About Me

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Grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Richmond, El Cerrito, Berkeley, Oakland. My time now is mostly spent getting better at being a person, refining my time management skills, trying to read normal people books and articles, and learning how to be a force for good.

T1D Life in full effect. 

I will never stop learning, nor will I stop working to make a difference for someone.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Zimmerman, Martin, and the Case for a Dose of Sanity

Over at the Book of Face, I've been adding to a small discussion prompted by Andrew Pegoda, a fellow academic and speaker on social junk and stuff. Check out his blog here. The original question was:
Should "double jeopardy" be OK in cases where it is quickly discovered the lawyers and/or judge put together a set of evidence and jurors that GUARANTEED the defendant would walk away. Consider the composition of the jury, statements by the jurors as they were selected (esp racist statements by B37 then, and now). Consider the directions they received [from the judge] (see first comment). I still wonder why we don't have a better system to decide supposedly clear cut issues [such as innocence or guilt]... [do typical juries] allow too much for prejudice, see second comment. Read, set, discuss! :)

I added the things in brackets. 

Interesting discussion. At the latest point, one person asked, "...it sounds like you went into this case knowing the outcome you wanted." A little later, "Of course, you had no opinion before this?"

I think this is disingenuous, to assume anyone is objective, without opinion. Further, to think race played no part in all of this is purely bullshit, whether intentionally bullshit or not. Here's what I said:

 We all have opinions. This discussion seems similar to the argument for 'objective analysis' or 'objective science'. No one is completely objective, or devoid of opinions, in any situation, ever. No one lives in a vacuum. This point is completely unnecessary. What makes most science, or social science or law 'good', is the attempt to be willing to change one's mind based on the observed stuff that happens. 

I figure it's not a real thing that Bigfoot exists. Haven't seen much solid evidence for that claim. But if there was a whole lot of solid evidence that bigfoot existed, as a social scientist I then change my perspective and assumptions to meet the reality of the observed stuff. This whole 'racism isn't a thing anymore in America' is contrary to the decades of social science evidence both in legal and social aspects. To say a grown man can chase an unarmed teenager, only doing so because of institutionalized presumptions about racial tendencies (and a keen fear of 'others' as we like to use in sociology), kill him, and then not at least be held a little legally accountable, is sheer madness. 

Yeah, they'd had break-ins. I get it. It sucks, I've had my stuff stolen, been jacked at knifepoint, it ain't fun. But I don't see anyone demonizing white men for being perpetual white collar criminals, who by far and away are almost the only white collar criminals in the U.S., with far greater reaching impacts on human beings than your typical street-level criminal. The real clothing I fear? White shirts and ties. Hoodies don't scare me. So yeah. Race had nothing to do with it.

What say ye?