Everyone Is a Victim of Racism

In a piece for Salon Magazine, Roxane Gay argues that racism hurts all of us. 

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Reactions upon hearing that George Zimmerman was found not guilty (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

In her piece for Salon, Roxane Gay argues that racism hurts everyone. She explores the racism that led to the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman.

A young and unarmed black man was walking home from a convenience store and was murdered by a man with a gun who claimed he was defending himself. The man with the gun is now free because a jury of six women acquitted him of all charges. Life is absurd.

On my Twitter feed, many people have expressed shock and outrage. They seem genuinely surprised. Having followed the trial, I am not so much surprised as I am numb. I don't quite feel anger, though I am, in my way, outraged. This verdict speaks for itself. This verdict tells us everything we need to know about our laws, whom they are designed to protect, and why. It tells us about the power of the gun lobby, the power of stereotypes, and the value of a black person's life.

Black men and women, black boys and girls, will continue to live in a world where they are guilty until proven innocent, and where their lives matter less in a justice system that is anything but blind to race. None of us, in fact, are blind to race. When people say, "I don't see race," they are actually saying, "I don't want to see race and thereby face the world as it really is." It is the most sincere expression of privilege there is.

Read Roxane Gay's entire piece at the Salon.

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