Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

Race-Related Takeaways From The George Zimmerman Verdict

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This will likely be the last time I write about this trial. Actually, let me rephrase that. At this moment, I do not envision myself writing about this again. Between Sunday’s post and today, I don’t have anything else to say. But, my feelings may change.

1. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that if the races where reversed and Zimmerman was a Black guy who followed, shot, and killed an unarmed White kid in a residential neighborhood, he (Zimmerman) would be in prison today. There is also no doubt that the racial make-up of the jurors made them more likely to give the benefit of the doubt to Zimmerman—someone who looks more like them than Trayvon Martin did.

Does this alone make them—and anyone else who’s more likely to give the benefit of the doubt to someone who looks more like them—racist? I honestly do not think so. At least not consciously. But, while thinking this, I’m reminded of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Fear of a Black President where he states that racism tends to be “…broad sympathy toward some and broader skepticism toward others” and I wonder if racism as it’s defined here is more natural than we want to believe. Race-based hate is definitely learned and, if not stemmed, cultivated. From what I understand, though, being more sympathetic towards people who look like you—and more suspicious of people who don’t—is more inherent. I could be wrong (I often am) but I don’t think this is an American thing as much as it’s just a human thing.

Considering all historical context—institutional racism, the existence of White privilege  etc—I think that White Americans have to consciously and doggedly work at not being racist. Basically, racism is the default. And, because of this, I don’t consider White racists—well, White racists who don’t consciously attempt or wish ill will on Black people—to automatically be bad people. Just negligently lazy. And, sometimes that negligent laziness leads to people like George Zimmerman walking free.

2. For White Americans who’ve appeared to have made the attempt to not harbor any race-based prejudices, I applaude their efforts and I’m very happy to see that, but I am still very skeptical. Extremely skeptical. Even after reading dozens of passionate pieces penned by Whites heartbroken over the Zimmerman verdict and seeing tens of thousands rallying for Trayvon, I’m still not completely convinced of their buy-in and support, and I’m not sure if anything can be done about that.

Honestly, this sentiment surprises me. I’ve grown up around White people. I’ve had White teammates in high school and college, and I’ve made some close White friends. My favorite teacher was White, as well as my favorite coach. I consider myself to be legitimately open-minded and painstakingly pragmatic. And, I do not find myself consciously uncomfortable or suspicious around them. But, when asking myself if I’m truly, 100% sold when one claims and/or even shows to be “down for the cause” (whatever that means), I have to say no. Even while I believe them on an intellectual level, I don’t feel it emotionally. This is bothersome. It’s especially bothersome when knowing that if a White person I knew and respected said what I just said about Black people, I’d be highly disappointed and perhaps even saddened.

3. Going on a somewhat related (and much lighter) tangent, there is a very small and very vocal population of Black men and women who date “out” and make sure to disparage Black men and women as unworthy in comparison to Whites. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in one of their living rooms right now.

(Question: For those types of Black people, do they not realize that if they have children, they’re still very likely to have a child that’s a member of the hated gender? I mean, what does a woman who’s sworn enemies with Black men do when the son she has with her White husband turns out to be darker-skinned than she is?)

4. I’ve seen the reaction to the Zimmerman verdict compared to the reaction to the O.J. verdict numerous times, including in the comments to the last post. Before continuing, I have to admit it wasn’t until five or six years ago that I realized a considerable number of Black people were actually happy about O.J. getting off. At the time of the verdict, I remember people (my parents especially) being more shocked that someone so apparently guilty was found not guilty than anything else.

Anyway, I don’t know if they realize they’re doing this, but people making that comparison in an effort to twist the knife are actually admitting they believe Zimmerman should have gone to prison. They’re basically saying “Ok, you got to celebrate your guilty-as-hell celebrity defendant who was found innocent, and now we have ours.”

But, it was never really about Zimmerman being “innocent,” was it?

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He resides in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes.

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

    “From what I understand, though, being more sympathetic towards people
    who look like you—and more suspicious of people who don’t—is more
    inherent.”

    I don’t agree, Champ. I think we live in a society where that seems to be the norm. But, that’s the norm of a racist society, not humanity. I recall being a kid in elementary school and being surrounded by kids that looked all sorts of different ways whose ancestry was in dozens of countries from around the world. But, all that mattered was who I liked and who liked me. And, from what I remember, the other kids felt the same.

    It isn’t until later when we become socialized by the society that we all live that we begin to be taught to be more comfortable around people who look like us.

    As we get older and the more we become products of American/ Western society, that society begins to build walls around us to keep us in our prescribed and predetermined places. That’s when we become suspicious of people who don’t look like us. And, that’s when we also know that we are all in the little walled boxes that America wants us to be in.

    But, for some of us that lesson is never fully learned, thankfully. And that’s why there is hope.

    • Todd

      All I will say from my experience is, um….no. The particulars of racism are unique to American society, yes. The general thrust, however, is as popular worldwide as soccer and action flicks. I don’t want to hi-jack your comment, but I can list some very real examples of this sort of prejudice that ain’t got anything to do with Black folk one way or another.

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

        I never said this was particular to Black people. I’m talking about the lessons everyone who is influenced by Western society learns.

    • LMNOP

      Socialization really begins pretty much at birth, and there are many, many kids who have already internalized a lot of our society’s racism, so in that way you and your childhood friends might be somewhat exceptional.

      But I completely agree that this is a function of white supremacy, not an inherent part of being human. To me, the hope lies mostly in the fact that that people can unlearn this, and that if you just pay attention, it is pretty easy to pick out thoughts and feelings that come from growing up in a racist society and realize you don’t agree and don’t want thoughts like this in your head. Basically, like cognitive behavioral therapy for racism. I feel like if this habit could be taught on wide-spread level, like through popular TV shows, where you don’t realize you’re learning it could have a huge impact, like sesame street with literacy.

      • melizah

        Agreed, we are being socialized from birth and that’s why kids react the way they do in experiments like these:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WG7U1QsUd1g
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcAuO0PNnrs

        • LMNOP

          Those kinds of experiments are SO sad.

          • melizah

            They really are :( These ones are interesting too:

            http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57551557/babies-help-unlock-the-origins-of-morality/?pageNum=3

            They show that infants have a bias towards puppets who are “like them” vs. those that are unlike them. Even though this is evidence for some sort of innate bias, I think what is learned is how you categorize people who are “like” you versus “unlike” you. But obviously there is a LOT learned since the children in the first experiments I posted have learned to prefer the color that is UNLIKE them.

        • Lara

          Is that the doll experiment? My theory is that these girls have all had good interactions with white people, and therefore think we are really nice. I’m not saying that we are, but they’ve probably had limited exposure to us, so tend to see the best.

          • melizah

            It is the doll experiment. I’m not sure how well they controlled for the children’s interactions with different races – it would be interesting to see if there was a correllation!

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

        You mention TV and I am a great believer that TV is the greatest mass brainwashing tool ever devised. Currently TV teaches all of us the lessons White Supremacy wants us to learn. But, thankfully, that can change and instead of learning that lesson we can learn another.

    • Todd

      Also, re-reading what you said, I think you’re ignoring the class situation you grew up in. Everywhere I see where everyone is “different yet getting along” has a lot more in common with each other than the groups the individual groups came from. Simply put, the people you went to school with traded one set of identities for another. Let someone come from another outgroup, whether it’s from some other culture or a different social class, and you’d see a lot of people getting in touch with their inner Bull Connor.

      In other words, race isn’t the only way people divide themselves. Social class and culture can matter a lot, especially the wealthier you get in this world.

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

        Yes, class is another way people have found to divide themselves. My point though is that no matter the reason we have to learn all of that. It’s not in us when we are born. Which means there’s hope that things won’t always be the way they’ve been and are now.

    • The Champ

      While I do recognize the role socialization has in influencing us, tribalism has always existed, even before Western influence.

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

        No argument about it not only being Western culture that teaches tribalism. My point is that we all have to learn it. It’s not something we’re born with.

        • 321mena123

          Tribalism isn’t taught though. It’s inherent.

          • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

            Give me examples to show that tribalism is innate rather than learned.

            • 321mena123

              Val this is why wars are happening today because of an us against them mentality. Just read the history of the Jews and you will find it there. There is a survival mechanism that is placed in all animals to associate with your own or you will die. The learned part is the hatred that comes with tribalism.

              • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

                I’m sorry, Mena, but that makes no sense. First, we aren’t animals, we’re human. Second, ‘race’ is a social construct. Which means we have to learn it. And who is “your own” depends on the situation. In my example of being a kid around a very diverse group of kids, “our own” was a simple matter of who we liked and got along with. So, once again I say that tribalism, racism, etc., is learned. It’s not in us when we we’re born.

                And, people were taught to hate Jewish people. They we’re born with a ‘hate Jews’ gene.

                • LMNOP

                  I also believe tribalism is learned, it seems likely that a propensity to learn it is innate. Like how we are born able to learn language.

                  People ARE animals. And we are very social animals, with pretty complex social rules and all that.

                  The thing with tribalism is that we don’t live in warring nomadic tribes anymore, so even if this ever was functional, it’s not now.

                  • Asiyah

                    I think tribalism in the sense that we prefer our own kind is somewhat innate, in that we do have a propensity towards feeling comfortable and familiar. Tribalism in the sense of “my tribe good, your tribe bad” is what I think is learned.

                • 321mena123

                  No. I think there is something in us, that isn’t taught, to make us want to belong to a group of people that look like us for survival. You learn hate and fear. It’s not a part of your DNA. Whites, blacks, hispanics, asians and indians wanting to only be with people that look like them has very little to do with racism (in most cases) and more to do with comfort and identity.

  • I Am Your People

    I can’t claim credit for these. 2 profound comments I saw on Twitter were:

    *Many of the jurors were mothers, but Zimmerman looked like their son, not Trayvon

    * The DEFENDANT is entitled for a juror of THEIR peers, not the victim’s peers

  • MPM

    Even as a white man I don’t disagree with what you’re saying. I’m liberal; I date women of all different ethnicities; I try to always imagine things from another perspective before making my judgment about something. But where does that leave us? If I’m always viewed with suspicion, then where does the understanding begin? And don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to pull some “reverse racism” bullshit; I understand (or try to) that this is something that black people, and specifically black men deal with every day – a society that is suspicious. But I guess what I’m asking is what do we (society as a whole – or at least people who care to improve things) do to begin this process?

    • AfroPetite

      I don’t think there’s any one action that can reverse centuries of hate. You’ve got white peers who have been bred to believe that minorities are the scum of the Earth and they in turn will instill these same values into future generations. Your best bet is to try and educate those willing to listen and learn. The others who are dead set on believing the worst about black people can’t be reached.

    • h.h.h.

      “But I guess what I’m asking is what do we (society as a whole – or at least people who care to improve things) do to begin this process?”

      love your neighbor, as much as you love yourself.

    • melizah

      As a white female I felt disappointed reading #2, though I get it. And it’s true – there should be skepticism. As an academic I get in lots of conversations about race and am continually told by other white friends how they aren’t racist, even though they exhibit racist behavior. So there’s reason for skepticism. But, and this is to your point about “what do we do to begin this process?” I wonder what we can do to at least mitigate some of the skepticism, or at least pave the road to mitigate it. And I agree with the comments below: learning, listening, educating, loving, accepting that we don’t (yet?) live in a post-racist America and keeping the dialogue open.

      • http://wildcougarconfessions.com Wild Cougar

        Your concern should not be whether your sincerity is believed. It is part of white privilege to put the burden on people of color to rubber stamp your “goodness”. It is not necessary for progress that believe you. Actions speak louder than words. And if people are still skeptical, that is the price of centuries of oppression. Your child will not die if Black people don’t believe you have good intentions. Get over it.

        • WIP

          well d@mn…

        • melizah

          I see your point. Although I think there’s a difference between wanting a seal of approval and wanting to mitigate skepticism. Anyway, you’re right. Actions speak louder than words.

          • Todd

            Dub C went a little harder in the pain than I would have, but she has a point. I know I give White people a lot more leeway with racial stuff if they’ve shown by their actions that they aren’t prejudiced. If you know your rap sheet, know that you’ve made a point to reach out, that should be enough. Past that, it’s just people with their own issues, and you have to realize that some people are just in their own heads.

        • MPM

          Cosign

    • The Champ

      “But where does that leave us? If I’m always viewed with suspicion, then where does the understanding begin?”

      I thought about that myself. Although I’m a bit more emphatic to this issue than she is, I do think that Wild Cougar makes a good point below about how it’s not necessary that people believe you.

      • MPM

        It’s true that it’s not necessary for someone else to believe you if your intentions are true, because ultimately your actions will speak the truth. But the reality is that at some point we do need to have faith and trust in order to move beyond where we currently are. That being said, it is easy for me to say that as a white male, who doesn’t have a historical precedent of being discriminated against and lied to over and over and over again.

        • LMNOP

          I think as a white person one of the most valuable things you can do against racism is just to speak up. If you see something, say something.

          You know your own heart, and if you are consistently trying to be a good person, some people will probably begin to trust you. And others won’t. And that’s okay. It’s not really about you. (This all I think is just how trust works, in general, not specific to race).

          • MPM

            Agreed. I was having this conversation with a friend of mine yesterday, and she made the point that passivity in white people against the horrors of racism is supporting the racist system. I totally agreed with her. I think of a lot of my family, and even some of my friends, who I certainly wouldn’t call racist, but their apathy toward the “tough issues” perpetuate the racist system. In order to change society in a positive way I think we need buy in from more than just people that are “affected” by racism, because in reality we’re all affected by it.

    • mochazina

      i’ll leave you with my post from fb yesterday:

      A word for my white friends :: Ladies & Gents, please expand what you teach your kids about race. Just like the media hypes bullying and what to do when you encounter it, you should teach your kids lessons about race with both practical applications and theory. If you note the stuff I’ve posted about race: parents of black kids are terrified of repeats of their experiences of being black in america and the individual situations they’ve faced specifically because of it and are teaching their kids how to be prepared to deal with those kinds of situations as well. Where does change happen towards a “post-racial” society (or at least one where we can exist in racial harmony? When *your* sons and daughters also know how to deal with racist situations. Not simply knowing that “it’s ok that blacks/others are different” but knowing what to do in a situation where that difference is causing a negative reaction. Interventions – going to a higher authority, sticking up for the victim, etc. Evil wins when good does nothing.

    • aico

      Work on your white peers. They are the ones that really need some help.

    • Ms Butterfly

      When you see or hear someone behave in a racist manner, call them out; it’s a lot like bullying. You don’t get to pick on people because they’re different. I have been in situations where I have been the only black person and someone makes an inappropriate or racist comment. The other white people know it’s racist, I KNOW that they know it, but they would rather avoid eye contact with me and not acknowledge it than confront the person.

      Which leaves me in a very awkward position to either swallow my pride and accept it, or start a conversation ab out race, which is almost always met with hostility because no one likes to be thought of as a racist, and they certainly don’t want a black person pointing it out to their peers.

      A lot of times black people feel as if they are a victim of gaslighting because white people will say and do racist things and then say it’s not racist, when it obviously is. It’s crazymaking.

      So, it would mean a LOT to a person of color if you saw racist behavior and even ACKNOWLEDGED it as such.

      • MPM

        I think you make a great point. And believe me, if I hear anything that makes me uncomfortable, I say something. But I think it goes back to the point that most white people don’t understand the horrible reality of racism, and therefore just let things pass. So when I say something, some white people (and I live in Portland, OR, so there are a lot of white people here) say, “why are you offended, you’re not ‘x’ ethnicity”; which I’m baffled by, because I tell them that offensive comments are offensive comments no matter who they’re directed toward, and therefore I’m offended.

        • Ms Butterfly

          Hmmm….well maybe all that can be accomplished on your end is at least pointing it out so they know it’s inappropriate. I figure if it gets uncomfortable enough for them to say racist things around you, they’ll stop and hopefully exercise some discretion in the future.

          The bigger issue I am not sure how to solve is how to get white people to have empathy for people who don’t look like them. My Jaw literally dropped when I saw all those tweets people put out about not being as sad that Rue died in Hunger games because the actress who played her was black. First off, they didn’t read the book that closely because it describes her as such, they probably just assumed she was white. How do you teach someone they should be sad when little black girls die too? Why is that something that needs to be even taught? That’s an almost sociopathic level of disregard for a child.

          I haven’t the foggiest clue how to get white people to see us as fully realized human beings. I would think some of that would come with age and maturity, but this Trayvon case has shown me otherwise. There have been so many people who’s defense of George Zimmerman is that well he perceived his life to be in imminent danger so he had a right to shoot Trayvon. They don’t even discuss the fact that Trayvon might have been scared for HIS life because a creepy man in a truck was following him, who he thought was a child predator, and saw that he had a gun because they cannot or won’t put themselves in Trayvon’s shoes. I am pretty sure that kid thought he was in a fight for his life.

          They also don’t even consider the fact that Zimmerman could have easily lied and said Trayvon threw the first blow to keep his sorry butt out of prison. All people see is, well he’s black, and “black people be thuggin’. They also keep talking about how Trayvon could have avoided being shot when Zimmerman was very clearly the adult and the aggressor in the situation.

          Trayvon’s body was in the morgue for 3 whole days after he was reported missing because the police couldn’t be bothered to even check the morgue. His body was only Yards away from his father’s fiance’s house when he died. I’m pretty sure they thought he was just another dead black thug, but unfortunately for them, he wasn’t. He was someone’s very much loved child.

          • MPM

            You’re exactly right. People give George Zimmerman the benefit of the doubt (for no reason), but they won’t give the same to Trayvon. Or to the thousands of other young black men that get stopped and frisked, beat up by cops, or shot by a neighborhood watch captain. It’s tragic and it needs to end.

  • I Am Your People
    • HUgrad13

      I LOVE IT

    • http://www.TheNewEve.com/ Bunni

      That is beautiful.

    • Kema

      I like!

    • WIP

      Thanks for this.

  • TheOtherJerome

    “I’ve grown up around White people. I’ve made some very close White friends. I consider myself to be legitimately open-minded and painstakingly pragmatic. And, I do not find myself consciously uncomfortable or suspicious around them. But, when asking myself if I’m truly, 100% sold when they claim and show to be “on our side,” I have to say no. This is bothersome.”

    I wonder why that is for you? Perhaps it’s in how you define “Our side”?

    When i was a youngster, my bestest bud in the whole world was a white kid. It wasn’t until this other White (Jewish) kid told us a a borderline racist joke, that i started to see the differences between us. This other kid btw assured us that it was ok for him to tell the joke because he was a Jew and therefore a minority, like me. Zing, another difference i never thought about.

    Anyway, point is for me at the time “our side” was the 5th graders. When we got older and we were still in contact “Our side” was kids who went to this particular private school.

    When i was in High School (90% Black) a white guy was one of my core circle of nerdy friends. At the time “Our side” was the Nerds, Outsiders and D&D players.

    In College, my White councilor had my picture pinned to his wall in his office for year when i made the front page of the local city paper. I never told him i was going to be in the paper, he just saw it. At the very least he was on “My side”.

    In the working world i got promoted to a Jr exec because a Jewish co-worker, whom i was simply just cool with, noticed how hard i worked and nominated me for the position….. behind my back. He certainly was on “My side”

    I don’t know man. I define allies as people who totally agree or are seriously willing to listen to our position. In my life, i’ve had both.

    There are White people on “Our side”. It just depends on how you define it.

    • Sahel

      Very true. I have been in a very unfortunate situation when an incredibly racist joke was told about black men and prison. I had to grin and act like it wasnt that bad,but it made me wonder.

    • The Champ

      “Anyway, point is for me at the time “our side” was the 5th graders. When we got older and we were still in contact “Our side” was kids who went to this particular private school.”

      Interesting point. Race isn’t the only factor when determining who gets my sympathy. Often, it’s not even the first one. Whenever a writer, comic, or athlete is involved in a controversy, my initial sympathies and benefit of the doubt lies with them

  • Inspector Ratchet

    but I am still very skeptical.

    See, I’m not this guy. And I actively try not to be. I don’t like feeling that every White person, even close friends, may harbor racist feelings. This is made especially difficult by the stories my father have told.

    One of them being about his former job . He was, at least he thought, good friends with all his White co-workers at the office. They’d hang out together, he’d get invite to all of their birthday/Christmas parties, etc. Until he got promoted.

    Once he did, his White co-workers started avoiding him, acting rude towards him, and didn’t follow his instructions among other things. One day he called one of the co-workers, a female, into his office for a private conversation after she deliberately didn’t send a very important document my father needed. My father calmly questioned her about the change of tone in the office. Finally she, relunctantly, admitted that her and the (White) employees do not like the fact that a Black man is their superior.

    • TheOtherJerome

      Thats horrible bro :-(

    • IcePrincess

      Paul Robeson started off being a Rutgers educated lawyer. He straight walked away from his practice & never looked back after a white secretary refused to take notation from him. He was like, “f*ck this, I’m out!” That’s when he became a world renound thespian, getting major love all over europe. Until the US government labled him a commie & took him alllllll the way down. Smfh

      • Todd

        Don’t remind me of that. The worse part was when things got real, Paul Robeson asked the Rutgers administration to vouch for him, and they more or less told him “nah, you’re on your own.” I spoke to his son about that, and he was still hurt about that all these years later.

        • IcePrincess

          .I don’tblame him. It was messed up how they did his pops. Almost scrubbedhim comoletely from the history books, as celebritiesgo

    • Trip

      I explain to my White friends that if President Obama can’t pull it off, what hope does an “average” Black person have? It’s almost a guarantee that when you move up you deal with at least some of this.

  • HarteeHarHar

    While it is on one hand trivial in comparison to Trayvon Martin’s murder, the controversy that has surrounded CBS’s reality competition show Big Brother and its blatantly racist, homophobic, sexist and generally got-awful cast members is, depending on your perspective, either great or unfortunate timing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCUbKcKVtVM&feature=player_embedded

    http://jezebel.com/big-brother-turns-into-a-racist-shit-show-as-black-woma-787995871

    • The Champ

      I just can’t get into the big brother racism controversy at all. nothing about that is interesting to me

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

        I agree. I think I feel that way because it seems to me that CBS is trying to use it as a way to get ratings for a dying show. If they weren’t they would have just thrown the woman off the show like other reality shows have done.

    • Ms Butterfly

      I think reality shows and social media is going to expose people with opinions like these to more scrutiny then they did in the past, which means there will be actual consequences for being an idiot racist and that makes me optimistic.

      • HarteeHarHar

        Yeah, the Washington Post’s John Capehart published the racist emails he received and I was just on another forum where people were already exposing information about the people who sent him those emails.

        • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

          That’s a good thing. They should be exposed more. I hate when people say racist stuff on social media and the mainstream media obscures their identity. Say it and own it.

  • Sahel

    Juror B37 is writing a book about the trial and how the verdict was reached. And she swears shes not out to profit on the case just to tell her side of the story about the case and how it was not about race.

    • HarteeHarHar

      Well, apparently she was dropped by her literary agent after outrage ensued. She released a CYA/PR statement via twitter.
      http://groupthink.jezebel.com/breaking-statement-from-juror-b37-says-she-will-not-b-796560271

      • I Am Your People

        This literary agent DID publish a book by Amanda Knox’s ex-boyfriend. You remember, they totally didn’t kill a Black girl* and blame the Black boyfriend.

        * Yes, Meredith Kercher was of mixed racial heritage. Notice she got no coverage?

        • Sahel

          Maybe in the US she didnt but in Europe it was a bloody big deal that Kercher case.

          • I Am Your People

            From what I read in UK news outlets about the Amanda Knox case was that the biggest outrage was that the American media immediately portrayed Amanda as an angel, and that the victim was completely forgotten. And trust me, Meredith Kercher wasn’t even an afterthought in American media. She was a non-entity

            • Sahel

              Damn,the US media cant let one take a loss ey

        • chocolynne

          I’m in Holland and this is the 1st I’m hearing of Meredith Kercher being of mixed race. I generally tend to ignore Italian press and was relying mostly on American media for the coverage. Dutch media didn’t mention it either. Interesting.

          • Sahel

            Am curious,as a black,in holland how do you react when they have that black pete thing during xmas.

            • chocolynne

              It is a bonding experience for all of us. Every mid-November we huddle together & all give knowing glances on the street to other Blacks; just waiting until December 6th when all that BS moves on out again. But nothing hurts my heart like seeing a black child in black face. And the blackface paint kits are sold for 99 cents at the grocery store. But I don’t discuss such things in July. Bad for my Summer blood-pressure.

              • Sahel

                Holland is a very curious place in terms of racism. The dutch will never admit that what they do is racist,they just say that you dont understand because your not from there. I have dealt with quite a number who dropped the N word on me but then say they got listen to rap music so its ok if they say it.

                • Todd

                  Dutch racial relations are flat out weird. Heck, you can even see the results in the New York area to a minor extent (where the Dutch were the original colonizers). There’s a reason there are large chunks of the Hudson Valley and Upstate New York with lots of Black people…and they don’t all have Southern roots. It even flows down to the point where New York is one of the few parts of the country where White people and Black people talk with similar accents.

                  Simply put, they have some odd racist beliefs that are way off the beaten path.

        • Tristan

          the agent was also behind if i did it….its amazing how some mentions suddenly gives people consciences

      • WIP

        I think they said SHE decided not to do the book on GMA this morning, but I could this makes sense too. The trial just ended. And her “speaking out” isn’t helping anything.

  • chocolynne

    Hate to admit it but I do believe that we are all inherently tribal. That’s our default setting. We are most comfortable with whomever is most familiar. I’ve seen the children take sides at a local park when a brawl breaks out in the swimming. Black and brown kids group together. All strangers, but it’s like they just know… Eerie.

    • Tristan

      its weird because all thru school my best friends were usually white but as an adult in any new setting i subconsciously look for soemone who looks like me

      • Sahel

        Because you know what it means to be black. When we are growing up we havent had life beat into us what skin colour means.

      • chocolynne

        Absolutely. Even though I know well that “all my skinfolk ain’t kinfolk” (Zora Neale-Hurston) I still hold greater hopes for empathy from those who have shared the experience of growing up non-white. Doesn’t preclude non-black relationships but when searching around the room for an immediate set of reassuring eyes, I tend to default tribal.

        • Lara

          Being white, this is exactly how I feel about white people. Well put.

          • LMNOP

            I think it is kind of different from how you feel about other white people, actually, but I can’t quite articulate why.

            • Lara

              It depends on numbers. If I was in a situation where I was one of the only white people, I think seeing another white person would be reassuring.

            • 321mena123

              No it isn’t. I am going to agree with Lara on this one. We need to stop dowing people’s comments simply b/c we don’t agree with them. If blacks feel more comfortable around blacks and seek them out then i would assume that whites feel the exact same way. *not saying that you downed her comment LMNOP*

              • Lara

                Thank you. I think human emotions are pretty consistent no matter what your race.

              • LMNOP

                I didn’t down it, because I didn’t really have strong opinions on it, just that vague little almost comment.

                But down voting something you disagree with seems like a great use of that feature. You can pretty much just say “no” and move on.

                If you’re talking specifically about new people, I do agree that its good to give them the benefit of the doubt. I think we’re very good about doing that here. Maybe even a little too good.

              • WIP

                I downed your comment because I don’t agree. :)

                • Lara

                  If you are referring to my comment, why don’t you agree?

                  • LMNOP

                    I think she was saying she downed mena’s, just to be funny.

                  • WIP

                    LOL, nope I was just trying to bother Mena

                • 321mena123

                  LOL! :-) Thanks WIP! I uped yours.

              • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

                But African Americans are more likely to feel comfort around other African Americans as a function of the larger society being oppressive. Whereas Whites are likely to feel comfort around other Whites simply as a function of choice. So, there’s a distinct difference.

                • 321mena123

                  I don’t agree with this and Todd brought up a good point about class. I think that we are more comfortable around those who look, think, act, and have the same background as us. Most blacks tend to be more comfortable around blacks. The same with whites, Asians, Hispanics, etc. It has more to do with the perception of the person than anything else. It’s not a choice for most people regardless of race. That’s just an internal biological thing which is set in us as a survival mechanism.

                  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

                    My point is that we are more comfortable with “our own” because of how society functions. For instance Asians are largely seen as the model minority and because of that many Asians are just as comfortable around Whites as they are around other Asians. No other ethnic group is as integrated with Whites as Asians are.

                    So, it’s not an internal survival mechanism, it’s all external.

                    • 321mena123

                      But they are the descendents of the Asians who were already here or kids of the parents who moved here. Asians, at the end of the day, still go home to their Asian families. I think that they are integrating more now but i would say the same thing for other races as well. That we are infact becoming an integrated society, slowly but surely. Initially, people wanting to be with those that look like them has more to do with survival (animal instinct) and comfort more so than hatred (learned).

                    • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

                      America is decidedly not an integrated society. Maybe we’ve become more integrated in the workplace but as far as where we live America is extremely segregated.

                      I’m not ewhat you are trying to say about Asians.

                    • 321mena123
                    • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

                      Lol. I don’t know, Mena. That tiny study seems like some White people trying to make racism seem like it’s a natural thing, instead of the truth, which is it’s something some Europeans made up centuries ago to divide and conquer.

                • LMNOP

                  This is pretty much what I was thinking but couldn’t explain.

    • Asiyah

      I don’t think there is anything wrong with being tribal. It’s when you take decide that you do not want to get to know other tribes where the problem lies. Just my opinion.

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

        Not wanting to get to know other “tribes” is not a big deal IMO, it’s teaching by force that one ‘tribe’ is superior than all others that’s the problem.

        • Asiyah

          Yes, that too. I guess I feel both are wrong.

  • Lara

    I am the person who wrote the comment about the Simpson verdict. Obviously, Simpson was guilty, something most black people admit now. George Zimmerman made a few minor mistakes, in my opinion, but he was in no way guilty of murder in the 2nd degree. I have yet to read the opinion of a legal expert who disagrees with that statement. Unfortunately, because of black America’s lynch mob mentality, he will probably be in hiding for the rest of his life. At this point, even his parents don’t know where he is.
    I remember very clearly seeing a large crowd of black people, on television, cheering, when Simpson was declared “not guilty”. I was angry at the time, but have since gotten over it, and come to understand it. Black Americans are tribal, and he was one of their own. They felt it was one time the justice system worked unfairly in their favor. I didn’t see any white Americans cheering about the Zimmerman verdict. I was happy about it, but was home alone. I don’t consider George Zimmerman white, btw.

    • TheOtherJerome

      Sigh. Rise and grind; a Troll’s work is never done!

    • Tristan

      you conveniently gloss over the fact that oj was a celebrity with millions of fans, george zimmerman is just some paul blart wannabe, and dont be naive because the news didnt show it dont think there wasnt rallies for him

      lynch mob….nah too earily yo. troll tide.

      • LMNOP

        Also, I think there is some historical significance to the OJ trial. He was very likely the first black man to get away with murder, something white people have been doing pretty regularly since the founding of the country (and obviously before).

        Of course, there have been THOUSANDS of murder trials in the almost 20 years between OJ’s and Zimmerman’s. A passing familiarity with the criminal justice system pretty much lays waste to the idea that miscarriages of justice are a color-blind phenomenon.

    • http://uphereoncloud9.com/ Wu Young

      I don’t think it’s true but if black America has a “lynch MOB” mentality I wonder who we acquired that mentality from?

      The problem, Lara, comes from many white folks failure to acknowledge that day to day that minorities in this nation with all of our progress live by a different set of unspoken, yet clear rules than our white brethren. It the fact that you can’t see or refuse to see that is the issue. #trolldamntide

      • Lara

        White people probably aren’t going to change to your satisfaction. It’s very hard to change one’s nature. It’s probably better for black America to gradually separate themselves, as much as possible, and create their own society.

        • http://uphereoncloud9.com/ Wu Young

          ” It’s probably better for black America to gradually separate themselves, as much as possible, and create their own society”

          There’s the rub, Lara. If can paraphrase Colin Powell, the specific elements of white America who have issues with blacks need to understand that we aren’t going away.

          • Lara

            But if you dislike white people, and don’t trust us, wouldn’t it make sense to separate from us? Racial strife is very hard psychologically on people.

            • http://uphereoncloud9.com/ Wu Young

              No one here has said we dislike white folks. That’s what you have to understand. To your ears our concerns equal dislike. Until you understand that this is pointless.

            • Todd

              Well, why do White people have to stay the same? No one HAS to, even Black folk. :) Also, let me play Devil’s Advocate for a bit. So White people have to change to make non-Whites happy. What’s the worst that could happen?

              • Lara

                It seems like this policy of appeasement just gets black people angrier at us. It doesn’t seem to improve race relations.

                • Todd

                  I’ll play along. So Black people are pissed. Tell the end result of this.

                  • Lara

                    Angry people are unpleasant to be around.

                    • Todd

                      That’s it? The end result of Black people speaking up about race is people being angry?} Big whoop. I’m not a fan of the White Privilege thing, since I personally believe that it can be used to justify some horrid behavior by the powers that be. Still, the fact that you have to deal with ticked off people is something so horrible that you’re willing to avoid Black people forever and ever?

                      Heck, people deal with angry people all the time for all sorts of reasons, most of them having nothing to do with race. Also, to be fair, I know that there aren’t exactly secret meetings where all White people decide racial policy. (Though if there are, can you tell me the refreshment menu out of curiosity?) Letting horrible actions slide because you don’t want to deal with angry people is that serious to you.

                      Fair enough, and God bless you, because I sure can’t.

                    • Lara

                      Do you like to date angry women? I’m guessing not.

                    • Todd

                      Fair enough. But I’m not trying to kick them out the country. I just deal with them pleasantly, and figure if they want help, they’ll ask. After all, save for the mentally disturbed, people are angry because they’re hurt. It’s a good way to deal with anyone who is angry.

                    • Lara

                      I never said anything about kicking anyone out of any country. That is a extreme viewpoint, and totally unrealistic. I prefer to discuss more realistic scenarios.

                    • 321mena123

                      Again, your assumption is that we are ALL angry jerks. Not saying this as a dig but you have obviously never stepped outside of your comfort zone b/c you don’t feel that you have or need to. Is my assumption correct?

                    • Lara

                      No I don’t think that. It’s just that Todd claims that it is wrong to not want to be around angry people. I think it’s normal, and I’m guessing he, like most men, does not particularly like to be around angry women.

                    • Maharaja Misty

                      So are idiots, yet here you are making your presence felt. Oh, the irony.

                    • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

                      angry people have stories to tell. i am open to anger, not directed at me, but in my presence. i dont love it, tho oo i used to ~*~ but i respect it’s need for expression. sometimes it does the angered a service to listen. one does not always need to engage further. listening is quite an art, and silence of one’s tongue is a gift. i try to remember this.

                    • To’Mas Que Fuego

                      Great point Lara. I never thought of it that way. Life must be so hard for white people. People keep trying to suggest that they actually co-exist with unpleasant people (gasp!). That must really suck. Good thing no other races ever have to go through that. Good thing everyone in the hood stays in the best of moods 24/7….I don’t envy you guys at all…sheesh. That must suck

                • LMNOP

                  What policy of appeasement?

                  • Lara

                    For instance, whites not speaking honestly about racial issues. The internet is changing this. I go on black websites, and try to be as honest as possible. This can be hard to do, and I’ve had plenty of tense conversations, but I think it helps race relations.
                    There are some black people, who do this on more white oriented sites, and I give them credit.

                    • LMNOP

                      That’s not a policy. And it doesn’t really “appease” anybody.
                      FWIW, I’m white and I talk honestly about racial issues a lot, and I feel like the people who have a problem with this are overwhelmingly white.

                    • Lara

                      So what if you’re white? We hear white people’s opinions all the time on race. I’m frankly getting a little tired of it.

                    • LMNOP

                      I was trying to relate to you, hon. You said it’s hard for you as a white person to talk honestly about racial issues and that has not been my experience.

                      It seems like you are pretty set in your beliefs, but, like I said earlier, I will pray for you.
                      Have a blessed day.

                    • 321mena123

                      She’s pretty set in her assumptions. The 24hr news cycle has screwed up a lot of people.

                    • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

                      isnt it fascinating .. the media controls so many minds. Orwell X Warhol. virtual insanity like it’s the 90s and i’m playinn Jamiroquai again ~*~

                    • To’Mas Que Fuego

                      “We hear white people’s opinions all the time on race. I’m frankly getting a little tired of it.”

                      Best quote you’ve had all day. For once I agree with you Lara

                    • Asiyah

                      and yet she expressed hers so passionately…!

                    • LMNOP

                      I know! Right after she just said she likes to go to black websites to tell people her white opinion on race.

            • WIP

              “White people aren’t going away anytime soon, either.”

              It would depend on how one defines “soon.”

              “I am definitely seeing a lynch mob mentality with black America right now, and it’s scary”
              How ironic.
              j/k, kinda.
              Anyway, when I think of separate I think of how I see Asian communities and Jewish communities supporting each other. Many black Americans are already separated regionally.

              • Todd

                “Anyway, when I think of separate I think of how I see Asian communities
                and Jewish communities supporting each other. Many black Americans are
                already separated regionally.”

                Really? ROTFLMAO! Maybe you don’t see it in your neck of the woods because there aren’t a lot of Asians and Jewish people around, but in the NYC Tri-State, the infighting is REAL. For example, the ultra-Orthodox (or Haredi, as they call themselves), the modern Orthodox and the more secular Jewish communities barely tolerate each other. There are all sorts of infighting between various Asian groups. Just because you don’t get a chance to see it up close and personal doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Not by a long shot.

                • WIP

                  Well, I guess that goes along with my point. I only know what black folks do because that’s who I’m around the most. What I SEE are Latino families grocery shopping together, whole Asian families (generations) owning businesses in a whole commercial unit and working together, and other groups where generations of families carry-on professions and businesses. I don’t see it as much with my brown people.

            • Rachmo

              Um hi Lara. I’m going to remain calm here. Where are we supposed to go ma’am in this separation that you speak of? For real would you like me to quit my job because I am working for a White woman? Move out of my predominantly White neighborhood that I love for its convenience? Maybe I should just cut off all of my White friends? Yes yes that makes sense. Troll.

            • 321mena123

              But you are assuming that is all of us. Step away from your tv. Question, are you close to any black people? Meaning, do you associate or are you friendly with any blacks?

              • Lara

                I interact with black people almost on a daily basis, but I don’t have any black friends. I’m not opposed to the idea, it just has not happened recently. I did have a black friend years ago, but we have since lost touch.

                • Ms Butterfly

                  I wonder why.

            • Asiyah

              Separate…but equal? That sounds familiar…

            • Kema

              I for one dont dislike or distrust white people. Just the ones that tend to be in power.

              • Todd

                The problem is that a LOT of Black people can’t tell the difference between the two, and they’re messing it up for EVERYONE.

        • LMNOP

          What a cynical view of white people you have.

          I will pray that God lifts some of that hate out of your heart, because I know it can’t feel good.

          • Lara

            I have a cynical view of human nature in general.

    • LMNOP

      “A few minor mistakes”?!?!?

      He KILLED a child.

      People do legitimately kill children by mistake sometimes (I’m thinking of the babies left in car seats), but it is NEVER a minor mistake, it is a tragedy, and the type of major mistake that haunts people for life. Seems like mistakenly killing a child is not quite what we are dealing with in Zimmerman’s situation, but nothing about this is minor.

    • h.h.h.

      “I didn’t see any white Americans cheering about the Zimmerman verdict”

      ironically enough, in yesterday’s/Sunday’s post here, someone described how white folks were setting off firecrackers in celebration of the verdict.

      but, you’ll see what you desire to see.

      • Asiyah

        yeah, I saw that too. And Rush Limbaugh and the other Fox News guys were defending this guy.

      • Lara

        I saw that comment. I don’t doubt many people were happy with the verdict, I just didn’t see any public celebrations on the news. I was home alone at the time.

        • h.h.h.

          *shrugs* like i said, ‘you’ll see what you want to see’

        • Kema

          Blacks dont have the same PR firm. :-/

    • http://wildcougarconfessions.com Wild Cougar

      Why are ya’ll feeding this troll?

      • Ms Butterfly

        I shouldn’t be. But I am. A tiny part of me feels like she’s here to learn, and maybe she will. I’m optimistic.

        • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

          Nah, I’ve seen her troll other Black orientated sites. She’s here for attention.

          • LMNOP

            This is so weird to me. Like 90% of mainstream media news sites have really racist commenters. Why not stay there?

            • Lara

              It’s boring to continue conversing with people whom you mostly agree with, not that I necessarily agree with those people. I like to mix it up a bit. I probably won’t comment on most black issues, like relationships between black men and black women, but the Zimmerman verdict crossed racial lines.

              • LMNOP

                Wow. Well now I know.

              • h.h.h.

                are you here trying to figure out and understand where we are coming from?

                or are you here just trying to pass the time?

                or are you here to try to convince a subset of the American population that rarely, if ever, receive justice…that ‘oh well, we had OJ, tough sh*t, suck it up and man up’?

            • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

              Because at those sites they’re just one of many, when they come here and spots like this they become stars. Trolls thrive on attention.

              • LMNOP

                But it’s summer, can’t she just wear less clothing for attention?

      • Todd

        Because she revealed an interesting psyche that you don’t see much around here. As the Yogi Berra quote goes “you can learn a lot by observing.”

    • The Champ

      “I am the person who wrote the comment about the Simpson verdict. Obviously, Simpson was guilty, something most black people admit now. George Zimmerman made a few minor mistakes, in my opinion, but he was in no way guilty of murder in the 2nd degree. I have yet to read the opinion of a legal expert who disagrees with that statement. Unfortunately, because of black America’s lynch mob mentality, he will probably be in hiding for the rest of his life. At this point, even his parents don’t know where he is.

      I remember very clearly seeing a large crowd of black people, on television, cheering, when Simpson was declared “not guilty”. I was angry at the time, but have since gotten over it, and come to understand it. Black Americans are tribal, and he was one of their own. They felt it was one time the justice system worked unfairly in their favor. I didn’t see any white Americans cheering about the Zimmerman verdict. I was happy about it, but was home alone. I don’t consider George Zimmerman white, btw.”

      I’m legitimately fascinated by how your thought process seems to work.

      • http://wildcougarconfessions.com Wild Cougar

        Its the insanity of racism. Blindness to the lies in your own mind. Cognitive dissonance alarm has been disabled. Any old weak excuse or justification for your supremacy is a good one.

      • Lara

        Thank you and thank you for letting me comment on your website.

    • Ms Butterfly

      He was definitely guilty of manslaughter.

      Yes blacks and their lynch mob mentality. Completely different from the centuries of actual white lynch mobs.

      The world’s tiniest violin plays softly for George Zimmerman.

      The justice system only worked unfairly in his favor bc OJ was rich and famous. Whereas the millions of average village idiots like Zimmerman can get the system to work in their favor simply by not showing up black.

      That’s funny because George Zimmerman considered himself to be white, all the way up until he thought it would hurt him in this trial, funny how that works.

      • Asiyah

        +1!