What do you think is "too much," coverage of racial issues in this story?
it's not about quantity, though. nobody here typed "too much". it's about how good the coverage is, how incisive it is, how much it says intelligently versus how much it quibbles over salacious details. I'd prefer there was more Trayvon Martin coverage, and more discussion of race in general, if it went beyond "is Zimmerman a racist? stay tuned to find out what his estranged brother is saying, next.."
Gated communties would exist in America with or without the existence of racist institutions, thus your criticism of gated communities in america is simply auxillary.
agree with the first part, the second part doesn't follow. any x can exist with or without a y and still have a bearing on y if and when it does exist.
The shooting could have conceivably happened in any setting and that's really the fundamental point that you're missing.
a racist shooting could conceivably happen anywhere. this particular shooting didn't. it happened in a gated community at the hands of the demonstrably paranoid neighbourhood watch captain, who believed Martin was somewhere he should not be, and that it was his duty to stalk and confront him. that's a fairly important piece of context.
The issue of privacy and land usage are deeply entrenched in america for many reasons other than race (capitalism, consumerism, privacy, escape from crowded dense urban areas, reclaiming nature, etc).
American obsession with land ownership and the justified and potentially violent defense of it is exactly the sort of thing I was speaking to when I mentioned cultural attitudes that are somewhat exceptional. i.e. you're agreeing with me.
I really should have said 'dangerous' rather than 'distressing', but I stand behind it, because I think those are the things we can more immediately and effectively legislate for and yet are not talking about, whereas the racist beliefs of individuals, and non-violent expressions of them, are (in America) constitutionally protected, have meanwhile endured and thrived across cultures for centuries, and are not being confronted in the media's handling of this case
not being confronted by media in this case?
it was a bad sentence: I meant that "the things we can more immediately and effectively legislate for" are not being confronted.
There is *pattern* to this dialogue that transcends gun policy, level of celebrity, geography, context, time, but your intent is to focus on those things on a case by case basis.
of course there is, and yet the media coverage is largely of specific details of the specific individuals in this specific case. I would be happier if there were more discussion about some transcendent pattern and the larger issues, provided that discussion was coherent. I'm not sure what you're attributing to me here: I want this to be treated on a case basis only in a court of law. I would prefer
it were a bigger conversation about what I think are a range of interrelated issues.
Maybe there is validation to the 'overexposure' of the attention given to the racial aspects of this case because racial aspects of every other facet of society in america are routinely and systematically ignored.
you're here conflating attention to the racial aspects of this individual case with those more interesting and overarching racial aspects. they are not the same, and that's part of why the coverage so often seems reductive and troubling. having people go into convolutions for a couple of days to explain why a bag of marijuana does or doesn't matter in this instance is not throwing a light on the stuff you obviously care deeply about, with a depth of knowledge I lack. it's a sideshow, and whichever way it shakes out a totally irrelevant one -- except that it exposes the very idea that marijuana, in the possession of a black man, might be construed by some as evidence of thuggery. is that revelatory?
You're acting like this incident exists in a cultural vaccum. I know there is a very real possibility Zimmerman may not have acted on racism here. Does this mean people of color are not allowed to be outraged? Whether or not racism exists, a black kid is dead. It's not the question of whether Zimmerman is racist or not that is so heart wrenching to people of color, it's the fact that the question even exists in the first place.
I understand and accept the second part of this, but I am not acting as if the incident exists in a cultural vacuum. I am saying that 'solving' the incident, as the media appears determined to do by ascertaining the 'characters' of the relevant players and the 'facts' of the matter, does not speak to anything outside of this case. whether Zimmerman is racist or not is not important outside of court, but that's a huge aspect of the coverage. whether Martin was an aggressive, out-of-control black kid or not is not important outside of court, but that's an aspect of the coverage in some circles. this case will not, in itself, prove or demonstrate anything about racism in America one way or another, but the polarized sides of this debate (and I don't want to make a false equivalence here, because one side is obviously nuts) will write its outcome into a predetermined narrative. so for the crazies, if Zimmerman is proven guilty he's the Hispanic fall guy for misplaced libtard white guilt and a victim of affirmative (legal) action; if he's proven innocent it's a vindication of 'victimized' white society, white law, even white supremacy. there is a rich, contested cultural morass around this case, but that's largely not being discussed.
It's the fact that we wonder why this happened, it makes us reflect on who we are and reminds us of our status in America, regardless of Zimmermans intention. It's the fact we even have to reflect on this shit in the first place. (yes, i'm speaking as a POC now). And you're talking about gated communities and gun legistliation. SMDH
obviously this is beyond my ken, and I can only apologize for not understanding what it is to be non-white in America (I barely know what it is to be white in America), but my talking about potential social and legal changes in this case is compatible with hundreds of thousands of others being deeply affected by it in a way I can't appreciate. the two are not mutually exclusive.
If it's less interesting to you, fine, but I would hope that the least you could do is acknowledge that its just as valid for it to be MORE interesting to people who have gut reactions to this incident.
I absolutely acknowledge that, and I'm sorry if I seemed oblivious.
I doubt it because you are spending so much text on this thread systematically explaining on an objective level that the racial aspect is not 'as' interesting.
I'm "explaining on an objective level", as you put it, that the specific racial aspects of this case (which remain to be proved in court) are not as interesting as the larger issues that surround this case, which include institutional and casual racism that is less visible than Martin's shooting. there's a distinction there that I don't think is often being made. I wish the majority of coverage and the stock reactions were less trite, that they made people confront a bigger 'pattern' rather than retreating to their usual positions (which are depressingly often along party lines). but here we are.
They are intertwined. Casual non-violent incidents of racism and extreme violent incidents of racism are linked. The situations differ but they both resort to the same metric of judging a race.
I appreciate that. what I didn't realize was that isobel was talking about widespread casual racism because I thought the rest of us were talking about how media coverage's intense focus on specific racial aspects of the case fails to address very real, very egregious problems with police departments, laws, and guns that might have prevented this death and may reduce the likelihood of others like it. no one is saying that racism isn't a rich problem that legislation alone can fix. no one.
all these things DEFINE YOUR STATUS AS A HUMAN BEING depending on what color you are. That these details don't speak to the everyday experiences of people of color, is incredibly disingenuous of you. I don't even fucking care what you meant by that statement or if I misread you or not, if you had an ounce of consideration or insight you would not have worded that shit in that way. Society/PoC aren't looking at this case as a lesson in legal approach as you are. They are looking at it as a barometer of the overall status of how races interact in America, from the most extreme examples to the most mundane and banal examples.
this is probably the part of your post that struck me most, because I have no experience (can have no experience) of looking at an incident like this as a barometer of how elements of a society understand me and will respond to me. I do think you misread me, and "I don't even fucking care what you meant" is kind of bizarre given the rest of your post, but you're right in that I can have little appreciation of how these details matter to people, and it's pointless of me to suggest that these things absolutely do not define your status as a human being (even in the minds of idiots), because you obviously feel that.
No. Stand Your Ground is not an example of instituational racism. Institutional racism is allowed leeway in its application but Stand Your Ground would exist regardless of institutional racism's existence. Stand Your Ground would conceivably exist in an all white society. So, no no no no.
you're mistaking racist in intent with racist in outcome. Stand Your Ground certainly could be conceived (and would not be racist) in an all-white society. but in a society where the overwhelming majority of shooting deaths continue to be non-white (and male, in their teens or twenties), it becomes racist in that it willfully ignores the consequences of facilitating violent homicide within non-white communities. you say race is not "fundamental" to SYG, and that's true, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have disproportionately destructive effects on non-white communities, and meanwhile legitimizes violent vigilante confrontations that may have racial motivations.
I'm pretty sure you can be against SYG as one issue, and simultaneously work against the institution of racism in society/white privilege as another issue, but you seemed to compartmentalize these issues because you spent paragraphs explaining how we should focus on oneissue more than the other as if paying attention to one of them somehow downplays the strategy of the other.
you misunderstand the paragraphs, then, because they're about reductive and useless media coverage of race, not racism. in fact, I've said throughout that being against SYG is at the very least
compatible with being against institutionalized racism.
By this line of thinking it seems you're suggesting that if we focus on the race issue too much, we might be discouraging whites from fighting racism by suggesting that they are racists, and cater to their sensitivity by communicating that the more viable problem to address is the one of gun policy This is attacking the symptom not the cancer because you dont want to offend the cancer in fear of the symptom persisting.
no I'm suggesting that by focusing on particular racial aspects of this case (rather than "the race issue") in trite and predictable ways we do nothing to discourage anyone, anywhere from racism, but by making legislative change we can constrain violent racist behaviour and slowly shape attitudes, and that's a start. this is more like cutting out a festering infection because the slow-acting antibiotics aren't kicking in yet.
Wait, no. Black violent crime and incarceration would persist because those people are *actual offenders.* They must be arrested.
people who commit violent gun crimes should be arrested and incarcerated. violent gun crimes plummet (indeed most violent crime plummets) when guns are restricted.
No sorry, this isn't "in passing" these issues aren't "abstract" We experience them day in and day out as concrete incidents.
okay, here I think you're trolling or willfully misunderstanding what I'm writing.
If race is a factor ranging from extremes such as whether you get shot or not by the police, down to the banal such as whether someone wants to sit next to you on the bus, its the fact that the metric is being applied in all facets of society. As dominating as that metric is, you manage to downplay it suggesting its "subordinate" to something else..."gun laws, gated housing" in this case which I can't even fucking understand. This is your whole thesis
you just misunderstood my "whole thesis", by once again conflating the huge, sprawling issue of 'race' with "the race aspects of this case
" [emphasis in original]. I can understand why you would find it maddening, but it's not what I was saying or am saying.
a lot of what you said is interesting and helpful and makes me think about things in a new light, but when you present it in such an aggressive way you shouldn't be surprised when people dismiss it out of hand. but thank you for posting it.