Bullying: From Dred Scott, To Tyler Clementi, To Trayvon Martin
On September 22, 2011, Tyler Clementi killed himself, three days after his roommate learned he was homosexual, by activating a webcam in their room. Six days later, Tyler's roommate, Dharun Ravi was arrested.
On February 26, 2012, George Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin, against the advice of police and, contrary to the rules of the neighborhood watch organization, he purported to represent. He was armed with a gun, which he used to shoot Trayvon Martin dead. One month and six days later, George Zimmerman has not been arrested, despite the protests of thousands, in this nation, and elsewhere, and despite more than a million signatures on a petition, demanding his arrest . . .
Dharun Ravi was found guilty of bullying, even though there was no evidence that he did anything to let his roommate know that his same-sex date had been recorded, and there is no evidence that he was motivated by the expectation of observing his roommate's homosexual practices, nor was there evidence that he expressed animu toward gays. By contrast, George Zimmerman has been recorded in five telephone calls, in which he identified people as suspicious, and all of them were Diaspran, and none of them were engaged in misconduct. He also expressed a degrading attitude, "a-holes," and a predatory/controlling state of mind, "they always get away;" and he may have used a racial slur, when referring to Trayvon. Nevertheless, there is reluctance to interpret his behavior as racially motivated.
In The Dred Scott Case, Supreme Court Chief Justice, Roger B. Taney brilliantly translates the racial behavior and attitude of American culture, into a description of the social nightmare of an unprotected people, excluded from the empathy of their neighbors who, consequently, will not uphold their rights, and he says all of this in one all encapsulating line, Diasporans "had no rights which a white man was bound to respect . . ."
Trayvon Martin had the right to his life, but when George Zimmerman took it, the Sanford police conspired together to avoid holding him accountable. They did not want to bind George Zimmerman to respect Trayvon Martin's right to have the wrongful taking of his life vindicated . . .
While brilliant in his description of the status of Diasporans in American culture, Justice Taney falls off the brilliance wagon when he tries to use the devaluation of a people, as an excuse for unfairness and withholding empathy. In an effort to exonerate American culture from the abomination that slavery was, he called it "just and lawful," and he gave as a reason for it, "their own good . . ."
Racial bullying, better known as discrimination, was acceptable, authorized, and even desirable. But while it is the disadvantage of Diasporans, it has come to be experienced as the privilege of whites, and racist try to accomplish it for themselves, and to assert it for others. After the wide support for justice for Trayvon, racist experienced it as a challenge to their status, and they are "protesting," by killing Diasporans, in Athens, Georgia, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and other places.
Had there not been a public outcry, George Zimmerman would have been allowed to walk away from a cold-blooded murder, without paying a penalty, and Trayvon's parents would have been left to put their son in a cold grave, with the torturous words of a police officer seared into their memory, namely, that George Zimmerman is so much more valued than their son until police protocol won't be applied to Trayvon's case because his killer has told them that he has a "squeeky clean," reputation . . .
While racism against people of African descent was the foundation for permissible abuse, that concept has evolved beyond racial privilege, to include many advantageous categories, in which people receive support in mistreating vulnerable people. Who among us could, like Cameron Diaz, get the police to raid a man's studio to confiscate his computers, and your pictures, that he took as a photographer, and that have been in his possession for over ten years, on just your say so . . .
It's not just race anymore, it's bullying, that is upheld, when the person doing the bullying is favored by the society, namely, bullying engaged in by someone who is on the protected side of abuse.
Even if George Zimmerman is not white, for the purposes of the Trayvon Martin matter, he is the "white man." Darker people than him have been allowed that role, like Clarence Thomas was Anita Hill's "white man," Diasporan women accused him of harassment, and white women defended him. He knew who to mess with . . .
It's not what you look like, it's what side you're on. Dark skinned people can be on the side of racism against their people, while white people can be on the side of fairness and justice for all. Poor people can be on the side of unfair privileges for the rich, and rich people can be for a fair opportunity for everyone. Our world is evolving to reflect the Buffett Rule in all thing, which simply means being on the side of what is right and fair, no matter what class you belong to.