That a jury of only six, and five of those six jurors white women, would hear the charges against George Zimmerman was bad news.
The same ingrained compliance and niceness that kept women silent about the rape of themselves and their daughters for centuries– until feminists disturbed the peace with shocking words and demonstrations–leads women to defend the status quo.
To keep a comfort level in a chaotic world you have to believe that we are a basically just society. You don’t want to believe that a teenage boy can be profiled, stalked and shot dead walking back from the store. You don’t want to believe that the police did nothing to investigate the crime until forced by publicity. You don’t want to believe that the good man with a gun who promises to protect you is himself the greatest threat.
If you have never had to worry for the safety of your child at the hands of teachers, police, or frightened white people who see difference as a threat then you can sleep easy. Black mothers don’t have that luxury. Perhaps this jury was composed of George Zimmerman’s peers, but there was no one to speak for a mother’s grief and fear when her son is profiled, and that’s a shame.
This was not a verdict of justice, this was a verdict of niceness. To keep things nice it was necessary to conclude that Trayvon Martin was asking for it when he got himself shot. Nice people don’t have to worry that they’ll find themselves in George Zimmerman’s gun-sights.
It used to be that rape never happened. Sure, there were slutty women who were asking for it but no decent woman ever had to fear.
Now we pick up the Providence Journal and see the latest shootings. But it’s not our neighborhood, no one we know. It’s all good. We’re nice people.