In Defense of Survivors

On November 13, 2013, entertainment news (read tabloid) company TMZ uncovered a police report naming Florida State University freshman quarterback and Heisman frontrunner, Jameis Winston. This is not an essay about Jameis Winston, per se. I will not engage in speculating about the nature of Winston’s involvement or his understanding of happenings other than those defended to be consensual. I do, however, wish to address broader topics and systems of oppression converging to create an familiar narrative about rape culture, sport, and exceptionalism in defense of rape survivors.

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JUSTICE FOR TRAYVON: Now What?

I was sitting in a loft on the South Side of Dallas (TX) late last night when the verdict was reported. Like you, I was greatly disappointed, even angry, but not at all surprised to hear “we the jury find the defendant ... not guilty.” It was as if the attempt to objectively and unemotionally read the verdict conveyed the inevitable truth of George Zimmerman’s legal innocence, perhaps as convincingly as his definitive guilt in many of our minds. I knew the time was approaching, but yet and still, I immediately felt deflated and unprepared for a productive response, individually or as a community of socially conscious citizens against injustice. 

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Not Impartial

By now, we have all become very familiar with Trayvon Martin, a 17-year old Black boy who was murdered in Sanford, Florida at the hands of George Zimmerman who now stands trial for second-degree murder. Recently, we were also made aware that jury selection has concluded, and not without critiques and concerns from the public personal invested in the outcome of this case. The jurors, all six of whom are women, (five are white, one is Latina) are cause for at least some rightful worry. Fully understanding the complexities of public concern requires we look into the not-so-distant past where, in the summer of 1955 in Sumner, Mississippi, a 14-year old Black boy was murdered.

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