Twitter Reacts to Verdict
(Let me preface this entry by saying, it has been less than 24 hrs since a verdict was delivered in the Trayvon Martin trial. With time comes reflection. My opinions are likely to evolve. The opinions I share here are my initial reactions. I am trying to be thoughtful and considerate. My opinion may change in time. Thank you for respecting that)
Last night was a tough night on Twitter. Twitter is an interesting place. Don't get me wrong, I love Twitter! But one encounters experiences on Twitter that you won't see on Facebook and other forms of social media. Facebook was almost void of opinion last night when news of a verdict was announced in the Trayvon Martin trial. I don't think anyone wanted to get into it with their actual friends and neighbors. On twitter, with an anonymous handle, people sometimes intentionally try to be shocking and provocative just to engage others. It can get very wild. When the news of a verdict broke in the Trayvon Martin case last night, folks flocked to Twitter. There were harsh and angry tweets from all arenas - celebrities, moms, news folks, teens, gays, blacks, hispanics, whites, etc...EVERYONE had an opinion - a strong opinion and used Twitter to let those opinions fly without any filter. It seemed people were tweeting without any thought at all. There were a lot of very visceral instant reactions.
I am not one to shy away from opinions. If you are reading this, you know I am very comfortable sharing my opinion. As a matter of fact, I often lose followers because of my opinions. (That is ok with me, the folks who stay, while they don't have to agree with me, they at least respect my right to my opinion). I unfollowed or blocked a few folks myself last night. Most of the people I blocked were not following me but saw one of my tweets and felt it necessary to attack me. Let me say this again, I do not mind different opinions, I welcome them! I learn from them. What I do object to is the nasty attack. I had people calling me all sorts of awful names and accusing me of horrible things. I especially loved the people who accused me of being racist. ME! REALLY?? Did they not at least take notice of my profile picture for God's sake? You can call me a lot of things, but racist is just definitely not one of them. No way, no how.
So, what is it that people found so objectionable? Basically, I expressed that I think the jurors worked hard. I think they were given the law as it is written. They were given the evidence as it was presented. They had to deliberate based soley within the confines of the law and the evidence. If you have never served on a criminal trial as a juror, you can't know what goes into that deliberation process. I have served on a criminal trial. Deliberating is a very serious process. It is hard work. It is not something anyone takes lightly. The jurors understand the seriousness of their job and the impact thier decision will have. They can only make their decision based on the evidence they were given and apply the law as it was given to them. The jury should be commended for their service. The process HAS to be respected. That was my message. Boy did people object to that.
I thought it terribly reckless for celebrities to come on twitter and bash the work of this jury. I also found it incredibly reckless for people to play into the whole race issue. We don't know what actually happened in that moment, we most likely will never know. Will shoving a wedge into race relations do any good? Will provoking and inflaming racial tension make anything better? Of course it will help the media, and that is just what they want. If riots were to break out, the media would have all eyes on them. News and controversy is good for them. Why feed that ugly machine? WE are better than that. Shame on websites like Upworthy for promoting that sort of hate and anger. I hope black leaders will back away from playing the race card and victimizing their race all over again. Rise above! Is there room for change, sure. Lead us there, but don't provoke violence and angry protest. I am a woman, women have been fighting the same fight for generations. I get what it is to be discriminated against. Obviously, my issues arent' the same as a black man's, but I get it. I see teens treated unfairly by adults all the time. Teens of ALL colors. I see women treated unfairly all the time. I see Hispanics and Jews and Arabs treated unfairly. I think we all get that things aren't perfect. But I am hearing a lot of conclusions being drawn about what happened that night between Trayvon and George. I think it is pointless to create more racial tension. Causing further divide only makes it less safe for every one. Rise above.
I refuse to believe that most of America is still racist. I just refuse to accept that. Of course there are still heartless, ignorant morons out there, but for the most part? No, I don't accept that. We are better than that. Let's rise above! Let's accept and embrace each other. Let's accept this jury did the job they were charged with doing. Let's mourn Trayvon's senseless death and grieve with Trayvon's family. There is no mother who can't appreciate the pain that Trayvon's mother has endured. It is time for unity, not divide. It is time for peace and support. I think it is unfair to say a black teen can't walk home in this country without being killed. Let me tell you that is just not the case. I am afraid of any one bigger and stronger than me! I do not see color. That is the truth.
I DO think if there wasn't a gun in George Zimmerman's waistband, that night would have had a very different outcome. If I am going to protest anything, it is the availability and proliferation of guns in our society. That is where outrage should be directed, not at the jury, not at racial issues.
I thank all of you who civily shared your opinions with me. I respect your opinions. It's regrettable that some people are so limited in their ability to express themselves that they can only resort to cursing and name calling. (there's another issue we could address, education in this country! Twitter reveals just how ignorant some of our population really is)
Some of the ridiculous things that were tweeted to me included:
-calling me a racist.
-Some one was adament that it is time for America to have professional jurors! They think it is time to get rid fo the jury of your peers. That is really scary! (Didn't both sides participate in choosing this jury? It is too late to complain now about who the jury is, both sides picked them)
-I was reprimmanded for responding to someone's tweets. (yup!) You see this tweeter didn't wants responses to his tweets. (WTH? Do they understand how twitter works? And folks were supposed to know he didn't want responses how?? Don't tweet it if you don't want anyone to comment on it....)
-I was accused of being a gun lover! (huh? I have no idea where they got that! lol)
-Someone accused me of not allowing them to have their "feelings" because I tweeted we should respect the process. Tweeting that we should respect the process meant I was "shoving respect up their ass" and I was therefore denying them their feelings. (I kid you not)
-the rest were the run of the mill "you're an asshole" "you are ignorant" "you don't get it" "you aren't black" blah blah blah....
Of course in the midst of the rage about Trayvon, more sad news washed over Twitter. The news of Glee's Cory Montieth's death shocked everyone.
Last night was an interesting and ultimately sad night on Twitter. Are you on Twitter? Did you have any "interesting" exchanges?