Sunday, July 14, 2013

Racism at Work

There is something sad about the outcome of the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman trial. The details are well known. Martin, a young black man was shot because Zimmerman judged him to be a threat to his neighbourhood and property. He was shot because Zimmerman a property owning Latino/white male (his status continually changed in police documents) feared a young black man was up to no good. The case speaks volumes about race, identity, fear, judgement, property rights and the culture of the gun and how these values continue to dominate American society. Martin's death and Zimmerman's not guilty verdict is only the visible part of that iceberg of racism that forms the bedrock of American culture and society. While Americans continually applaud their post-racial politics what lies beneath the unnecessary death of this young man and the Zimmerman's verdict of innocence is a culture that stigmatizes young black men while denying that systemic racism exists.

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