I may not be Trayvon Martin, but I'm still a special snowflake

white-person-trayvonI confess that the Zimmerman verdict was a pleasant surprise for me. It seems that despite everything some vestiges of actual justice and decency seem to remain to our society and, thankfully, the legal system did not sacrifice an innocent man on the altar of political correctness and expediency. I was actually worried there for a bit. After all, this is an America in the days of a looming liberal super-majority. This is an America where every child in government school is taught that men “marrying” other men is the most important and pressing social issue of the day. So who knows what kind of mainstream social consensus we are dealing with on these issues. My views tend to be so out far out of the mainstream that it is sometimes difficult for me to judge where exactly the mainstream is.

Nevertheless justice really was served in this instance. Not as surprisingly, the aftermath has been relatively quiet. There have been a few cases of spontaneous social justice cropping up here and there, but nothing too serious.

But now that it is all over, one glaring question remains. What are all the narcissistic, self-indulgent, guilt-ridden middle class white liberals going to do with all the feels they are collecting over the monstrous injustice of the outcome? Why, they will have to figure out a way to turn the narrative inward and make it all about themselves of course. Considering that there were no actual white people involved in the original incident, white liberals are going to have to find some way to make the aftermath focus on the narrative of white privilege and oppression.

To facilitate this project a new tumblr has cropped up with a unique take on the “We Are All Trayvon Martin” meme that has been ubiquitous on protest signs and hoodies at social justice rallies for the last year or so. Entitled “We Are Not Trayvon Martin” the idea behind this new site is to collect stories of people who are nothing like Trayvon Martin in an effort to raise awareness around issues of race and privilege in America.

The title is an interesting inversion of what has by now become a rather tiresome slogan and it draws attention to the fact that indeed most white anti-racist and social justice activists are nothing at all like Trayvon Martin. The problem is that in carrying the project forward the site actually has to collect and display the appallingly self-indulgent stories of actual middle class white liberals. As you would expect the whole thing has very quickly become rather maudlin and garish. Some samples:

I am disgusted and grieved by the privilege I experience everyday by no virtue of my own, but rather by simply being a white woman…

I’m a 25 year old, caucasian male, who is gay. I live in Tennessee. Although I have experienced some discrimination due to my sexual orientation I will never know what it’s like to be discriminated by the color of my skin…

I am not Trayvon Martin. I am a 20 year old white woman living in America, and my future will never be abruptly stolen from me due to the color of my skin…

I am not Trayvon Martin. I am a white, teenage female from a predominantly white small town. I will never know what it is like to be profiled by my skin color in the way Trayvon was. I come from a place of total privilege, a good education and an upper-middle class family…

Of course these are just the introductions. The average contributor continues for several paragraphs offering up more mundane details of their thoroughly banal existence. The following is typical of where this goes:

I am not Trayvon Martin. I am a white woman with not one but two graduate degrees, a solid middle-class income, and relatively no fear of being shot on my way home from buying ice tea at a convenience store or anywhere else. Even though I’m a woman and make only 77 cents compared to my white male colleagues, and even though I grew up working class and owe $80,000 in student loans, I will never know the struggles of Black Americans. I have inconceivable privilege… blah blah blah…

Snore. Of course being a good social justice advocate she just had to drop in that little tidbit about the male/female pay gap lest we forget that women are also oppressed in our society (as if we ever could).

Once the posters have gotten through their personal biography of privilege (original sin) their next step is usually to seek some kind of redemption or absolution. This is done by either affirming their wholehearted belief in the beauty of human equality and multiculturalism (salvation through faith) or by listing off some kind of volunteer work they have done with the poor and downtrodden (salvation through works).

I grew up accepting and celebrating people’s differences, and I teach my daughter the same… My struggle comes from a lack of understanding of how someone can hate another person, or be afraid of another person, merely because they have a different skin color (or are a woman, or are gay, or are deaf, or are mentally disabled, or are foreign… the list can go on).

I am not Trayvon Martin. I am a young white woman in Los Angeles, and I work as a social worker in a federal program for low-income, recently-homeless veterans who are looking for affordable housing…

I am not Trayvon Martin. I am a 31 year old white guy from the suburbs… I work with autistic children and coach youth sports and, I dare say, am a pretty decent human being. I am so thankful the world was so forgiving of me…

After skimming through several such entries it becomes clear that what is going on here is a postmodern, secular version of confession. One thing none of the contributors mention is any sort of religious upbringing. I would wager that most of them have never even darkened the door of a church, let alone actually given a real confession. Hence their desire to indulge in this cleansing ritual despite themselves. Some posters even confess to petty crimes and violence in their submissions.

As we have seen before and as we shall no doubt see again, despite killing God the postmodern world insists on resurrecting him again and again. Only this time instead of Jesus Christ as the sacrificial lamb it is a dead black teenager who — were he still alive — would probably call all of these people faggots before punching them in the face and slamming their heads on the sidewalk. And of course where the Christian confession is a deeply personal and private affair, here we have a bunch of conceited children seeking validation by play acting it on social media.

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Hey bro, that's racist.