Phony claims of blacks as victims

Walking While Black in the ‘White Gaze’
New York Times Opinionator Blog, 2013-09-01



Many have argued that the site of violence occurred
upon the confrontation between Trayvon and Zimmerman.
Yet, the violence began with Zimmerman’s non-emergency dispatch call,
a call that was racially assaultive in its discourse,
one that used the tropes of anti-black racism.
Note, Zimmerman said, “There’s a real suspicious guy.”
He also said,
“This guy looks like he’s up to no good or he’s on drugs or something.”
When asked by the dispatcher, he said, within seconds, that,
“He looks black.”
Asked what he is wearing, Zimmerman says,
“A dark hoodie, like a gray hoodie.”
Later, Zimmerman said that
“now he’s coming toward me. He’s got his hands in his waist band.”
And then,
“And he’s a black male.”
But what does it mean to be “a real suspicious guy”?
What does it mean to look like one is “up to no good”?
Zimmerman does not give any details,
nothing to buttress the validity of his narration.
Keep in mind that Zimmerman is in his vehicle
as he provides his narration to the dispatcher.
As “the looker,” it is not Zimmerman who is in danger;
rather, it is Trayvon Martin, “the looked at,”
who is the target of suspicion and possible violence.

After all, it is Trayvon Martin who is wearing the hoodie,
a piece of “racialized” attire that apparently signifies black criminality.
Zimmerman later said:
“Something’s wrong with him. Yep, he’s coming to check me out,” and,
“He’s got something in his hands.”
Zimmerman also said, “I don’t know what his deal is.”
A black young male with “something” in his hands,
wearing a hoodie, looking suspicious,
and perhaps on drugs, and there being “something wrong with him,”
is a racist narrative of fear and frenzy.
The history of white supremacy underwrites this interpretation.
Within this context of discursive violence [!!!],
Zimmerman was guilty of an act of aggression against Trayvon Martin [!!!],
even before the trigger was pulled.
Before his physical death, Trayvon Martin was rendered “socially dead”
under the weight of Zimmerman’s racist stereotypes.
Zimmerman’s aggression was enacted through his gaze,
through the act of profiling,
through his discourse and
through his warped reconstruction of an innocent black boy
that instigates white fear.


George Yancy is a professor of philosophy at Duquesne University.
He has authored, edited and co-edited 17 books, including
“Black Bodies, White Gazes,”
“Look, a White!”
and (co-edited with Janine Jones) “Pursuing Trayvon Martin.”

[There are three things worth bearing in mind
to help put those remarkable accusations in context.
One is the actual transcript of the Zimmerman/SPD communication,
the most pertinent parts of which are shown below.
Second is the context of fear that pervaded the neighborhood,
fear not necessarily of physical assault
but of property thefts, committed by persons who, yes, fit a certain profile.
See, for example, a Reuters article on the crime situation in Zimmerman's neighborhood prior to the shooting.
Finally, Zimmerman did not shoot Martin until after Martin had caused physical injury to Zimmerman.
It truly seems remarkable to me that that fact,
something which is a fact and not just speculation or possibly made-up witness accounts,
is totally ignored by so very many of the black commentators who have written or spoken on this matter.]

Transcript of George Zimmerman's Call to the Police
Transcript of George Zimmerman's Call to the Police

Dispatcher: Sanford Police Department. …

Zimmerman: Hey we've had some break-ins in my neighborhood, and there's a
real suspicious guy, uh, [near] Retreat View Circle, um, the best address I can
give you is 111 Retreat View Circle. This guy looks like he's up to no good, or
he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around, looking
Dispatcher: OK, and this guy is he white, black, or Hispanic?
Zimmerman: He looks black.
Dispatcher: Did you see what he was wearing?
Zimmerman: Yeah. A dark hoodie, like a grey hoodie, and either jeans or
sweatpants and white tennis shoes. He's [unintelligible], he was just staring…
Dispatcher: OK, he's just walking around the area…
Zimmerman: …looking at all the houses.


Zimmerman: Yeah, now he's coming towards me.
Dispatcher: OK.
Zimmerman: He's got his hand in his waistband. And he's a black male.
Dispatcher: How old would you say he looks?
Zimmerman: He's got button on his shirt, late teens.
Dispatcher: Late teens ok.
Dispatcher: OK…
Zimmerman: Now he's just staring at me.


Zimmerman: Somethings wrong with him. Yup, he's coming to check me out, he's got
something in his hands, I don't know what his deal is.
Dispatcher: Just let me know if he does anything ok
Zimmerman: How long until you get an officer over here?
Dispatcher: Yeah we've got someone on the way, just let me know if this guy does
anything else.
Zimmerman: Okay. These assholes they always get away....


Zimmerman: ... Shit he's running.
Dispatcher: He's running? Which way is he running?
Zimmerman: Down towards the other entrance to the neighborhood.
Dispatcher: Which entrance is that that he's heading towards?
Zimmerman: The back entrance…fucking [unintelligible]
Dispatcher: Are you following him?
Zimmerman: Yeah
Dispatcher: Ok, we don't need you to do that.
Zimmerman: Ok
Dispatcher: Alright sir what is your name?
Zimmerman: George…He ran.