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Trayvon Martin, Ethnicity, And Normalized Behavior

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Christian LaForge

on 18 July 2013

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Transcript of Trayvon Martin, Ethnicity, And Normalized Behavior

"No offence is so heinous as unorthodoxy of behaviour."
Quotation from the dystopian novel "A Brave New World"
Youthful Concerns:

What behaviors and characteristics do Martin and I share?

How were these behaviors 'n characteristics presented to the masses?

What message is being sent to me about how one should act?

Lessons Displayed To The Youth
You're clothing sends a message:
one of those messages can be that
you're a dangerous menace to society.

(We didn't need Sanford, FL to teach us this. But what do we now know?)
That this look is a look for "others."
The need for othodoxy of this unspoken dress code is so strong that it can lead "just" men to profile and punish you.

We now have an example of this unspoken code being "justifiably" enforced with lethal force.
trayvon martin
another young male,
acceptably killed.

Last night a juror went on CNN
and said that according to
the letter of the law, Zimmerman
was "Not Guilty" for only the
immediate moment of struggle --
when the gun was produced -- was
of importance when sentencing.
I don't want to discuss what message
the verdict sends, you've all heard
that -- "the courts aren't fair to
the black man" -- we didn't need
Sanford, FL to tell us that.

What message does the
circumstance 'round Martin's death
'n the ensuing media coverage send to
today's youth?
The nation's youth were presented, quite directly, with a dress code.

And this is one of those violent styles.
But it was a sum of multiple behaviors & characteristics that led Zimmerman
to profile and confront Martin.
True, I presume.
What other overt characteristics did Martin possess that night?

Well, he had skin a deep shade of brown.

But I don't give a damn to discuss what ethnic intolerance may or may not reside in Zimmerman's heart.
That discussion is prevalent enough.

And it doesn't take much research to figure out this intolerance already lays deep in the heart of the justice system.

According to Michelle Alexander,
the United States "imprisons a larger percentage
of its black population than
South Africa did at the height of apartheid."

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, one in three black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime.

The US is 5% of the world population. US prisoners are 25% of the world prison population.
There aren't any signs of this situation taking a turn for the better.

"The jails ain't full
and the reaper ain't bias
and anyone that tells you different is a damn liar."
- Tip Harris

"Today approximately 130,000 people are incarcerated by for-profit companies. In 2010, annual revenues for the two largest companies — Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group — were nearly $3 billion."

So we now have corporations that necessitate incarceration. Shouldn't those that run these facilities be a part of the discussion re:
how to reduce the need to jail our citizens?
What good is a prisoner?

Well, if you're missing those good ole' days of slave labor, prisoners are alotta good.
"Prisoners earning 23 cents an hour in U.S. federal prisons are manufacturing high-tech electronics [for the military]."

"Labor in federal prisons is contracted out by UNICOR,
a quasi-public, for-profit corporation
run by the Bureau of Prisons.
UNICOR is now the U.S. government’s
39th largest contractor."

“Are you experiencing high employee turnover? Worried about the costs of employee benefits? Unhappy with out-of-state or offshore suppliers? Getting hit by overseas competition? Having trouble motivating your workforce? Thinking about expansion space? Then Washington State Department of Corrections Private Sector Partnerships is for you.” (as quoted by educate-yourself.org, July 25, 2005)
And oh yeah...

"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude,
except as a punishment for crime
whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
- 13th Amendment, Section 1.

"We can do much more to combat the prison-industrial complex which is ravishing our communities if we recognize its historical connection with slavery." - Angela Davis


So back to Trayvon Martin...
Which of his behaviors did the media highlight?

And what lessons are taught to the youth as a result of putting such behaviors on blast?
He was a teenager who smoked weed.

He was a resident of an apparently "dangerous" city and he had a gun (not on him the night of his death).

So why do I know these things?

Because apparently this is pertinent information when deciding how to react to him being fatally shot while unarmed.

And oh yeah, don't forget that this teenage boy used strongly worded slang on twitter.
Lessons Displayed To The Youth
Not only has Martin's situation promoted a sort of Dress Code, but also a Code of Conduct.

Even if you're not engaging in "bad" behavior at a given moment, if you catch a case... or a bullet, you'll have deserved it more.

What to do when all your "othered" behaviors and characteristics get you stalked by a grown man:

Well I'll tell you what you don't do. You don't defend yourself.

'Cause it's quite possible that the only way you're gonna get outta that situation is with a gun,
and if you were to have/ use one of those,
well then you'll probably just end up in prison
'cause you're just a wannabe gangster in need of a lesson.

Better let this strange man do whatever the fuck he intends with you.

Lessons Displayed To The Youth
Lessons Displayed To The Youth
You are arrestable when you go to protest in the streets.

You are detain-able when you go get something to eat.

So stay within the lines,
'cause you're better

Full transcript