Not a satirical post but a link to a useful analysis from our parent site kineticnow.com. Summary of main points:
In the month since the Zimmerman case, the mainstream conversation has morphed into a personal verdict on Trayvon’s behavior and a cultural indictment on black people more broadly. Here are five keys that explain how this shift contributes to a broader American history of racial injustice:
- Key #1: Practice racism without being racist
American racism is more of a color-blind cultural racism than a personal racism. This kind of racism allows people to believe cultural stereotypes about minority communities in general, without feeling like they are being personally racist against minority individuals.
- Key #2: Continue a long American tradition of condemning blackness (while confirming whiteness)
American cultural stereotypes linking blackness to criminality go back a long ways, to discriminatory social policies and Jim Crow laws instituted after the Civil War that condemned black people as a group based on biased crime statistics. Meanwhile, similar patterns of crime by white immigrant groups were instead humanized and individualized.
- Key #3: Use new Jim Crow methods to legally profile black/brown men with “reasonable suspicion”
Our current legal system enforces a new kind of Jim Crow policing and segregation in urban black/brown communities, while largely ignoring suburban white communities, through the court sanctioned use of de facto racial profiling and discriminatory sentencing in the War on Drugs. This results in a disproportionate suspicion of black/brown men.
- Key #4: Rely on whiteness to deny ‘neighborliness’ to black/brown neighbors
White privilege shapes the ways people interpret and suspect the actions of their non-white neighbors. This happens even if the person suspecting the neighbor is non-white, because whiteness is a system of beliefs that we are all immersed in, so you don’t have to be white in order to uphold the normalcy of whiteness.
- Key #5: Stand your (white) ground by supporting gun laws based on white supremacist talking points
Laws like Stand Your Ground (which, by the way, was absolutely part of the Zimmerman defense) reflect fears and paranoias that once were the domain of white supremacist groups but are now a part of mainstream NRA talking points that openly encourage violent white vigilantism as a “reasonable” response to suspicious behavior in “your” neighborhood.
These keys interconnect to explain how so many Americans believe and act upon a deeply entrenched set of cultural prejudices that make black/brown bodies automatically suspicious in everyday encounters, suspicious enough to justify an aggressive and even violent pre-emptive response. However, there are also significant reasons for hope.