Why black people understand Rachel Jeantel

Why black people understand Rachel Jeantel

If ever I thought myself objective and unbiased, the George Zimmerman trial is definitely not that moment.

So let’s cut to the chase. Any attorney, jury member, judge or white person in that courtroom is not going to understand Rachel Jeantel. And I don’t expect them to.

In fact, I certainly, like my fellow writer Rachel Samara, understand why white people wouldn’t like Rachel.

She’s hard. She’s black. And your assumptions about her background and lack of education make you feel like you are better, somehow. That her testimony, no matter how powerful and impactful it may be to this trial, is implausible. Weak, maybe? Let’s impeach her.

But maybe the reason white people don’t understand Rachel Jeantel has something more to do with white privilege then, what they would call, Rachel’s capricious nature.

Let’s for one second try to understand why Rachel is “angry” (read emotional), “hood” (read blunt), and “unintelligent” (read multilingual).

The thing is, what white people see in Rachel has little to do about her own issues, and more to say about the America that white people are blind to. Let’s take her testimony on not calling the police, for example.

Rachel told defense attorney Don West that she didn’t call the police after she heard the scuffle between Trayvon Martin and the man that was following him for numerous reasons. First, she believed that he was right near his “daddy’s house,” and that Tracy would help him. She also was under the impression that, if it were a life or death situation, someone would certainly come to his aid. But as West continued his questioning, riddled with nuances to throw Rachel off track, the glaring subtext of this all became clear.

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