White People, Shut Up And Listen. For Once.
Dear White People,
If you are scratching your head wondering why people are so upset with you for wondering why people are so upset with the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, please pay attention. To begin with, stop talking. Not forever, but for right now, stop sharing your fabulous opinions with everyone because they are not coming off as subtle and carefully considered as you think; many of you are running the risk of sounding like these treacherous cretins whose naked racism should now be so transparently clear that there is no point in even debating the existence of it anymore. If you are saying anything about what a scary and violent person Trayvon was or that he somehow made some error in judgement that made his murder justifiable, you are mistaken and should stop saying that because it makes you sound like a racist who wets his pants when black people appear on his TV. If you say that the way George Zimmerman behaved was in any way commendable, laudable, or anything other than the actions of cowardly wannabe, you are mistaken and should stop saying that because it makes you sound like a racist who only can achieve half-flaccid erections when you imagine shooting a gun into a crowd of mixed race schoolchildren. If you say that none of this has anything to do with race you sound like Lady Macbeth scrubbing at a spot.
Instead, just listen. Don’t argue out loud or in your head. Just listen. If you really want to get it, listen to what is being said. You don’t have to feel guilty or responsible or pay reparations or even ultimately agree with what is being said, but listen without prejudice or argument. Don’t start spouting off about Chicago or black on black crime, or black on white crime. Don’t start sputtering about how slavery was ultimately a good thing because who would want to live in Africa anyway? That’s actually not as awesome an argument as you think it is; it is much better to be silent than to say such things.
You don’t cure your own ignorance and confusion by lecturing and explaining things you don’t know about to people who do; what this does is expose your ignorance and confusion, which is good, because it presents an opportunity to heal these conditions. The cure is listening. If you don’t understand why we are upset that George Zimmerman walked free stop trying to explain to us why we are wrong to feel this way and instead listen.