Why Did the Jury NEVER see Trayvon Martin as a CHILD?

Why Did Jury NEVER see Trayvon Martin as a CHILD? Ida B Wells Barnett explains in 1895 _A Red Record_

by @zizii2

“A Black person has “no rights which a white man is bound to respect.” ~ Chief Justice Roger B. Taney in 1857

In his impromptu remarks this afternoon in the White House Press Room, President Obama asked a most salient question: “If Trayvon Martin had been of age and armed would he have been justified in standing his ground on that sidewalk?” Of course that hypothetical question is premised on Trayvon having the right to carry a weapon as an adult. But Sybrina Fulton yesterday put her finger on the more immediate concern. To her the jury did not consider Trayvon as their own Child. In other words, Empathy Deficit. But there is a reason for that. American culture has NEVER had a place for children of color in its construction of childhood.

Pres Obama’s Remarks on Trayvon Martin – 07-19-2013


Six days since the phrase “Not Guilty” was curtly announced at the George Zimmerman trial about the killing of Trayvon Martin, a lot has been written from various perspectives endorsing, questioning, or parsing the verdict. A wave of activism has also sprung up in its wake demanding revisions to Stand Your Ground laws in states like Florida, while campaigns such as the NAACP’s #HesNotaSuspect seek to validate the human worth of black male children.

However at the crux of the court case, a key element never came up: What were Trayvon’s RIGHTS as a CHILD in the encounter with George Zimmerman that fateful night? What provisions do Stand Your Ground laws have to protect children in any encounter with an adult? What is a child supposed to do when confronted by an armed assailant/stalker/intruder/stranger?

Sybrina Fulton & Tracy Martin Interview with Al Sharpton

Zimmerman’s defense attorneys were ruthlessly successful in zeroing out any such consideration of Trayvon as a CHILD in the jury’s mind, along with all intuitive assumptions that CHILDHOOD invokes in American culture. The message was: Trayvon’s childhood was NULL & VOID. But WHY were they so successful, such that Juror #B37 could casually say that Trayvon was responsible for his own death? That assuming Trayvon did fight back in the manner that Zimmerman claimed, that he was WRONG to do so? How does that thinking square with the advice that public officials, educators, and parents routinely give to children about how to react when assailed by strangers?

We scream with approval when we watch children in our movies hit bad guys in the groin or mount stealth attacks in self-defense. And we mourn and seek retribution when those children’s actions result in their deaths or severe injuries. But not so Trayvon Martin. His very body excluded him from the narrative of American childhood. Why? History provides a clue.

Childhood as a construct in American culture is contrived innocence, a projection of an imagined pristine moment outside of the cruelties of life. That we classify ages 0-18 as legal childhood is a function of our modern K-12 education lifecycle as well as biological growth cycles. Until the last century with the proscription of child labor and the rise of the Middle Classes with the attendant consumer culture, Childhood as blissful innocence with minimal economic productivity, was never intended to be enjoyed by the non-moneyed classes, and certainly not People of Color (POC).

Black Children in these United States historically never had a separate status from their mothers. During slavery it meant that they (derogatorily called “pickanninies”) too were units of the slave owner’s chattel from whose labor wealth had to be extracted through direct sale of their bodies or exploiting their labor working on the plantation. Girls’ bodies suffered the extra terror of being raped to increase the slave holder’s capital. Boys were simply fully-exploitable men in little bodies.

Curiously, the emancipation of slaves wrought the concept of the black male (including child) as a menace to society precisely because his body had ceased being a controllable asset to white America. One of the pioneers of the civil rights movement and ace journalist, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, incisively explains why this happened in her 1895 account of lynchings in the US, _A Red Record_:

While slaves were scourged mercilessly… inhumanly treated in other respects, still the white owner rarely permitted his anger to go so far as to take a life, which would entail upon him a loss of several hundred dollars. The slave was rarely killed, he was too valuable; it was easier and quite as effective, for discipline or revenge, to sell him “Down South….

But Emancipation came and the vested interests of the white man in the Negro’s body were lost…. In slave times the Negro was kept subservient and submissive by the frequency and severity of the scourging, but, with freedom, a new system of intimidation came into vogue; the Negro was not only whipped and scourged; he was killed.”

The relationship was never anything other than transactional. Absent these terms in which the black body has an economic utility, it becomes a threat that MUST be eliminated. Black bodies cannot exist neutrally, let alone idle.

Modern American Childhood enshrines unstructured time as vital to healthy child development. Ergo Trayvon’s very being is scripted out of that narrative. Gingrich’s statements about putting inner city youth to work as janitors during the last presidential season is a facet of this “truism” in the moneyed American mind. Thus black bodies not under the regimentation of productive labor at any time must be up to NO GOOD. A menace to society.

As Ida B Wells-Barnett noted from her empirical study of the wave of lynchings of black men especially across the country, she uncovered 3 justifications for lynching:

“The first excuse given to the civilized world for the murder of unoffending Negroes was the necessity of the white man to repress and stamp out alleged “race riots.””

“Then came the second excuse, which had its birth during the turbulent times of reconstruction. By an amendment to the Constitution the Negro was given the right of franchise, and, theoretically at least, his ballot became his invaluable emblem of citizenship. …But this did not last long. The southern white man would not consider that the Negro had any right which a white man was bound to respect, and the idea of a republican form of government in the southern states grew into general contempt.”

“the murderers invented the third excuse—that Negroes had to be killed to avenge their assaults upon women. There could be framed no possible excuse more harmful to the Negro and more unanswerable if true in its sufficiency for the white man.”


Emmett Till was 14 years old when he was lynched for “whistling at a white woman” in 1955


The common thread in all three justifications is that the black body is given to its PRIMAL passions, and incapable of discipline or cultivating civilized behavior. It is pathological. Therefore the bodies of children of color are similarly pathologically inclined.

This is the cultural, legal, and experiential frame that informs the Trayvon Martin case. He could not simply be a child, warts and all in the minds of those blaming him for his dreadful fate.

And Pres Obama could immediately see himself in Trayvon’s shoes. But as long as we were all children once, regardless of race, ethnicity, cultural, or economic background, we all should be able to walk in Trayvon’s shoes.

213 Responses to “Why Did the Jury NEVER see Trayvon Martin as a CHILD?”

  1. 1 criquet
    July 19, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Hello all.

    • July 19, 2013 at 8:52 pm

      Hiya criquet.

      Warmest thanks to Zizi for this, just reading it now, powerful and beautiful.

      • 3 criquet
        July 19, 2013 at 8:55 pm

        Hi Ms Chips.
        I read , posted a hello to all and read again.
        A truly magnificent expose by Zizi.

        • July 19, 2013 at 9:05 pm

          Thanks. It is a painful conversation but we have the guts here on TOD to engage in it.

          • 5 desertflower
            July 19, 2013 at 9:34 pm

            zizi, thank you for this. It’s thoughtful, and deep. I may have to read again and again. I think you’re right to say that we have the guts to engage in this discussion here….only because we have always been open, honest and feel secure together in this place. Trusting one another plays a part in this discussion…and the sense of being valued as a person. We may come from different places, have different life experiences, but here, we are valued, listened to, respected and equal. Can WE change a world? I pray. Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts and a history not known by some of us.

            • July 19, 2013 at 10:20 pm

              The beauty is that we’re already changing the world. We put President Obama in the White House, we’ve challenged the status quo, we pushed back against Romney and Ryan trying to cheat and lie their way into the White House to execute their evil plans, we have different relationships with other world leader, and a greater respect for other cultures – including the minorities in this country. There are some who will not change, and we are pushing on anyway. “Change has come to America”, and it needs to continue.

          • July 19, 2013 at 9:42 pm

            As usual…..beautiful writing, zizi. Thank you.

      • 9 Judith Fardig
        July 20, 2013 at 3:55 pm

        Zizi – Your message that we should ALL be able to walk in Trayvon’s shoes is exactly what President Obama tried to get across to the WHPC. Thanks for putting together such a powerful and enlightening piece.

    • July 20, 2013 at 4:24 pm

      One of the most insightful articles I’ve read. Many thanks.

  2. July 19, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    I have loved the conversations centered this very important speech!

  3. 17 MightyPamela
    July 19, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Scrambling to catch up, do we know if the NewsHour is showing the press corps speech tonight? I will watch if so….

  4. 19 criquet
    July 19, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Thank you so much Zizi2 for your powerful, provocative and most informative piece. I have saved it to share and re-read.

  5. July 19, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    Important question that I’ve been struggling with as well. He was 17. His first response came from what is scientifically called the ‘reptilian’ part of his brain – fight or flight response. His gut told him to fight because running away didn’t help. He was scared and trying, how he could, to defend himself. It brings tears to my eye when I think of it. The media is equally responsible for painting him as a thuggish person. I still feel the prosecution is to blame as well.

    • 22 theo67
      July 19, 2013 at 10:24 pm

      It breaks my heart to think of Trayvon’s fear in those last moments, calling for help that never came, facing the barrel of a gun and a crazy stalker who doesn’t see you as a human being. And I wish I’d never seen Zimmerman smiling after the verdict was read.

      • 23 arkluvspbo
        July 20, 2013 at 8:06 am

        Theo, that “smile” definitely left an imprint on my mind as well, but I have to hope that in the end, justice will be served, and that smile will be wiped clean off his smirking fat face. That “smile” was the smile of someone who knows that he got away with it, just like he’s gotten away with it for years.

  6. 24 arapaho415
    July 19, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    I may not be able to post later, so wanted to get a couple of Greenwald updates out now:

    And about Greenwald’s special “pet.”

  7. 25 Mellesia Barnett
    July 19, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Zizi the tears are flowing.

    • July 19, 2013 at 8:57 pm

      shared with you, my friend

      • July 19, 2013 at 9:04 pm

        Zizi, this is masterful. And this….

        “However at the crux of the court case, a key element never came up: What were Trayvon’s RIGHTS as a CHILD in the encounter with George Zimmerman that fateful night? What provisions do Stand Your Ground laws have to protect children in any encounter with an adult? What is a child supposed to do when confronted by an armed assailant/stalker/intruder/stranger?”

        …. you know what, through most of the trial I almost forgot myself that Trayvon was a child, because that, of course, was never how he was portrayed.

        So, yes, what exactly is a child supposed to do when confronted by an armed assailant/stalker/intruder/stranger?

        • July 19, 2013 at 9:07 pm

          I wondered myself but was not shocked when his story was never compared to the tragedies of JonBenet Ramsey or Elizabeth Smart or the many children who were stalked, abducted, or killed in our recent history.

        • 30 99ts
          July 19, 2013 at 9:32 pm

          There was an argument at the end of the trial when the prosecution tried to include 3rd degree murder as a lesser (like manslaughter) – This was fought on the grounds that Trayvon was a minor & shooting him was a crime “against a child”. The defense – of course – argued strongly against it – and the Judge did not allow it. This would be one more reason why the jury was so sure Trayvon was not a child.

      • July 19, 2013 at 9:49 pm

        Zizi, that is worthy of ink in any form – from academic journal to the New York Review of Books to a letter to the President that I have good reason to believe he’d read more than once and could well cite in his next Inaugural Address.

        Simply, spectacular.

        Thank you.

  8. July 19, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Why is the speech today said to be Pres. Obama’s first speech on race in America? Every speech he has given has been from his perspective as the first black president.
    Could someone say this better? I know I’m not good with a phrase. Help.

    • 34 sjterrid
      July 19, 2013 at 9:09 pm

      This is not the first time Pres. Obama mentioned race. He did magnificently in Philadelphia in 2008. Whoever says this is lying, both left and right.

      • July 19, 2013 at 9:16 pm

        Yes, his speech was the best, but he wasn’t president. What I’m trying to say is that the RWNJs have never respected him as President. The yelled you lie in the well of the house. They question his birth certificate. They don’t accept him as a legitimate president. How could a jury of whites see Trayvon as a child?

        • 36 99ts
          July 19, 2013 at 9:29 pm

          Just a few might think about it after that speech – he will not change the embittered old f@rts but every speech he makes a few more souls begin to realize how they and their forebears have been so very wrong in the treatment of their fellow man. What he has been saying forever, what many see as the result of “race” is the result of poverty, disease (no health care) and no way out of the mire.

          When PBO gives hope – he lets those people know there IS a way out – and the fight against a black President is based on some people not wanting anyone other than themselves to succeed in life. You can’t be better than the people in the ghetto – if there are no people in the ghetto.

        • 38 sjterrid
          July 19, 2013 at 9:29 pm

          Oh I know that, and every time they open their mouth they prove how racist they are.

    • 40 theo67
      July 19, 2013 at 10:29 pm

      I guess they’ve forgotten the “beer summit” came about because the President objected to the profiling and arrest of a Harvard Professor (Henry Louis Gates), who was accused of breaking into his own house, but was arrested because the police officer thought he was an insolent black man. When the President spoke out against this injustice, the media skewered him and took the side of the policeman.

  9. 48 Mellesia Barnett
    July 19, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    MSNBC is having a special “President Obama and Trayvon Martin”

  10. 49 yardarm756
    July 19, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    My meager contribution to this days end.

  11. July 19, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    Another excellent essay, zizi.

  12. 51 hopefruit2
    July 19, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Thank you zizi, for this powerful and thought-provoking essay. This should be required reading for every US citizen who wants to have an honest discussion of racism in this country.

  13. 52 Walking_on_ Sunshine
    July 19, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Tried to post a comment. Was not allowed. I’m not the most gifted writer in the world but I didn’t think it was that bad. 😦

    • 53 hopefruit2
      July 19, 2013 at 9:18 pm

      I Don’t think your comment was deliberately blocked WOS – must have been a glitch in the system 🙂

      • 54 Walking_on_ Sunshine
        July 19, 2013 at 9:22 pm

        Oh I know hopefruit. I’m going to take it as a sign from the universe that what I was saying was a bit long winded and maybe not necessary. Shorter version. “It’s all about irrational fear.”

  14. 55 hopefruit2
    July 19, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    It’s not just the RW/Conservative media that’s the problem…

    • 56 anniebella
      July 19, 2013 at 9:21 pm

      I have come to see that the extreme left is just as crazy as the right wing extreme conservative.

    • 57 Anna Luc
      July 19, 2013 at 10:12 pm

      Ignore him. Just another tired negro trying to get a bigger paycheck from his white boss. Don’t give him the clicks.

    • 58 Walking_on_ Sunshine
      July 19, 2013 at 10:21 pm

      They just can’t help it they want to say the word. But it makes them sound like trash. It doesn’t matter what you think of a person before. Once they say that word they reveal themselves as trash.

    • 59 Cha
      July 19, 2013 at 11:58 pm

      Wow, hopefruit! I went there.. couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t going to register just to knock that asshole off his self inflated pedestal, though. Especially since so many were doing it for me!

    • 60 arkluvspbo
      July 20, 2013 at 8:09 am

      WOW! Just WOW! First of all, he’s disappointed because the president didn’t give his “opinions” on the case??? Really??? Does he need to be told how to think and does he REALLY have to question what the president’s opinion is on this?
      And I guess now that Tush Limpbutt finally came out and used that word, the rest of the insecure, racists feel comfortable in using it.
      What sad, pathetic little people.

  15. July 19, 2013 at 9:13 pm

  16. July 19, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Great piece. I always learn so much from you Zizi. Some real intellectuals here.

  17. 79 Alycee (@jazziz2)
    July 19, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Zizi2 — a simple thank you!

  18. July 19, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    So Nate Silver is leaving the NYT to join ESPN. Interesting.

    • 83 vitaminlover
      July 19, 2013 at 9:24 pm

      nate Silver better mind his p’s and q’s over there. They seem to be Pro Obama. So if he ‘goes there’ let’s just say Nate Silver= buzzard meat.

      • 84 99ts
        July 19, 2013 at 9:52 pm

        Nate was always pro PBO – then presumably the NYT demanded some sort of – each side does it. His stats are valid. His commentary at the times was often wrong.

        I assume the times is running out of money – as is all print press – the owners of the print press did so much in the 1970s/80s to kill the print unions, used technology to cut their labor force to absolute minimal – now technology is turning on the owners – karma comes to all.

        • 85 vitaminlover
          July 19, 2013 at 10:13 pm

          Hmmm. interesting. So I am understanding that he was accurate with his predictions? Seems like he was/is a statistician. O K I’ll just observe him.

          • 86 Walking_on_ Sunshine
            July 19, 2013 at 10:26 pm

            His predictions were so accurate that I’m afraid to open emails that reference him. I’ve come to see him as a statistical God. He could break my heart with a bad prediction.

          • 88 99ts
            July 19, 2013 at 10:46 pm

            2008 & 2012 – his statistics correctly analyzed all the polls – a few pollsters did not like him at all – at least one fake pollster was taken down by Nate – and those who push polled in an attempt to change the electorate were well called out.

            His analysis at the NYT, however, was abysmal – cheered up the right wing no end in 2012 by listing all sorts of ways PBO could lose – while the stats said Romney had NO chance. In 2008, when he was on his own – he had no such “each way” posts. His main claim to media fame at that stage was appearing on Colbert. After 2008 election, he got a book deal and the NYT offer.

    • July 19, 2013 at 9:37 pm

      He is going to be a regular contributor to Keith Olberman’s new ESPN2 show starting in August, and will do political modeling for ABC News during election years…..

  19. 97 japa21
    July 19, 2013 at 9:16 pm

  20. 98 99ts
    July 19, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Hello everyone – I just came online to see this wonderful post – hear and read the President’s words. Whenever I think the US is disappearing down the plug hole of right wing lunacy President Obama makes me realize how lucky you are – the man has more sense, love, words, etc etc in his little finger than the rest of congress has in their ignorant brains.

    PBO is amazing in that he always knows what to say – and more importantly – when to say it. I am likely to be the fool who rushes in – he is the sage who knows when to speak

  21. 99 gn
    July 19, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Emmett Till was 14. His killers, equally contemptuous of “outside influences” which had forced a (sham) trial and (unjust) verdict, claimed that he brought his death upon himself for not respecting the local customs. Familiar?

    The law wasn’t the agent which created the Zimmerman verdict. The refusal to, as you note, view Trayvon as a *human child*, was what drove that. The defense and jury sent a devastating message to black America. Many thanks to the President for doing what he can to refute it.

    • July 19, 2013 at 9:37 pm

      Absolutely, The interesting thing is as I promised you I began writing this piece a few days ago, but was too filled with anger to to focus on it. Then today I finally got the juices going but I missed POTUS speech in the process, having gone off Twitter grid to write this up.. So my introductory paragraph is actually a coda. Glad you encouraged me to do this 2 days ago on Twitter. Thanks

      • 101 gn
        July 19, 2013 at 9:53 pm

        No, many thanks to you for writng this piece. Saw Trayvon’s parents on HLN tonight. There are no words to describe what has been done to them and how much they’re hurting. Not only was their son killed, but he continues to be smeared in death, AND his final screams and pleas for help were stolen by his killer. This is egregius beyond my ability to describe it. Thank you for putting this into words Zizi.

        • 102 nathkatun7
          July 19, 2013 at 11:40 pm

          ” Not only was their son killed, but he continues to be smeared in death, AND his final screams and pleas for help were stolen by his killer.”

          Thank you so much, GN for zeroing in on this. I simply can’t begin to imagine the hurt that Trayvon’s parents are going through. I am also overwhelmed by their courage, strength and dignity in copying with all the evil and ugliness from those who insist on treating their murdered child as a monster. In so doing, they’ve exposed who are the real monsters.

  22. July 19, 2013 at 9:23 pm


    • 104 Walking_on_ Sunshine
      July 19, 2013 at 10:47 pm

      How cruel we can be. And how ungrateful. I’m glad to see that there will be some justice at last but too late for this poor man who was treated like a criminal when he was a hero.

  23. 105 ladyvader
    July 19, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    Longtime Lurker come out of lurking to say I’m very happy President came out to say what he did because I was dealing with a lot of hate for a couple of days and they response from the Martin family gave me hope hate could be overcome. Trayvon will receive his reward, I’m a certain of this. I also wanted to respond to LisaLovesObama. The Quiet Man is my favorite John Wayne movie too besides El Dorado. I just loved how much his character loved Maureen O’Hara character even though she was giving him so much static about her fortune. When I was younger I also loved Hatari!

    • 106 theo67
      July 19, 2013 at 10:43 pm

      Hey Lady! 🙂

      I didn’t realize how much I’d been seething with anger myself until the President spoke today. You could see that President Obama’s been right there with all of us in this shocking place we find ourselves where a child can die walking home from the store and nobody held accountable. His words helped.

      • 107 99ts
        July 19, 2013 at 10:57 pm

        Trayvon was held accountable for his own death – walking home while black – a capital offense. So much of white America convicted Trayvon of this charge – and rejoiced about it – and plastered the internet and other media with their hate – and were the jury that released Zimmerman.

        And I will ever believe that it is mainly white men (obviously not all white men) – throughout my working life it was ALWAYS the men who would make excuses for their mistakes – who would blame the woman in the office – who would never apologize when their actions caused grief or lost a major account (and I saw a few of them). Some women are completely swayed by their male partners, be they work partners or marriage partners – and I would blame them, as much as the Trayvon jury for the not guilty. Note there were no women prosecutors & no women defense lawyers. The prosecution did not want a guilty verdict. I have seen a few trials (silly me) and this was the worst prosecution I have ever seen.

  24. 108 utaustinliberal
    July 19, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    Fantastic piece Zizi. History plays so great a role in why many African-Americans are pained at Zimmerman’s acquittal. Black children aren’t allowed to be kids. Society doesn’t allow them to make the same mistakes as their white counterparts. They must always be perfect and this is wrong. Children should be allowed to be children; to make mistakes, to fall down, to experiment, and still be assured that society will have their backs. Black children are not afforded this common decency.

    Trayon Martin was a seventeen year old child. Not a man, but a child; and a monster ended his life.

    • 109 hopefruit2
      July 19, 2013 at 9:52 pm

      Very well-said ut. Now contrast the rush to formally view Black children as adults, alongside the “cutesifying” of 20 to 30-something adult whites as “naive kids.” I’m looking at Casey Anthony, Snowden et al….

    • 110 nathkatun7
      July 19, 2013 at 11:43 pm


  25. July 19, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    Zizi, I can’t add anything to your wonderful post……. Please take a bow! You have emasculated me again…. I thought you promised to stop after the Africa trip? ………This is all I got.

  26. 116 donna dem 4 obama
    July 19, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Brilliant, Powerful, Insightful, thought-provoking piece zizi2

  27. 117 jacquelineoboomer
    July 19, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Does anybody else think that what people all around the country are feeling is like going through the many stages of grief? President Obama is obviously feeling it, too.

    I have a friend who lives in Florida, near Sanford – we’re both white and 60-something. She was telling me last night that she had gone to a local department store a couple of days after the jury verdict, deep in thought while purchasing whatever she went there for. She said as she walked up to the cash register, a 30-something African-American woman cashier looked up at her and gave her a sweet smile and asked if she were ready to check out.

    My friend said she, herself, had been in sort of a post-verdict stupor for days, and the woman cashier’s smile really hit her. First, she wanted to tell her how embarrassed she was to be a white woman (especially because most of the jurors were white women, and the department store was even closer to Sanford), but she kept repeating to her inner self, “too much sharing” (what all of us 60-somethings have to do, when we leave our homes – no kidding!). Then she wanted to tell her that she marveled at the fact that she could smile so soon after the verdict.

    Now, of course, my friend was projecting, because she doesn’t know (or pretend to know) how the woman cashier felt, or what she would have been willing to share “on the job,” so she said nothing. But she was still talking about it last night, and still feeling both her own embarrassment and also her respect for – and, quite frankly, astonishment about – any African American who somehow cuts through the vile racism in our country, goes to school or work or anywhere else each day, and somehow survives.

    I know all of my fellow “white” TODers would agree that racism also hurts those of us who are in the “white” portion of the awful color wheel we seem to need to identify ourselves and each other in America. And, yes, I’ll “take the chance” of speaking for them.

    I’m so glad President Obama shared all of his profound thoughts on this topic with us today, helping us get to the next stage, wherever that may lead. Love that man.

    • 118 COS
      July 19, 2013 at 9:42 pm

      Thanks for sharing Jacqueline.

      • 119 jacquelineoboomer
        July 19, 2013 at 9:48 pm

        Thank you for reading all that! I’ve got to try to be more succinct!

        • 120 0388jojothecat
          July 19, 2013 at 10:34 pm

          Thanks jacquelineoboomer…..I am in my late 50’s, AA and I am sure the young lady that waited on you appreciated your returned smile and appreciation felt what was in your heart. Sometimes it does not take any words to express your feelings. When I was starting college in SoCal I needed to get an apartment near campus because I did not drive. I went to several apartments with “For Rent” signs and after about the fourth place that told me “the apartment was just rented” I got the feeling I was being discriminated against. I even called a place that I was told it was rented to tell me it was still for rent. So as time was running out, I called a place and asked if the apartment was still for rent. The lady on the phone said it was….after a pause I got up the nerve to tell her to that I was black and if she did not want to rent to me please tell me so I won’t travel there by bus only to tell me it was already rented. There was a long pause and the lady said, oh honey I am so sorry if that has happened to you, please come by. Well when I got there she had a cold glass of water waiting for me and apologized for what I’d gone through. She said there were many applications for the place but she would recommend that I get the place but could not promise anything. I got the apartment just before classes started. I will never forget the lovely jewish couple that came to my rescue. I grew up in SoCal not experiencing any real racial discrimination until I became an adult in getting apartments, buying a car, getting a job, and even applying for credit.

          • 121 jacquelineoboomer
            July 19, 2013 at 10:50 pm

            It was actually my friend who smiled back, but – in any event – that’s a beautiful story you told! So glad it had a happy ending for you.

          • 122 theo67
            July 19, 2013 at 10:52 pm

            Your story brought tears to my eyes – both for your experience, but the long pause of the woman on the other end of the phone as she absorbed and processed what you had said to her, and realized what you must have been through. People do terrible things to each other for very stupid reasons. And then there are some angels out there that just want to make things better. Thanks for sharing.

    • 123 Dakota
      July 19, 2013 at 10:05 pm

      Hubby and I were having lunch at a restaurant on Monday and this white lady approached our table and said that she just wanted us to know that all of us don’t feel that way. At first, we didn’t know what she was talking about and I guess it must have shown on our faces. Then she said, “you know, this weekend” and then we realized that she was talking about Trayvon. I would say that by her choice of words, that it really took a lot for her to approach us, but you could tell by the look on her face that she was heartbroken. We thanked her and told her that we knew this. I appreciate your friend and understand that sometimes it’s just hard to find the words. Her heart is good and treating a person with respect speaks volumes.

      • 124 jacquelineoboomer
        July 19, 2013 at 11:10 pm

        Well, I certainly teared up when I read that. Glad you and your husband had the experience, and I shall share your story with my friend – whose heart is definitely in the good category.

    • July 19, 2013 at 10:49 pm

      “Does anybody else think that what people all around the country are feeling is like going through the many stages of grief?”

      Yes, Jacaqueline.

      And, at least for this white person, profound shame. Not just by the verdict but by the scale of vile commentary including reactions to one of the most heartfelt, constructive and necessary statements any President has ever made.

      We’ve got a long way to go before we sleep …

      #FORWARD Together

      • 128 99ts
        July 19, 2013 at 11:04 pm

        Hello Bobfr – I was just attacking white men above – and then I read your words – and I feel shame for discriminating based on sex. I feel guilt on so many things – and I am not an American citizen. My country is “white” – it has some draconian immigration laws & has just introduced more – it would be loved by the RWNJs of the US.

        Thank you for your comments and tweets and all that support you give to TOD

      • 129 jacquelineoboomer
        July 19, 2013 at 11:17 pm

        We have profound shame … but we also are lucky enough to have a share of empathy, which others do not. And I’m glad to be hanging with people like you, Bobfr!

        Since you mentioned a piece of it, mind if I soothe all of our souls by repeating Robert Frost’s entire poem, on this hot summer night?

        Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

        Whose woods these are I think I know.
        His house is in the village, though;
        He will not see me stopping here
        To watch his woods fill up with snow.

        My little horse must think it queer
        To stop without a farmhouse near
        Between the woods and frozen lake
        The darkest evening of the year.

        He gives his harness bells a shake
        To ask if there is some mistake.
        The only other sound’s the sweep
        Of easy wind and downy flake.

        The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
        But I have promises to keep,
        And miles to go before I sleep,
        And miles to go before I sleep.

    • 130 theo67
      July 19, 2013 at 11:01 pm

      Jacq – I had a lot of people reach out to me this week to express their sadness and outrage over the verdict (including a blonde, blue-eyed Iranian friend whose dark Iranian husband was profiled terribly in San Diego in front of their three year old child – She was equally heartbroken over this verdict).

      I think this “reaching out” happened all over the country, because there are many more good people than there are bad people. I believe that. I said to my sister on Saturday night (she lives in Canada) that living here in the states all these years has made me really understand the “black experience in America” which I never really understood before. I’m black, and I lived in newly-independent Zimbabwe shortly after apartheid was overturned. That was bad enough. But this experience – in a nation that says it’s a melting pot of humanity – is different. It’s not colonialism. Every American wants to be accepted as an American at face value – and yet, they aren’t. I have the utmost respect for minorities in this country, and most specifically for black people. The grace with which black people live their lives, despite the ugly stereotypes, is enviable.

  28. 131 donna dem 4 obama
    July 19, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    LHM Sigh!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • July 19, 2013 at 9:40 pm

      Hiya Donna, no words for this. Funny, I tweeted Prag Obots and said “Sirota probably hired him for the gig, @RichBenjaminUSA’s a nobody so happy to oblige with bile. $$s.”

      Then checked his website – one of his fans is, indeed, Sirota. He cites his praise for his last book.

      I would seriously rather give clicks to Drudge from this day forth, than Salon. A pile of steaming shit.

  29. 135 vcprezofan2
    July 19, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    A thought-provoking piece, Zizi. Thanks. Your reference to Trayvon’s ‘RIGHTS as a CHILD’ immediately brought back to my mind something I hadn’t thought about in years –

    Adopted by UN General Assembly Resolution 1386 (XIV) of 10 December 1959


    Reading your essay not only raised questions, it kicked the confusion up a notch. Yes I had heard parents on TV, ex: MHP & Joy mention that the GZ case makes it difficult to advise their children but this really reinforced it for me. ‘Don’t get too cozy with strangers. Run. Don’t run. Fight. Don’t fight. Keep your mouth shut. Yell and scream.’

    “What is a child supposed to do?” Perhaps for the first time since the verdict, I am totally confronted with the fact that I. really. don’t. have. an. answer. So even if GZ gets charged the next time around, I still don’t know how to answer that question. I feel conflicted and confused. You are right we need to have the conversation, over and above GZ’s going free.

  30. July 19, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    • 139 nathkatun7
      July 20, 2013 at 12:14 am

      Racism may have been developed that way, but overtime racism became a deeply embedded cultural belief system. A belief system that was, and is, practiced as if it were self-evident. In both theory and practice, the vast majority of people in this country, and I suspect the vast majority of people in the world, were taught, brought up (formally and informally) to value whiteness and devalue blackness.

      • July 20, 2013 at 5:20 am

        but overtime racism became a deeply embedded cultural belief system….


        noted….and I agree…on top of the belief systems…there is policy (institutional racism)) that tends to reinforce that belief system….but overall what this tends to do is to maintain the status quo and the dominance of the so-called 1%.

        So how do we start this conversation….discussion about race and racism is hard to do in the abstract…it has to have a focus…dealing with laws….and policy is a concrete way to start….

        SYG laws….gutting of the VRA…education….JOBS/training….are all ways to realistically tackle the larger issue of race and racism..

  31. 141 sherijr
    July 19, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    Wow zizi, just wow. thank you.

  32. 143 jacquelineoboomer
    July 19, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    Harvard Professor Ogletree on Rachel’s show: ” … today, for the first time, he [President Obama] unequivocally and completely embraced the black community … ”

    Man, that “first time” seemed so ill-timed to me, and just feeds the naysayers, even though he was making a positive comment about the President’s remarks, and is an adviser to him.

  33. 150 Dakota
    July 19, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Evening Family.

    I can never state enough how much I love my President. This wonderful, heartfelt speech raised my spirits and my day. A day I might add that was not only trying, but filled with “oddness”, most notably was a 51/50 that came in the office demanding that we give her oxygen. Anyhoo…catching up with everything and enjoying a well deserved cocktail.

    I want to wish L.L. a very Happy Birthday. Best Wishes!

    Powerful piece zizi. Thank you.

  34. July 19, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    • 152 jacquelineoboomer
      July 19, 2013 at 9:52 pm

      This is so sad I can barely handle hearing it.

      • July 19, 2013 at 9:58 pm

        It’s impossible not to cry reading their statement. Truly incredible.

        • 154 jacquelineoboomer
          July 19, 2013 at 10:20 pm

          I heard of it earlier, but couldn’t bring myself to read it. Just like it took me until tonight to listen to the President’s remarks.

          It’s great that we’re continuing “the conversation” in this country (although from a heart-wrenching pivotal point, this time), but I DON’T WANT TO LIVE LIKE THIS ANYMORE – with all the racism in America and around the world. It’s been 50 FREAKIN’ YEARS since I was first “conscious” of it.

          My thoughts are similar to the “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore” line from “Network.”

          And I’m not even in any group that’s the TARGET of this vile racism (not since my Irish and German ancestors from Europe settled in, and that wasn’t me), but ENOUGH.

          • July 19, 2013 at 10:26 pm

            I think you could hear some of the pain and the strain of that in PBO’s voice. The compelling thing about today’s remarks was that his way of expressing all his thoughts and feelings about this tragic case were both very strong and pretty vulnerable.

    • July 19, 2013 at 9:55 pm

      They are so extraordinary

  35. July 19, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    THANK YOU, AG Holder.

    Sanford police freeze plan to return George Zimmerman’s gun

    George Zimmerman won’t be rearming just yet.

    The Sanford Police Department froze its plan to return Zimmerman’s gun Thursday after the FBI put a hold on evidence in the case, Sanford police spokesman Capt. James McAuliffe told the Los Angeles Times.

    The FBI’s request signals that the Justice Department is proceeding with its civil rights investigation into Zimmerman’s killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

    McAuliffe said the gun, a 9-millimeter semiautomatic, won’t be returned until the department completes its investigation and had no further need for evidence in the case.


    • 158 Mellesia Barnett
      July 19, 2013 at 9:59 pm

      It should not be returned period

    • 159 jacquelineoboomer
      July 19, 2013 at 10:44 pm

      Very, very good news.

    • 160 99ts
      July 19, 2013 at 11:10 pm

      Does this stop Zimmerman buying another?

      • July 19, 2013 at 11:11 pm

        Good question 99ts, and I’m presuming not? Impossible to stomach.

      • 162 nathkatun7
        July 20, 2013 at 12:19 am

        I doubt it. His acquittal makes him a free man with no criminal record.

        • 163 99ts
          July 20, 2013 at 12:25 am

          I know a couple of folks who have been involved in fatal car accidents. They have never since driven a car. I wonder if Zimmerman would even want to own a gun any more – but no doubt I give him sensitivity that he does not have by making that remark. Thus said – I doubt he could be found not guilty if he were involved in another similar shooting.

          • 164 nathkatun7
            July 20, 2013 at 12:34 am

            GZ and his entire family have expressed no remorse for the murder of Trayvon. This suggests to me that GZ, once acquitted, has not lost any sleep over this.

  36. 165 yardarm756
    July 19, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    Time for Friday Funnies

    An Antartian boy and his father were visiting a mall. They were amazed by almost everything they saw, but especially by two shiny, silver walls that could move apart and back together again.

    The boy asked his father, “What is this, Father?” The father [never having seen an elevator] responded “Son, I have never seen anything like this in my life, I don’t know what it is.”

    While the boy and his father were watching wide-eyed, an old lady in a wheel chair rolled up to the moving walls and pressed a button. The walls opened and the lady rolled between them into a small room.

    The walls closed and the boy and his father watched small circles of lights with numbers above the walls light up. They continued to watch the circles light up in the reverse direction.

    The walls opened up again and a beautiful 24-year-old woman stepped out. The father said to his son, “Go get your mother.”

  37. July 19, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Another casualty of the stupid AP journos that made our AQ informant….sigh……..

    The new bomb was obtained after an intelligence operation involving an informant who infiltrated Al Qaeda in Yemen and convinced the group that he would use the device to blow up an American airplane in 2011. The AP later learned details of the operation, a leak that is now the subject of a criminal investigation that led the Justice Department to seize AP phone records……“All of our explosive detection equipment wasn’t calibrated to detect that,” Pistole said. “And all of our 800 bomb-sniffing dogs had not been trained for that specific type.”

  38. 173 arapaho415
    July 19, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    The clueless MSM should take notes from LDS’s comments on a previous thread and report that this is happening in American today:

    “I wished my Dad, uncle, brothers were alive to see this…

    This video will be shown at every family function and gathering…”

    Thank you LDS, for your warm and beautiful statement about how our President’s remarks today so profoundly touched you.


  39. July 19, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    He’s been a very busy man of late…….. the Boston man w/ the well deserved Boston lager.

  40. July 19, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    wonderful post, zizi

    the thing about Trayvon that always hit me:

    he didn’t lose his baby face. he hadn’t aged enough to get his man face.

    he just LOOKED like a child…it was obvious…

    except for those who can’t see the humanity in anyone Black.

  41. July 19, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    Beautiful, simply beautiful, zizi. Thank you.

    Happy Birthday, LL. I do hope it has been a fantastic day!!

  42. 184 desertflower
    July 19, 2013 at 10:19 pm


    And CL Nicholson has a post there that is well worth the read. Excellent.

  43. July 19, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    Hey Liberal Librarian I just found out today’s your birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! Cheers!

  44. 195 desertflower
    July 19, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    OH! Happy, happy Birthday, LL:) I saw that earlier and took a little siesta and had to read and catch up. Hope that you’ve enjoyed your day…and glad to here that the missus will be home to have a celebration with you tomorrow!

  45. July 19, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    “Obama’s unscripted comments were some of the most remarkable and admirable few minutes of his presidency. He spoke carefully, but with great passion and clarity. He spoke explicitly as a black man, but also as an American president. He said the “unsayable” so wisely and subtly that he made it accessible, and to me, indisputably clear and correct……….But today, talking about Martin, Obama embodied the kind of grace that is well-restrained passion. You knew how smart Obama was listening to him, as is often the case, but also how wise.”

      • July 19, 2013 at 11:13 pm

        …..beyond years GB. Hope your recovery is going well?

        • July 20, 2013 at 12:00 am

          Hi Lovely,

          Yes, I’m recovering from my surgeries pretty well. I’ve noticed that I’m able to bend farther and move a little faster. The leg where I had the surgery is much easier to move.

          I was thinking today about far I’ve come. So many moves used to tire me out so very quickly. Now it’s a breeze. I remembered my former physical therapist getting excited because I stood up (using a walker) for 30 seconds. Now I’m going up the stairs and almost ready to use a cane by myself. Almost. I’ve come a long way baby.

          • July 20, 2013 at 12:18 am

            So happy to hear that GB. I’ve been through multiple foot surgeries….the PT can be grueling, but as they say….one day at a time! I’m rooting for you…Take care

    • 201 MightyPamela
      July 19, 2013 at 10:41 pm

      All this is well known by everyone on this blog, for years and years and years… It is my prayer that many more people will finally hear, see and recognize what a gift our President is to this world.

    • 204 Walking_on_ Sunshine
      July 19, 2013 at 11:30 pm

      I saw the pain he was feeling and the burden. It’s just too much and yet he does it. What Trayvon’s parents have to bear is just too much but they do it. People like this make me feel so humble. I’m speechless at the grace and courage they have.
      I found his words comforting but I’m uncomfortable because I feel strange about needing to be comforted when I belong to the race that is the oppressor. I can’t fully describe what I’m feeling. Shame is part of it but it’s also anger and pain to see the stunning level of injustice and realize that so many are blind to it and there are so many who want to cause even more pain.

  46. July 19, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    New post in a minute-ish

  47. 206 GGail
    July 19, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    zizi2, this post is simply beautiful & I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You went to the Well to gather this together!

    Happy Birthday LL! where ever you are ENJOY!!!!

    To all of my white brothers and sisters here in the TOD family. Thank you for your empathy. I feel your pain in your words and your anger and your embarrassment of some people in your race, but know this…you are FAMILY here and we love you!

    • 207 jacquelineoboomer
      July 19, 2013 at 11:28 pm

      Means a lot, what you wrote. Love you back!

    • 208 arkluvspbo
      July 20, 2013 at 8:53 am

      GGail, I just don’t understand why people treat others so crappy based just on the color of their skin. I don’t get it…but then again, I’m not a fearful, insecure little person.
      I have my Obama ’08 and 2012 stickers on my car — living in Dallas — I have had some fingers flipped at me, some dirty stares, tailgaters and been cut off, and i KNOW it’s because of these stickers. I will not take them off, but I’m lucky, because at the end of the day I CAN take them off, and go back to being a regular white girl.
      I can’t even imagine what it’s like to have to deal with that type of hatred all the time.
      My heart goes out to the black community, and I really hope that this has been the dialog that has been necessary in order for us to start healing.
      I hope and pray that is what will happen from all of this.
      I make it a point to look at young AA people in the eye and smile — the smiles I get in return are the best payback I can think of.

  48. 210 nathkatun7
    July 19, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    Thank you so much, Zizi, for this brilliant essay.

  49. 212 Nena20409
    July 20, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Wow. This piece is Brilliant. Thank you, Zizi2.

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