G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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OneSTDV has a great take on the Martin case.
We know of Steve Sailer’s argument that the media is always on the lookout for the Great White Defendant – with the word ‘defendant’ being a stand-in for the word ‘shark’. The part of the media that controls narratives really wants to get its hands on the perfect white villain because it makes for a satisfying news story. With a black defendant, there are outs. Not so with a white defendant. No excuses – the white criminal individual is, tautologically, purely diabolical. Society didn’t make him do it, and the police didn’t set him up.*
Blogger One adds a corollary to Sailer’s argument:
I don’t find this media circus surprising though, with Trayvon being another in a long list of Great Black Victims (GBV). Parallel to Thomas Wolfe’s Great White Defendant, an archetype promulgated in media by shows like Law and Order and CSI, the GBV is a personal reflection of the supposed insidiousness of racist white society.
I’d like to tease out the corollary a bit further.
I think Joe Biden summed it up but in a completely different context. Of then-candidate Obama, Biden said something about the future president being a “clean and articulate” black man. And what is Trayvon Martin if not a sweet, smiling face to put forward to the media to gather sympathy from a critical mass of white narrative shapers? The kid was carrying Skittles and iced tea. Save for a school suspension, he was clean – no criminal hang-ups that might possibly justify Zimmerman’s instinct. Basically, Martin is “the other” but not too much of “the other” to keep white media narrative shapers from being scared away by biases similar to the ones that motivated the (stupid) George Zimmerman.
The point isn’t to say that Trayvon Martin doesn’t deserve coverage. The point is to figure out why Trayvon Martin and not other young black men who’ve been erroneously killed by police or citizens. As commenter dragnet pointed out here, the reason that Martin’s case is making such a splash is that Martin’s parents hired a sophisticated and connected attorney named Benjamin Crump who is adept at leveraging the media to gain awareness and sympathy for his clients. Given the limited number of media resources and the number of stories “competing” for air space, this question of what makes it through the filter is an important one. What gets told and why? And most importantly, why does it get told with the predetermined conclusion that the scuffle and shooting didn’t take place as Zimmerman says it did or that the police didn’t do a good enough investigation. Why is the white-run media latching on to this particular story without doing any actual journalism?
To flip this back on those with “white savior complex” – where were they when other innocent blacks were gunned down? What, they only speak out when people start donning kitschy articles of clothing or when enough people force certain hashtags to trend on Twitter?
*This sets the stage for a tension that is never discussed and which is the source of a lot of the acrimony and strife surrounding these types of cases. On the one hand, police and citizens – for right or wrong – do have biases against blacks. But on the other hand, the media is primed to exonerate black defendants or punish white ones. “Regular” news-consuming whites are torn in two directions – being the beneficiaries of heavy-handed policing but suffering in the media-produced court of public opinion.