates the mentality I’m describing. It’s a child’s reaction: “Don’t tell me what I should or shouldn’t eat!” In general, they misinterpret talk about healthy choices as an assertion of authority, and seeing someone who is neither white nor male exhibit that behavior pushes a button with them. If their doctors acted that way, they might grumble but would at least treat him as though his authority is earned or deserved. This isn’t about whether the First Lady or the doctors see themselves as holding positions of authority, but about resentful whites perceiving these figures as acting as if they’re in those positions.

  • Tonio

    Now I’m kicking myself for writing “him” in referring to a doctor, perpetuating the idea that it’s normative for MDs to be male.

  • The Lodger

    I think a lot of people are listening to Michelle Obama talking about healthy food and replying “You’re not my mommy.” There’s always been a lot of symbolism equating “First Lady” with “National Mom” and when the First Lady is black, a lot of white people just go off the rails. 

  • Wing

     Because it wasn’t an unarmed child. It was an unarmed /black/ child. There’s a deep and not completely inaccurate perception that if you’re white things just won’t happen to you the way they will to people of color.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

     Even if you believe that, you’re still taking a huge risk. Not everyone with a gun  has good aim, and there’s no way to guarantee that a bullet won’t hit you.

  • Ima Pseudonym

    “The Simpsons stated it best: “Fox News – Not Racist, but No. 1 With Racists.”

     It was actually Family Guy, but ehhh…the rest of it is dead on.

    Seriously, though, if you can stand it, go to the Fox News website and look at the comments for virtually ANY story on the Politics tab.  Nearly ANY story that gets any comments from readers at all will rapidly turn into a solid wall of multiple thousands of seething, foaming-at-the-mouth fury- and hate-filled screeds that read like they were written on toilet paper from people who are apparently absolute crazy with rage over pretty much every last progressive change of the last forty years.  ESPECIALLY any story about the Obamas, illegals, or minorities.  The comments for articles on Treyvon Martin were about what you’d expect from people who think Stormfront is too mainstream.  

    So yeah, Fox News knows EXACTLY who their core audience is.  You can’t comment or see the comments on stories more than three days old, and I figure it’s a matter of plausible deniability.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    It was actually Family Guy

    Nope.  In the words of South Park, “Simpsons did it!” 

  • Ima Pseudonym

     Oh.  My bad.

  • JessicaR

    And never forget how racialized our complete lack of gun control is in the first place. Those People are going to start a race war any day so of course you need an Uzi. Those People are Up To Something so of course you need laws like Stand Your Ground.

  • Anonymous

    In fact, wasn’t that the actual text of at least one of the Ron Paul newsletters?

  • Lori

    And never forget how racialized our complete lack of gun control is in the first place. Those People are going to start a race war any day so of course you need an Uzi. Those People are Up To Something so of course you need laws like Stand Your Ground. 

    If
    you want to look more at racialization of gun control in the US red up on the
    80s push to ban “Saturday Night Specials”. Gun control advocates went
    after them because they were the most commonly used in street crimes. That’s
    because they’re hella cheap (less than $50 at that time). The thing is, that didn’t just make them common among
    low level criminals. They were also the only guns that the poor, mostly
    non-white, people who were actually living in high crime neighborhoods could
    afford for self-defense. So bans
    that apply only to cheap handguns have the effect of disproportionately tying
    legal gun ownership to race.
    The debate about the cheap gun ban definitely had overtones that debates about Glocks, for example, did not have.

  • Anonymous

    That a good chunk of the country used to live in constant fear of slave uprisings is I suspect a factor there.  A century or two of that is going to really warp a culture in ways not easily undone.

  • rizzo

    Conservatives are upset because they think Americans should have the right to shoot anyone they want at any time for any reason, because obviously they are all action heroes.  They honestly think that property is worth more than life.  They are messed up people.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    Not related to this awful case but directly related to racism did people see this yet? http://ontd-political.livejournal.com/9505615.html

  • Tricksterson

    I’m shocked, shocked I say.

    Shocked that he didn’t say this a long time ago.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It really looks like he was getting all revved up and ready to go all jets ablaze and then at the very last minute realized what a stupid thing he was about to do. I’ll give him that smidgen of credit for having a somewhat working brain to mouth filter.

  • Anonymous

    I used to joke that if Obama admitted to liking puppies and rainbows, the Party of Obstructionism would accuse him of being inverse racist towards cats and of trying to push the gay agenda.  But I was being sarcastic, not serious.  And now Obama says it’s wrong to stalk, harass, and murder a defenseless unarmed child, and they’re disagreeing with him!  I suppose this is the perfect example of Poe’s law.  My sarcastic parody has become reality.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I want Obama to say he likes hamburgers. Just to see what happens when Republicans and PETA ally with each other. It would be hilarious.

  • nirrti

    The present Republican party is what the Democratic party..or “Dixie-crats” was during the 50s. Same racist folks..Same racist agenda…just with different buzz words. I’m not the least bit surprised on their position on Trayvon. They’re probably more angry about him not “knowing his place” than about the fact he was killed senselessly.

  • Anonymous-Sam

    http://www.democracynow.org/2012/3/29/killed_at_home_white_plains_ny TheAlmightyGuru linked to this today. “We’re all victims waiting to happen” seems more accurate than ever.

  • http://profiles.google.com/maguyton Morgan Guyton

     I preached a sermon that mentioned the shooting this past weekend in a purple congregation that’s more red than blue. What I said was that two sinners met in the dark and both were afraid and both felt the need to prove their manhood and one had a gun so the other one is dead. I think what angers the right wing people that I know is the thought that political carpet-baggers are getting mileage out of somebody else’s tragedy. It’s hard not to be cynical about the way that Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson cruise into town and create a circus.

    Nothing justifies shooting an unarmed person, but it doesn’t make sense that Zimmerman would have shot Trayvon in cold blood without Trayvon having attacked or threatened him in some kind of way. I think without a doubt that Zimmerman should have been arrested and there should be a trial where if the evidence supports him, he can walk, and if it doesn’t, he can’t. Undoubtedly, that stupid “Stand your ground” law needs to be thrown out.

    Absolutely it shouldn’t be controversial to want to live in a world where unarmed kids don’t get shot and killed. Here’s the question though: if someone jumps on you and starts beating the shit out of you and you have a gun, at what point can you use it? It is possible to get beaten to death. Not saying that’s necessarily what happened, but if it is what happened, how does that impact how you think about this?

  • Dan Audy

    The problem with that assertion is that there is no evidence to support it and quite a lot to dismiss it.  We know that Trayvon fled from the man stalking him, we know that Zimmerman pursued him despite being told not to, and we know that Trayvon was crying out before being shot.  The only person to claim that Trayvon attacked him has a extremely profound interest in claiming that since it is the only way he might avoid significant jailtime.  I find Zimmerman’s (second-hand) account of what happens incredulously unbelievable because it contradicts his established behaviours; racist police calls, harrassment, violence, and stalking.  It also contradicts Trayvon’s who from his girlfriends account was not making a macho stand to fight the man stalking him but was running away – exactly the opposite of what you are claiming.  Without some evidence from a trustworthy source that Trayvon attacked an significantly larger, armed man contrary to his prior behaviour, I don’t think there is any reason to believe Zimmerman’s self-serving lies.

    While it is terrible that political parasites like Shaprton and Jackson are getting airtime and money by taking advantage of Trayvon’s death it doesn’t justify trying to create a false equivalence between the two of them.  Politicians and the chattering class do the exact same thing, left or right, anytime there is a tragedy but that doesn’t make it right to pretend a tragedy didn’t occur just because distasteful people happen to be trying to profit off of it.

  • Lori

    I preached a sermon that mentioned the shooting this past weekend in a purple congregation that’s more red than blue. What I said was that two sinners met in the dark and both were afraid and both felt the need to prove their manhood and one had a gun so the other one is dead. 

    Two sinners did not meet in the dark. One person walked down the street and was chased by an asshole with a gun. I think Zimmerman’s actions, not just in this case but overall, do lend themselves to the notion that he had manhood issues, but there is no indication that Trayvon Martin’s reaction had anything to do with that.

    It’s hard not to be cynical about the way that Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson cruise into town and create a circus. 

    It’s equally difficult not to be cynical about the way racists deny justice to POC and then complain about the lengths people go to in an attempt to get it.

    Absolutely it shouldn’t be controversial to want to live in a world where unarmed kids don’t get shot and killed. Here’s the question though: if someone jumps on you and starts beating the shit out of you and you have a gun, at what point can you use it? It is possible to get beaten to death. Not saying that’s necessarily what happened, but if it is what happened, how does that impact how you think about this? 

    As Dan Audy pointed out, there is no indication that anything like this took place, so it doesn’t impact my thinking about this at all.

    If a person fears being beaten to death what that person should do is stay in his car and let the police do their jobs. Zimmerman tried to act as self-styled law enforcement, chasing down the “bad guy”. Now that he’s killed an unarmed teenager he & his supporters want to fall back on the idea that he was just a frightened civilian. This is a pick one situation. If you don’t have the training and the courage to respond to an unarmed person without resorting to deadly force then you need to stay in the car. Full stop.

  • Dan Audy

    Absolutely it shouldn’t be controversial to want to live in a world
    where unarmed kids don’t get shot and killed. Here’s the question
    though: if someone jumps on you and starts beating the shit out of you
    and you have a gun, at what point can you use it? It is possible to get
    beaten to death. Not saying that’s necessarily what happened, but if it
    is what happened, how does that impact how you think about this?

    The problem with this statement is that it falsely implies that this hypothetical is relevant to the situation being discussed.  It is the same sort of dishonest tactic used by Fox to distance themselves from odious claims and statements by saying “Some people say”.  “What if” is a way of shifting the conversation from reality to a philosophical debate.  Discussing justification for use of violence can be a valid and important discussion for people to have. However, when you bring it up in the middle of a situation where a man stalked and murdered a boy who had threatened him in no way it is an attempt to derail the discussion. 

    It does make sense that Zimmerman shot Trayvon in coldblood because he was an established racist with a history of overreacting to ‘incursions’ into his community.  The fact that this makes you so deeply uncomfortable that you need to invent hypotheticals to create justification for the unjustifiable should be a warning sign that you need to examine your biases.  It shouldn’t be controversial – so stop trying to create a controversy.

  • Anonymous-Sam

    Zimmerman called 911 to report a suspicious black male, about 7-9 years of age, about four feet in height with a skinny build. He didn’t bother remarking why he felt this child was suspicious. He just was.

    Does the man sound like he really needed provocation? Does anyone who constantly calls 911 to report African Americans while carrying a loaded gun in his pocket and stalking them down the street really sound like your average everyday sinner?

    Also: Don’t assume someone’s a sinner because they died. And if we’re all sinners, then it doesn’t bear remarking upon anyway. It’s not your place to judge.

  • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

    What say you of the brutal slayings of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom?

  • phantomreader42

    Do you have any idea what YEAR it is, Ginny? Demanding people jump to address your dishonest and desperate attempt to scream GOTCHA is stupid enough to start with, but doing it on a thread that hasn’t been active in over a year makes you look even MORE idiotic.

    And besides, I doubt you actually know anything about the Christian/Newsom case, you’re just regurgitating bullshit you swallowed from some other liars.

  • dpolicar

    Well, she got a response, so I guess it wasn’t unreasonable for her to expect to get a response.

  • phantomreader42

    She didn’t get her precious gotcha, or an excuse to crow about how a bunch of made-up shit makes it okay to murder a black kid.

  • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

    Shall I list more stories for ya, 42. You’re nothing like Jackie Robinson.

  • phantomreader42

    I don’t actually give a flying fuck about your “stories” that you either made up or couldn’t be bothered to learn the actual facts about. They don’t magically make reality disappear. Your whining that the news doesn’t cover what you want it to when you want it to doesn’t change the facts. And your incessant spamming of idiotic bullshit will not convince anyone that you’re anything more than a stupid, lying troll.

  • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

    Are you one of those unthinking individuals that believes, like Jimmy Carter, that peace is possible?

  • phantomreader42

    Are you functionally illiterate or just babbling nonsense? Because none of that has any connection to anything I said, or to the topic of this post, or to any of the comments, or to any of the irrelevant bullshit you previously regurgitated.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You know what I love is how folks like you preach from within a faith whose basic tenet is that once the big boss comes back everybody will be at peace with one another.

    Yet you think so little of your fellow human beings you’re practically panting for more violence and more war as proof that human nature alone is incapable of superseding those impulses.

  • dpolicar

    I would be much happier living in a world where people like her needed an excuse to be nasty, or to feel superior to others. I don’t seem to live in such a world.

  • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

    I realize Christian and Newsom were brutally murdered in 2007 and just yesterday did I learn of it! That’s my point, nasty one. On the other hand, who in our entire nation has not heard of Trayvon Martin? Get the picture? I don’t care how idiotic people think I am for I am not a pleaser of people. The thread IS active now, huh? ;)
    By the way, what color skin are you living in?

  • Katherine McChesney

    Trayvon Martin was a thug. He was on his way to a life in prison.

    George Zimmerman is a hero for eliminating another criminal from society.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Bull-fucking-shit.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    What a shame that the law requires us to wait for someone to actually commit a crime before we execute them. Otherwise, we could have people put down for just being that sort of people.

    Of course, I am talking about racist sacks of shit like you, not african americans who wear hooded sweatshirts.


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