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...from what I know about life, it will catch itself up, somehow, some way. Man may have let Zimmerman off the hook, but the soul lives forever, and he will have to answer for this.

You've announced elsewhere that you're writing a diary series on race relations. I'm not sure if this diary is supposed to be part of that series. But it seems to be related.

You've set yourself up as an expert on such matters.

Given my history and stance on race, racism, and prejudice in America, it could naturally be assumed that I would have been following the George Zimmerman trial for the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin from beginning to end. Surprisingly, I have not. I didn’t watch one minute of the trial. If you had noticed, you would have recognized the fact that outside of mentioning his name in a few of my diaries, I never discussed Trayvon Martin.

Maybe it was because of the pain I felt for Martin’s family. Maybe it was because the media turned this case into a farce from the start. Maybe it was because I knew that they would criminalize Martin in court posthumously. Maybe it was because I felt that America wanted to view Zimmerman as a victim. Maybe it was because I lack faith in America’s justice system to do the right thing. Maybe it was because I knew George Zimmerman would be found not guilty of all charges on all counts. Maybe it was because I knew I would be right… and I was.

But in truth, none of those reasons, though it’s really what I felt, were responsible for me not tuning in. The real reason is because I just couldn’t do it. It would have been ridiculously emotional for me. I’m not much for crying, but I struggle with injustice every time I see it. When I saw the movie Platoon, I remember how I felt when I saw Charlie Sheen’s character walk into a Vietnamese hut only to find a severely deformed and disabled young man and his mother, and proceeded to shoot at the young man’s feet so he could “dance.” I was horrified when another member of the platoon walked in and brutally shot the innocent young man in the head and his screaming mother shortly thereafter. I knew it was only a movie, but I cried. When I saw the Rodney King beating by 4 police officers while handcuffed behind his back and on his knees taking blow after blow, as another circle of officers stood by and watched, I only had one question: when is someone going to step in and stop this? They never did. This was not a movie, and I cried. When I watched Spike Lee’s When the Levees Broke, and I saw the treatment of so many black people being packed into a failing Louisiana Superdome, and then being separated from family members, mothers and fathers from children, I thought about my own daughter who is 100% disabled; who cannot communicate with anyone, who cannot feed herself, who cannot dress herself, who cannot give herself her own medicine, and who at eleven years old has the brain capacity of a one year old child. I thought about the fact that if we were in a similar situation and we were separated, she would probably die because no one would have known how to care for her. This was not a movie, and I cried. I cried because it hurt, and for a long while after witnessing each of these events the images of what I had seen played out over and over in my head.

No, I couldn’t watch the trial. It would have stirred up an incredible anger in me. Seeing the process of painting Martin as a degenerate young man who deserved the fate he was given would have been too painful for me. The outcome of the verdict would have devastated me. I knew the facts of the case. I saw the many comments on Facebook defending Zimmerman’s victimization. I knew what the pulse of America was. And I knew Martin, his family, and their supporters would lose.

No, I couldn’t watch the trial. So last night at 9:21 pm, I received a text message from a friend that read: NOT GUILTY. WOW!!! All I could say to myself was, “I’m not responding to that.”

Many of my friends on Facebook placed posts that defined their shock, frustration, and exasperation with the verdict, and their inability, at this moment, to be proud of being Americans. Many called out for justice. Others put up the Black Out block for their profile pictures. One post read, “Don’t forget to set your clocks back 200 years.”

Marissa Alexander received a 20 year sentence for firing a warning shot in the air to prevent her abusive husband from savagely beating her – again. No one was injured. George Zimmerman was told to remain in the car and wait for police to arrive – by the police – when he accused Martin of being suspicious. He got out of his car, threatened Martin, fought with him, drew his weapon and shot the unarmed boy in the chest, killing him. Self defense. He was found not guilty.

For those who wondered when I was going to get to it, what my take would be, and what I would say… I would say this. Until his death, I will not follow future news or references of George Zimmerman. I will not give him power. I will not wish him any ill will either, because I don’t need to tarnish my soul, and from what I know about life, it will catch itself up, somehow, some way. Man may have let Zimmerman off the hook, but the soul lives forever, and he will have to answer for this.

And for Trayvon Martin…I wasn’t ignoring you. This is not a movie. For you and your family, and for other Americans who support you and who have come to love you, I cry.

Originally posted to Will Smith on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 12:27 AM PDT.

Also republished by Black Kos community, Barriers and Bridges, Trial Watch, and RaceGender DiscrimiNATION.

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Comment Preferences

  •  ... (13+ / 0-)

    I don't know what else to say but Thank You.

    Man may have let Zimmerman off the hook, but the soul lives forever, and he will have to answer for this.

    All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

    by kishik on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 02:43:03 AM PDT

  •  I also could not watch the trial for many of the (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kishik, rubyr, Will Smith, blueoasis

    same reasons. I get very emotional over brutality, racism,  racial profiling, violence, and when the victim is put on trial and so much more. I cannot stand to watch violence , torture, rape scenes in movies without bawling and shaking...even fictional movies and tv shows.

    Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

    by wishingwell on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 04:29:29 AM PDT

  •  I had just composed myself and stopped crying (6+ / 0-)

    when I read the statement from Tracy Martin scrolling on the screen on CNN

    My heart is broken but my faith is not.
    I broke down crying again.

    Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

    by wishingwell on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 04:30:19 AM PDT

  •  Marissa Alexander (6+ / 0-)

    Marissa Alexander is the Florida mother and abused wife that fired a warning shot in her home to keep her husband, Rico Gray, from killing her –as he promised– and was sentenced to a mandatory 20 years in prison. The Stand Your Ground law that she thought would protect her did not…and she didn’t kill anyone.

  •  your diary makes me want to cry but I can't. (6+ / 0-)

    your highlighted blockquote in the introduction was what my son was saying yesterday and I was thinking where he takes the faith from that this will actually be true and happening. He (Zimmerman) will have to answer for this ... even that I don't believe in anymore.

    This morning he read to me many of his facebook comments. All I could is saying nothing. I didn't watch the trial other than the girlfriend's statement in the witness stand pointed to it from here.

    I actually didn't want to believe that what you have felt, my son has felt and almost everyone my son was talking to have felt, would become reality and true. But it did. I wished so much the reality and truth would be another one.

    There is nothing to say about it anymore, at least not from me. I am white. My son is black and both our feelings are degraded into nothingness and are left in my stomach like a chronic ulcer.  I am not sure how to process this other than putting it on purpose out of my mind. Yes, I know, this is desperation of the silent kind.  

    I am walking through life in expectations that one day I understand it. I don't.

  •  "He was found not guilty." Yes, but... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Will Smith

    ...the finding was by a jury of his Peers.

    In Florida, Peers can seemingly mean something other than what it means in U.S. Law.

  •  Thank you. I did watch it and it made me feel (5+ / 0-)

    exactly as you said you would and then some. I am raging/heartbroken and have lost all hope.  

    Blessings on your daughter. I hope she never ends up in a situation where there is no one to care for her. Thankfully, she has you and your love is obvious. This is the only thing that has made me feel better. Your obvious love for your daughter.

    "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

    by rubyr on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 07:54:00 AM PDT

  •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Will Smith
    Man may have let Zimmerman off the hook, but the soul lives forever, and he will have to answer for this.
    The sooner we stop providing ourselves false confort with this kind of thinking, the sooner we are likely to become an effective force for changing the here and now real world.

    Support Small Business: Shop Kos Katalogue

    E D9@F=5 36 @3E2:?65j 2?5 H96? D@ DFDA6?565[ 96 92D FEE6C=J ?68=64E65 E@ 2EE6?5 E@ E96>]

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 08:41:50 AM PDT

    •  Rather than false comfort, based on a passive (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Will Smith

      hope for some type of divine intervention or metaphysical adjustment, this statement may also be read as a vow--an oath that, while the jury did not render a just sentence, GZ has not escaped responsibility.

      Maybe I'm too casually redefining what the diarist wrote, but I think Trayvon Martin may have become immortal in a sense that the rich and powerful scheme and dream about. In that sense his essence ("soul," if you will) may out live most of us.

      If some use a different language to describe their commitment to creating a more fair and just society than I might. . . well some may say that's already a symptom of improvement!

      It matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done forever. Henry David Thoreau, in Civil Disobedience

      by Had Enough Right Wing BS on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 09:39:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't just cry. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Will Smith



    Be even more motivated to act to make change happen.

  •  Unlike you, I watched every moment I (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Will Smith, Avila

    could of the trial.  Which was a good deal of it.

    And, foolishly, I allowed myself to hope.  To believe justice would triumph.  Last night I was devastated.  This morning I was devastated.  This afternoon, I'm still devastated.

    Other than the meaningless gestures of changing my avatar here and on Twitter to reflect Trayvon, I can't do anything but retweet important information, republish important diaries like yours, and sit here feeling sick.

    Was talking with a friend (black, 60s) who said that for some reason this case hit him harder than any other.  I told him I thought it was just me.

    This has torn me open.

    I'm with you, Will.  And please let this be another, louder, stronger call to arms for us to fight for justice -- for Trayvon and all black men and boys.

    "Throwing a knuckleball for a strike is like throwing a butterfly with hiccups across the street into your neighbor's mailbox." -- Willie Stargell

    by Yasuragi on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 01:29:31 PM PDT

    •  This case is so much like Emmett Till's (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Avila, Yasuragi

      It should be remembered that his murderers were set free as well, mostly because it was ok to hate blacks. In today's America, things aren't too much different. I'm saddened/angered by this case and many other events in this same vein throughout our nation. My feelings of powerlessness continue to make me question my place in American society. When you don't belong and are not welcome in your own home, what else can you do?

      I don't know how to fix the problem. All I can do is write...

      •  I've never felt I had a place here. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Will Smith

        As I wrote in a diary last month (two months ago?  three?), I grew up knowing the government was not a "friend" to many.  In fact, to any who took a controversial stand, had darker pigmentation, differently shaped eyes, spoke with an accent, etc.

        One of my first diaries here was that Obama's election in '08 (which I contrasted with Fred Hampton's murder) was the first time I ever knew what it was like to feel patriotic.

        That's not true any more, but I don't bash him in these pages.  I still respect what he's accomplished, but that's better left alone around these parts.  And that brief flirtation with being proud of my nation was turned to ashes by the virulent racism that was made all the more evident due to his election.  

        What I've done all my life is to fight for causes I believe in, pursue my own work, and not (openly) disrespect those with authority.

        Of course, I'm not a black man in America.  It's easier for me.  I worry for every black man, child, and in-between I know.  More now than ever.

        Don't know what to tell you, Will.  And I hate that.  I'm usually the first one to offer words of strength and encouragement, but this makes it even harder than it's ever been.

        The same friend I mentioned above sent me this comment about Zimmerman:

        A young man's post on Facebook about Zimmerman's future quickly went viral Sunday.

        "For the rest of your life you are now going to feel what its like to be a black man in America," Alex Fraser wrote.

        "You will feel people stare at you. Judging you for what you think are unfair reasons. You will lose out on getting jobs for something you feel is outside of your control. You will believe yourself to be an upstanding citizen and wonder why people choose to not see that. ...

        "I bet you never thought that by shooting a black male you'd end up inheriting all of his struggles."

        Fraser added, "Enjoy your 'freedom.'"

        Small comfort, given that it's how every black man has likely felt his whole life.  But still, I'll take comfort where I can get it.

        Wish I had some to offer you.

        "Throwing a knuckleball for a strike is like throwing a butterfly with hiccups across the street into your neighbor's mailbox." -- Willie Stargell

        by Yasuragi on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 06:41:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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