Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What Did You Think of the Zimmerman Verdict?

People have asked me what I thought about The George Zimmerman Verdict. What is there to think? A Black child is dead and nobody’s going to jail for it. It’s not exactly what I would call a feel good moment. At first I thought they wanted my personal opinion about the case. They didn’t. They wanted comedic commentary, some hint of humor that might help the healing begin. Translation: Hey Leighann, got jokes?

(That's right. I read my blog to you and you'll love it.)

I’m sorry, Family. It’s hard for me to find-the-funny in another name being added to the list of African-American males who’ve been murdered, in the land of the free and the home of the brave. It also brings me no joy to know that Trayvon Martin’s name will not be the last. Someday, another family is going to win the jackpot in this ugly lottery.

It’s funny that most of the people who say that the Zimmerman-Martin case wasn’t about race, rarely ever have to deal with it in any substantive, systematic, or systemic way. We live in the same country, but events like this remind us that culturally we can still be worlds apart. Translation: “It’s a Black thing. And despite having a Black President, you still don’t understand.”  <~ TWEET THIS

I was driving to a gig in The Village. I was styling in my two-door, red Honda Civic. The music playing, sunroof open, and I was looking kind cute – if I say so myself: shades on and hoodie up. Yeah, you know where this is going don’t you? When I made the left turn onto East 3rd there was a police officer crossing the street. I slowed down. He turned, saw me, did a double take, and motioned for me to stop. I did, of course. He walked over to my car hand on the butt of his weapon. Seriously? Seriously. I lowered my window and my shades, and said, “Hello, Officer. Is something wrong?”

He looked at me, a bit confused, and said, “Oh. No.” and waved me on. Everything in his demeanor said I was not what he was expecting. But what was that exactly? Why did he stop me in the first place? What had I done? What description did I fit? What probable cause did he have? Had I just been racially profiled? But back then it was called DWB, Driving While Black. Silly me, I thought I was immune since my car radio had been blasting The Dave Matthews Band, the Live at Red Rocks album. <~ TWEET THIS

It’s funny that we cannot yet have a rational discussion about race without it devolving almost instantaneously into a scene out of West Side Story, minus the music and group dance numbers. Translation for readers in need of a more contemporary reference: Step Up, Step Up 2, Step Up 3D, and Step Up Revolution.

Would more singing and dancing help? If it did then we’d need a whole lot of it because race isn’t unique here. We can’t seem to muster up a cogent conversation on a myriad of topics including guns, poverty, unemployment, women’s rights. Here’s a funny idea: maybe all the poor, unemployed women of color should have guns, and the freedom to fire anytime they feel threatened. Hoodie optional. Translation: Stand Your Ground sure wasn’t this popular when Malcolm X endorsed it. <~ TWEET THIS

Although technically not used in this case, it’s funny to wonder if a Black man in America could get away with a Stand Your Ground defense. Probably not, if the jury of his peers was six Black women. You know how sisters are. That brother would do hard time and not necessarily for the crime he was accused of. “No, your Honor. We don’t need to deliberate. He guilty. Instructions? Nah, we don’t need that either. Look at him. His cute ass is guilty of something.”

Translation: when it comes to trying to find the humor in the George Zimmerman – Trayvon Martin case, I got nothing but a pocket full of Skittles.

The Urban Erma, the longest running column on, was created and written by Leighann LordListen to the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher RadioWatch the video edition on YouTube.comIf you enjoy The Urban Erma please leave a comment, like it on Facebook, follow on Twitter, and share it with your friends. (Share it with people who are not your friends and maybe they will be.) 

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