Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Everything about the Trayvon Martin story is horrible. Right now, I am most upset about the number of people expressing sympathy for George Zimmerman and such blatant scorn for Trayvon Martin. (For the purposes of this post, I'm not talking about the jury or the legal facts and agruments of this case. That is a different subject.) I understand the people who truly do not want to take sides due to the fact that they do not have first hand knowledge of the situation. I don't agree with them, but their position is logical, so I won't argue with them.

As for the people who are "pleased" with the verdict or otherwise support Zimmerman over Trayvon? Or a weird subset of these people who are irritated with those of us who want justice for Trayvon (i.e. the people who are clueless about their own white privilege and racist mindset)? I'm not even sure where to start. George Zimmerman is one of the least likeable defendants I have ever seen. I cannot find one instance where he expresses any remorse* for ending the life of a child. Even if Trayvon had been the aggressor, wouldn't a normal human being be distraught that he had killed a 17 year old?

Let's look at what we do know, and compare the two people in this case:

Trayvon: A child. Walking home from the store. Approached by a stranger wielding a gun and asking questions. Fights. Gets shot and dies. His life is finished at the age of 17.

Zimmerman: An adult. Sees a child who looks suspicious to Zimmerman. Calls 911. Is told to stay put.  Confronts Trayvon. Fights. Shoots Trayvon. Found not guilty of any crime, gets to live among us and keep his gun.

Seems to me that Trayvon Martin did exactly what almost anyone in his situation would have done. And it also seems like Zimmerman did exactly what an overzealous, racist gun-nut would have done.

We know for a fact that Zimmerman killed Trayvon. By all accounts, there is nothing to suggest that Trayvon did anything wrong until confronted by Zimmerman, which I personally assume was a natural fight response (as opposed to a flight response, which is not a great option when directly confronted with a gun). How, as a spectator to this case, does anyone side with Zimmerman?

The racism surrounding this entire story is unbearable.

*If you can find an example of Zimmerman expressing remorse for his actions, please send me the link or post it in the comments.

Monday, July 1, 2013

In case you didn't like my last post

Please read this piece from the Chicago Sun-Times, "Anti-gay bias loses its legal whip." A straight Jewish man schools the sad "straight fundy Christians" on not having your religious beliefs made into secular laws.

I'm still thinking about my last post and the myriad ways I could have offended someone. With every post I write comes discomfort: I am still learning to truly own my opinions. But unlike my previous post, I'm usually towing the Democrat party line for a liberal audience. Voicing some sympathy for religion, especially when I have very little scholarly training on the subject, makes me nervous. Although I will give myself bonus points for exploring the intersection of liberalism and Christianity with an open mind, instead of shutting down the conversation and imposing my beliefs, however flimsy, on others.

Just yesterday I was walking around with a friend who started talking about a job interview she'd had recently. My friend was raised Jewish, although more in the cultural sense than as a religion. She was reading the text of a speech the potential boss had given, at a Jesuit institution, in which he had pointedly discussed "Christian values."

"It just makes me uncomfortable," she said. I felt a little pang of guilt and sadness. Maybe this problem is even more pervasive than I thought. Both she and I largely interact with open-minded, educated people in our work life. This potential employer she described even sounded like a great boss, one who wouldn't actually impose his beliefs on others. She did not make a big deal of this observation, but clearly this had made an impression on her, even as a non-practicing member of another faith. 

I still stand by my previous post, but I promise to be more cognizant of these situations. I can see how a Christian using the phrase "Christian values" implies that they are fundamentally better than Jewish values or atheist values. Personally, I avoid using that term because to me it has so much hypocritical baggage that it is nearly a joke. I do think many people say "Christian values" and really do mean adhering to Jesus' teachings and the Ten Commandments, without judging other value sets, but I get it. Coming from the religious majority, it really does sound exclusive and judgmental. 
I'm sorry.