Undermining the Patriarchy Every Chance I Get. And I Get a Lot of Chances
No Justice; No Peace. Know Justice; Know Peace.
When I read that the jury in the Trayvon Martin murder trial had returned a verdict of "not guilty," my first thought was for all the mothers of black sons. Having raised a son, and as the Nonna of a grandson, I know that to raise a son in this culture is already a task fraught with difficulties and fears. I can only try to imagine how much more difficult it must be to do that job knowing, every minute of every day, that your son is also in danger simply because of the color of his skin.
My second thought was: ALEC which promoted the "Stand Your Ground Law" that was included in the instructions given to the Martin jury. George Zimmerman pulled the trigger that murdered Trayvon Martin, but ALEC, in my opinion, loaded the gun.
My third thought was for the impact that the Martin verdict and Stand Your Ground laws may have for the Pagan community. Even those of us who carry the privilege of white skin know that our religion makes us "the other" in the eyes of many Americans. Indeed, the the fundie Xian whackjobs are now engaged in a deliberate propaganda campaign aimed at further "othering" Pagans. One of the most pernicious things about Stand Your Ground laws is that they exonerate any murderer who can say that he felt "threatened." Supposedly, the threat must be "reasonable," but the Martin verdict shows just how elastic that standard is, especially when the aggressor is more privileged than the victim. One is reminded of Derrick Jensen's Fourth Premise:
Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims.
It's not difficult at all to imagine, for example, the Xians who were opposed to the recent Pagan festival in Florida, the same state where Martin was murdered and his murderer exonerated, feeling "threatened" by a group of Pagans walking down the street or coming into a store. Nor is it difficult to imagine how an all-Xian jury might exonerate the "threatened" Xian who shoots and kills one of those dangerous Pagans. After all, they looked at him funny and he thought they were going to cast a curse. He could tell they were dangerous because they had tattoos and were wearing pentacles. If you think that's ridiculous, I posit that it's no more ridiculous than a grown man who was "threatened" by a teen-ager walking home from the store with skittles and iced tea, wearing a hoodie.
I call to Columbia, matron Goddess of America, to help all Americans to find a better way, to improve our laws, to see each other as fellow citizens and not as threats. We have to fix this.
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