Saturday, July 13, 2013

On #Racism, Fat-Hating, and the #Zimmerman Trial

I am horrified and heartbroken. For some unknown reason, those six women let a child-killer go free.

Shame, shame, shame on them. I hope they come to regret it as bitterly as the OJ Simpson jury, which also turned a killer loose.

My son, age 17/18

On Sports vs. Age


One of the arguments the Zimpathizers came up with is that Trayvon Martin was this young, strong, fit MMA fighter, while George Zimmerman was portrayed as barely able to bend over and tie his own shoes.

Actually, Zimmerman was the one taking MMA classes, for well over a year, three times a week, two hours per session. If he was as helpless and defenseless as his buddy the gym owner testified, then said gym owner should be considered a cruel fraud for taking his money so long and pointlessly.

Let me share a couple basketball stories.

My son went to a high school that was big on basketball. Four boys' basketball teams: Varsity, Junior Varsity, Sophomore, and Freshman. The teams did tryouts in June, participated in a summer league, playing or practicing through most of the summer. In the fall, when school started, then it got serious. Practice for 2-3 hours every day, and on Saturday.

At Thanksgiving, the official basketball season kicked out with a fun and fund-raising exhibition game: Varsity vs. Alumni. Varsity being these young, fit, tall strong young men aged 17/18, like my son, above, who had the further advantage of having been playing together as a unit for the last six months.

The Alumni were from multi-generations of "star" basketball players. A few were in the twenties, and still fairly fit. Others limped onto the court wearing knee braces. Balding heads and spare tires were common. Possibly one or two of them had played together (besides prior Alumni games). Many of them were playing a position on the court they'd never played before.

The first game I attended, I felt embarrassed for the geezers as they were introduced. These young, fit young men were going to school the old guys.

Instead, they had their asses handed to them.

I believe out of the five Varsity vs. Alumni games I watched, Varsity might have won once. Most of the time, a heavier, older person (especially one with formal training in martial arts) is going to "take" a teenager. especially if the teen is lighter. When they separate classes in boxing, they do so by weight, not height or arm reach.

Does this mean that Trayvon Martin couldn't have been beating up on George Zimmerman? No; but all we have is Zimmerman's (ever-changing) story, and the physical evidence.  While, yes, some teenagers are violent, and people, teens or not, tend to exhibit more viciousness in groups, we need to put aside the idea that a single teenager is automatically dangerous to an older person.

And on Trayvon Martin being a tatted-up badass?

From HLN:
Fulton [Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon's mother] is asked about Martin's tattoos. She confirms he had two: praying hands on right upper shoulder with his grandmother and great-grandmother's name and Sybrina's name on his left wrist.
Does that sound real "gangsta" to anyone?

My son has two tats. My daughter-in-law wears ink all over. *I* have a tattoo, and trust me, I am not a badass (well, I am, just not fight-wise). Tattoos are not just for sailors, bikers and gang members anymore, and anybody who infers otherwise needs to join the 21st Century.



On Sports & Race


So, here's another couple basketball stories. My son's high school, and community, was fairly whitebread. He played with a couple biracial black kids on his team, several Asians (my other son, love you BK!), Hispanics, and Armenians (considered white/Caucasian, officially, but a very different culture). In the surrounding high schools that his school played, there were other racial concentrations, I'll call it, for lack of a better word. One school was predominantly Armenian, another predominantly Hispanic, and a couple predominantly African-American.

Know what? Sometimes things got heated between the teams and/or players, but not because of race. More because one player or another thought another played dirty. The biggest beef I had as a protective mom in the bleachers was about a player on the predominantly Armenian team who seemed to have a bad habit of accidentally(?) elbowing the opposing players in the temple.

When we took a trip back East during school break, we took with us a deflated basketball, a pump, and refill needles, so my jock son could keep up with bball practice.

The high school I went to there was pretty "mixed." About 45% white, 40% black, the rest Puerto Rican and a handful of Vietnamese. Sometimes there were racial tensions, and in the years before I attended, one person had actually been stabbed to death. Basically, there were a few assholes, in all colors, who might pick a fight based on race, but most of us just got along.

The small Pennsylvania town itself though, at the time I lived there, and when we visited, was not "mixed." Black people lived here and here. White people lived there and there. The interracial couples like my father and stepmother lived in the narrow strips of neighborhood in between.

So I have left my then 15-year old son in the care of my family and went to run an errand. I come back to discover that my father has taken him to the nearest set of basketball courts, about eight blocks away, which happened to be in the middle of not only a "black" section of town, but the black housing projects (there were "white" projects too). My father simply dropped off my skinny California white boy into the poor black section of town; no cellphone, no pockets with change for a payphone no clue even as to how to get back to his place. Just, "Here's you go, I'll be back to pick you up in three hours."

You can imagine what happened.

My son related, "As soon as I began dribbling and bouncing the ball on the macadam, all kinds of doors popped open."

Seven or eight other teens and young men approached him on the playground... and they all played a few pickup games of basketball together.

I never asked my son what color the kids were, and he never volunteered. He told me that some of them were really good, and that everybody was cool with him. Over the three hours, some of the kids who originally came out left, and others joined them.Since he was wearing his school bball shorts, there were some questions about where he was from, but not hostile ones.

I still feel ashamed that I got so internally freaked out, though I would not suggest to any parent to drop her/his teenager alone in an ethnically different neighborhood with no cellphone and then take off.

But we don't have to be haters. We don't have to assume that because somebody is dark or light or tall or fat or tattooed or speaks a different language or is wearing a hoodie, that he or she is "up to no good."


In Some Ways, I Felt Sorry For George Zimmerman


I could be wrong, but I get the impression he was the kind of pimply-faced fat kid who got picked on a lot in school. People have been bagging on him for clearly gaining a large amount of weight since he killed Trayvon. Let me just say, to all the fat-bashers out there, whether you are criticizing George Zimmerman or Rachael Jenteal or Kim Kardashian, when you make those kind of comments you reveal yourself to be a pathetically small person, in mind and heart. Zimmerman's weight gain could be a result of stress, less exercise, medication side effects...

However, I do know that according to what he volunteered to the EMT, he was on several prescription drugs that are a lot more likely to cause paranoia than marijuana traces in the bloodstream. How much they influenced his decisions that night, or whether he was "on" anything else, we'll never know, because Sanford P.D. never tested his blood, urine, or breath.

We don't know what personality or other mental disorders Zimmerman had/has, but obviously he is being treated for something. The story is he and his wife both needed guns to protect themselves from potentially vicious dogs because that's what an Animal Control officer advised them to do, shoot a dog if threatened.  SMH.

It was disingenuous at best for Zimmerman's defense team to argue, oh, he didn't want to be a cop because he didn't want the toy car and imitation uniform. Zimmerman applied to the police department, he went to school for law-enforcement classes, he went on ride-alongs and told other police officers that he did want to be a cop. Police officers are a vital part of our society; there's nothing wrong with wanting to be a police officer.  There is something very wrong with thinking it is your job to catch, question, or detain "the suspect" when you are not trained or authorized by law to do so.

If George Zimmerman had simply stayed in his car until the official P.D. arrived, Trayvon Martin would still be alive. Forget his BS about getting out to check a street sign. Four year-resident Zimmerman knew exactly on which of the three streets he was on, if not exactly where Trayvon had gone.  The question begs, if Trayvon had had a friend or two walking with him, everybody hoodie'd up, would Zimmerman have felt brave enough to get out of his car to check for a street sign, or would he have rolled up his windows and sat tight till the police got there?

I Believe George Zimmerman Lied - and Told the Truth


To a certain extent, everybody does. When you trip, don't you sometimes laugh, look around, and say, "I meant to do that"? Zimmerman's lies are important, however, because they somehow have excused him from criminal penalties for taking the life of a boy not three weeks past his 17th birthday.

Like most sociopaths, he tells stories that make him look brave/like a hero/forced to take Trayvon's life in self defense.




That the altercation started on the top part of the T was crucial, because otherwise, Zimmerman was not headed back to the car, he is still following, and Trayvon was on the path to his dad's.

Did Trayvon throw the first punch? Perhaps (and perhaps not). But if on a dark, rainy night, a stranger has been following you in his car, pursues you on foot, approaches you, challenges you, and fails to identify himself, and then fumbles in his pocket (according to Zimmerman's own statement), are you going to wait for the gun, Taser, or chloroform to come out, or hope you can outrun it/him?

As the person who made the video comments, if Trayvon punched Zimmerman on the T, now Zimmerman has to explain somehow getting around to the other side of the small tree and over to where Trayvon's body was found. Based on the animation the defense itself created, their bodies were not oriented for Zimmerman to fall/stagger in that direction from a left-handed punch (which it has to be based on the only abrasion, a tiny one on Trayvon's left hand, never mind that the kid was right-handed).

So many lies - and a teenager is dead.


When I listen to that final 911 tape, I hear a teen voice screaming for help. If, according to Zimmerman on his reenactment, he believed Trayvon was alive and still dangerous, why would the screaming stop exactly when the gun is fired? Why wouldn't Zimmerman, if he had been the one screaming for help, keep screaming?

Because it was Trayvon.

Since Zimmerman, not being deaf, knew or suspected Trayvon's cries for help might have been heard, he invented the story of himself being the one screaming. I think that Zimmerman had hold of Trayvon's hand - maybe trapped in the other armpit - or his sweatshirt, and Trayvon was trying desperately to get away.  I believe in the last few moments on the 911 tape, when the cries became super-desperate, Trayvon had a gun pressed up against his ribs, and if anyone said "You're going to die tonight, mother-fucker," it was Zimmerman. (Really, WTF with the B-movie script he was spewing? "Ow, you got me"?)
 
I found it very disturbing that according to the initial witness report [begin on page 89] by Jane Surdyka, who made one of the 911 calls (not the call that captured the screaming), she was certain the call for help came from a boy or a child, and not by the loud, angry voice she had heard earlier which made her go to her window and then call 911 in the first place. Yet she was told  and seemingly pressured by the police to accept that the person calling for help was not the person who died.

Listen to the tape yourself. If you have a teen son, or remember those years as vividly as I do, I bet you'll recognize the "youth" in that voice. And even if you don't, what is the plausible explanation that a screaming Zimmerman stopped exactly at the moment the gun fired when he still believed himself to be in peril of his life?



Beating Up on Rachel Jeantel


Like Jane Surdyka, Rachel Jeantel didn't want to be on the witness stand. Unlike Jane Surdyka, Rachel is not a poised, mature, slender white woman.

So while both women were subject to having their testimony questioned, not only the defense team, but commentators, have felt free to viciously attack Ms. Jeantel. She's got "an attitude." She's got problems with literacy; maybe because it's cursive, maybe because she has problems with English literacy, period.

As I understand it, Ms. Jeantel is the daughter of Haitian immigrants, and English is not her second language. It is her third.



On Fat-Hating



Jeantel's worst sin, however, seemed to be not looking like a "sexy black teenager" is supposed to look. Somehow it is supposed to be to Trayvon Martin's detriment that he was friends (perhaps eff-buddies, who knows?) with a young woman who does not fit American society's definition of "hot."

You see, attractive black women are "supposed to" look like Halle Berry or Michelle Obama, or, perhaps, Oprah.

The amount of vitriol heaped upon Jeantel that's I've seen illustrates why a young woman like Rachel wouldn't race forward to put herself in the spotlight.

Fat-bashing seems to be the last acceptable prejudice.

OBVIOUSLY, if a person is overweight (to visual appraisal), s/he is not worthy of a relationship, or a friendship, or a job, or being believed in court.

But worse, of course that how any of the witnesses were treated was what just happened to Justice. 


And Trayvon.

Shame, Shame on you Florida. I am battling really hard not to wish that all the lawyers, legal assistants, and jurors who just let a child-killer go free should experience similar pain. I don't want to wish ill on anyone, and I certainly won't become violent against anyone.

But if karma decides to balance things out, if bad things (not violent things) happen to them, I won't need too many tissues.