For years I have been interested in how society deals with issues of race and gender. Simply speaking for brevity, one of the main things I learned was that society treats these two areas essentially in the same fashion. The two main focuses are blacks and females who are victims and whites and males who are perpetrators. Institutions, laws and organizations for these two groups of victims are set strongly in place with no signs of slowing in growth and support. Considering humans love their fairy tales the concept of the arch enemy is needed and as such we have the perpetrators who are whites and males. And as such any groups for whites from the onset are deemed racist as well as any groups for males are from the onset deemed sexist. And so with any good fairy tale there is well crafted propaganda. Enter the media.
When I first heard of the James DiMaggio case my reaction was one of immediate skepticism based merely on how the story was being spun. There are two stereotypical moulds the majority of the media will cast a story in when it involves certain groups. In its simplest form; blacks and females are the victims, whites and males are the perpetrators. The case of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin was created, cast in its typical mould of black victimhood, sold and bought very easily by the public. Yet there is a significant difference in the James Dimaggio/Hannah Anderson case. That case was cast into the stereotypical mould of the creepy male predator nearly right from the beginning, crafted and sold as it always has been yet if you take the time to scan the landscape of public reaction you find they are not buying.
Why is there disconnect in public reaction? Someone questions this very thing but I will add this question comes off to me as more of a rhetorical guilt trip of conformity as if to say “What’s wrong with all of you? Why can’t you see Hannah as a victim like you did with Trayvon?” And notice the factors of age, gender and race are at play within the question.
The Trayvonite’s answer is stunning to me in that if that is true then why could that Trayvonite, along with so many of the others not do the same for the Zimmerman case? Why could they not question the stereotypical story being sold to them with that same critical eye they now give to the DiMaggio case?
My initial thoughts at this moment as to why there is a disconnect in the public reaction is mainly two-fold. There has been significant push back and growing negative reaction to feminism. People are just simply not buying the stereotypical victimhood of females being sold. It appears to me there has been some sort of societal shift, a tipping point if you will; I suppose the cliché of the boy who cried wolf may also be a factor. However I think the second significant factor at play here is race. Within that context there is a two-fold factor. One factor is race trumps gender. Another factor is Hannah is white. So if we take Zimmerman/Martin and contrast with DiMaggio/Anderson, Trayvon beats Hannah in victimhood simply because one is black the other white.
I believe the Zimmerman case may be the beginning towards a societal shift regarding black victimhood and grievance. Again of course the cliché boy who cried wolf also a factor, the race card worn thin, lays in tatters. Perhaps within the next twenty years or so the next Zimmermanesque story, race case, the media tries to sell will garner the same public reaction of near immediate skepticism as we will no doubt see in the next Hannahesque, gender case. And instead of becoming the mythical institution/religion the Trayvon Martin case has become it will merely be a another flash in the pan of a dying media and a dying legacy of pseudo victimhood.
Posted at the IAIWM as well: http://iaiwm.wordpress.com/