I’ve learned many things about many modern-day Americans in the wake of the Zimmerman verdict:
- Many modern-day Americans maintain a pre-Civil-Rights-Era view on race relations. If you’re black, and probably a young black man in particular, you are to be docile. If a white man approaches you, be respectful, do as he instructs, say “yes sir, no sir.” Don’t make any sudden movements. If he follows you around at night, armed, understand he is just looking out everyone’s best interest. Don’t do anything to make him more afraid than he already is. You think this is not fair? Well, you should be more sympathetic to how scary you are.
- Many modern-day Americans think it’s ok to view young black men as inherently threatening. Understand that your manner of dress, your physical size and muscularity (if you dare have it), etc., may scare white people. Take careful note that IT IS NOT YOUR SKIN COLOR they fear. Whites are color-blind about this, it’s everything else about you except that (that would be racist, which they’re not).
- Many modern-day Americans think it is unacceptable, however, for blacks to ever see concerned whites as threatening, and if they do not remain docile (see above), they should understand the consequences. For proud whites, self-defense is a basic human right (like carrying a concealed firearm). Blacks needs to understand that fighting back is NOT self-defense if accosted by a white, because they are the instigators in the first place with their inherent scariness, their “thuggish” appearance, their known proclivity for criminality, etc. I mean, what is a white to do?*
- Many modern-day Americans call black teens with no criminal records “thugs.” They do this, they say, because of their chosen “look” (probably too “hip-hop”), and because they have trace amounts of marijuana on them and have maybe gotten in trouble at school (or because they have been boastful and macho on Twitter). This isn’t “normal” teen-boy behavior, like white teen boys exhibit, that they will eventually grow out of. White boys like guns because they are passionate about their constitutional rights and being good Americans. White boys like pot because all teens have possessed a trace amount of marijuana at some point. Black teens like guns and pot as an expression of innate, inner thuggery and a disrespect for law and order (and common decency) encouraged by their culture. Many modern-day Americans believe this key difference justifies the death of these black teens almost regardless of any other factors or context. The young thugs aren’t really even human, they are dangerous animals, they are beyond redemption, and it’s better to put them down sooner rather than later.
- Many modern-day Americans believe that black families do not mourn the loss of their loved ones if they are killed by someone black. They feel that black people only care about friends and family unexpectedly taken from them when a white person does it. In that sense, their mourning is really mostly about sticking it to whites, rather then a genuine feeling of momentous loss like whites feel when they lose a loved one*. This is unfair to whites (see below).
- Most disturbingly, many modern-day Americans believe, that just like with the N word, that the fact that sometimes black people do kill other black people means it’s ok to kill black people generally. Not until all black people stop killing other black people should white people have to stop too. It’s hypocrisy after all, why do they get to do it and it’s no big deal, but we can’t?
- Many modern-day Americans believe in an absolute right to gun ownership and self-defense. You can seek out threats and confront them. You have an absolute right to protect you and yours. The deadlier the better. If you’re white that is. If you’re black, gun ownership makes you a “thug” and a criminal (black + gun is not the constitutional victory that white + gun is). Defending yourself in any way is reason for you to be put down. You are to be docile. White rights are expansive. Black rights are very narrow. Find this frustrating? Well, until you convince every other black person in America to be the way I want them to be (whatever that is; see below), you’ll have to deal. That seems fair.
- One would be forgiven then for assuming that many modern-day Americans would be happy if young black men all dressed like Carlton and were “clean” and “articulate” and studious and academic and physically meek and didn’t do suspicious things like be out so late for so-called “snacks” (white teens don’t do this; white teens are widely known to go bed early and not crave junkfood). However, this same community has been less than enthusiastic about embracing Barack Obama, black academia, and basically any black people who aren’t athletes, musicians, comics, or movie stars. It turns out, if you don’t adhere to the white-normative expectation, you are a thug and threat to my life/safety (unless you are a professional athlete, in which case, stay a safe distance away and entertain me). If you more closely align with the white-normative ideal, but are black, you are a wimp, a joke, probably an affirmative-action case, and a threat to my job (unless you are a musician (non-rap; if rap, see above about “thugs”) or a movie star, in which case, just be docile and entertain me). One would be forgiven for seeing this as a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario/Catch 22 for black men.
- Many modern-day Americans don’t see anything wrong with piling extreme amounts of negative scrutiny on everything a black person does, even black juveniles. They are ok with the situation being that blacks have a constant affirmative obligation to prove potential negative presumptions wrong, even as adolescents. There should be little room for error, after all, each black is on thin ice given the prior bad acts of blacks generally. If they slip-up, the death penalty seems appropriate. It is also ok to do the opposite and always assume the best of non-blacks. This will be ok until all blacks together do everything to dispel every negative presumption whites have. This is not racist, this is just statistics, and being sensible (but holding whites accountable for prior bad acts of whites? living in the past! the race card! reverse racism! get. over. it. people.).
- Many modern-day Americans are fucking hateful idiots.
* When a black approaches you at night, you can be sure what’s up. When a white approaches, however, take a bifurcated approach depending on your race: (1) if you are white, do whatever you want (duh); (2) if you are black, stay put, put your hands up to show you are unarmed, don’t sass or talk back or be disrespectful (certainly don’t use your “ebonics”; few things inflame white men more than this butchery of their precious English language), and work with the white until the white feels non-threatened enough to let you go.
* When a black mother loses her son, gunned down in his prime, she is likely to inquire about the race of the murderer. If the murderer is black, she is likely to not care about the loss of her son. If the murderer is white, you can bet she will suddenly “make a big deal about it.”