My Ph.D. candidate cousine posted this question on her social media page.
"I feel so sorry for this young girl. She didn't ASK for her friend to be killed while she was on the phone! Why are we judging her so..,,,?"
I felt behooved to opine.
"She is a product of her home, upbringing, school system and millieu. Of Immigrant parents... for whom English is hardly a first language. I commend the young woman for showing up! She is behaving like the citizen she is, by participating in the judicial system!
"She's naive, ill-exposed, under-exposed, and at her level. I am proud of her. She faced her fears, entered a world on which she has no comprehension or hold. She rode the zipline right into the witness chair, discomfort be damned.
"She CAN be trained (polished), if that is her desire, to adhere to more established, traditional, "acceptable" manners of presentation. I refuse, however, to accept this being called a matter of her "Blackness" and "ebonic" manner of speaking. If you're born and raised to adulthood, speaking Chinese, you'll DAMNED sure speak english with an "ACCENT"!
"N.B.: I know, and have socialized with, caucasian folks who very much sounded as unsophisticated as Miss Rachel did. I took them as the were. And befriended them happily and openly.
"Good for her! I'm not saying that interpreting her testimony might not TAKE WEEKS--- but so BE it! That's how she talks. That's how she processes and communicates.
"The onus is on the COURT to glean her ear-witness accounts--- no matter HOW long it takes!
"I. RESENT. DEFENSE COUNSEL for CHOOSING not to use vocabulary more suited to the woman's capabilities. With ALL the mistakes that the defense are making... they are PROVING themselves disconnected, aloof, thoughtless and ridiculous.
*drops da MIC*
Who are WE to judge?
That ilk will insist that this individual been seen, only, through the prism of THEIR understanding.
I refuse to make excuses for her untruths under oath. There is no excuse. Some have offered "explanations" such as: "She didn't want to hurt his parents", or "she was just a young, scared girl."
I'll grant that perhaps, those reasons are plausible. But not excusable, per se.
- She is multilingual. There are many people on this earth who find it challenging to speak in several tongues. I wonder how many languages Counsel can speak.
- She is from an immigrant household, Which I presume is to be lower-class, and the product of urban public schooling. You know... the schools that most people really wouldn't stand for sending their children, if they had an option.
- Who are we to judge? How can she conceivably be measured against a typical middle, or upper-middle-class teenager of her age? Their upbringings and experiences are entirely different.
- She's a product of lower-class Miami Dade county. Ever been there? I have. I lived in the Florida Keys for more than a decade. I'm STILL "Uncle Marcinho" to a number of fantastic kids, now adults. And of a teenager... all of whom happen to be Caucasian.
Now. My "nephews" have never, ONCE, heard me speak in some stereotypical, urban manner. Ever. Not how I was raised (exposed).
But ALL of them, in varying degrees, speak as though they were blood relations of Puffy, Snoop Lion, Drizzy, Nikki, or insert any urban/rap artist here. And I am CERTAIN that I have heard them, and their friends, call someone, OF ANY RACE, a "Creepy Ass Cracker". It's all about the environment people.
How in the hell did THAT happen?
My Jewish, Athiest, and Catholic, Caucasian, "babies", some I've known since they were under ten, have all emerged, brilliant as they are, with an ENTIRE rapper-thug-Wangster lexicon of the HIGHEST ORDER!
HOW? Their environment! Their exposure! Their parents' involvement, or lack thereof... and I guarandamntee you, if you heard these young men on the phone, you'd have a hard time guessing their background.
They ALL speak this way. And SO DO THEIR CLASSMATES in their clique!
When parenting was replaced by BET, MTV, Yo MTV RAPS, CRIBS, and MANY things "Hip-Hop", that became the level of the youth, based on their available options. And absentee, or hard-working, parents were hustling to keep their families together.
Many of whom preyed on our youth, when there was no "next" thing or alternative.
And BET, worst of all, with their apparent, tacit endorsement of promoting the "Bitches and HOE's" mentality and milleu.
Conversely, Zimmerman is so self-loathing, that this latino person has the audacity to refer to himself as "white", and evidently, reject his hispanic identity entirely. Is it an attempt to find HIS niche in a form acceptable to others?
It happens with each new generation!
Charming. Pointless, spurious, dull, but CHARMING!
But the reality is that our schools are failing. College degrees are going the way of the albatross, and are as useful as TOILET ROLL, after graduation as the Ph.D. becomes a fecking BARISTA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Our parents are working so hard, just to make ENDS meet, that many aren't able to "be there" to parent, when they're trying to keep food on the table and clothes on their kids backs.
We ARE becoming an idiocracy, but it DIDN'T BEGIN, nor will it END, with Ms. Jeantel! She is a victim of her level. Rather than JUDGE her, I MUCH prefer to extend a hand to her.
YES, I can teach her poise and polish, and finishing-school grace, to please the talking heads and pundits! Skills that won't protect her where she is.
She can be taught to speak the "Queen's English", big fecking deal. It's not that there is something inherently WRONG with her! It's that she is from a different place than many people!
THAT, however, does not make her a lower life form, nor a punctuation mark on a decade of unfortunate sociological decay among her peers nationwide.
She demonstrates, to the best of her capability, a grace and poise, as poise exists where she is from... elocution nothwithstanding.
Attempting to compare the young lady to some suburban, Caucasian (or educational) beacon of perfection is as "really retar*ed" as comparing a Maybach to a Mini! It's disengenuous, assinine and silly. After all... they're just SHELLS.
I couldn't care less about her shell! I'm far more intrigued to learn about her heart. Who she really is, at her core. What makes her happy or sad. What her dreams are. We know NOTHING about her! All other, perfunctory. expectations are bullshit.
She is NOT going to win an extemporaneous speech making tournament (not this month). But she might just emerge into a first responder, or a nurse, or firefighter, or cop. One. never. knows. No thanks to the shitty reception we've offered her.
"Expectations, are PLANNED resentments." And we're all guilty of resenting her for not being the embodiment of what we "expect. How dare we?