The Limits Of Justice

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While the George Zimmerman verdict of “Not Guilty” wasn’t surprising, it revealed, once again, that justice isn’t blind. Proponents of “the system” or “the process” exalt in the distinction between the court of public of opinion and the court of law as though the two were mutually exclusive, with the latter taking the privileged position of the ultimate arbiter. But the kernel of knowledge to be relearned from cases such as these is that the logic of justice is anything but blind. It defends its own, it has a vested interest in outcomes and it suppresses anyone who subverts its authority.

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When pundits celebrate the justice system and suggest that the evidence wasn’t sufficient for a guilty verdict, we need to ask according to whose standard? Why was the frame for this case so narrow that it came down to self-defense for George Zimmerman and not for Trayvon Martin? Why wasn’t racial profiling discussed more thoroughly? Why weren’t any of the jurors black? If five white women and one Hispanic/black was a jury of Martin’s peers then I’m a hermaphrodite.

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According to the standard of white justice, these issues weren’t relevant to the case. Forget that whites and blacks experience the legal system in radically different ways. The death of Trayvon Martin exposed a grand illusion: justice is not a blind agent; it’s a tool manipulated in the hands of men.

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