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The Ivory Tower

I’m a fan and a critic of social media and it really doesn’t matter because social media is there whether you engage with it or not. I’ve come to rely on it for news locally and nationally, as well as to gage the sentiment of that news from a collection of people I’ve grown to trust. It’s a sign of the times that I’m trusting people I’ve never met in person but instead people who have become known as my Facebook friends or people I follow on Twitter.

And through the cracks of these virtual relationships have sprung up other voices and other thought groups, which have given me pause, if not made me outright mad as hell. This has been a week – a week where the Supreme Court decimated the Voter’s Right Act and threw out DOMA and its offshoot Prop 8. It’s also a week where the Zimmerman trial has been feeding the newswire with doubt and sorrow about whether Trayvon Martin’s murderer will be justly tried.

On taking out the core part of the Voter’s Right Act, the argument continues to be that the times they have changed and even here where David Gergen argues it has, I’m not so sure. In a similar situation, where the voice of a white man has been one I trusted at times – E.O. Wilson as well as David Gergen – I have found both wanting, as they insist South they grew up in has changed when sadly, it has not. On the surface you could say the racism that coursed through the South of the 1960s has changed, but if you look closely, it has only morphed to a much more subtle racism, a brick and mortar type racism where every single institution’s foundation continues to be fraught with inequities. Not just in the South, in this whole big country. So while the argument is that the Voter’s Right Act is no longer necessary, I say, perhaps, but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. All is not right here (or there), and so I ask what now?

The DOMA and Prop 8 removal was the right thing to do, but I wonder how many gay African Americans have celebrated given the proximity overturning the Voter’s Rights Act had to the dismissal of DOMA and Prop 8. I’m sure for many it has been a SMH moment.

And in the midst of these landmark decisions, the trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin has created a celebrity or anti-celebrity out of a young, Black woman named Rachel Jaentel who has been put on trial instead of George Zimmerman. I stand back and look at how the media and the social media have handled the testimony of this 19-year-old girl and now I’m SMH because honestly, I wonder where it is that this country feels comfortable taking a kid and placing the weight of the world on her and then expecting her to behave like more than a kid. How many of you know a 19-year-old? Could you imagine that kid taking the stand for one of the most highlighted televised murder cases in this country? Good lord.

Yesterday on Facebook a local DJ put up a post saying ask that a page should be removed – it was a Facebook page that made fun of Trayvon Martin’s death. Really?

Yesterday on Twitter a dozen people I follow said they are certain Zimmerman will get an innocent verdict from this trial. Really?

Here in my Ivory Tower where I sit SMH most times, I realize every day as a white Southern woman whose guts are a gumbo of Spanish and Jewish as well as White European ancestors, I have finally learned at the age of 54, that I don’t know what I don’t know – so I sayeth unto all of you down there and up here, THINK THAT YOU MIGHT BE WRONG.


By Rachel Dangermond

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