The Face of Privilege — Brock Turner

Remember the OJ trial? Remember how it came shortly after the Rodney King verdict where no justice was ever done? Simpson’s “Dream Team” finally answered the question, “What does a Black man have to do to get a fair hearing?”. The answer was — regardless of your opinion of the verdict– “He has to have a lot of money and a team of excellent lawyers. Being famous also helps”.

Over the last few years, it has become clearer and clearer that almost no one gets legal “justice” in criminal cases, with the one exception of Brock Peters — and his father.   So what makes him so special? Anybody else can’t be convicted of stealing  cigars, or waving a toy gun around, for instance, without being given a lengthy (or  fatal) sentence in our justice system. How does a person in our society get convicted and a light slap on the wrist?

Let’s see: young Mr. Peters is: male, white, heterosexual, rich, slightly famous and an athlete — just the kind of person who we all believe is an upstanding citizen, the kind of person who couldn’t commit a crime — the kind of person who doesn’t need to commit a crime because he already has everything  in a society that treasures every little thing about him. Older Mr. Peters is …male, white, heterosexual, and rich (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The judge in the case is … male, white, presumably heterosexual, and rich.

Hmmm. There seems to be a pattern here. A white, heterosexual, rich, semi-famous athletic man commits a serious crime. His father —  a white, heterosexual, rich man doesn’t really see the problem, and asks for a reduced sentence for his son… and it is granted! Amazingly enough, the judge who agreed to it is… white, heterosexual, and rich. Why is that? Because he “doesn’t want to destroy this boy’s future”.

In doing so, the judge answers another question that we hadn’t even thought to ask: Who’s future doesn’t our justice system “want to destroy”, just because they committed a crime? White, heterosexual, rich men.

Let’s look at recent justice:

A woman let’s her kid get into a gorilla’s cage and …. she’s the worst person on the planet! Did she hurt anybody? No, but she caused the death of an animal. Who’s the bad one here? The woman who wasn’t doing her job as a parent. On the sympathy scale, she’s even lower than an animal.

Sandra Bland died in jail, over a traffic ticket. That must have been some crime she committed to feel so guilty over it. The crime she died over? She was driving-while-black and probably didn’t act very much like a lady, either.

Handicapped/injured Black man dies in police custody in Baltimore because with a broken back he was thrown around in the back of a police van. His crime? Running away from the police who were chasing him.

What “crime” is so heinous that a great number of states are willing to fight the Federal government over it? Being transsexual (or being perceived as being transsexual) and going to the bathroom. Has  violence erupted over this? Yes. By the transsexual? No. Whose rights are the states defending? The poor “normal people” who have to put up with the indignity and worry about going to the bathroom in peace.

A rich, white, heterosexual man apparently bilks people out of their money through a scam involving a university he owns. His Hispanic judge does something he doesn’t like and he says “I’m being treated unfairly”! Why? Because he “can’t get justice” from a system that’s so biased. He has a possible future as the American President, where he can choose what kind of justices people get.

Could there be a pattern here or are the non-white, not male. not heterosexual, not not rich just too darn whiny? Whose lives matter? From this overview of recent cases, I’d like to suggest that black lives don’t. Women’s lives and bodies don’t merit justice, even potentially trans people lives aren’t worth protection under the law. And the poor who can’t afford a good lawyer? Do we need to ask?

Of course, there’s nothing actually wrong with being white, male, heterosexual, and rich.  Depending on who you ask, I’m either three of the four or all four of the groups, but my dangerousness is limited to “being a known traffic menace”.

Still, until we stop having white, male, heterosexual, rich people make the laws that rule white, male, heterosexual, rich people, we will continue to have white, male, heterosexual, rich people begging for leniency and getting it.

There is a saying, “No Justice, No Peace”.  Many of us in America can’t understand why there’s so little peace in society. Hmmm. Let me see? Could it be that there’s so little justice? Just maybe.

May we find justice which leads to…

 

Peace,

 

John

 

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