Trayvon Martin, The East, and the Consequences of Privilege

16 Jul

I remember being a kid and wondering why the fuck all of the grownups I knew seemed so incredibly laissez-faire about everything that was wrong with the world.

I mean, here I was being told that I should treat other people with respect, that I should be kind to and tolerant of those who were different from me, that I should recycle and compost and pick up litter and do all kinds of stuff that was supposed to help turn me into a model citizen. And I did do all of those things, both because I was told they were important and because I wanted to; my understanding was that these things needed to be done if we were going to live in a decent world.

I remember thinking, though, that none of the adults around me seemed to be holding up their end of the bargain. Like, I was doing what little I could, but they should have been doing so much more: shutting down environmentally dangerous power plants or stopping cities from dumping raw sewage into the river or flying around the world ending wars or whatever. Instead, I would catch them tossing recyclable items into garbage cans, and when I called them out they would just shrug sheepishly.

And I was like, fuck grownups. It was pretty obvious to me that our world was such a fucking mess because all of the people in charge were both grossly incompetent and frighteningly uncaring. My only consolation was that some day I was going to be bigger and older, and then I would finally be able right all these wrongs.

Of course, every kid’s a zealot, and they don’t understand things like grey areas or compromise or picking your battles. Everything is done full-throttle, every issue is black and white, and every battle is there to be fought and won. If you’re in it, then you’d better be in it to win it, at any cost. And there’s really nothing wrong with living this way when you’re seven – in fact, these are very normal and natural tendencies to have. Unfortunately, this take-no-prisoners philosophy becomes a bit problematic once you have to earn your own living and raise your own kids.

All of which is to say that I’m not the grownup I thought I would be.

I have an easy life. It’s so easy that I mostly don’t even have to think about how easy it is. My life, society and culture are set up in such a way that I am able to benefit from certain things like race and class without ever really having to acknowledge that those realities exist. And, I mean, that’s real privilege, isn’t it? If you can forget that you even have privilege, or if you can easily ignore the various ways that it improves your life – well, that’s basically the definition of privilege.

Two things happened on Saturday night. First, I saw The Eastwhich is a smart, thoughtful movie about a woman who infiltrates an eco-terrorism group in an attempt to bring them down. Then, I got home and found out about George Zimmerman’s acquittal.

I should probably also add a third item to that list, namely the fact that after learning about Zimmerman’s verdict, I spent an hour on social media watching white people either denying that race had anything to do with the outcome of the trial or else trying to somehow make this whole thing about them.

The idea that we live easy lives built on conveniences that are deeply detrimental to others was a theme that came up over and over in The East. We burn coal for power, and the leftover waste poisons our rivers and lakes. We drive cars powered by fossil fuels and ignore the fact that burning those fuels is causing our planet to heat up at an alarming rate. Unless it directly affects us, we very conveniently ignore the environmentally destructive ways that both coal and oil are extracted from the earth. We buy clothing made in unsafe working conditions because it’s cheap. We cut corners in all sorts of dangerous ways because a few moments of ease is so much nicer than contemplating a lifetime of consequences.

The East is, for the most part, about a group of people who have decided that they’re not going to stand by and watch rich white people profit off of the misery of others. So they start fighting violence with violence, taking and eye for an eye and not really giving a shit if all of us end up blind because, to extend the metaphor a little further, most of us are already halfway to being sightless. Saying that an eye for an eye will make the world blind is to work off the assumption that all of us start out with two eyes, but really, that that’s just not true. Rich white people are born with two functioning eyes; the rest of the population has to figure out how to get ahead with whatever disadvantages they’re given.

On Saturday night I watched the neighbourhood watch captain of a gated community get off scot free for murdering a Black teenager in a hoody. I watched privilege play out both in the official news reports that I read and in people’s reactions on social media. I watched a whole fucking lot of people refuse to admit that the conveniences that make their lives as easy as they are exist as the flip side of the same coin that let Zimmerman walk free. I watched white people ask for comfort and sympathy when faced with hard evidence of a system that they are happy to benefit from until something like this comes along and shows its dark underbelly. I watched white people share pictures of kittens and cute babies, watched them tweet about how they were going to go home and hug their kids, without ever accepting the fact that because of their tacit permission for the way things are some folks wouldn’t ever hold their kids again.

I watched white people make this about them, and then I watched them slowly but surely provide themselves with the tools to forget that this had ever happened.

And I watched Black people wonder if their kid was next.

I live an easy life. I live on the backs of others, because I was lucky enough to be born at the top of a pile that has hurt and killed a whole lot of people. My life is safe, and the real kicker is that most of the choices that I make mean that it will continue to be so. And why shouldn’t I want to be safe? Why should I want an easy life, not just for myself, but for my kid?

Because my safety and ease come at a pretty fucking high cost, that’s why.

This is one of those days when the world seems to be nothing more than a relentless list of one terrible thing after another. It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed – how and where do I even start to fix any of this? It’s too much, and I’m not enough. I want to pick up my magic time-travel phone, call my seven-year-old self and explain that I’m really, really sorry, but I’m not who she wanted us to be. I’ll try to explain all about grey areas and compromise and all that stuff, and maybe she’ll even try to understand, but I think that both of us will know that I could have tried harder.

I should try harder.

I’m just not sure what trying harder would look like.

I mean, how do you fight against problems that are so deeply woven into the fabric of the way you live? How do you fight, for example, against environmentally destructiveness of coal-fired power when every time you turn on the light or plug in your computer or watch your favourite movie, your actions contribute to releasing an extra little bit of noxious gas into the air? How do you fight against huge, often unethical drug companies while at the same acknowledging that they create and manufacture the drugs that have helped keep you and your loved ones alive? How do you fight against something like the mining of the Alberta oil sands, when every time you ride in a gas-powered vehicle you add a little more carbon dioxide to the air? And sure, I don’t own a car, and I take public transit just about everywhere, but isn’t that what we call compromise? I mean, I tell myself that I’m less responsible for ruining the environment than, say, the dude with the fancy SUV, but really, I’m still culpable, you know? I’m still benefitting from mining and burning fossil fuels, and I’m certainly not doing anything to end these practices.

Most of all, how do you fight against all of the insidious, institutionalized racism that you encounter a thousand times every day? You can call out the more obvious stuff, you can take people to task for using racial slurs or referencing racial stereotypes, but what do you do about all the big and little ways that privilege affects your life? What do you do about the fact that you live in a mostly white neighbourhood, a neighbourhood whose whiteness is definitely a large part of why it’s considered to be “safe”? What do you do about the fact that your career caters almost exclusively to privileged white people? How do you handle the dawning realization that the majority of your encounters with people of colour are mostly when interacting with those working service jobs, and could, at best, be described as casually friendly?

My seven-year-old self would almost certainly want me to take the route of the eco-terrorists in The East, complete with living off-the-grid in the burned out shell of a house in the forest. My seven-year-old self would want me to fight fire with fire, taking no prisoners and teaching huge asshole corporations that they can’t knowingly hurt others and get away with it. My seven-year-old self would want to do something equally huge and visible as a protest against Zimmerman’s acquittal. She would want me to fly to Florida, raise a ruckus, start a riot; she would want everyone to know how outraged she was.

And ohhh of course there’s a part of me that sides with my seven-year-old self. I want to do something big; I want to stand up against evil, and, if I’m being totally honest with myself, I want everyone else to see me doing it. There’s a strong desire in me to right the wrongs of the world, of course, but there’s also a dash of ego in there, whispering that I should right those wrongs in a way that makes me out to be a hero.

I mentioned the other day on Facebook that I want to be a brave person who changes the world, but that I wasn’t sure what bravery was or how change happened. In response to this, my friend Jennie said,

Bravery is not a single decision. It’s the overall effect of every brave decision you make: every time you do something because it’s right, or kind, or honest, rather than because it’s convenient or because it’s less hard. So do the needful, kind, honest, things, one thing at a time. Then, when something really hard comes up, you’ll have the practice you need, and you’ll do the needful thing.

So this is how I’m going to start: by practicing bravery in all kinds of little ways, so that when the big things come, I’ll know what to do.

I’m going to initiate more discussions about my own privilege, and the privilege found both in my neighbourhood and in many parts of the Toronto yoga community.

I’m going to think about the ways that my life more closely resembles George Zimmerman’s than it does Trayvon Martin’s.

I’m going to think about more items that could be added to this list.

I’m going to start teaching Theo about racism and privilege in ways that are appropriate for his age.

Most of all, I’m going to try really, really hard to not make this about me. When people of colour raise their voice, I’m going to do my best to make sure that they get a megaphone, and then I’m going to hightail it to the back of the room and listen. I’m going to try harder to promote writing and thoughts and music and art that come from marginalized people. Rather than wearing a hoodie in solidarity or joking about starting riots, I’m going to talk about how I, a white woman, can do these things without fearing for my personal safety. I’m going to keep calling out racism and classism and sexism and ableism and homophobia and transphobia and all that other bad shit, even when I feel uncomfortable doing that.

I’m going to be brave.

civil-rights-march

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31 Responses to “Trayvon Martin, The East, and the Consequences of Privilege”

  1. Martin Gerard Audette July 16, 2013 at 3:34 am #

    • Martin Gerard Audette July 16, 2013 at 3:36 am #

      the truth as opposed to your uneducated guesses

      • bellejarblog July 16, 2013 at 3:39 am #

        Yes the truth from a dude who starts out by saying “I am no legal expert.” If only I was as “educated” as him.

  2. loCAtek MexiCali July 16, 2013 at 4:20 am #

    No, this was not about race. If one has followed the trial and not just the headlines, you would have seen this witness verify that Travyon Martin matched the description of home invasion suspect Emmanuel Burgess, and lived in the same area as he.

    Both the prosecution and defense agreed Travyon initiated the confrontation:

    Rachel ‘Dee Dee’ Jeantel testified Travyon Martin exclaimed, ‘Why are you following me for?’ to an otherwise harmless George Zimmerman.

    In his police report, Zimmerman stated Travyon demanded, “Yo, you got a problem!?” when Zimmerman was just walking back to his truck.

    • bellejarblog July 16, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

      Everything is about race.

      And if Trayvon Martin had to ask George Zimmerman why he was following him – well, that begs the question of why Zimmerman, an off-duty neighbourhood watch captain, was following Martin against the police’s advice.

  3. Louise Allan July 16, 2013 at 4:36 am #

    Oh, this trial was most certainly about race and only about race. But he was murdered because of his race and because of America’s fucked-up gun laws.

    • bhuwanchand July 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

      What has happened is truly deplorable and heart breaking. But I, living far far away, would like to believe that it is not about race but just the outcome of shortcomings in the jury based judicial system.

      What happened in the case of ‘ Casey Anthony’ who killed her own young daughter yet got away and in the case of O.J. my not be different from what has happened.

      From a distance America, its constitution, its judicial system, its administration gives a lot of hope and inspiration many across the world. I hope this is not a misplaced notion.

    • bellejarblog July 16, 2013 at 11:32 pm #

      Agreed. It was definitely about race, and I am pretty frustrated by people who want to say otherwise.

  4. sandra July 16, 2013 at 5:37 am #

    Wow!I simply love this article.When we were small we have these great visions for the world,and how we’d be the instrument of change,but as years go by all those visions and dreams take a back seat and we become mere spectators,but your article is an eye opener,that its never to late to begin anew for goodness.

  5. mfennvt July 16, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    Wonderful post. My 7-year-old self would be right there with you. Here’s to all of us practicing bravery.

    • bellejarblog July 16, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

      Thanks. Here’s to our seven-year-old selves, who may not be the most rational creatures but at least have passion and love on their side 🙂

  6. ardenrr July 16, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

    Great post! To be honest, I was a little scared to read it after everything I’ve seen regarding the acquittal. I am not a lawyer. I did not go to law school. But after five years in the legal field and reading up on Florida law, it is unfortunate to say but in my opinion, which doesn’t mean squat, the jury made the right decision from a legal standpoint ONLY. Should Zimmerman be in jail? Absolutely. I hate that he’s free while a family lost their teenage son. I hate that I heard he will get back the gun that he used to kill him. I hate a lot of things about this situation and our judicial system and I don’t know what to do to make it better. This article helped me with that and made me realize that white people are making it about themselves. I’ve seen a picture going around today about a 17 year old unarmed white boy who was shot by a 30 year old black man and the picture compares it to Trayvon and asks “What’s the difference?” considering this story never made it past the local news. My first thought was “Yeah! You’re right!” but, after reading this, I’ve realized that only my white friends were posting it and they were doing exactly what you said, making it about them, about us.

    Thanks for writing this. I’m most certainly taking notes.

    • Jennie Worden July 16, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

      YES! The other part of being an effective ally/activist/proponent of change is asking not “What about me?” but “What can I do?”

      And then, of course, doing it.

      • bellejarblog July 16, 2013 at 11:34 pm #

        Thank you! And thank you for your wise words 🙂

  7. scotsman July 16, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    I don’t know whether Zimmerman was guilty or not. I DO know, at the very least, he made some really poor decisions. I know that an idiotic law, an easily procured weapon, a Rambo attitude that discounted the instructions of the police, all happened at once, and a young man is dead…

    I also know that the prosecution botched the job, failed to prove their case, and the Jury decided there was a reasonable doubt. They didn’t say he was innocent: they said the Prosecution didn’t PROVE that he was guilty.

    So, people are frothing on social media, marching in the streets, throwing rocks at cops, and, here in Mississippi, groups of black people are accosting and beating up white people “For Trayvon” …

    Black people can be just as racist as white people. Women can be just as sexist as men. People that hold such attitudes will never change them, for the most part, because they consider themselves ‘right’ and won’t listen to anything to the contrary.

    I can’t solve the problems of the world. I CAN, however, live my life in the most decent way I have the wisdom to recognize … I try not to hate anyone. I try to treat everyone with love and respect. And I watch with growing alarm as the human race becomes more and more rabid.

  8. writefullyso July 16, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

    Thank you for not only seeing your privilege, but seeing how you can wield it as a weapon against injustice. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. And thanks for being brave and having tough conversations with your son. Take things one step at a time—if we all do that we can get really far.

    • bellejarblog July 16, 2013 at 11:37 pm #

      Thank you. I am trying harder to be aware of my privilege, but for sure I slip up pretty often. Thanks for your words of encouragement 🙂

  9. Hrh Princesspoet Dana July 16, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    I read your post and was thrilled. I felt encouraged. I felt hopeful. Then I read the comments.

    It truly hurts my spirit and demoralizes me that some White people REFUSE to even TRY to understand WHY this is resonating so deeply in the Black community and elsewhere.

    How about instead of defending George you turn to one of your outraged Black community members and ask, “WHY does THIS case hurt you so? What do you see in this case that makes you so upset?”

    Why doesn’t Trayvon have a right to defend himself? Why didn’t he have a right to be scared? Why didn’t George stay in the car? If he was so afraid why didn’t he wait for the cops to come? Why aren’t our 17 year old boys seen as children while yours are? Why did Trayvon sit in a morgue with a John Doe tag on his foot for 24 hours? Why didn’t the police canvas the neighborhood? So many whys.

    I wish there was left defense of a murderer and more question asking happening.

    Sighs But they won’t hear me…will they? They won’t ask me. Will they?

    We have so much work to do. I am at a loss to where we even start.

  10. Louise Allan July 16, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    I get upset reading these comments about this being a LEGALLY right decision. That’s crap. The spirit of the law came before the letter of the law, and if you take that away, you’re just left with a law full of letters that doesn’t make sense. Nor is it just. Zimmerman made a SERIES of bad decisions that led to denying another human being the right to a life: he decided to pursue the boy, to get out of the car and confront him, and then to pull out his gun and shoot him. No one else made those decisions, and had he decided at any of those points to act differently, that boy would still be alive.

  11. soma satori July 16, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

    This is a great post. And it brings up a lot of really poignant stuff. I particularly liked your explanation on the convenience in its connection to privilege. The East sounds like a wonderful film.

    Race is an interesting issue. On one hand, any time someone is racist around me, I want to say something like, “Oh, I didn’t know it was 1959.” Then again, it’s not hard to see how those attitudes have continued to proliferate throughout recent history. We (speaking from a white perspective) built our lives on the backs of so many other people that we believed to be lesser than us. Men built their fortunes through the subjugation of everyone who was not white or male; however, no one considers that when they’re bitching about their electric bill (that is being powered with coal that’s stripped out of the earth and ruining the environment) or how high gas prices are (which is derived from a substance that is almost a metaphor for violence). Neither do we realize that we have these things like cars and computers and so on strictly because whites have cemented their place above everyone else with wholesale slaughter and oppression.

    Regarding Zimmerman… I have nothing to say about that. I am not a member of the Black community, nor am I a citizen of Florida. I think you do make a good point that too many white people were making it about them. As social media exploded, I saw many friends and friends-of-friends begin to express their utter disgust in the Zimmerman trial. I understand disgust — it’s a disgusting verdict. But fuck, someone actually said, “I should have been on that jury. I would have called for the death sentence!”

    Like you said, eye for an eye until we’re blind when barely any of us can see to begin with. That was a wonderful line.

    I grew up where whites were minorities in the Pacific Islands. My life was punctuated by an absurd amount of anti-white racism that, in some cases, actually shocked me when it happened. In a sort of “I can’t believe this is happening to me. Why am I being singled out,” sort of way. I say absurd because it is exactly that. When you encounter racism in your day-to-day life, like someone refusing to serve you at a store, or getting stopped by police because you shouldn’t be in a particular neighborhood, or being beaten on the street by a group of people because you happen to be the wrong color, it steps out of the bounds of the social contract that we’ve all signed when we became cognizant of our surroundings and dips back into the sordid, disgusting past that should have been eradicated long, long ago.

    You can’t really get that same experience in mainland North America. Maybe in some neighborhoods – but honestly, I think that more white people should have to go through cases of extreme anti-white racism to see exactly what their privilege has cost them.

    Somehow, our ancestors decided FOR US that it would be better to be hated conquerors of other people than just… people, co-existing with the others around us. I don’t know if they were even considering the ramifications of their racist ideologies. In the case of the United Kingdom, I don’t know if they considered the far-reaching ramifications of their out-and-out religious hatred and classism regarding the Irish or the Scottish, the former of which forced my grandfather’s father and his family to leave Europe, or the racism in regards to the so-called savages that they found in India, the Pacific, China, etc.

    And then you have the Americas, with the subjugation of First Nations peoples and the Native Americans. You have the third world within the “first world.” Greed and capitalism will always trump the plight of these people because of the privilege that was written in the blood of the men and women who happened to be marginalized into the shade of their skin, which is a fucking ridiculous idea.

    You should read this book called “Expect Resistance.” It’s put out by an organization called Crimethinc., based out of Salem, Oregon. I’d also recommend “Work” and “Days of War; Nights of Love.” But the first one I mentioned is an A-Z neutral anarchist (meaning it’s not skewed towards anarchosyndicalism, anarchomutualism, and so on) description of the privilege and pain we’ve inflicted on the world with how western society works. It’s wonderfully written.

    Anyway — thank you for writing this. It’s a wonderful post.

  12. earthedangel July 16, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

    I’m with sandra and mfennvt and your friend Jennie. Let’s cultivate bravery within ourselves. Let’s have the hard conversations. As a pretty privileged person myself (I’m just a gender away from completing that bingo card), I hope to do good ally work and shut up and listen when it’s appropriate (when the marginalized people are talking) and stand up and shout when that’s appropriate (when privileged people are saying harmful things).
    Also: UGH George Zimmerman, who has said he would do nothing differently if he could relive that night. Fuck that guy. I guess, sort of, MAYBE what he did was legal (under some pretty fucked-up laws), but it certainly wasn’t *okay*. It wasn’t *right*, and he shows absolutely NO awareness of that, even now that he’s been acquitted and it wouldn’t “hurt his case”.

  13. ana74x July 16, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

    Sitting far away in Australia it seems that the whole U.S. gun culture combined with the deep seated and undeniable racism is still the root of so many deaths.

  14. loCAtek MexiCali July 17, 2013 at 12:22 am #

    Well, from my name you may be able to tell that I am Hispanic, Mexican in fact, and I hate it when folks say that Mexicans are ‘half white’. We are in fact native MesoAmericans who may have a few European ancestors, or may not have any at all. I myself, believe I have only one Spanish ancestor, so the percentage of my race is 99% indigenous American.
    Mr. Zimmerman also calls himself Hispanic, with only one European relative, his father, therefore he is also a 99% indigenous American. I f his choice in romantic partners is any indication of his cultural identification- his ex-fiance Veronica Zuaco was Hispanic …so, no I don’t like folks calling him half-white, to make him sound more racist.
    So, would a racist man do this:
    “Zimmerman Letter to Sanford Churches
    In late 2010 / early 2011, Sanford, Fla. resident George Zimmerman distributed this photocopied flyer on bright, fluorescent-colored paper, his family members told The Daily Caller. The flyer was intended to draw the public’s attention to the plight of Sherman Ware, who was depicted on video being assaulted by the son of a Sanford police officer. Black community activists — and Zimmerman — complained bitterly that the police mishandled the investigation. Zimmerman reportedly distributed the flyer on Sundays in the parking lots of African-American churches, and handed them out personally at the conclusion of church services.”

    Those closest to the case, the jurors have stated;

    “Despite popular perception, the trial of George Zimmerman for the fatal shooting of black teenager Trayvon Martin had nothing to do with race, according to the first juror to speak publicly since Mr. Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges on Saturday.
    “I think all of us thought race did not play a role,” the woman known only as Juror B37 said about the jury’s deliberations, during an interview on CNN Monday. “We never had that discussion.”

    And last but not least our AFRICAN American President of the United States has stated,

    “The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America,” Obama said. “I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken.”

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/president-obama-urges-respect-trayvon-martin-verdict-jury-spoken-article-1.1398486#ixzz2ZG1uFDIo

    • earthedangel July 18, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

      I cannot speak to the middle section of your comment, but I definitely can to the first and last parts, so here we go.
      Firstly, Hispanic is not a definition of race. It is an indicator (as you explained, actually) that the person comes from a Spanish-speaking country, and is descended from Native peoples and European peoples. Therefore, we have white Hispanic, black Hispanic, etc. While it might be true that you are 99% indigenous because your Spanish ancestor is waaaaay back in your genetic history, it is NOT true that GZ is 99% indigenous. His white father, mixed with his Hispanic/Latino mother, makes him *at best* half-indigenous and half-white. I don’t think many people are saying that ALL Mexicans or Hispanics are half-white, but when it comes to GZ that is an accurate label.
      Secondly, even if he were the brownest and most indigenous Hispanic man ever, race isn’t arranged such that whites are on top and ALL OTHER BROWN PEOPLE are on equal footing on bottom. Race is arranged such that white people are on top, black people are on bottom, and all others fall in between in order of whiteness or blackness. When you combine that with the fact that even the darkest black person could have internalized racism, it is absolutely possible (probable, even!) that GZ acted from a place of racism. I don’t care who he dates/dated, especially when it wasn’t a black woman.
      Thirdly, the statements by Juror B37 are one woman’s opinion. And if she has a stake in refuting her own racism as an aspect of why she helped acquit him (hint: she does!), then we can’t trust what she had to say about whether race was a factor in the crime.
      Finally, the statement from President Obama is a plea to not enact vigilante justice. It’s not about “Welp, the jury has spoken, and we all know they never get anything wrong ever!” It’s about “I know you’re hurting, but we will descend into chaos as a nation if you kill this man because you think he deserves it.”

  15. HRH Dana July 17, 2013 at 12:48 am #

    So Zimmerman is not half white and neither is our President. I guess that’s consistent. Smch .

    He followed him because he was a black boy. The end. He made over 50 calls about other black men and boys.

    Keep defending a murderer. Im sure that is easier than trying to understand the indignation of so many.

  16. Leah July 17, 2013 at 5:12 am #

    Excellent post. In considering my privilege, I worry a lot about coming off like a privileged Victorian white progressive whose intentions are good but who ultimately can’t see outside of her own world. I don’t really have anything to add, but if we’re the new grownups, we’re going to have to be responsible, as you said, about intersectionality and complexity (and recycling).

  17. Peter July 18, 2013 at 5:45 am #

    Hi Ms. Theriault,

    Hope this helps answer your questions!

    “I mean, how do you fight against problems that are so deeply woven into the fabric of the way you live? How do you fight, for example, against environmentally destructiveness of coal-fired power when every time you turn on the light or plug in your computer or watch your favourite movie, your actions contribute to releasing an extra little bit of noxious gas into the air?” … etc

  18. loCAtek MexCali July 21, 2013 at 1:52 am #

    Prior to this trial, I was unaware in all my life, of the existence of ‘White, Brown or Black Hispanics’. You were Hispanic if your familia came from the Americas, period. My father taught me, we had European blood sometimes, as well as some Black blood sometimes; but this did not divide us, but proved our kinship with all those oppressed or not. We kinda learned to be ‘Equal Opportunity Racists’ in that we’ll laff at anybody about their race, sex or social standing – See: George Lopez.

    I was just going through my YouTube Fav playlists and came across Sebastien De La Cruz, now there’s an example of how to respond to racism;

    ..

    Interestingly, while at work there was a debate/argument that Zimmerman shouldn’t have confronted Trayvon. “It was his job.” and “Was it worth, trying to beat him to death?” didn’t seem convincing enough.

    So, today I was going through my fav YouTube vids and I came across this-

    ‘Charro de Oro – the boy with the Golden Voice’

    He’s faced so much more ACTUAL racism, and negativity, but an 11-year child [A real child, not a teenager, unsupervised by any parents] responded with class and aplomb; not confrontation nor violence. …and he’s going on to become a Ethnic sensation, bringing real Cultural appreciation to his people. Viva Sebastien -Viva La Raza!

    ~sniff~ I’m so proud of him

  19. Katie Long July 21, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

    Thank you for this post. Sometimes I wonder why I spend so much time trying to articulate how I feel when it seems others do it so well for me. 🙂

    I think I will just link your post here for my friends to read if you don’t mind 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] a few things: I wrote about how much insomnia sucks, how ashamed I feel over my lack of education, how privilege colours the way that white folks talk about Trayvon Martin, and what it’s like to be Not That […]

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