31 Mar 2012, Comments (1)

What does it take to justify murder?

Author: Helen

If the victim is black: not much, apparently.

The recent chin-stroking by various people regarding Trayvon Martin’s death at the hands of a vigilante crank is shameful. I was reminded of Maia’s commentary on the victim-blaming attending the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case. (In an astonishing coincidence, both Martin and DSK’s victim, Nafissatou Diallo, were black.)

Here’s Maia:

Women with boyfriends in jail can be raped.
Women with multiple cell phones can be raped.
Women who need money can be raped.
Women who can’t read or write the language of the country they are in can be raped.
Sex workers can be raped.
Women who lie on their tax forms can be raped.
Women who’ve lied about rape in the past can be raped.
Women who launder money can be raped.
Women who have told that their actual oppression is not enough to get them asylum, and so have to learn a story that will can be raped.
Women who have many truths they cannot tell to authorities can be raped.

Let’s use Maia’s post as a template to follow the chin-stroking commenters’ logic to its logical conclusion:

Teenagers who wear hoodies can be killed.
Teenagers who fight back against creepy stalkers can be killed. (Zimmerman’s claim that Martin was on top of him and had bashed him are looking dubious.)
Teenagers who have been suspended from school can be killed.
Teenagers who have used marijuana can be killed. (Martin was found with an empty baggie which may have once contained marijuana. (Be very afraid, Melbourne elite grammar school children!)
Teenagers who walk through a gated community, “just looking at houses”, can be killed.

Disclaimer: Trayvon Martin is not necessarily “guilty” of any of the above – actions, anyway, which would earn a minor warning for a white boy from the upper middle class. These are from a smear campaign which has been mounted against Trayvon by right wing bloggers, allegedly helped along by leaks from the Sanford PD, under scrutiny for their non-handling of the case. More here (Via).

Renee Martin of Womanist Musings writes about the challenges faced by the mother of an African-American son. All parents worry that some accident or tragedy will befall their children. It’s obscene that some mothers have the bonus worry of wondering if or when their child will be randomly targeted by a killer or by law enforcement because of their skin colour. Here’s a wry commentary on a “safe” dress code for black teenagers.

We can’t sit back smugly and tell ourselves this just a US issue. This is very much an Australian issue, too.

Comments (1) »

  • Kath Lockett says:

    ….and a Swiss issue. Still very evident that being black instantly confers an extra 300% of suspicion on you regardless of where you are or what you’re doing….

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