Marissa AlexanderGeorge Zimmerman is fully exonerated in the killing of Trayvon Martin. A tragedy twice over. First in his being killed with a gun shot wound straight to the heart, for simply baring the brunt of being born with black skin; and second, the full acquittal of his murderer, a mercurial self-appointed vigilante, with a penchant for profiling young Black men. Were we surprised at the rendering of the verdict? No. But that doesn’t make the decision any less vexatious for the masses of Black Americans and those with even an inkling of humanity. We Blacks have become accustomed to dealing with insipid daily reminders of our perceived lack of value in this country. It’s so perfunctory in fact, that many of us have embodied it in such a way, that we have fully accepted that this is just the way things are.

Young Black men like Trayvon Martin die everyday, under similar circumstances and have been for centuries. So ill regarded is our plight as Black people in this country, that as activist/author Michael Moore tweeted, “If Zimmerman would have shot a deer with no hunting license, he would have received more punishment.” Will Smith chimed in by juxtaposing Zimmerman’s not having to do jail time for Trayvon Martin’s killing, by comparing the injustice with a Kim Kardashian antagonist, who doused the socialite with white flour on the red carpet and was immediately arrested. An endless sea of celebrities and citizens alike showed their outrage and utter disgust with the verdict. A verdict that insidiously declares, Black life has no value in America. But Trayvon’s death has not been and will not be in vain. In fact, the profoundly unjust outcome of this trial is shining a light on the discrimination that one Black woman has faced for standing her ground in Florida.

Marissa Alexander. Does the name ring a bell? Probably not, but that is par for the course when it comes to matters of media coverage of marginalized Black women. Marissa Alexander was a married mother of three; in fact she had a new-born baby, just nine days before the incident that would change the trajectory of her life occurred. A professional woman, with a Master’s degree who suffered at the hands of an abusive husband, who readily admitted in a court deposition, “I beat all five of my baby mama’s except one.” On the ill-fated day, Marissa and her husband Rico, whom she had a protective order against, came to her home with his two sons from a previous relationship. Apparently the feuding exes got into a heated verbal altercation. At some point during the exchange, the new mother felt that her self identifying, abusive husband posed a physical threat to her and she fired two warning shots. No one was harmed. A Florida judge rejected her ‘stand your ground’ defense, and sentenced this mother of three, to 20 years in prison.

Where is the justice in either of these cases? A clear and deliberate message is being sent to Black men, women and children in America. A proverbial fuck you, from your government, your judicial system, your education systems, and your elected officials. All of these systems of institutionalized racism are working in a concomitant and deliberate fashion to perpetually disenfranchise and annihilate the chances of Black people’s ability to adequately compete, and substantively survive in this country. There’s a discordant melody in the air, ringing from the windows of Capitol Hill, screeching from the walls of the Supreme Court, au-apparent in the psyches of certain factions of White and honorary White citizens in America. Don’t you hear it? WE HATE YOU NIGGERS! YOU HAVE NO VALUE. YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO VOTE. YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO ADEQUATE EDUCATION. YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO STAND YOUR GROUND.

Did we not learn our lesson after the levies were blown up in New Orleans and hundreds of thousands of Blacks were left to drown in feces contaminated flood waters? Did we get the message loud and clear last week when the Voting Rights legislation was passed? Our kind has never been quite welcomed here. Though this so-called great country was built on the backs of enslaved African labor, America thanks you by continually kicking you in your ass.

Yes we’ll march for Trayvon. Yes we’ll sign petitions for Marissa. But what’s next? As one of our best and brightest scholars John Henrick Clark remarked, “I happen to think we’ve gotten enough mileage out of marching.”

What do you suppose we should do?

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  • Lylydon’tlie

    Honestly (certain, i.e. most) white people believe so much in the noble narrative their grandpappies created about the foundation of this country that whenever we(minorities, historically maligned and marginalized people) point out the insidiousness of their great land and its intentionally oppressive systems, they get their panties in a bunch. They want us to shut up. So they tell us we’re whining, and playing the victim. That’s what bullies do. Why should we listen to bullies? Why should we believe what they say about us, when it’s in their best interest to ignore our grievances and go on living oblivious to the pain they cause others. I say we DON’T shut up, and we continue to push really uncomfortable dialogues in the media. Now if only, the media wasn’t a damned three ring circus….that would be great.

  • ScriptTease

    What’s going to stop White Folks is Unity, Love, Respect and all that other good stuff amongst the BLACK community. Until we have that, we’re fighting a never ending, never winning battle. Like the old saying goes, “How can you love someone else if you don’t love yourself” or our case, “How can you expect anyone else to care when we could careless about each other”. Until we have that, this is pointless, and it’s hurtful.

  • entro

    What do we do ? My suggestions were posted under the comment section of the Rachel J story.
    The prosecutor of Ms. Alexander was Angela Corey, who prosecuted this woman vigorously. Why did she choose to have her underlings prosecute Zimmerman While she sat in the audience ?
    Corey also is a staunch republican
    In my opinion this was deliberate, they never intended to prosecute tis man as he should have been

  • Kam

    Vine Deloria was a prominent Native American scholar and activist who passed in 2005. He wrote the book “Custer Died For Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto” in 1969. In his chapter “The Red and the Black”, he writes:

    “The black must understand that whites are determined to keep him out of their society. No matter how many Civil Rights laws are passed or how many are on the drawing board, the basic thrust is to keep the black out of society and harmless. The problem, therefore is not one of legal status, it is one of culture and social economic mobility. …
    When the black seeks to change his role by adjusting the laws of the nation, he merely raises the hope that progress is made. But for the majority of blacks progress is not being made. Simply because a middle-class black can eat at the Holiday Inn is not a gain. People who can afford the best generally get it. A socio-economic, rather than legal adjustment must consequently be the goal.” (Deloria 174:1969)

    My concern is that the majority of Black communities are vulnerable and powerless. What’s only holding them up is White benevolence and White guilt, and both of those are decreasing. Should Whites today decide they don’t want to do it anymore we’re screwed.

    Right now schools are destroying Black minds. Some schools are graduating less than 50% of their Black students. 58% of Black fourth graders are functionally illiterate. How can our children know their rights when they can’t read them? Not only that, but the education received makes us passive and complacent. How then, can we expect our future generations to be the lawyers, judges and politicians to fight for our rights?

    Right now Blacks are suffering from decreasing economic power at the same time we are increasing our spending power. Our money keeps leaving our communities only to enrich the communities of others. We are less likely to have stable families and many need government assistance to stay afloat. How then can we give our future generations safe neighborhoods, safe homes, quality education and quality nutrition?

    Right now we continue to line White pockets for stereotypical depictions that demean and degrade us in the media and get pumped out to the entire world. Already by the age of 5 a Black child chooses White as “right” and Black as “bad”. How then can we expect them to fight for themselves when by the age of 5 their souls are destroyed?

    Imagine a Zimmerman trial where the defense had to worry about getting a Black judge, imagine a Black judge who would have not allowed Trayvon’s text messages and social media profile to be allowed as “evidence”? Imagine an America where a Black child in a hoodie does not immediately mean “thug”. We are far from this, and we need to do something quick. We need a CRITICAL MASS of economic and social power, not just random success stories here and there. Whites are set to become the minority real soon and as “Hispanic” Zimmerman shows us, don’t expect the other races to be naturally benevolent either.

    • Deal-n-Truth

      Excellent comment and spot on! Basically, it all boils down to economics at every angle.

    • NOitAll

      Any solutions? Strategies? We know what the real problem is. How do we SOLVE it? What does a CRITICAL MASS of economic and social power actually mean?

    • James Jones

      It doesn’t mean anything. Just another pseudo intellectual collectivist ramble.

    • Kam

      Pseudo-intellectual? What I said was hardly original. Most of this has already been said by other intellectuals like Malcolm X, Dr. Amos Wilson, Dr. Claude Anderson, Dr. Barbara Sizemore just to name a few. Watch them free on Youtube, it’s no secret. But you’re entitled to your opinion. All I ask is that those who say “You can’t” not get in the way of those who are actually doing.

      SOLUTIONS:
      FAMILY: Encourage stable families first. There needs to be a cultural mindset against families. I am pro-marriage. This seems to not be a popular idea now, but we do not live in a culture that is friendly to single parenthood and it makes us economically vulnerable as a community. Encouraging our children to make better choices about mates is absolutely necessary.

      EDUCATION: Right now many Blacks are fighting against charter schools, however how about we use the charter school system for our own advantage? Imagine a school with a solid education, with classes on financial literacy and entrepreneurship education? With Black teachers who understand the community. (I majored in Education in undergrad, the comments I heard from the future White teachers chilled me.) Church schools can be started. We joke about the Black Church always having a building fund, what about a school fund? Homeschooling cooperatives can be started. For some we can encourage vocational education. Classes in IT and computer programming, Web Design and development. These fields often don’t require a degree and pay very well. (Of course it doesn’t matter if our children can’t read so we need to work on that first.)

      MEDIA/IMAGE: Controlling our image is absolutely key. I don’t know why Blacks think we have to portray everything accurately. TV will have you believe that White America is L.A. and NYC. But let me tell you there are a whole lot of trailer parks and poverty in between that they don’t show. Black people love negative images of themselves. Why? There’s something going on a deeper level that we need to address.

      A critical mass, means that it can’t be just individual efforts here and there, it means that we need a large movement of people that can get behind an idea (and it doesn’t even have to be total agreement). Pick one that speaks to you. Mine is education, yours might be media, others might be family.

    • RaiseTheBar

      @Kam

      “A socio-economic, rather than legal adjustment must consequently be the goal.” (Deloria 174:1969)”

      YES!

      Most Clutch posts NEED your comments via posting these words over and over and over again OR posting a link to these comments.

      Raised in a Baptist household (paternal grandparents), but exposed to the teachings of Brothers Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad, Louis Farrakhan and Wallace D. Muhammad by our Father; and from him Homeownership and Entrepreneurialship were LIFEtime–>generation–>generation GOALS and never become complacent with having a Just Over Broken (J.O.B.)= Owned/Slave.

      MAYBE some of us Clutchettes can network and get something meaningful started. The special gift I bring to the table is my Money Management Savvy. A CAREER/Career Opportunity helping US to HELP Ourselves to Financial Freedom is where I feel my energy would be best served for the remainder of my time here in this world.

    • Kam

      Get a Facebook book going and I’ll join. My problem is that I can never find like-minded people.

    • RaiseTheBar

      “Get a Facebook book going…”

      That “may”(?) be a good way to get started? I’m wary of Facebook and I’m not savvy in that area, so I’ll start by giving the email address I created some time ago with my networking vision in mind:

      MeFinanciallyFREE at gmail dot com

  • The New Jemima

    Sigh. My Black people, we need to wake up and recognize how our enemies operate. We keep using the same strategies to fight (marching, boycotts, protests), and it’s not working!

    We have a black president, yet under his leadership, our voting rights were gutted, and an under aged black teen was gunned down with no justice served. Heck, because Obama said “his son would look Trayvon,” his political enemies organized efforts to get NRA-backed ALEC supporters and ordinary citizens to fund Zimmerman’s defense! This is RECONSTRUCTION 2.0!

    My people, my people! We keep using old strategies to fight the New Jim Crow? Do we not understand that the old-style Jim Crow, where the likes of Bull Connor who pulled dogs and water hoses in us, don’t fight like that anymore? Do we not understand that if Selma happened in 2013, the majority of whites wouldn’t give an ish, the way they did in 1965?

    My friends, please understand: the New Jim Crow is an Al-Qaeda style terrorist!! He has taken his fight underground and slowly, slowly poisoned the well (quite literally). He has infiltrated all institutions of power through different terrorist cells (Wall Street, NRA, Congress, Supreme Court, Corporate Media). He has dumbed down the general populace and caused us to focus on individual gain and ignore the collective. In isolating us all, they can take us out one by one.

    The New Jim Crow is a guerrilla fighter, and it’s time we beat him at his own game. Notice how “race” wasn’t a factor in the trial (except in the most subterfuge manner – the whole trial was about racially profiling Trayvon).

    It’s time we move away from Civil Rights battles to a Human Rights War. It’s time for us to fight subtly and underhandedly. We need to be like those Uncle Toms and Aunt Jemimas who knew how to smile in massa’s and Missy’s faces as we slip them the poison and “accidentally” set the plantation on fire (metaphorically speaking of course, maybe).

    The War is on, and the Devil is loose.

    • Lylydon’tlie

      I like your perspective and metaphors. Except they might not even e metaphors…just reality.

    • Kam

      I agree. I remember a while back reading about Patrick Henry College. You can check the Wikipedia page for it. Patrick Henry College is a conservative school that was started for homeschoolers. When it first started you could only major in two things, Government and Classical Liberal Arts. They’ve now expanded a bit but most students major in Government.

      Essentially what this college is is a direct college to politician/lawyer pipeline. In 2004, seven of the 100 White House interns were from Patrick Henry College when they only had a student body of a little over 200. I couldn’t get the stats for the same year but in 2010, only three students from HBCUs were Whte House interns. And how many HBCUs do we have?

      They don’t rely on federal funding to achieve this either. From the New York Times article “College for the Home Schooled”:

      “Thanks to the generosity of its donors, Patrick Henry operates with no debt, eschews federal financial support and charges about $15,000 per student a year for tuition, about $10,000 less than some comparable small colleges”

      Go to their homepage with the Zimmerman trial and mind and check out academics. You can specialize in “Strategic Intelligence” and “Forensics”. Sounds harmless, until you realize they are quite open about their agenda and are training their students to be masters at promoting it. Why aren’t we doing the same? They’re gaining political strength while we languish.

    • There are enough colleges to do it, the children aren’t making it there. I think they are being held back by actions based on good motivations but, those actions and policies and processes, in elementary, middle and high school are not condusive to an academic education, nor freedom to be a child. The schools are mean basically. And kids suffer in these politically awful places. I know one teacher in Trenton NJ, a white woman, her husband a psychologist. She and he collaborated and she taught all of her kindergardeners to read. Not one child could not. She was an older woman 50s and she spoke to no one in that school. It was a place where careers where more important than kids, where parents had no real knowledge of what was going on in school. Most teachers there where good at what they did. This woman was and is exceptional. She was an Alternate Route teacher and a teen age single mother herself. The students were worked very hard all day every day, from one lesson to the next. The lessons were developmentally appropriate yet challenging and intense in that she packed higher level thinking skills into each one. Some students were behaviorally challenged, she’d take a cafeteria tray and bang the table, yelling quiet! quiet! and then she would go round and get the attention of each child who had yet to settle down and she would say; look at your materials, what are we doing now? and if the child could not answer she would sternly explain quickly that the class was doing the activity that had been modeled a minute ago (actually explaining quickly, very business like). She would have the children round robin read (they say it doesn’t work but you have to do it right; smaller groups not the whole class maybe 4 groups. And the focus of the class was all business, it was ok to make mistakes, no one was allowed to make fun of learning. She read to them each day a book with the letters that they were working on and she mADE SURE EACH CHILD SAW THE LETTER IN THE LARGER PRINT BOOK, THAT THE BOOK WAS ENGAGING AND PART OF HER PLAN OF TEACHING CERTAIN LETTERS AND SOUNDS ANDT CERTAIN TIMES. (SORRy caps lock) The dolch site words were on the wall and the lesson of “Kid Writing” was given daily. each lesson was shorty intense and daily. It worked! She won a prize. The principal backed her even thothere were complaints about the tray banging, the principal let her alone. She knew she was effective. This teacher did not use any reading program. She did receive help from almost no one. Her aide was hostile toward her and she chose only some help from the Reading CoaCH. Who was also amazing. I loved that job! I did not survive the politics. The aide was hostile ton me too. Carter schools expect teachers to deliver the results of an experienced teacher, without the experience. Charter schools are simply a way of privatizing education and taking out of our hands and putting the control in the corporate world. mostly harvard and yale grads need jobs (since the economic crash and the jobless recovery) so they, (michelle Rhee for example) talk big talk and actually accomplish dismantling schools. She says teachers who don’t live in the neighborhood don’t care. Where does she live now? Where do her kids go to school? Not in the corperate Charter School Ghetto, no. Very few rich neighborhoods have charter schools. Why? their public schools are just fine.Demanding a common core at Teachers colleges would have been better than the downward spiral, and funding classrooms; science teacher has to buy lab curriculum out of their own pocket? the school day is not set up to take into account prep time for science labs? ha! these are the problems. the solutions are not in pilot programs, or the harvard grad or even the new minority owned education … phd something. We have to get back to basics. make communities healthy in all ways, respecting all mothers, and their children, all fathers and their children, respecting and being in helping rolling up our sleeves in poor communities. Just like the Black Panthers did in
      oakland with the first school breakfasts. There is no clean and easy answer. Take the cities back where possible. insist on decent public transit, groceries, healthcare centers, schools, Teach the young in cities like philly how to do historic preservation construction. teach them to make our neighborhoods beautiful. prices will go up. So how do you keep the nieghboirhood when the rich move in? make designated low income housing out of the whole godam place. make it beautiful and the rich can rent! Sounds crazy? so what? OK SOME RICH CAN HELP OUT TO DRAW CROWDS BUT THEY CAN’T BE A MEMBER.