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The Right Wing Excuse on Racism
The Case of Trayvon Martin
On February 26, a 17 year old African American male named Trayvon Martin was shot and killed as he walked to a family member's home from a convenience store where he had just bought some candy. The man who shot him, George Zimmerman, admitted to police that he shot Trayvon in the chest. Zimmerman, the community's self appointed "neighborhood watch leader," called the police to report a suspicious person when he saw Travyon walking from the store wearing a hoodie. Most of the facts surrounding the shooting are in dispute. What is not in dispute is that young Trayvon is dead and the police have refused to charge Zimmerman with a crime, any crime. In fact, the police allowed Zimmerman to keep possession of the weapon used to shoot Trayvon and have made many other procedural mistakes that make a trial in the future almost impossible.
As expected, the shooting of Trayvon Martin, and the lack of any real investigation into what events occurred has caused quite a controversy. As expected many are taking the side of the young slain kid and demanding that Zimmerman be brought to justice. The fact that the police have done very little and the fact that Zimmerman's story is simply not believable most likely means the police should at least investigate. So far, they seem to be dragging their feet.
But not as expected, there are many in the media and in politics not demanding that Justice be done for Trayvon, but for Zimmerman, and for the most part, this group is represented by the entire conservative movement. Rush Limbaugh, who at this point represents the Republican establishment, stated that the media coverage of the story is a ploy by the media to get President Barack Obama re-elected. Limbaugh also claims that the story is being used to spread hate and anger. Glenn Beck, who may have been voted off the Republican establishment's island, stated that Martin must have been the aggressor because of the way he was dressed. Geraldo Rivera stated that Martin's clothes, a hoodie, played a role in his death. The main thing that all of these people have in common is that none of them claim that race had anything to do with the killing, despite George Zimmerman's comments on tape. In fact, the right wing at this point denies that race plays a role against anything, except for reverse racism.
The Right Wing Excuse
The right wing response to claims of racist acts is to accuse anyone who claims race as a motive is themselves a racist. In short, the right wing wants to pretend that racism no longer exists in America, unless, of course, it is reverse racism. The right's response is to sweep the issue of race under the rug, that way, they can pretend there is no problem. And if there is no problem then they don't have to offer any solutions.
Mr. Beck, Mr. Limbaugh, Mr. Rivera, the Trayvon Martin case shows that old fashioned racism is alive and well in America. Sure, the easy scapegoat is George Zimmerman and his comments. But a racist in white sheets is much easier to deal with than one that wears a suit or a uniform. The fact that an African American young male wearing a hoodie is automatically suspect shows that racism in America is alive and well. The fact that a police department simply takes the word of a shooting suspect and gives him back his gun because the victim was a young black male in a hoodie shows that racism is still alive in America. The fact that a victim's clothes and a school suspension provides reasonable justification for murder shows that racism is still alive in America. And to claim that pointing it out to demand a resolution is racist, is itself racism. And don't forget denial. Denial of a problem that the right wing has nothing but excuses and offers no solutions is a form of racism.
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