As I sit here scrolling through the comment section of a story Fox News posted regarding the auctioning of the gun George Zimmerman used to shoot Trayvon Martin, I am reminded of sagely advice: “Don’t read the comments.”
It’s what we tell each other to protect ourselves. You know that nothing good or positive ever comes from reading the comments, so why do it? Those that spend their time trolling news stories and spewing hate are not worth our time. That line of thinking is a cop out. If you don’t want to get upset, then don’t read what people have to say. Lucky us! We can pick and choose the hate we’re subjected to and when we feel bad, we just close the web browser and put on old episodes of 30 Rock.
We need to be reading the comments.
While utterly tragic, this is not about whether George Zimmerman was justified in shooting Trayvon Martin in self-defense or if Zimmerman was the aggressor. Regardless of the events leading up to it, a black teenager was shot and killed and for whatever reason there are some that are using this as an opportunity to display their outright racism, hail Zimmerman a hero and justify the murders of black teens.
Here is what you need to be reading:
“Black lives splatter.”
This comment made me so sick to my stomach I almost called into work.
“At this point what difference does it make. Maybe it was just some guy looking for some thug that had broken into apartments in the neighborhood. Big deal”
Pretty sure it isn’t a civilians job to go out of his way to police the neighborhood. This is a terrifyingly passive thought. Big deal.
“I don’t know the neighborhood where this incident occurred but if a black male wearing a hoodie was walking through my neighborhood everyone living there would look at him with suspicion.
This comment will upset some people but it is what it is. White people are not responsible for the image of black people. All blacks suffer from the actions of the LARGE criminal element within that race of people. Stereotypes exist for a reason. If you don’t like it then CHANGE THE IMAGE!!!!”
“At least half of black 17 yr olds are thugs and going nowhere in life. Statistics prove this, so does observation using common sense. Sorry, try again”
There were too many comments about black people being monkeys and eating bananas that I don’t have enough hours in the day to cut and paste them here. One person advocated that Zimmerman’s gun belongs in the Smithsonian. The gun used to murdered a teenager does not belong in the same building as Julia Child’s kitchen. It’s not a tourist attraction and people shouldn’t want to see it. Some commenters actually agree with me about the gun because they think that the actual bullet would draw more people.
I’m not a minority. I grew up in a middle class town that was 99.99% white. So I can’t even begin to imagine hearing or reading comments like this and have them actually be directed at me. Having to constantly prove the things that I am not to people who seemingly will never be convinced. Trying to overcome the hurdles of structural violence and watering down my behavior and culture to align with the majority so no one feels threatened. Even having discussions with people that have the best of intentions in advocating because they even don’t truly understand.
I don’t pretend to understand, but I can empathize, speak up and educate. We tend to turn a blind eye to this stuff and think it doesn’t apply to us, but it does. I’m white and my people are saying these horrible things. I need to care because, believe it or not, it can get a lot worse.