Today in stupid crap

1. We’re trashing a teenager who is doing her civic duty and whose friend was murdered. Good job, everyone, you should be proud. No, she doesn’t speak like a 50-year-old white lawyer. But Rachel Jeantel is not on trial here, and the attacks on her are awful. Also, watching George Zimmerman’s defense lawyer hammer the fact that Trayvon Martin told Jeantel that he was being followed by a “creepy-ass cracker” in a transparent attempt to stoke some racial animus among white people who are deeply offended at being called “crackers” was pretty appalling.

2. This is a really good example of how to write an entirely sexist article about a female politician (thanks, xenu, for the link!). Here’s how it starts:

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — As she spoke late into the night railing against proposed abortion restrictions, a former Texas teen mom catapulted from little-known junior state senator to national political superstar in pink running shoes.

I’m actually willing to forgive the mention of the pink running shoes, even though it’s a sexist cliche at this point to talk about what a female politician is wearing, only because they were pretty bright and it was a great and notable optic. But the lead doesn’t bother to use the woman’s name — which is Wendy Davis, by the way, and by now you’ve probably heard of her — instead referring to her as a “former Texas teen mom.” Davis is also a Harvard-trained lawyer, but never mind that. Teen mom!

And it continues:

Wendy Davis needed last-minute help from shrieking supporters to run out the clock on the special session of the state Legislature and kill the contentious and sweeping bill, but her old-fashioned filibuster earned her widespread praise from fellow abortion-rights supporters — including a salute from President Barack Obama.

Her supporters were shrieking because, you know, girls. The Beatles, Justin Bieber, abortion, whatever, those gals just scream their little heads off.

All this for a 50-year-old Harvard-trained attorney and one-time single mother from Fort Worth, who was once dismissed by Republican Gov. Rick Perry as a “show horse.” Until recently, Davis was perhaps best known for dating former Austin Mayor Will Wynn.

All this for a gal who has accomplished so little! Other than who she dated, of course.

UPDATE:  comments on this post are now pre-moderated.


Similar Posts (automatically generated):

About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
This entry was posted in Class, Crime, Feminism, Law, Politics, Racism, Reproductive Rights and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

138 Responses to Today in stupid crap

  1. Laurie Mann says:

    And Wendy Davis has a law degree from Harvard. By contrast, Rick Perry has a degree from Texas A&M in animal husbandry…

    • Lolagirl says:

      Oh my, that is just begging for a punch line!

      And begs the question as to how a man educated in horse reproduction could be so clueless as to how the human version works…

      • chana says:

        It’s totally OK to be classist if you disagree with the person your mocking! Besides, who needs animal husbandry anyway – meat just shows up at the supermarket all cut, wrapped up and labeled, so how hard could it be to raise?

      • Thank you.

        I was thinking this myself, but I wasn’t sure if they were poking fun at him going to a less prestigious college and having a less elite degree, or if they were simply commenting on the odd mismatch of degree and career field Perry has going…

        Either way a degree in animal science is nothing to make fun of…

      • It’s totally OK to be classist if you disagree with the person your mocking!

        I don’t understand. What’s classist about pointing out that a) if Rick Perry knows animal reproduction, he’s being deliberately disingenuous about human reproduction and b) a guy trained in animal science is throwing the law book at someone with a law degree like he’s got room to talk? It all seems to fall under the teaching grandma how to suck eggs thing.

      • chana says:

        macavitykitsune – nesting error – in response to the post one level down about Texas A&M.

      • @chana

        Yeah, that makes perfect sense. Thanks for clearing it up!

      • pheenobarbidoll says:

        Oh please. He’s an Aggie, he’s proud of being mocked for it.

      • Computer Soldier Porygon says:

        Yeah, I’ve got to give it to pheeno – proud Aggies don’t have any kind of inferiority complex about going to A&M and they would never consider it a lesser school

      • Lolagirl says:

        Barnacle, for a person who has said some horrendously offensive and inflammatory things about LGBTQ people…I have zero compunction in mocking any and all aspects of Perry’s life. And animal husbandry? When he has done the whole, well what’s next, letting people marry animals, bit?

        Uhhh, no, nothing is sacred or off limits when it comes to that pathetic excuse for a human being.

        And yeah that to all of what Mac said above.

      • [Comment content deleted - please avoid cheap shots! ~ Moderator Team]

  2. matlun says:

    Also, watching George Zimmerman’s defense lawyer hammer the fact that Trayvon Martin told Jeantel that he was being followed by a “creepy-ass cracker” in a transparent attempt to stoke some racial animus among white people

    I do not think that is it, exactly.

    The defense lawyer is trying to portray Trayvon Martin as a gangster thug that was likely to initiate the fight with Zimmerman. That comment was pretty golden for him. So is Rachel Jeantel’s image and manners, unfortunately.

    It is appealing to emotional gut feelings rather than findings of facts, but unfortunately I think it is pretty effective in a jury trial.

    • Jill says:

      How exactly does one portray a black teenager as a “gangster thug” without resorting to racist characterizations that stoke racial animus?

      • Exactly, Jill.

        The trashing of Rachel Jeantel is one of the most racist and sexist spectacles I have seen in the mass media recently.

        The TV lawyer-pundits were positively vicious, obviously taking a lot of their cues (concerning what is deemed ‘acceptable’ to say) from social media.

      • ChariD says:

        Rachel Jeantel is probably one of the most brave individuals I’ve seen in a long time. It was rage-inducing to watch West question her over and over again, asking the same damn question fifty different times, fifty different ways. She just wasn’t giving him the answer he wanted, I guess.

      • matlun says:

        Good point, admittedly.

        That sterotype is so very connected with race as well as class, so perhaps it is a pointless distinction.

      • Marksman2010 says:

        While on the stand, can you tell an attorney, “I’ve already answered that question”? Or will you be instructed by the judge to answer it nonetheless?

      • Fishing for Insults says:

        From Wikipedia

        Proper reasons for objecting to a question asked to a witness include:

        Asked and answered: when the same attorney continues to ask the same question and they have already received an answer. Usually seen after direct, but not always.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_objections_%28law%29

  3. Angie unduplicated says:

    Everyone from Edna Buchanan and Carl Hiassen through and beyond Chuck Shepherd has the 411 on the F State. I spent 20 years there, and let old whiteface woman assure you that many white folks there proudly conform to Martin’s description. They are, indeed, creepy-ass crackers, the Sanford-Orlando area has been #1 in the nation in murder and rape at least once in my lifetime, and Trayvon Martin had good reason to be afraid, even if he had lived in perfect health. People who have not lived in gated communities (don’t we call those capitalist zoos?) witness crimes, and have the right to testify even if and when they are not clones of the lawyers’ offspring.

  4. Athenia says:

    2. JIM VERTUNO, Associated Press, By JIM VERTUNO and WILL WEISSERT, Associated Press

    Fuck you guys, seriously fuck you.

  5. Emily says:

    I was stuck in a waiting room watching the Zimmerman trial, and I was appalled at the way the lawyer kept coming back to the creepy-ass cracker comment. Hammering it over and over, as if what a teenage boy said when he was being followed by the man who then went on to kill him was in any way relevant to the issue at hand. I couldn’t believe that he kept asking “is that what you call whites in your culture?” I almost wish she could have said “Of course” a la Paula Deen. Because what does it matter whether Trayvon called Zimmerman a cracker or a shithead (which I personally would be much more offended by). He was being followed, he was reporting what was happening to his friend on the phone, and he used language. The horrors.
    I hope Rachel Jeantel can pick up her life once this ridiculous circus of a trial is over.

    • rapacious traveler says:

      Emily:

      I understand your point of view, but I think you’re wrong. The defense is going to use anything they can to instill doubt in the minds of the jurors. If Trayvon said “cracker” it tends to increase the likelihood that 1) he was hostile and hence the aggressor towards Zimmerman, whom he perceived to be a “cracker,” and 2) he may have had a broader animus to “crackers.”

      It’s ugly work, but the defense it just doing its job. They would be unethical, horrible attorneys if they passed up such an obvious point that could benefit their client by instilling doubt in the jury as to who started the fight.

      • Jill says:

        If Trayvon said “cracker” it tends to increase the likelihood that 1) he was hostile and hence the aggressor towards Zimmerman, whom he perceived to be a “cracker,” and 2) he may have had a broader animus to “crackers.”

        My father, who is a 60-year-old white man, routinely uses the word “cracker” to refer to racist white people. It’s not really a term of aggression; it’s more of a loosely derogatory / slightly funny insult.

        I mean, I understand what the defense is doing. Doesn’t make it any less ugly.

      • It’s not really a term of aggression; it’s more of a loosely derogatory / slightly funny insult.

        Yeah, it’s not really a big bad insult (though it is an insult), but frankly… cracker is as cracker does, and “cracker” is something I associate pretty much exclusively with xenophobic/racist behaviour, and not, I dunno, waltz or tiny gourmet food or whatever.

        Also, Jill,the number of people coming back to you with “you just don’t understaaaaaaand how the low worrrrks” when what you’re doing is critiquing the functioning of the law seem like a pretty fucking insulting bunch of assholes, and sorry you’re dealing with it (again).

      • Shane says:

        I agree that the defense’s tactic is silly and excessive, but, in fairness to some of the responses that are being posted here, I’d like to know whether your response would be the same if the roles were reversed, and Martin’s team attacked Zimmerman for using the slur “porch monkey,” a slur that seems to be mildly offensive and used humorously. You may object that “porch monkey” is neither mildly offensive nor used to be funny, but I could just find another slur in that case. In fact, that raises the central problem with your argument: the ambiguity of the offensiveness of uses of slurs. You seem to believe that your father’s use of the slur “cracker” is both representative of all uses of the slur and determinative of its offensiveness, but that seems dismissive of a lot of other experiences of the slur. I’d also like to point out that black people sometimes use the n-word to distinguish between types of black people in a way similar to your father’s use of “cracker” to distinguish between types of white people (see the famous Chris Rock skit), and that, even though this is so, it does not diminish the offensiveness of the term in other uses.

      • Lolagirl says:

        Shane, are you being deliberately obtuse, or you actually that clueless?

        Porch monkey is a very old racist slur used against black people. Think about it, the historical portrayal of black people as monkeys and/or apes, and the stereotyping of black people as lazy and shiftless, socializing on their porches instead of working a hard day’s work. If Zimmerman did use the term porch monkey, he deserves to be called out as being a racist pig. Because using that term makes someone exactly that.

      • gratuitous_violet says:

        Shane:

        I’d like to know whether your response would be the same if the roles were reversed

        That racial dynamics haven’t been reversed in the US so it’s a derailing comparison?

        In fact, that raises the central problem with your argument: the ambiguity of the offensiveness of uses of slurs.

        Nobody’s having that conversation about the word “cracker.” White people feeling bad doesn’t make something racist. See, again, power dynamics.

        a slur that seems to be mildly offensive and used humorously

        Yeah, no.

        I’d also like to point out that black people sometimes use the n-word to distinguish between types of black people in a way similar to your father’s use of “cracker”

        I just got white derailment bingo from this thread, thanks! Time for a drink; virtual melon balls for everyone playing along at home!

      • Lolagirl says:

        Also? Racism 101, people without social or political capital or not in the position to be truly discriminatory, especially when there is such a longstanding history of their being on the receiving end of racism and discrimination.

        Black people reclaiming the N word is their prerogative. While white folks getting their butt hurt over need to take a long look in the mirror at themselves and ask why it bothers them so much that they are not permitted to use that word if black people can. Here’s a hint, black folks hold pretty much none of the cards in this game, while white people continue to hold pretty much all of them.

        Good grief.

      • @Lola I fully anticipate Shane returning with his next example of a “non-racist insult” applied exclusively to the black community. It’s just that kind of day here on Feministe.

      • Fat Steve says:

        I feel it’s only fair here that the only ‘slur’ in the term ‘cracker’ is to refer to someone as white. A cracker is a food item which is primarily white, particularly the saltine variety.

        I honestly have never heard ‘cracker’ to mean racist white person, but that doesn’t make it offensive. Creepy ass cracker = dangerous looking white guy. Simple. I know if a creepy ass cracker was following me, I would have to do everything I could to defend myself.

      • trees says:

        I honestly have never heard ‘cracker’ to mean racist white person, but that doesn’t make it offensive. Creepy ass cracker = dangerous looking white guy. Simple. I know if a creepy ass cracker was following me, I would have to do everything I could to defend myself.

        No, in my experience it’s definitely used to refer to a certain variety of white folks (not always, but usually). Trayvon Martin was likely implying that this creepy-ass white dude held overt racist intent in following him.

      • Fat Steve says:

        No, in my experience it’s definitely used to refer to a certain variety of white folks (not always, but usually). Trayvon Martin was likely implying that this creepy-ass white dude held overt racist intent in following him.

        I’m not denying your experience, only saying I’ve never heard it said, nor read it written in that context. I also think the description of him as ‘creepy’ is easily more than enough of an indicator of Trayvon Martin’s concern about Zimmerman’s intent.

      • Shane says:

        Lola, you’re definitely right; it’s an offensive term, and I should have thought of a slur that encoded fewer stereotypes. I was trying to find a slur that, like “cracker,” has its origin in slavery, but has branched out to have different uses. Obviously, I should have just come up with a better example, as having similar origins doesn’t imply they are similarly offensive. I think we could change the example to “darkey,” though, and the point still stands. This slur seems to (perhaps it has other meanings I’m ignorant of) be a reference to skin color. It seems similarly offensive in its semantic content to the word “cracker.” Now, it may cause more offense than “cracker” in virtue of race relations in the US, but it seems to be semantically similar. My point is, use of such slurs by non-members is often an expression of hostility/contempt. Given this fact, it’s reasonable for Zimmerman’s defense to try to suggest that Martin held a hostile/contemptuous attitude towards white people. I was trying to suggest that, since we wouldn’t claim, if Zimmerman had called Martin “darkey”, that Martin’s team was doing something wrong if they resorted to such an attack, we have no justification for claiming that Zimmerman’s team is doing something wrong by resorting to that tactic. “Social or political capital” is irrelevant to this part of the argument. While you may not be able to be discriminatory/racist without such capital, you can still have an attitude of contempt/hostility towards a race, and that is all Zimmerman’s team wants to prove.

        Gratuitous violet,
        I don’t see how it’s a derailing comparison. I think I address why it’s not (along with other points you made) in the previous paragraph, but, if you have a problem with that response or find it insufficient, I’ll gladly address your worries. As for your criticism of the last quote you reference, I think you misunderstand it, as it’s not a derailing comparison. Jill seemed to suggest that because one use of the slur “cracker” is mildly offensive and comedic (her father’s use), the slur “cracker” is mildly offensive and comedic. I was showing that that argument fails by pointing out that we don’t think the n-word is mildly offensive and comedic because one use of it is (such as Chris Rock’s use). It may still be the case that the word “cracker” is mildly offensive and comedic. I was just showing that her argument fails to justify her conclusion.

      • pheenobarbidoll says:

        My experience too, trees. Cracker never meant just any random white person, it is generally a jerky, racist white person. Or showing privilege in some way that illicits that response.

      • Me at 5:52 –

        @Lola I fully anticipate Shane returning with his next example of a “non-racist insult” applied exclusively to the black community.

        Shane at 11:25 –

        Obviously, I should have just come up with a better example, as having similar origins doesn’t imply they are similarly offensive. I think we could change the example to “darkey,”

        Someone give me a cookie, I just unlocked a precognition skill!

        @Shane knock it off and go away.

      • miga says:

        Seriously, Shane? You just brought up two incredibly offensive racial slurs and tried to play them off as if they were no big deal.

        Here’s the thing: You are not black. You are not subject to these slurs, and I’m assuming (please, God, let this be true) that you have not used these outside of Feministe~ because if you did and you haven’t yet found out just how offensive and hurtful these things are, then you’re hanging out with the wrong white people. Therefore you do not get to comment on their offensiveness level, and I need you to shut up and stop spouting slurs left and right. You do not pass go. You do not collect $200.

        We need a giraffe here.

        [Thank you for sending another giraffe alert. The giraffe started pre-moderating this thread not long after Shane's comment. ~ mods]

      • LotusBecca says:

        Shane, the term “cracker” is only offensive to white people who are comfortable continuing to support white supremacy. And of course, Zimmerman’s defense is being racist and unethical. Zimmerman’s defense started being unethical by agreeing to defend Zimmerman in the first place. They are trying to accuse a murdered Black teenager of being hostile toward white people (and why shouldn’t have Trayvon Martin been hostile toward whites? Such hostility would be 100% justified) in an effort to provide aid and comfort to his murderer. It’s simply reprehensible.

      • Knight of Liberty says:

        @LotusBecca:

        Zimmerman’s defense started being unethical by agreeing to defend Zimmerman in the first place.

        Eee-nope. I don’t know if pointing this out breaks Jill’s lawyer-splaining embargo, but a lawyer never, never, never acts unethically by taking on any given client. Regardless of whether or not Mr. West’s tactics in his defense of Zimmerman were ethical, the argument that only suitably virtuous clients merit legal representation is tyrannical. In addition, since the establishment of a situation where a reasonable person would fear for his life would render Zimmerman’s act non-murderous in the eyes of the state, it is not yet technically accurate to refer to his actions as such. Whether Zimmerman ought to have feared for his life is questionable, but he certainly is entitled to a vigorous legal defense in the meantime.

        P.S. How do I get my text unitalicized? I tried everything I could think of, but the only things that worked were block-quoting my own reply and using the code tag, which I thought would only make things worse. If the mods could help me out with this, I would be in their debt.

      • Zimmerman’s defense started being unethical by agreeing to defend Zimmerman in the first place.

        Becca – while I understand the impulse to say this (oh god do I understand the impulse!), I don’t want that sack of shit being able to claim a rights violation because no one wanted to represent him…

        I had pretty much the same notion as you for much of my life, before running headlong into the exceedingly complex feelings I had about the trial of Ajmal Kasab, who was guilty in causing/aiding over a hundred deaths in the Mumbai 2008 terrorist attacks, not to mention the wounded. I hated, hated, hated that someone had to defend him, and that it was a highly respected lawyer who volunteered (although, by all the interviews etc she gave afterwards, not half as much as she hated having to do it), but with the world (by which I mean the fucking US) staring us down about due process, what the hell other option was there?

        Not that I think Zimmerman’s lawyer is some sort of noble champion of the constitution judging by his behaviour, but the principle stands. Due process for all, even the consummate shitbags.

      • P.S. How do I get my text unitalicized?

        click the ‘i’ button above your comment space again.

      • tigtog says:

        I’m pretty sure ze means the text in the preview, which for some reason always shows as italicised even though I never put that in the stylesheet. I am investigating.

      • tigtog says:

        I think I’ve got rid of that extraneous italicisation in the comment preview now.

      • LotusBecca says:

        Well, providing aid and comfort to an unrepentant racist murderer certainly isn’t ethical in my book. I’m not suggesting that the government forcibly prevent Zimmerman from having a lawyer. But any lawyer who CHOOSES to help Zimmerman is being pretty shitty in my opinion. People (even lawyers) are responsible for the social consequences of their actions. White supremacy is a real, concrete system of oppression. . .and working to dismantle it is much more important than honoring abstract notions of “law” or “due process.”

      • @lotus becca – where does it stop, then, if someone like Zimmerman doesn’t the same right to a defence lawyer as anyone else, because everyone refuses? Take note, I think exactly the same – that he’s an unrepentant racist murderer, and should have the book thrown at him. I also wonder how anyone can defend him, or creatures like Adrain Bailey, who raped and murdered Jill Meagher here last year.

        But visceral horror doesn’t trump the need to provide anyone with a fair trial. And there’s the question of all the people who’re convicted by the media long before a trial. What of them, if lawyers all refused to have anything to do with them? Would you want to be left in that position?

      • tigtog says:

        There’s also the concern that the various ludicrously buffoonish elements already presented by Zimmerman’s current defense attorney, with more probably to come, are already approaching the point where any conviction obtained from this trial proceeding may well be appealed immediatly purely on grounds of the attorney’s incompetence. Only if ethical lawyers are willing to offer ethical defences do we avoid tying up the courts with appeals that shouldn’t ever happen on purely evidentiary grounds.

      • White supremacy is a real, concrete system of oppression. . .and working to dismantle it is much more important than honoring abstract notions of “law” or “due process.”

        I agree in the abstract. However, considering that most POC’s only protection is the tattered little vestige of that due process that they are allowed, I’m extremely wary of anything that could undermine notions of due process. Given how much more likely young black men are to be brought into court than young white men, I see nowhere for a “don’t defend the bad guys or you’re shitty” policy to go except “well, sure he’s black, but he’s a bad guy, what could I do, I dun wanna be a shitty person” from a slew of racist lawyers, leaving black (and Native and Latin@) people in the lurch?

        Nope. I agree with your sentiment, but your praxis is dangerous.

      • LotusBecca says:

        Kitteh. . .I believe you’re making false abstractions. I don’t believe in the values of so-called liberal “democracy”–its abstract, universal values, which serve to buttress things like capitalism, patriarchy, colorblind racism, and other systems of oppression. More free speech for neo-Nazis does nothing to enhance freedom of speech for people of color. More “fair” trials for racist murderers does nothing to enhance the fairness of trials for people of color being dragnetted in the War on Drugs. To imply otherwise is to take abstract philosophical speculation as reality and to ignore the actual social conditions on the ground. Legal equality before the law is a fiction. It isn’t implemented in real life. It never has been and never will be. This is because it’s TRUE function is to serve as an philosophical smokescreen to deflect radical challenges to the status quo and the powers that be.

        I’m interested in what can be done to dismantle white supremacy. I’m not interested in taking a reverential stance towards liberal ideas of “fairness” that were developed by racist white men like John Locke and Thomas Jefferson (who was also a rapist). Not a single person in our society gets a “fair” trial. Our legal system is oppressive and completely ethically bankrupt. Given this, I think people who choose to be part of the legal system should, at least, try not to be super, super, super racist. There is no excuse for defending Zimmerman in my book.

      • LotusBecca says:

        I see nowhere for a “don’t defend the bad guys or you’re shitty” policy to go except “well, sure he’s black, but he’s a bad guy, what could I do, I dun wanna be a shitty person” from a slew of racist lawyers, leaving black (and Native and Latin@) people in the lurch

        Except that’s not the policy I’m advocating. I’m advocating a policy of “don’t defend racists who murder Black teenagers.” It’s everyone else who is making that false overgeneralization you cite. I oppose that overgeneralization and am not responsible for it. The generalization I’m advocating is for all lawyers to do whatever they can to dismantle white supremacy and stand in solidarity with people of color. I disagree that ideas of due process are helping with that. Such ideas aren’t NEARLY enough; just look at our criminal “justice” system and our prison industrial complex as it currently stands. This monstrosity has been allowed to develop in a society in which ideas of “due process” are given TONS of lip service. So it is time for all lawyers to start being actively ANTI-RACIST rather than trying to be “fair.” Their attempts to be fair are shitty and aren’t doing enough.

      • A4 says:

        It’s everyone else who is making that false overgeneralization you cite.

        LotusBecca, I am so so so pleased to read your comments. Your care in separating out your actual ideas from the overgeneralizations and assumptions and simplistic arguments that are characteristic of the frequent commenters here is a total breath of fresh air.

        In particular I am frequently frustrated by MacavityKitsune’s insistence on rephrasing the things I say in a cutesy overgeneralized catchphrase and then ridiculing it with high drama.

      • . I’m advocating a policy of “don’t defend racists who murder Black teenagers.”

        Nope. Sorry. The whole point of a democracy is that everyone has the right to a defense. But, leaving aside that not all lawyers have a choice about whether or not to defend someone (court-appointed lawyers are a thing in the world, and I’d appreciate their not being tarred with whatever brush you decide fits in your hand today), I still think that due process is more important than an obviously subjective definition such as “racists”.

        Such ideas aren’t NEARLY enough; just look at our criminal “justice” system and our prison industrial complex as it currently stands.

        Yeah, remember when due process wasn’t a thing? How do you think black people fared under that? I’m fascinated to know how “large numbers of black men are sent to prison” is worse than “hey let’s lynch that black dude, due process, what’s that lol”.

        I remember when Indian courts didn’t have due process (de facto at least). Wow, those colonial times sure were super justicey! Let’s give their methods a shot, I’m sure we’ve all progressed far enough that their ideologies won’t make a roaring comeback.

        You are associating wanting to make a democratic system more fair with propping up white supremacy. As a citizen of an overwhelmingly non-white democratic country, I would like to extremely disrespectfully disagree that due process is a triviality that you can just throw out the window and waltz on your merry way without any consequences to vulnerable populations. Break out of your US-centric view and look at the larger picture, ffs.

        Think about it – in this very trial, Zimmerman’s team is attempting to paint Martin as a racist. How long before “don’t defend racists” becomes a referendum on every time a black guy said “cracker” and how “hostile” he was when he said it? How long before “don’t defend racist murderers” becomes a reverse-racism-fest that ends in black people winding up unrepresented every time they kill a white person?

        For a person who thinks lawyers are sooooo invested in white supremacy, you seem to have an amazing amount of wide-eyed trust in their ability to decide what’s racist and what isn’t and to do so in a perfectly just manner.

      • LotusBecca says:

        Let’s give their methods a shot, I’m sure we’ve all progressed far enough that their ideologies won’t make a roaring comeback.

        Actually, “due process” existed in colonial times and the Jim Crow South also. English common law and the rights of (some) citizens to a fair trial and so on are not new ideas. And yet, white people still managed to exclude people of color from these ideas of due process back then. And people of color are STILL being excluded from due process (just look at the War on Drugs). . .although in a somewhat subtler way than 100 years ago. In other words, a philosophy of due process has never done shit for people of color in the United States. . .it didn’t 200 years ago, it didn’t 100 years ago, and it hasn’t today. Case in point: George Zimmerman’s lawyers tarnishing the reputation of a murdered Black teenager and using “due process” as an excuse.

        You are associating wanting to make a democratic system more fair with propping up white supremacy.

        Actually, no. I’m wanting to make our democratic system as fair and as democratic as possible. Which would involve as many people as possible taking an aggressive stand against white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism, and other types of domination in all their forms–even when their actions are illegal or contradict concepts like “due process.” YOU are the one advocating for a system that is several steps less fair and less democratic than what I view as satisfactory, being as you think people like George Zimmerman, who are murderous tools of white supremacy, deserve people to come to their aid and support.

        How long before “don’t defend racist murderers” becomes a reverse-racism-fest that ends in black people winding up unrepresented every time they kill a white person?

        What? I am obviously not suggesting that anything like this should happen. We both know that reverse-racism doesn’t exist, and that the only real action against racism is action against white supremacy. Are you just taking my words as literally as possible? Surely you must know that the racist murderers I was talking about were the murderers with white supremacist beliefs.

        For a person who thinks lawyers are sooooo invested in white supremacy, you seem to have an amazing amount of wide-eyed trust in their ability to decide what’s racist and what isn’t and to do so in a perfectly just manner.

        I have no trust in lawyers whatsoever. I’m merely being critical of lawyers who are supporting white supremacy and saying they shouldn’t be defending a racist, murderous douchebag. I don’t expect lawyers to stop doing this like this anytime soon, even though they should stop. 95%+ of lawyers are tools of an oppressive system. I highly doubt radical change will come from within the legal system.

      • I’m advocating a policy of “don’t defend racists who murder Black teenagers.”

        Oh, so you want the right to a defence to potentially disappear in specific race-based cases? How long do you think it would be before that category widened? You complaing that people are making unwarranted abstractions, but this particular type of murder trial isn’t going to operate in a vacuum. And how is injustice against defendants who’re PoC improved by adding injustice against defendants who’re white? I’m not saying I think Zimmerman’s innocent – far from it – but what about a case where the accused might not be guilty?

        Also, like Mac said, who decides what’s a racist crime?

        Let’s see … we’d have to assume the police are completely competent and honest. No mistakes, no misidentification by them or witnesses, no conveniently choosing some sucker who doesn’t have an alibi, no loss or substitution of material evidence, no fuckups of DNA evidence.

        It’d have to be so cast-iron that there’d be no need for cross-examination or defence counsel (the accused had better be someone well versed in law and able to speak on their own behalf, of course).

        In fact, why not just go all the way and make the police judge, jury and executioner for everyone accused of a race crime? Yes, I KNOW they do that far too often to PoC (even without any accusation of a crime) but adding injustice does not cure present injustice.

      • LotusBecca says:

        Kitteh. . .I’m not going to bother with arguing in depth against your misinterpretation of what I’m advocating. I support the abolition of the entire criminal justice system–police, judges, juries, executioners–the whole ball of wax. I’m just saying that in the meantime I’ll continue to aggressively criticize lawyers who defend people that I believe are racist murderers. I’m not going to give them a pass if they offer up some sort of abstract excuse of “oh. . .I had no choice. SOMEONE had to do it. You know–due process!” Your mileage obviously varies.

      • Jill says:

        “Due Process” isn’t an abstract excuse. I appreciate your position, but I find it a little rich to see you argue that due process of law is an abstract concept, while at the same time advocating for a totally undefined ideal that somehow, without any defined mechanism, attains perfect justice for oppressed groups.

        What about cases that are less clear cut or that involve multiple oppressed people and multiple awful or racist people? I mean, this is a pretty obvious one, but was a defendant like OJ Simpson worthy of criminal defense, in your universe? I’m fairly confident he killed Nicole Brown Simpson, and I don’t think there’s much debate that he was a domestic abuser. And yet he was also a victim of racism, from the police and from the media.

        And while I’m obviously on the “racists who kill black teenagers usually deserve to go to jail” team, there are of course perfectly conceivable circumstances where a racist killed a black teenager but it really was out of self-defense. This isn’t one of those cases (or at least I don’t think so). But who gets to decide that? How do we decide that? I agree that our adversarial criminal justice system is remarkably flawed, but I’m having a hard time coming up with anything better. And frankly, given the treatment of the vast majority of criminal defendants, a lot of the time I personally applaud defense lawyers who take on unpopular clients (see, e.g., the attorneys who represent terrorism suspects). I wouldn’t necessarily necessarily defend George Zimmerman myself because I’d have a hard time taking on a paying client who after some serious self-assessment I didn’t feel I could be a full-throated advocate for, but suggesting that representing him is unethical is a bit out of bounds.

        All of that said, I’m curious how you would deal with a case like this one against George Zimmerman in a world without the criminal justice system.

      • In particular I am frequently frustrated by MacavityKitsune’s insistence on rephrasing the things I say in a cutesy overgeneralized catchphrase and then ridiculing it with high drama.

        A4 breaks into thread to make a derogatory comment about me… my Feministe bingo filleth up for the day…

        Sorry, was that too uncharacteristic?

        I meant U MAD, SIBLING?, clearly.

      • I’m just saying that in the meantime I’ll continue to aggressively criticize lawyers who defend people that I believe are racist murderers.

        Becca, I don’t for a second believe Zimmerman is innocent, but the fact remains that for several reasons (false ID, eyewitness bungling, police latching on to some destitute white kid from a trailer park instead of a rich trust-fund kid whose parents bribed them off) a white person could be accused of killing a black person and, in fact, be innocent of that crime. Thus, your particular rage triggers aside, I do not support the disenfranchisement of a person accused of committing a murder of a person of another race.

        Honestly, I come from a country where, in living memory, a person of my race accused of killing a white person was not entitled to due process. Are you able to process that? I come from where this policy was implemented. My grandmothers were alive when this process was implemented. Hell, my parents were born not ten years after that law finally died, with independence. I have seen this selective application of due process before. It went very quickly to somewhere very bad.

        Recommending under the current system that people accused of race-based murders are not entitled to due process is a deeply shitty policy to hold. In whatever post-meaningfulist utopia you like to think we’ll all end up in, where racism’s gone and nobody ever commits crimes anymore that can’t be resolved by holding hands around a peace fire and singing the Avenue Q soundtrack, I’d be down with that policy. As it stands, your policy recommendations: I know people who have lived them, and they are dangerous as fuck.

      • Crap. I hit post and then thought of an example that would work. Becca, IDK if you remember/know the details, but I remember when Dharun Ravi was sentenced for his hand in the suicide of Tyler Clementi. I remember all the liberal blogs that had comment sections filled with people screaming for that kid’s blood like he’d shot Clementi in the face himself, and how horrified I was to see it. I agree that Ravi wasn’t innocent at all, but neither was he guilty of murder (hence the sentence, etc). But under your rules, if anyone could have found an instance of Dharun Ravi calling Clementi (or anyone) a cracker, or ranting about white people/black people/Chinese people (all of whom I have heard South Asians be incredibly racist about, btw) on his Facebook, he could have had representation stripped from him because the case was now “racist caused a white boy to commit suicide”. Given the huge “reverse-racism” push in US society, I don’t think that scenario’s an exaggeration.

      • LotusBecca says:

        “Due Process” isn’t an abstract excuse. I appreciate your position, but I find it a little rich to see you argue that due process of law is an abstract concept, while at the same time advocating for a totally undefined ideal that somehow, without any defined mechanism, attains perfect justice for oppressed groups.

        White supremacy isn’t just an abstract concept. It’s a system that exists in the real world. It results in real things. People of color make less money than whites; they’re more likely to be homeless than whites; they’re more likely to be locked up in prisons; they’re more likely to DIE young. You and I, Jill, are currently benefiting from this system, from this oppression of people of color. Right this very second we are benefiting from our white privilege, from white supremacy.

        Dozens of times a day, every white person is presented with opportunities to choose either to reinforce white supremacy or undermine it. Don West, Zimmerman’s lawyer, is a white person. He had the choice whether to take up Zimmerman’s case or not. West actually chose to quit his job as a federal public defender so that he could take on Zimmerman’s case. West told the Orlando Sentinel that he was “excited about taking it on” (in reference to the Zimmerman case).

        I maintain this is unethical. George Zimmerman is a dangerous vigilante who murdered a 17-year-old Black person. Zimmerman is a racist; he is unrepentant. Don West, a white person, is deciding to help this racist murderer. He is “excited” to be helping him. He is helping him by spreading racist lies about a dead teenager and that teenager’s friends. How is this ethical?

        Everyone else on this thread are the ones trying to abstract this–not me. Everyone else is trying to talk about a bunch of fluff about “due process” and so on. Well, due process doesn’t mean shit in the real world. Our “justice” system is a sick joke. Due process isn’t stopping the War on Drugs. It’s not stopping the prison industrial complex. Establish to me that this system you support is beneficial to people of color before you talk to me about how I can’t call out a white racist because doing so would jeopardize the stability of your white supremacist system.

        All of that said, I’m curious how you would deal with a case like this one against George Zimmerman in a world without the criminal justice system.

        We should be working for a world WITHOUT people like George Zimmerman. The fact that you’re aiming for a world in which there are still George Zimmermans highlights the irreconcilable differences that exist between our worldviews.

      • tigtog says:

        We should be working for a world WITHOUT people like George Zimmerman. The fact that you’re aiming for a world in which there are still George Zimmermans highlights the irreconcilable differences that exist between our worldviews.

        Is it “aiming for a world in which there are still George Zimmermans” or is it acknowledging and preparing for the inevitability of more George Zimmermans? And also acknowledging and preparing for the inevitability of another Trayvon Martin who successfully kills his George Zimmerman in self-defence yet is charged with murder? How is it possible to ensure that POCs defending themselves against future George Zimmermans will get a fair trial when you are so eager to deny due process to this George Zimmerman?

      • Jill says:

        White supremacy isn’t just an abstract concept. It’s a system that exists in the real world. It results in real things. People of color make less money than whites; they’re more likely to be homeless than whites; they’re more likely to be locked up in prisons; they’re more likely to DIE young. You and I, Jill, are currently benefiting from this system, from this oppression of people of color. Right this very second we are benefiting from our white privilege, from white supremacy.

        Good thing no one argued that white supremacy doesn’t exist or suggested that it’s an abstract concept. What I said was that you’re “advocating for a totally undefined ideal that somehow, without any defined mechanism, attains perfect justice for oppressed groups.” I still haven’t seen you explain how in the world you would achieve justice for a victim of any crime in the real world we live in right now (or even in a world without white supremacy; I suspect even there, there might still be crime).

        Also, when you find yourself arguing that “everyone else” is trying to make something abstract and you are the only one making a rational and concrete point, maybe it’s time to reevaluate. Due Process of law is not, in fact, an abstract concept. It may be something you don’t like, and it may be something that doesn’t operate particularly well all of the time, but that isn’t the definition of “abstract.” Also: The point of due process is not to stop crime or cure social ills, so I’m not sure how its failure to end the War on Drugs or the prison industrial complex has anything to do with anything.

        And for the record, I never said that I support the system 100% the way it is. I do support due process of law, which is different than the entire criminal justice system.

        Also, no one said you can’t call out a white racist.

        Becca, you need to address the arguments people are actually making instead of beating up on strawmen. No one is arguing any of the things you’re claiming.

        We should be working for a world WITHOUT people like George Zimmerman. The fact that you’re aiming for a world in which there are still George Zimmermans highlights the irreconcilable differences that exist between our worldviews.

        That’s incredibly disingenuous and you know it. I am not aiming for a world in which there are still George Zimmermans. Believe me, I would love to dismantle white supremacy too. But we also have to establish mechanisms to deal with the world we actually live in, not the one we wish we lived in.

      • In whatever post-meaningfulist utopia you like to think we’ll all end up in, where racism’s gone and nobody ever commits crimes anymore that can’t be resolved by holding hands around a peace fire and singing the Avenue Q soundtrack, I’d be down with that policy. As it stands, your policy recommendations: I know people who have lived them, and they are dangerous as fuck.

        Mac, you totally win the thread for that.

      • pheenobarbidoll says:

        Colonial privilege won’t allow that their illegal unwanted based in racism system be challenged. Because sometimes it works for those it aims to kill and rarely it works without racism. The systems before it worked better, but we’re forced to have this one so we can’t criticize. It’s the best they could come up with.

      • A4 says:

        @LotusBecca

        Thank you for all the things you wrote. Your characterization of the situation is concrete and real and your ethical judgement does not rest on the virtue of sacrifice to abstract ideals of freedom.

        If you say “due process” you’re either referring to all thought and action (henceforth “movement”) that could be characterized as being aprt of the US due process system, or you could be referring to an abstract concept of which there are many concrete real world examples.

        If taking the former view, in which due process is concrete and refers to the conglomerate pattern of US juridical movement, it is important to note that essential to this view of due process is it’s racist white supremacist nature. This large pattern is a pattern of racism.

        If taking the latter view, the due process becomes an abstract concept, and particular situations are used to examples, like this case. This case is an example of due process.

        With the abstract view, due process becomes an ideal to which we aspire, and the perfection of our aspiration becomes justification for all action deemed to be supportive of due process. The undeniably racist nature of the concrete conglomerate of the first view is removed from the ideal, and erased from consideration as a basis for rational ethical action.

        The latter view is common to traditional legal scholarship in the US, and the former is the basis of the Critical Race Theory of legal scholars like Derrick Bell and Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw

      • (BFing)Sarah says:

        I don’t care what he called him. Unless what he said was a threat to harm him, it doesn’t have any bearing on the fact that he was shot and killed by Zimmerman. Did he say, “I’m going to kill this creepy ass cracker?” No? Then I don’t give a fuck. The only reason to bring it up is to stir up racial animus. So the defense is using white folks’ predictable “WAAAAAH, we are victims of racism, too” asshattery to defend a man for murdering an unarmed, young black man. They are trying to make him look bad, as if saying things that hurt white people’s fee-fees makes him worth killing. Fuck that.

        Also, Shane: fuck off. “I was trying to find a slur that, like “cracker,” has its origin in slavery, but has branched out to have different uses. ” Seriously? I wonder why you can’t find that slur? Could it be because people of color are still dehumanized by these terms? Could it be because people of color still have not reached equality with white people in this country? Could it be because in the United States as it is TODAY a young black man can be simply walking home from the store and be seen as suspicious enough to be shot and killed? It hasn’t been that long since Jim Crow, Shane. Educate yourself. Read Tim Wise (because I’m sure you’d take it better coming from another white dude). Go visit a museum on lynching. Take a class on race, class, and gender. When you’ve done these things then you can think about opening your mouth to talk about this stuff again. Until then, go the fuck away.

  6. Will Wynn walked through the room once while I was doing a book reading about anal bleaching. So because of this blog post, I know what my brush with greatness by the second degree is.

  7. rapacious traveler says:

    “Whose friend was murdered?”

    Jill, just, no. Have you even been watching the trial? The prosecution’s witnesses have supported the defense arguments. Just a few minutes ago the latest state witness testified he saw George Zimmerman on the bottom, yelling for help, while Trayvon Martin “grounded and pounded” him MMA style. All the previous state witnesses said this man was the one who had the best vantage point on the fight.

    Only George Zimmerman had injuries, apart from the single close-range gunshot wound to Mr. martin. The testimony from the state’s witnesses has established that Mr. Martin made it back to his father’s house several minutes before the fight, yet he wound up back at the “T” where the fight started.

    Honestly Jill, for an attorney, you have a troubling concept of justice and how trials should work. If the races were reversed in this case, with a hispanic person dead and a black shooter, and evidence came out that the hispanic dead person had recently referred to the shooter as a “n****”, that would support a self-defense claim by the black man. It’s the defense’s job to raise reasonable doubt in the juror’s minds.

    And really, with all the false and misleading pretrial publicity insinuating that it was Zimmerman who was racist, it’s fair game.

    • Jill says:

      Honestly Jill, for an attorney, you have a troubling concept of justice and how trials should work.

      Oh fuck off.

      • Tim says:

        …apart from the single close-range gunshot wound to Mr. martin. [sic]

        Yeah, come on, Jill, it was just that one little thing; otherwise Zimmerman was the real victim.

      • Tim says:

        Dammit, there’s no edit function, that last sentence was not supposed to be in italics.

      • Tim says:

        And yes, I know there is a “preview” button that I should have used.

      • Marksman2010 says:

        Oh fuck off.

        Tsst…hehehe! Ah, I love it.

    • Karak says:

      If you chase down and threaten a stranger for no damn reason, that stranger might bear your ass. Zimmerman incited a conflict, and. *when there was a conflict* shot the other person.

      He didn’t have broken bones, or detached retinas. He didn’t require hospitalization or medical care for his alleged wounds. His beating did not merit shooting to death the stranger he was following, threatening, and creeping on.

    • Fat Steve says:

      Honestly Jill, for an attorney, you have a troubling concept of justice and how trials should work. If the races were reversed in this case, with a hispanic person dead and a black shooter, and evidence came out that the hispanic dead person had recently referred to the shooter as a “n****”, that would support a self-defense claim by the black man.

      Some questions:

      A) As you are no doubt aware, ‘hispanic’ means ‘Spanish speaking’. What relevance does that have on whether ‘cracker’ is an insult? Since when is ‘cracker’ specific to Spanish speaking people?

      B) What planet do you live on where calling a person a ‘cracker’ is the same as using the n-word? That’s like saying a woman calling a guy a ‘tool’ is the same as a man calling a woman the c-word.

      You don’t really have to answer since everything you’ve said thus far is ridiculous and has agenda dripping all over it.

    • xenu01 says:

      Yeah, let’s play the reversal game, shall we?

      Shooter: George Zimmerman
      Victim: 17-year-old white boy Trevor Martin, a nice boy who sometimes didn’t get the best grades and sometimes bragged to his friends about smoking weed but who was a nice kid with his whole life ahead of him. On the night of his murder, he was visiting family in an unfamiliar neighborhood and wearing a hoodie.
      Witness: Fellow white person Rachel Jenkins, who was on the phone with Trevor when he died.

      The prosecution: Immigration reform! Scary latinos! He was a child with his whole life ahead of him!

      The defense: WELP, guess the best we can do is get our client life in prison, instead of the chair. Let’s plead insanity!

      The media: Trevor “liked puppies,” “wanted to go to college one day.”
      Rachel “bravely faced down” her cross examination. She was “defiant.” She was “clearly in mourning for her future husband.” Rachel and Trevor “had talked of getting married.” He was “ripped from her arms.”

    • Lolagirl says:

      WTF, Rapacious Traveler?

      (Hereafter to be referred to as RP.)

      RP, are you an attorney yourself? I have to wonder, because as a former defense attorney, I’m telling you right now that it sounds as though you got all your lawyering smarts from reading US Weekly and watching Judge Judy.

      The job of being a defense lawyer is not to be a racist prig, or a dogmatic bender of the truth and a twister of reality, it is not about throwing it all against the wall and seeing what sticks, although plenty of people seem to hold on to that misapprehension. The job of a criminal defense attorney is to hold the state to its burden in proving its case, beyond a reasonable doubt. Providing that defense to a client, in a zealous manner does not require dragging the other side through the mud and back again, and it only makes you dirty and disgusting in the process.

      So fuck right off with you, he’s just doing what lawyers do! And Jill is just a ninny for not knowing better!

      • friday jones says:

        Who are you, the Credentials Police? Eat a booger, that’s what!

      • Who are you, the bodily fluids police? She’ll eat whatever she wants, that’s what!

      • friday jones says:

        Who are you, the Credentials Police? Eat a booger, that’s what!

        Edit – Dangit, that was meant for RP! I ain’t got the hang of this here Intertube…

      • Eep, sorry, I got you wrong, obviously…

      • Ledasmom says:

        I’m not sure boogers are a bodily fluid, anyway. They’re more semi-solid.

      • Lolagirl says:

        What are you, 5?

        If one is going to call out an attorney for supposedly not knowing their stuff, they better know themselves what they are talking about. RP called Jill’s intelligence and training as an attorney into question, with zero indication that they had the first clue as to how lawyering actually works. So yeah, I’m feeling more than free to be the credentials police here.

  8. Jennifer says:

    apart from the single close-range gunshot wound to Mr. martin

    which, you know, killed him–but obviously that’s not of concern to you.

    • friday jones says:

      I guess it’s a trial where the greatest number of wounds counts. The fact that one set was bumps and scratches and a nose owie, and the other was a FATAL GUNSHOT WOUND TO THE CHEST, well, what, are you some kind of DOCTOR or something?

  9. amblingalong@gmail says:

    Frankly, I care much more about the fact that this almost didn’t go to trial then whether Zimmerman acted in self-defense or not. I wasn’t there, I have no idea what actually happened- but the fact that initially there wasn’t even an attempt to find out is, for me, the big story.

  10. Tim says:

    I wondering, isn’t it the job of the prosecution to anticipate some of the potential “image” issues of a witness and kind of work with her? I mean, without bossing or bullying. Is there such a thing as “witness preparation,” or have I just watched way too many episodes of L&O?

    • smoketree says:

      I’d like to see how this would have gone down. “Say Rachel, do you think you could try to be a bit more … oh I don’t know … white? And maybe a little less female? I think it would do wonders for your image.”

      • Jill says:

        Actually, I think Tim is right. The prosecution should have prepped Rachel more thoroughly. There were some real issues with her testimony that don’t have to do with her appearance or identity (telling the defense lawyer that his question was “retarded,” for example). Part of the job of an attorney putting a witness on the stand is to make sure they are able to answer the questions they’re asked. I don’t think the prosecution did a great job at that here. And that worries me, because it suggests the case isn’t perhaps as big of a priority as it should be.

      • Mandela Nelson says:

        OMG YES! The prosecution is a joke. Did you see Juan Martinez go go go Juan it’s your birthday get busy!?
        Watching Rachel Jeantel’s testimony was wrenching! From the beginning it seemed the state was in on the “we can’t understand how you are talking” bandwagon. Also both sides just straight condescending to her like she is stupid and pretending to not understand her use of (perfectly understandable in the context of the sentence) slang words. WWJMD? Ummm probably make Rachel Jeantel a superstar witness extraordinaire and win.
        Rachel Jeantel did not want to be there. She obviously didn’t want to have any part of this, in so doing becoming an instant meme as well as reliving this horrible experience over and over. So, I am sure it was difficult to agree to meetings for being prepped maybe?

  11. debbie says:

    I thought that the Crunk Feminist Collective’s To Rachel Jeantel, With Love was really beautiful.

  12. taz says:

    Pushing all of the race stuff and all of the talking points of people who were trying to get ratings along with all of the talking heads who were trying to push their own views/getting themselves ahead to one side, lets look at the facts that we know of.
    1. the defense lawyer is doing his job, which is to defend Zimmerman!
    2. The main eyewitness has stated the Martin was on top of Zimmerman and was banging his head into the sidewalk when shot!
    3. The photos released of Zimmerman after the shooting were taken after he had been taken to the hospital and cleaned up and treated. He had been treated due to cuts and bruises to the back of his head and his broken nose.
    4. Before anything else, we need to look at the facts. First, Last and Aways!
    5. This entire trial is race driven, nothing more. It was pushed not for Justice, but for quite a few peoples benifit who had nothing to do with what happen! The people who screamed the loudest about it could care less about what happen unless it was a benifit to themselves. And they sure don’t live anywhere near where it happened nor do they really care about either person who was envolved in it! They just want to use it for their own best intersts!
    6. I think when it all gets over, we will find out that the first DA will have been right. Zimmerman shot Martin in selfdefense, to save his own life. Should Zimmerman have stayed in his car, Damm Right he should have! Should Martin have left Zimmerman Alone and let him walk back to his car, Damm Right!
    7. I think that we need to step back and let the courts work. Once that is over with, we all need to get on with our lives. And let Zimmerman get on with his. Either in jail or free.

    • …we need a giraffe here. I’ve got nothing else.

      [Thank you for sending a giraffe alert ~ mods]

    • ashurredly says:

      “The people who screamed the loudest about it could care less about what happen unless it was a benifit to themselves.”

      I *really* want to know who these people are and what benefits they will supposedly gain from drawing attention to the injustice done to a black teenager by both Zimmerman and the state.

    • Lolagirl says:

      Call me…suspicious? skeptical? but this comment sniffs of PR Attempt to Control the Narrative in my estimation. Seeing how shady Zimmerman’s defense lawyer has already proven himself to be, it wouldn’t surprise me at all. And it would be far from the first time that a now famous person acing adversity had hired PR guns engaged in precisely these sorts of tactics (that is, trolling the internets in search of opportunities to drop sportive comments.) Especially as it is clearly this is the first time tax has commented here at Feministe.

  13. xenu01 says:

    I was so incensed I got over my intimidation factor and email Jill immediately when I read that AP article (and then she responded OMG). Seriously wtf. The “shrieking supporters” thing really pissed me off as well.

    I mean, “shouting with feminist RAGE as they crushed the patriarchy and made the world safe for humankind for one more day,” ok.

  14. gratuitous_violet says:

    Can we just link to the previous Trayvon Martin threads or something? I definitely didn’t want to re-argue whether or not this is racist this morning.

    Using modes of speech as evidence of wrongdoing? Racist. Giving a defendant with prior history of following/stalking people in the neighborhood the benefit of the doubt on this one? Racist. Equating “cracker” with, well, anything? Racist-ass whining about how white people don’t get to use ALL THE WORDS and THAT’s NOT FAIR!! Ugh. Time to wear my Oscar Grant button today.

    Also, Jill, I love that you suddenly know nothing about the law when you disagree with someone random on the Internet. Critiquing something always demonstrates a lack of understanding in my experience.

    JFC this thread turned into a trainwreck pretty fast. We also have a Feministe requirement for a trainwreck, a big-name blogger in the comments commenting only about herself! Wheee!

    • gratuitous_violet says:

      Probably should’ve added: just because it’s a legally acceptable defense doesn’t make it not racist. FFS.

      • Well, we all know that the law can never be racist. It’s written on the whitest of parchments, and that’s always good.

      • gratuitous_violet says:

        LOL!! Written by pure white angels, of course. (Hey, brings to mind the jury selection on this one!)

        This summer I’m teaching a high-school US Gov course. Let me just say this has not been an easy week for class discussion for a variety of reasons.

      • pheenobarbidoll says:

        It’s written on the whitest of parchments, and that’s always good.

        I tee hee’d out loud.

  15. Emma says:

    Oh for gods sake’s! It seems that this Rapacious Traveler person is the one who hasn’t been watching the news. Trayvon Martin was MURDERED. Zimmerman was specifically told by the cops to LEAVE HIM ALONE. But no. He continued to stalk and harass him.

    Also, has anyone noticed that whenever someone like Rapacious Traveler goes to any blog or website etc. to complain to someone, they constantly say the persons name they are directing their frustration toward. “Honestly Jill…. What I’m saying Jill…. Now Jill….”
    It’s just something I’ve noticed. There is just something very condescending and patronizing about it.

    • Antha says:

      Trayvon Martin was MURDERED.

      All we know at this point is that Trayvon Martin was killed. The entire purpose of the trial is to determine whether he was murdered.

      Zimmerman was specifically told by the cops to LEAVE HIM ALONE. But no. He continued to stalk and harass him.

      You’re either lying or completely ignorant of the facts. Zimmerman was told by a 911 dispatcher (who is not a cop, and who commands no legal authority) that “we don’t need you to do that” (follow Trayvon) at which point Zimmerman said “Okay” and quit his pursuit.

      • Librarygoose says:

        Jesus Christ, the boy was straight up murdered and those racist ass police were going to let it go.

      • tigtog says:

        From what has been leaked elsewhere, the physical evidence contradicts Zimmerman’s version of events comprehensively:

        * if Martin was on top of Zimmerman when Zimmerman shot him, then why wasn’t there any of Martin’s blood on Zimmerman?

        * if Martin was on top of Zimmerman beating him, then why were Zimmerman’s clothes entirely free of dirt or water stains?

        * if Martin was on top of Zimmerman beating him, then why was it that the back of Martin’s clothes show dirt and water stains but the knees of his trousers show no stains at all?

        These should have been very obvious signs to the police investigators right from the start that Zimmerman’s version of events was not believable, yet they held off charging him for weeks.

      • Hugh says:

        Even if he was on top of him beating him, so? Zimmerman followed Martin unecessarily, Martin defended himself… there was no reason to shoot him.

      • Emma says:

        If he did actually “quit is pursuit”, then Trayvon Martin would still be alive. But he’s not. He’s dead. So who’s fault is that?

      • LotusBecca says:

        All we know at this point is that Trayvon Martin was killed.

        Cut out the royal “we” and speak for yourself. In my book, Trayvon Martin was murdered. George Zimmerman is a murderer.

      • Beatrice says:

        at which point Zimmerman said “Okay” and quit his pursuit.

        … and Trayvon Martin continued home, to watch a game and eat Skittles.
        Oh wait.

    • Niall says:

      Zimmerman was specifically told by the cops to LEAVE HIM ALONE. But no. He continued to stalk and harass him.

      As another commenter already pointed out, that was an emergency dispatch operator, not a cop. If it HAD been a cop, ze more likely would have encouraged Zimmerman to do keep stalking him…and possibly even worse.

      • Jill says:

        As another commenter already pointed out, that was an emergency dispatch operator, not a cop. If it HAD been a cop, ze more likely would have encouraged Zimmerman to do keep stalking him…and possibly even worse.

        Can you elaborate? Not sure why you think a cop would encourage a citizen to stalk and harass a stranger.

      • Niall says:

        You’re right. I was thinking more along the lines of what the average cop would do instead of someone like Zimmerman in that same position (thinking racial profiling here). Of course cops probably wouldn’t encourage civilians do to the sort of things they’re more likely to do themselves. My bad.

      • Angel H. says:

        First of all, no.

        Secondly, why are people making such a big fucking deal about whether or not the 911 dispatcher is a cop? If you called 911 because someone wasn’t breathing and she told you how to perform CPR, would you say, “You’re not a medical professional. Fuck you!”

  16. Jesus, where are all these chucklefucks coming from?

    PLEASE can we have the thread go on automod so the Zimmertrolls aren’t choking up a damn important conversation about Rachel Jeantel’s public perception and the racism she’s dealing with? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE?

  17. Jill says:

    I believe this thread has been put on total mod, but just as a heads up to new (and old) commenters: There are tons of places on the internet where you can defend George Zimmerman or lawyer-splain to me and the other commenters. This is not one of those places. Please take those comments elsewhere.

  18. Sally Archer says:

    Loved your analysis of the sexist (misogynist) press coverage of Wendy Davis.

    When they stop mansplaining what they think we little ladies need to know, maybe herstory will have a chance to reflect how sheroic it was for Wendy Davis to stand on her feet (age 50) for half a day (that’s right, pushing up to 13 hours) and be articulate and on point in fillibustering on her own about legislation despite extreme hostility (from anti-abortionists and Republican male legislators).

    Most legislative fillibuster rules in places other than Texas allow for substitutes to take over occasionally, like relief pitchers in a ball game, but Wendy Davis had to do all of the talking all by herself. Nobody seems to have said this in the press, but I believe her feat under the Texas fillibuster rules is unprecedented. Awesome!

    Wendy !!!! Davis !!!! Wendy !!!! Davis !!!!!

    If it weren’t for blogs like this we’d never even know about the great modern sheroes like Wendy Davis.

    She inspires me to feats of daring to escape from the insanity of normality.

    • tinfoil hattie says:

      Well, 50-year-olds stand for hours on end every day, but thanks for your bullshit ageism.

      • Alara Rogers says:

        I don’t believe Sally was claiming that 50 year olds can’t stand for hours every day or that none of them do, just that it is impressive when a 50 year old stands on her feet all day for what she believes. A lot of 50 year olds who stand on their feet all day do it because they will lose their jobs if they don’t.

        And yes, as a 43 year old I think I have sufficient standing to say: it is more impressive when a 50 year old stands all day than when a 25 year old does it. It’s not ageism to point out that older people are more easily hurt by physical activities that younger people might think nothing of.

        If I recall correctly, Wendy Davis uses a back brace? Thus, her standing on her feet all day is probably a more impressive feat due to her disability than it is due to her age… but most older people would find it uncomfortable or downright painful to stand for 13 hours. I know I would and I’m not 50 yet. Many people do this because they have to, and some few don’t find it uncomfortable and are willing to do it if they don’t have to… but we have no reason to believe this was easy or fun for Wendy Davis, and she chose to do it anyway to support and protect other people’s rights (because even if she is still fertile, a Congresswoman or state equivalent thereof has the resources to get an abortion if she needs one… this isn’t about her, it’s about her constituents.)

        Yelling at a person that they are ageist because they pointed out, correctly, that a 50 year old is much more likely to find standing all day to be inconvenient or painful than someone younger, while they are celebrating that person’s feminist accomplishments, seems kind of assy. 50 isn’t dead yet but it damn well is a less comfy place to perform most physical activities from than younger is, and I see nothing wrong with acknowledging that fact.

        (Of course, “sheroes” and “herstory” are really obnoxious, silly words. There’s no reason to take words that etymologically have nothing to do with masculinity, infer that they do because of an association with men, and change them to add female words. Save that for genuinely gendered words like “policeman” instead of “police officer”; “hero” and “history” do not literally have the words “he” and “his” embedded in them except in the sense that “male” contains “ale” so obviously we should change it because not all men are drunks. But using silly neologisms from uber-separatist second wave feminist theory doesn’t make a person a troll whose enthusiasm should be dismissed because she implied, correctly, that it’s unpleasant for the average 50 year old to stand on her feet all day.)

      • tinfoil hattie says:

        You’ve just spent paragraphs and paragraphs middle-agesplaining to a 52-year-old that she is WRONG! and that there is no ageism involved in being “impressed” by a 50-year-old who stands on her feet for hours.

        I hope readers remember this discussion when they are 50, and laugh and laugh. It’s ridiculous.

        50 is just – nowhere near old and infirm.

      • tigtog says:

        I’ll be 50 in a few months, and I’m impressed by a 50 year old in a mostly sedentary occupation standing on her feet for all those hours because it’s unusual for her. 20 and 30 years ago I thought nothing of engaging in unusual physical exertions without special preparations for those activities, but these days I know that I would have to carefully train myself up for such special events, and I also know that I would have to prepare myself to sustain significant exhaustion and pain to get those things done and would need to schedule dedicated recovery time once it was over.

        Of course I know some other 50+ year olds who are still very fit and strong and active, but I live in the city and most people I know are fairly sedentary and for the over 40s that sedentary lifestyle is not necessarily just about our workspace requirements/habits. For many of us physical exertion feels so very different now in terms of endurance mostly due to age-related exacerbations of accumulated injuries as our cartilage thins and our synovial fluid beomes a less effective lubricant (e.g. my car crash neck injury that I sustained when I was 26 years old and which didn’t bother me much for 15 years afterwards and now is something I have to take into account for every activity I perform).

        I admit to envying those people my age who have sustained a much higher functional fitness level than I have, but in my experience they definitely are far from the majority even though there’s a significant subset of them.

      • Seconding all that, tigtog.

    • yes says:

      I feel like somewhere there is a feminist website drinking game, and this person is trying to give the players alcohol poisoning.

  19. ashurredly says:

    Beyond the obvious issues, I wish that piece (and more of the coverage in general) would also mention Leticia Van de Putte who did a great job of delaying the vote after Davis got shut down and made the comment that set off 15 minutes of badassery.

Comments are closed.