Trayvon Martin Was A Floozie
I haven’t commented on the George Zimmerman verdict, because there isn’t much to say that hasn’t already been said by others more eloquently than I ever could. So not to beat a dead horse, I just want to briefly point out a detail that I haven’t seen discussed, but that I find very curious: the standard justifications that “impartial” people offer for killing Trayvon Martin are eerily similar to the arguments the same kind of people usually offer in defense of rape. Nay, they aren’t similar, they are exactly the same.
All the classic tropes are there:
1. “I am not trying to justify what happened, and it’s a horrible tragedy, BUT … listen to my point-by-point justification of what happened.”
2. The victim had it coming by virtue of how he/she was dressed.
3. The victim had the temerity to venture into a space normally reserved for a different kind of people, so it is understandable one of those other people reacted the way he did.
4. On several occasions prior to the incident, the victim had impure thoughts, so clearly he was a thug / she was a slut.
5. The victim did not always demonstrate the highest standards of moral virtue and purity, therefore he was a thug / she was a slut. However, the perpetrator’s own history of violent and/or rapey behavior is irrelevant here. He’s only human after all, cut him some slack. Just because he was actually violent a few times before (as opposed to just thinking or joking about violence) doesn’t mean he’s a violent person.
6. The insinuation that the perpetrator is a racist / misogynist is completely disproved by the fact that he was nice to an actual black person no less than three times in his life / has been in the vicinity of other women and didn’t attack them.
7. Even if the perpetrator was prejudiced against the group of which the victim was a member, that prejudice should be treated as its own excuse, rather than evidence of criminal intent.
8. Even had the victim been a virtual saint throughout his/her life, the perpetrator couldn’t be expected to know that, so the behavior of other young black men/ young women, real or imagined, explains (read: justifies) what the perpetrator did. The victim, therefore, exercised poor judgment by not going out of his/her way to quickly demonstrate that he/she wasn’t like your typical blacks/women.
9. The victim is at fault for sending “confusing signals” to the perpetrator. Because the perpetrator is only human and cannot be expected to show reason or understanding of anything.
10. The victim should not have been outside at night. Only thugs/sluts stroll outside at night.
11. The killing/rape isn’t something the perpetrator did, it’s something that happened. On its own. In large part due to the victim’s lack of judgment and moral perfection.
12. “As you can see from my brilliant arguments, this had absolutely nothing to do with race/gender.”
The crucial difference, of course, is that with regard to rape, there was a legislative watershed in the 1970’s and 1980’s that stripped such notions of any formal legal validity — although, of course, such notions still lurk in the private thoughts of jurors and explain the low conviction rate. When it comes to race, however, existing while black in the wrong place at the wrong time is still a valid defense to any charges arising from killing a black man, at least in certain parts of the country. Of course, race isn’t explicitly written into the applicable statutes or the jury instructions; but they lend so much deference to perpetrators’ subjective state of mind, juries are permitted — nay, required — to consider whether the victim was asking for it with his dress, blacky black black blackness, and being a member of a group that has a poor reputation among those who make the rules.
Today’s lesson: don’t drive an SUV or have “thug music” playing in your car while being black (see, discussion of deference, above). Wanna bet Dunn’s defense attorneys are going to filet the victim for the “poor judgment” implicit in driving a luxury car — inappropriate to his social station — and having a taste in music that a middle-aged white man found threatening enough to use deadly force?