Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A few thoughts on the G.Z. and T.M. case

Yes, you'll gather that I'm sufficiently a coward to use initials so as not to attract search bots and worse than search bots, as the comments I'm going to put here are not going to be palatable to the sort of people who tend to threaten violence if you disagree with them.

Now that G.Z. has been acquitted by a jury of any crime and is merely still in danger of a) political and lawless pursuit by a Javert-like federal government bent on tasting "white hispanic" blood, b) outright murder, c) inability to get a job, ever, d) personal civil trial by the relatives of T. M., I'm going to offer a few comments on the case.

First of all, this case should never, never have been brought to trial at all, given that it was only political intervention that prevented it from all being over when the police didn't arrest G.Z. in the first place and when the local prosecutor considered that there wasn't a case, a point well made here and here. Second, since that is the case, the real injustice here has been done to G.Z., a point that some people even sorta kinda on the right do not seem to appreciate.

It occurs to me that G. Z. was one of those Obama supporters and men of the left who still believed that leftism is compatible with law and order, that the law is the same for everybody, and that we all agree that crime should be stopped. My deepest sympathies go out to him for what must be a rude awakening, though I have no idea if he has even yet connected those dots. No, committed leftism is not compatible with law and order, if keeping law and order means that the "wrong kind of people" get punished or arrested "too often."

I remember twenty-odd years ago bursting into the office of one of my conservative mentors at Vanderbilt and fulminating about an article I had been reading that day in a magazine. (This was before the Internet.) The article was complaining that the police in one city were arresting "too many" people of a certain race and saying that this had to stop. I was simply aghast at how blatant it was. It didn't actually present any evidence or documentation nor even bother to say that the police were stopping or arresting people of this race who were innocent. It wasn't even clear that the article was assuming that. It was a straight matter of bean counting: Thou shalt not arrest or stop more than x number of people of this race or thou shalt be in trouble, period. If that means that crime must go unprevented or unpunished, so be it. "So what does this mean, a daily bag limit?" I spluttered. That got a wry smile.

As with academic standards and hiring standards, so here: If standards of behavior mean that "too many" of x mascot group (women, minorities, whatever) are burdened or arrested, then the standards must be changed, or must be changed for them. We can't have disparate impact even if eliminating disparate impact means allowing anarchy to prevail.

G.Z. has had that illustrated to him the hard, the very hard, way.

Below are the comments I posted on Facebook about this matter after reading some comments by a "moderate" friend. The "moderate" friend had said that he accepts the verdict in the trial and that there doesn't appear to have been enough evidence to convict and does appear to have been some evidence that T.M. was the aggressor but that this is a time when we need to talk about the reality of racial profiling, what it's like to be black in America, etc. He said that G.Z. placed T.M. in a group of "them" who "always get away" and that this grouping and categorizing of black people is what we need to be talking about now. Another friend echoed him and approvingly linked this stupid article, saying that we white people in the evangelical church need to be "listening" to our black brethren about their experience. Here was my response:

For those who are saying in the wake of the Z. verdict that, even though there wasn't enough evidence to convict Z. of a crime, he was committing “racial profiling,” about which we should all take this opportunity to beat our breasts, I have a questoin: Must we all engage in reverse racial profiling? Reverse racial profiling is when you deliberately ignore suspicious behavior and self-presentation if engaged in by a person of a mascot racial group. Hence, even if M. was walking or dressing or behaving in a way that looked like he was high (which he may have been) and which was suspicious, Z. was obligated to pretend that this wasn't the case, because M. was black. Is that it? If not, then how the heck do you know that Z's suspicions were not based on self-presentation and behavior? Is it not jumping to conclusions (which is itself what is supposed to be wrong about “profiling”) for you to assume that Z. was guilty of wrong-thought in suspecting M. of being up to no good? Think twice. I refuse to use this as an opportunity to bang the “white guilt” drum. That's uncalled for, and even if you are a moderate in the way you do it, it plays into exactly the sort of hysteria that has put an innocent man through an unjustified ordeal and may yet cost him his life. Stop and think about that for a minute before you keep talking about the “evils of profiling.”
Unfortunately, there is more than one kind of race baiting. There's the extreme kind that calls for Z's blood and says that his acquittal was a victory for racism. But even just saying that this is a great chance to talk about the evils of racial profiling is a form of race baiting. It has the unsavory implication that maybe Z. has deserved at least what he has gone through thus far for engaging (so it asserts) in the evil thought of "racial profiling." And it contributes in its small way to keeping alive the flame of hatred against him for that wrong-thought, as well as downplaying or even ignoring the injustice that has been done to him. The only people who can be victims of injustice, apparently, are the mascot groups, and the rest of us must be kept ever mindful of that fact so that we can feel the right amount of guilt for being "privileged."

The "moderate" wannabes who engage in this kind of race baiting never for a moment think about the new climate of opinion that they are contributing to, nor about its victims. They don't seem too worried about anti-white racism, about innocent victims of that sort of hatred, about the under-reporting of those crimes, and about the way that constantly feeding the left-wing racial narrative (which they, in their small way, are doing) perpetuates and permits violence and interracial hatred from the alleged "victim" groups by confirming them in their "victim" status and giving them a sense of excuse.

That is reckless and foolish. It is a failure to recognize reality and to deal with it. And that is all the more ironic, since these are the kind of people who usually worry their heads a great deal about societal attitudes and "what we as Christians are encouraging," etc.

I hope that G.Z. and his family are protected and also, if I may say so, that they don't keep supporting President Barack Obama, who intervened so irresponsibly in this case and cared nothing about the effect of his intervention on an innocent man. There are plenty of things that this case tells us, and they do indeed have to do with "the privileged." But those words, as it turns out, don't mean what the liberals and the evangelical racial breast-beaters think they do.


William Luse said...

...does appear to have been some evidence that T.M. was the aggressor but that this is a time when we need to talk about the reality of racial profiling, what it's like to be black in America, etc.

You can tell your moderate friends that I don't need to talk about racial profiling because it had nothing to do with this case, and that we don't have to talk about what it's like to be black in America because we've been doing that for that past 50 years and the level of discourse has since slithered into the sewer. Instead of the relatively noble rhetoric of MLK, we now have the snake oil hate salesmen like Sharpton. Being black in America is a pretty good deal if any black man wants to be a good citizen by working his ass off, getting an education, and being a father to the children he sires. The vast majority of white people will only wish him well. If he doesn't, he can refuse to learn acceptable English, drop out of school, join a gang, prey on others, impregnate as many females as he likes with no legal consequence, and claim that he's justified because Whitey hates him. You can also tell your moderate friends that a lot of black guys must be profiling other blacks because 92% of black homicide victims are killed by people of the same color.

Lydia McGrew said...

You are absolutely right on every point here, Bill.

But everything you are saying will be rejected or shied away from by the evanjellyfish. Unfortunately, even among those who are conservative on other issues (such as abortion and marriage, for example) in the evangelical community, race is one of those topics on which one has to toe the line.

Russell Moore, a Baptist pundit and academic, whom some regard as conservative, referred in passing, without argument, to T. M. as having been "brutally murdered" and likened him to Emett Till. This was before the trial. I await Moore's apology for slandering Z., given the evidence that has come out, with bated breath. Or maybe not.

J said...

Hi Lydia,

Is it possible to get ahold of the court's judgement on this case and, if so, how? It would be instructive to see what the hard facts were in this case.

Lydia McGrew said...

I'm not sure what you mean. "The court" didn't render a judgement. The jury did. The jury acquitted. As to "hard facts," there was extensive coverage of the trial testimony and evidence which you could look up.

c matt said...

The jury rendered a verdict. The court rendered a judgment based upon the verdict. But the judgment probably won't say much more than the jury found the defendant not guilty of the charges, the charges are dismissed and defendant is free to go. If you want the "hard facts" you will have to get the trial transcript and record of exhibits admitted.

steve said...

I haven't studied the case closely. What I've read is that it took place at night, and Martin was wearing a hoodie. If so, how could Zimmerman even tell that Martin was black when he started to monitor his movements? Under those conditions, wouldn't he have to get very close to him before he could tell what race he was?

Yet critics who accuse him of "racial profiling" say that's why he followed Martin in the first place. Am I missing something?

Lydia McGrew said...

I've wondered that too, but I would guess some houses might have had outside lights on or something. Often you can tell a person's race in pretty low light. I recall from the 911 call that Z. did guess that he was black, and it turns out he guessed correctly. It doesn't follow, of course, that that was why he followed him at all, nor that that was the chief or only reason that he followed him. But of course the edited tape which NBC published, for which they deserve to be sued, made it look like that was his main reason. The unedited tape shows that he only even mentioned the race in answer to a question.