Words to munch on this weekend from Belle Waring slamming the idea hat racism has nothing to do with normalcy :
If someone is “a racist” it is not because he is a like a Nazi with a uniform and everything, and pledges allegiance to the flag of racism, and goes around shouting “I hate Mexican people!” Well, to be fair, he might shout that if he were drunk and had smoked some of the cottonmouth killer, or were on MySpace. And those dudes in Stormfront exist. And racist skinheads too dumb to join Stormfront. Nonetheless, in ordinary speech one only means “hey, he said a thing that was racially prejudiced,” or “she told a racist joke,” or “he threw a crumpled-up beer can at that broke-ass African-American gentleman walking right beside the road (South Carolina doesn’t hold much truck with sidewalks) while shouting ‘f%cK you n1gger!,’” or “she collects these weird racist yam crate-labels from Louisiana in the ‘30s and I am not sure her motives are entirely pure.” (May God help me on this one, a collector sells them in Takoma Park at vintage fairs and sometimes I succumb. They’re so cool! She’s a 65-year-old Black lady, so she’s off the hook. OR IS SHE?!).
I agree with Waring. Nevertheless, I wish she wouldn't stop at the surface and question also the assumption that all racist acts are equal and that all racists are the worst people in the world. For example, Belle Waring asserts that for all of his 'nice' deeds and 'normal' life, George Zimmerman, the shooter of Trayvon Martin, is a racist. I wonder whether if he has to be a racist, to be guilty and also whether it is possible for him to be racist and not be guilty.
In short, is the racism of the shooter in this case the sole determinant of guilt? I don't think that it is.