Racism, movies, the law, life, and self-reflection

So… first things first, I’ve decided not to address the Zimmerman verdict in any thorough manner. There’s a lot I can say about the trial, from a legal and common sense standpoint, but I’ll be as brief as I can. I have a lot of opinions on it, I have a lot of questions. I feel that the prosecution held back. There are a lot of key pieces of evidence that didn’t get brought up. I can accept that legally – legally – based on the way the law is written, Zimmerman is not guilty of murder. I accepted that a long time ago. I also said a long time ago that it wasn’t necessarily a race issue. Zimmerman technically had legitimate reason to call 911. There was a string of break-ins that all witnesses stated were committed by young black men. Mentioning that Martin was black on the 911 call was not racist. I don’t think that he singled him out with the intent of killing him simply because he was black.

But manslaughter? I really think that should have been there, only because I firmly believe he was the aggressor. He started some shit and ended it. Martin had the right to defend himself. Everyone talks about, ‘well why didn’t he just go home?’

Because he was being followed!

First rule of survival, someone’s following you, you don’t let them know where the hell you live! Not only that, but be wasn’t near his father’s house yet. He still had a ways to go. You can argue that Zimmerman wasn’t stalking him, but I’m sure to Martin, he was. And have you seen the picture from his grandmother’s birthday party taken less than two weeks prior? He was not this huge hulking beast that everyone makes him out to be.

Additionally, look at the way his body was found. If Zimmerman was getting slammed into the sidewalk and pulled out his gun, why was Martin’s dead body laying in the grass quite a distance away from the sidewalk? Then to back it up, there was quite some time between Zimmerman losing sight of Martin (per his 911 call) and the time that Martin actually started walking towards the ‘T’ in the sidewalk (per his conversation with his friend while he was walking), which means Martin was walking from the opposite direction Zimmerman says he was (per his walkthrough of the night).

So… as I said. He waited, he started shit. Martin defended himself first. ZImmerman’s self-defense is a fair argument, but it still doesn’t mean that he is innocent. The screams on the 911 tape? Why are you screaming for help if you know you are lethally armed? Full of shit.

But moving on. I feel that, in a way, this ties into something I read yesterday. Movies that really reflect life are some of the most amazing movies ever made, especially if you walk out of them feeling uncomfortable because the movie made you think, or question yourself and your beliefs.  I read an article yesterday that listed the top ten completely overrated movies (Titanic was #1, and I fully agree with that one). Number 8 was Crash.  Anyone that I know who has ever seen Crash, has talked about how it made them feel afterwards. The list said that the reason it was overrated was because it is “just filled with unlikeable characters being racist,” and that while “the world is full of terrible people, hard choices, and bad situations; however, it is also full of plenty of other things.” No. NO. It is filled with identifiable people, some of whom were being racist without even knowing it. That is the point.

Before I get into the whole rant, though, let me explain why it ties to Zimmerman – and frankly, any race-related thing (I’m sure your Facebook news feeds around election time showed you how some of your friends and family feel about black people). First off, non-black people are very quick to accuse black people of ‘playing the race card,’ and while I agree sometimes it comes out early, you have to understand. If you spend a lifetime actually being judged based on skin color, you’re going to see judgement everywhere. I’ve already shared the time I got pulled over in an affluent town and actually had a gun drawn on me before the cop ever even asked for ID. I was 19, dressed for the club, and I lived only five minutes away. The moment the guy saw a brown arm, he reacted. Think about the whole scene in the movie with Officer Hansen (Ryan Phillippe) and Peter (Larenz Tate) in the car. Why did Hansen react the way he did? Because Peter was a black man. How many Zimmerman supporters talked about Martin being some giant, muscle-bound street tough? Or – moreover, the “unbiased” photo of Zimmerman in a suit and some black kid (who wasn’t even Martin) throwing up ‘gang’ signs? Because as a young black man, Martin was automatically a thug.

So… to get into my critique of the critique of Crash… this submission shows that Kim Carleton (if she compiled this list completely alone) didn’t actually watch the movie. Or, considers it overrated because she saw something of herself in one of the characters and doesn’t want to face it.

The whole point of the damn movie was to show that racism is so ingrained that people sometimes behave without even being cognizant of said underlying racist motivation. That even the person who thinks they’re completely innocent of such behavior actually has some pretty intense discriminatory ideas. Once again, Officer Hansen. He requests a transfer from his partner Officer Ryan (Matt Dillon) because of his racial actions, but ultimately behaves in the exact same way with deadly consequences. In the meantime,  Officer Ryan, while he dishes out some verbal abuse to Shaniqua (Loretta Devine) and sexually assaults Christine (Thandie Newton) – though it’s unclear if the assault is a race thing or not – ends up saving Christine from a burning car without thinking twice about her skin color. Which one was actually racist?

Jean Cabot (Sandra Bullock) makes a comment about the locksmith giving keys to his Mexican gang friends, then later realizes that her Latina maid is the only person in her life she can truly depend on.  Detective Waters (Don Cheadle) who is the last person you’d expect to be racist, because he’s black, right, shows his indifference to all Latino/Hispanic cultures, implying that they’re all the same. The conversation between Anthony and Peter (Ludacris and Tate) about tipping, how the server expects them to leave a shitty tip because they’re black, and gives them less than stellar service, which leaves them deserving of a shitty tip – is really one of the most important scenes in the movie, in my opinion. SO many people are guilty of this – from both sides. I’m going to use black and white because that’s what I know. I know a lot of young black men who just assume all white people are going to treat them like ignorant thugs, and so they just act that way. They just meet expectations. Here’s my call to everyone: Expect more. Be more.

But honestly, if you saw that movie and the only thing you took away from it was, “If it is attempting to reflect real life, it went a little too far into the dark side,” then I suggest you watch it again. And again and again and again, until you get it. Until you’ve figured out which character represents you.


About Melissa Limasse

| Real name - Yeah right | Location – The State of Being | Worth - $2,425,486 | Education – B.A. Sociology and Psychology, A.As. in Criminal Justice | Single, childless, and completely satisfied with both, Ms. Limasse doesn’t fit into the traditional “female” mold. Most people would say she’s intimidating. Anything that she says here she has most likely already said out loud View all posts by Melissa Limasse

2 responses to “Racism, movies, the law, life, and self-reflection

  • Atticus

    Regarding the Zimmerman portion of the article: I think you made some great points. Overall, the law is bad. No disagreement there. However, I do disagree here (and you know how much people like to talk about their disagreements):

    “The screams on the 911 tape? Why are you screaming for help if you know you are lethally armed? Full of shit.”

    Trayvon’s Dad even said that the screams weren’t his – and others recognized them as Zimmerman’s. But who knows, right?

    I think Martin was probably getting the best of the fight, beating the hell out of Zimmerman, lost his temper as teenagers can do. Zimmerman was a coward – pulled out his weapon and shot Martin.

    Legally okay to do – but a cowardly thing to do. Either way, somebody should talk about how poorly the media handled this case…

  • Melissa Limasse

    The screams were chilling, and I still stand by my argument. Even if Martin was getting the best of the fight (and at the time, the two of them were pretty evenly for size), once again, Zimmerman KNEW that he out-armed Martin. Why are you screaming for help?

    The media has handled every case terribly for as long as I can remember. I think Jessenia talked about the completely contradicting info that came out during the Sandy Hook tragedy. I was watching CNN like everyone else, and counted at least 6 “news” items that were in direct conflict with each other during the day.

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