Saturday, July 20, 2013

What makes George Zimmerman a hero to the "White Right"?

Chauncey DeVega looks at the question of just how white conservatives process the pathetic killer George Zimmerman into a hero in What Makes a Hero? Not the Cowardice of Richard Cohen and His Defense of Racial Profiling WARN 07/16/2013:

The White Right considers Zimmerman a hero as a function of their racism, worship of guns, and deep desire to play Charles Bronson as they protect the good folks of "real America" from the black and brown hordes that have overrun it. Moreover, we cannot overlook how the Authoritarian-Ayn Rand bent of contemporary conservatism is that of bullies and xenophobes.

In all, George Zimmerman, who achieved full and honorary Whiteness by killing a black kid named Trayvon Martin, is a hero because his murderous deeds are a projection of the Tea Party GOP's racial hostility and desire to control through intimidation, force, and violence any individual or group which they identify as some type of Other or "undesirable." [my emphasis]
People like DeVega have been doing a lot of interesting work on the social construction of race and the ways that functions in American society. A lot of it takes place in academia and hasn't especially penetrated into the popular press. Like all academic endeavors, especially ones not so familiar to the general public, it's easy to find awkward attempts at addressing the concepts to a more general audience. And, of course, there is no shortage of people who are happy to deliberately misconstrue that work or dismiss it with ridicule.

But DeVega's blog regularly makes current applications of those concepts available in a relatively accessible manner even for people who aren't familiar with the more specialized academic and philosophical foundations.

He continues:

Zimmerman wanted glory and recognition as the neighborhood hero. Zimmerman did not place himself at risk of any real harm--he was armed; his victim carried candy and a bottle of iced tea. He also chose to racially profile a young black man knowing that the full power of State authority and the police would likely support whatever actions, however violent or unnecessary, Zimmerman decided to take that evening.

Ultimately, George Zimmerman's "heroism" exists in a system of relationships governed by a Newtonian model for the physics of racial attitudes, values, and politics: the more the murderer Zimmerman is vilified by black and brown folks and other reasonable parties, the more his defenders on the Right will embrace him.

George Zimmerman is a coward. He is no hero. [my emphasis]
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