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If I’d been on the Zimmerman jury

July 16, 2013

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If I’d been on the Zimmerman jury . . .

I hope I would have realized that my years of being female have predisposed me to be nice and get along and that I would remember how that behavior can be dangerous to justice.

l hope I would have realized that years of cultural and institutional messages have deeply ingrained in me the message that black males, particularly young black males, are to be feared and that males who look more like me are to be trusted and assumed to have good judgment.

I hope I would have remembered that cultural norms privilege what certain groups of people have decided is the best way to do things. Usually, it is the group of people who by their power dominate society; people who look like me.

My white skin matters.  The whiteness of five of the women on the jury mattered. The gender of the jury makeup mattered. Oppression thrives when such truths are silenced.

 If I’d been on the Zimmerman jury, I would have insisted we talk about how oppression has made all of us, Zimmerman included, less fully human and that is why another young black man is dead.

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