The details of the case are shocking in themselves. According to his family, Arbery – a runner – went out for a jog. Two white men, claiming concern about a local break-in, grabbed their guns, jumped into a truck, followed Arbery, later joined by a third white man. One of those men shot and killed Arbery with a shotgun. McMichaels Says He Was Defending Himself While Attempting To Make “Citizen Arrest” – Still Travis McMichael testified during trial
Arbery no longer threatened anyone in his murder trial.
that a group of white men felt it appropriate to chase a black man through their neighborhood—even a man they believe he stole (not a capital crime)—and then realized That they deserve to be scot-free after one of them is shot, his death is serious enough. But further cementing this arrogance is the racist attack on the victim by a member of the defense team. On Monday, defense attorney Laura Hogg said during her closing argument in the case, “Turning Ahmaud Arbery into a victim following the choices she made does not reflect the reality that Ahmed Arbery was seen wearing Satila Shores in her khaki shorts.” What was brought in. Without socks to cover my long, dirty toenails.”
What does the status of Arbery’s pedicure have to do with whether or not the person who shot her is guilty of murder? nothing. In his role as his client’s advocate for Hogg, citing such details as Arbery’s attempt to paint a racially coded picture in the jury’s mind as less than human, There is no conceivable justification for portraying him as a dirty animal. legitimate threat. One person the members of the jury – almost all of whom are also white – might not even want to be in their neighborhood. It was, it seems, a naked ploy to weaponize white fear in order to acquit his client.
Arbery’s mother left the courtroom in shock and disgust. She told Granthshala’s Anderson Cooper that she was shocked by the rescue attempt to “dehumanize” her son.
It was an embarrassing performance, and a character assassination tactic from someone who doesn’t believe they can win on merit. “They actually murdered their child in that courtroom, now they’re killing their character here,” said Benjamin Crump, the family’s attorney.
It was also a familiar move in the tragic, long history of racist violence in the United States. Over and over again, black victims are vilified and their names tarnished after their deaths in an attempt to justify violence against them. In Roles
Go back to the days of slavery, and especially the Reconstruction era, when many whites felt threatened by newly-minted black freedoms. Lynchings and murders, including the murder of a child, Emmett Till, were justified by the claim that black men and boys raped or otherwise assaulted white women. The pro-Ku-Klux-Klan film “Birth of a Nation” intensely captured the image of black men as brutal and wild.
In some cases decades and a century later, these depictions have changed, but they have not gone away. When white people commit acts of violence against black people, black men, women, and even children, they are denigrated as intimidating, threatening, and animalistic, the message of being a white aggressor or murderer in self-defense. I was working – and the black hunt was approaching.
This trope is employed so often that “He Wasn’t An Angel”
– The line is widely understood as a cliché trope, following the murders of black men and boys, often by conservatives and even some mainstream news outlets. Even 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot by a cop while he was in the playground Called
“Thud” by a police union president and blamed for his death.
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And now here’s Arbery, with the position of his toes used to try to justify his murder.
The question now is whether the jury will fall for it – or whether, after much has changed and much remains the same, they will see this hideous strategy for what they are. I hope that when they deliberate, whatever conclusion they reach, they will reject this attempt at victim-blame, and pursue justice for Ahmaud Arbery. But the long history that set the scene for Arbery’s murder, and that playing into the defense strategy of those who followed him and who pulled the trigger, won’t go away when the jury delivers its verdict. It is up to us all: to name these racist tropes, to understand their hypocrisy, and to reject them.