George Zimmerman was just declared not guilty of the manslaughter of Trayvon Martin by a jury of white women. I am devastated and angry, but there are people of color on Twitter right now who are expressing emotions that I cannot access: Fear. Hurt. Betrayal.
Worrying about riots for only tonight is a luxury compared to worrying about zimmermans and cops every night of your black life.
— Dabnis Brickhouse (@thembithembi) July 14, 2013
I can’t access these emotions myself because I am white, and I am privileged as a white person to not fear for the safety of my sons in the wake of this verdict. It is my privilege as a white person that means I don’t have to worry that my boys will be perceived as threatening because of their race. It is my privilege as a white person that means I don’t have to have to tell my children they can’t fight back against bullies. It is my privilege as a white person to not feel this verdict a referendum on my worth.
I can not even imagine the privilege of not having to fear racially motivated violence for oneself and one’s family and community.
— jlm (@jessielanemetz) July 14, 2013
And for every time I have let my white privilege go unchecked, I am complicit in Trayvon Martin’s death. With my privilege I have participated in a society that says that Black young men are fearsome, that a Black life is not worth as much as a white person’s comfort, that a Black family’s grief is not worthy of justice.
It’s not just the people in power – it’s the structures of power themselves. Built on lies about race. Always have been and still are.
— Grace (@graceishuman) July 14, 2013
I am complicit for every time I have let a racist comment or joke slide past me unremarked-on. I am complicit for every time I have minimized racism as an issue of the past, or as something that Black people do to white people as well, with equal effects. I am complicit for every time I have smugly said that I am colorblind and I don’t see race. I am complicit for every time I have talked over the voices of Black people, for every time I have sat silently by when I should have used my privilege amplify their voices.
All of you are seeing what we see every single day. This verdict is what my parents warned me about from an early age. Unreal.
— B (@HolaBrody) July 14, 2013
I am complicit because I enjoy living in a neighborhood that is safe and affluent and has well-stocked grocery stores and good schools, a neighborhood which has been built upon generations of discrimination and redlining and segregation. I am complicit because I attend a university whose faculty is overwhelmingly white, even down to the professor of my African American Literature class. I am complicit because I attend a church whose membership is almost entirely white and middle-class, and whose mission field is Black and poor.
What do I teach my son now? Don’t fight back? Self defense doesn’t apply to you?
— Bae Dawn Chong (@kajani500) July 14, 2013
We are complicit. Every time that we nod along when someone says that “we should just let the South secede already!”, we erase the oppressed people in Florida and Texas and Alabama who are fighting like hell to be safe and healthy in the face of a racist, misogynist society. When we reimagine “the South” into an oppressive monolith, we erase the people in the South who live under the boot of oppression, the wronged people and the allies who are fighting for them; and we fail to examine the oppression that happens in all parts of the country.
This reminder of the disregard for black life should not be dismissed as uniquely Floridian.
— alisha gaines (@alishagaines) July 14, 2013
The Zimmerman verdict is not a uniquely Florida problem, any more than the extreme anti-abortion legislation is a uniquely Texas problem. Racism and misogyny and oppression are American problems, and we must acknowledge this and fight it where we live, instead of shaking our heads when it manifests in other places.
I like how ppl are making it a FL thing. No. This is the reality for POC all over the USA
— Francesska J-P (@toearlyforthis) July 14, 2013
With my unchecked privilege, I have been complicit in racism. I have not worked as hard as I should to make a society where the last can be first. I have not worked as hard as I should to raise my children to be mindful of how far we still have to go. I have not worked as hard as I should to hold my elected representatives accountable for making sure justice is upheld.
"You will never be able to understand this fear. You will never understand this wrong. Say your words of solidarity or say nothing at all."
— Angelique (@Zinc323) July 14, 2013
I must do better. We must do better.
This is the state of race in America. This is it. Look closely.
— Grace (@graceishuman) July 14, 2013
Lord, have mercy on us.