Tue Apr 24, 2012, 01:32 PM
noiretextatique (25,035 posts)
the tradition of blaming the victim [View all]
along with the "just world" fallacy are key concepts in understanding how years of rw propaganda have shaped the national psyche. i was having a conversation with two 30-something friends, both supposed liberal and intelligent. but when they started using terms like "failed social programs of the sixites," i was floored. i realized just how damaging and insidious the reagan revolution really was, especially the so-called scholarly research that supported reaganism. i've been arguing with zimmerman apologists for a few weeks now, and clearly, there are those who blame Martin for his death, based on little more than the word of the man who killed him.
i've read that Martin should have been polite, he should not have been dressed like a thug, he should have complied, and even that he should not have defended himself, even if zimmerman confronted him....and that he had no reason to be afraid of zimmerman.
all of these excuses are attempts to dehumanize Martin; to morph him into something other than an unarmed 17 year old with skittles and iced tea walking home from the store. that's ALL he was. and it takes a lot of effort to see him as anything other than that. but some people are more than willing to make that effort, and frankly i haven't heard a cogent argument from the "blame the victim" camp. every argument i've heard is tinged with racism...and some are just blatantly racist. one of the arguments is that zimmerman was "entitled" to question Martin, and why only response to that is: how very white of you. it would never occur to me to question someone in an elevator about why they are in the building, but it has happened to me several times. it doesn't matter what i wear, or how articulate i am. someone, usually a white person, can conclude i don't belong, and feel entitled to question me. and let me tell you something: i don't "go along" with it, and i am not polite. i don't defer to their "suspicions" about my right to be somewhere they don't think i should be. if i bother to respond, i tell them to fuck off. that's the context from which i view comments like: "if he threw the first punch..." if he did throw the first punch, i know exactly why. just because you feel entitled to question someone's right to existence doesn't mean that person agrees that he is "suspicious," he could just be walking home from the store with skittles.
zimmerman is not the victim: Martin is. whether or not he was suspended from school or smoked weed: he is still the victim. whether or not he threw the first punch, he is still the victim.
liberal/progressive means this to me: it is incumbent upon me to walk my talk. it really did used to mean that. it meant educating yourself, and taking personal responsibility to change those parts of yourself that are not in line with your beliefs. it means doing the hard work internally, and you cannot do that work until you can be honest with yourself. i used to carry some resentment towards white people, until i was challenged to embrace ALL my ancestors, including the ones who owned slaves and fought for the confederacy. how could i resent my own bloodline, how could i resent the people who made my life possible?
i had to let the resentment go, and i am a better person for it.
there is a meme, a sometimes subtle one, that permeates the underlying beliefs of some zimmerman supporters: black men are inherently dangerous. zimmerman revealed this belief at his recent hearing. he said: "i didn't know if he was armed." which begs the question: why would you think he was armed? aside from the fact that zimmerman is a paranoid freak, he is most certainly not alone in believing black men are armed and dangerous. there is a belief that Martin got what he deserved, simply for being who he was...and what that means to some. zimmerman knows exactly what to say to get a portion of americans to support him: i was scared of the big, black boogeyman, just like YOU.
the use of race to divide and conquer is nothing new. but what we often fail to acknowledge is that we, those who vote democratic and consider themselves liberal...WE are not immune to the insidious racial messages that have poisoned the minds of generations of americans. and personally...i hold YOU accountable, just like i hold myself accountable. when my black friend starting talking shit about "mexicans taking over," i tell her she is being a racist fool, and she should know better. do you know why talking about race is taboo? because talking about it means we can change, and we can change it, and it serves a purpose in society. it has a portion of americans convinced that Obama is a kenyan, socialist muslim dead-set on taking their guns and forcing them to face death panels. it has members of congress pushing these lies, and feeling free to call the president a liar. it has convinced some people they should fear the president as much as any other scary black guy, it has convinced some people a 17 yo with skittles posed a threat to a armed cop wannabee looking for a fight.
that is all...here are some links.
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the tradition of blaming the victim [View all]
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