Dr.Dawg

Lori Douglas and George Zimmerman: the gender/race matrix

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Two stories demonstrating the salience of gender and race in current events:

First, the on-going Scarlet Lettering of Justice Lori Douglas by the Canadian Judicial Council.

The small-time hustler whose complaint has led to a full-fledged, five-member panel inquisition, was allowed free reign yesterday to speculate, slur and babble on about someone he might never have actually met met only twice and with whom he never discussed sex.

The judicial council had cautioned it didn’t want the rare proceeding to turn into a spectacle. But any hope of that faded as soon as the first witness began testifying. Alex Chapman immediately began to give explicit evidence about group sex, “white princesses,” bondage and domination.

What is undisputed is that Douglas’ lawyer husband posted photos of her on an interracial-fetish porn site, tried to get his client Chapman interested, and then paid him $25K hush money in a deal on which Chapman subsequently reneged.

Flashing forward to the current procedural travesty, Chapman insists that if you don’t believe him, you must be a racist:

[Chapman] also suggested anyone who doubts his claims might do so because he is black.

“My skin is black and I’m in a society where minorities don’t really get favours,” he said.

In this case, however, it looks as though he’s being over-indulged. The panel is letting him say just about anything he wants:

Chapman, the man who accuses [Douglas] of sexually harassing him, didn’t mask his feelings. He will return today to continue his testimony.

“It’s almost like she was sexually depraved,” Chapman told the panel.

On and on he went, unchecked:

“The impression I got is (Douglas and King) were into this crazy sex stuff, but he wanted to go further. I’m under the impression she had to know. She clearly posed for those pictures. She’s a lawyer. She’s intelligent. She can’t be that naive,” he said.

Chapman admitted he has a history of filing civil lawsuits and small-claims suits, and has a criminal past that resulted in a pardon.

“Impression.” A key word that would have had him stopped in his tracks if this were a regular trial. But the Council, despite its pious protestations, is presiding over a salacious spectacle of its own making.

A victim of what might accurately be called cyber-rape, Lori Douglas is being victimized again in front of a sober panel of judges. You’ve come a long way, baby.

Turning from this latter-day Hester Prynning, in which race has played a seemingly tangential role, to the Trayvon Martin killing, where gender and race have changed places, as it were:

An Orlando woman now in her mid-20s told investigators that George Zimmerman, who is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin, groped and touched her inappropriately over a decade, beginning when they were both young children, according to an audiotape released on Monday.

…The witness said that Mr. Zimmerman, who at 28 is about two years older than she is, first touched her when she was 6. She was staying in the Zimmermans’ Virginia home while her parents were moving to Orlando, Fla., from Louisiana. The woman said Mr. Zimmerman had groped her while they lay under a blanket as they watched television with a group of other children.

Did you do anything sketchy when you were eight years old? Anything at all? Be prepared to have it used against you in a US court of law. What Zimmerman’s behaviour as a child has to do with the alleged vigilante-style gunning down of a Black youth armed with iced tea and a bag of Skittles is beyond me. How did gender even get into this? And yet, there it is.

Each of these on-going events, in fact, is imbued with race and gender in ways that go far beyond the circumstances of each judicial proceeding. The complexity of the entanglements, both immediate and with the sociocultural milieu in which these cases are proceeding, is worthy of serious attention. Readers are invited to help untie these Gordian knots.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr.Dawg published on July 17, 2012 9:35 AM.

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