Rachel Jeantel has been given a hard way to go. Sadly much of the criticism is at the hands of, you guessed it, so-called Black/African Americans! Surprised? Nope. Not at all. As mentioned her demeanor bothered me at first. However, though not as articulate as some middle/upper income, so-called Black/African Americans would have liked her to be, Rachel’s responses were clear in content and context; as was her critical analysis of the defense attorney’s cross examination.
You see, her lack of appropriateness had less to do with ignorance and more to do with a cultural divide – the elephant in the room with the unicorn horn protruding from its head, the argyle patterned skin, and polka dot glasses. He was an older, seemingly out of touch White man who had very limited exposure to so-called Black/African Americans…who refused to bow down. “How in the hell did an overweight, dark skinned Black girl find it within herself to talk back in a less than respectful manner?! Doesn’t she realize I’m a White man?!” Forget the fact that she is on national television in front of millions describing the sudden death of a friend; or the fact that she was in a courtroom; the defense attorney was getting his ass handed to him by a Black women – stunned, shocked, and embarrassed.
Many so-called Black/African Americans of a particular socioeconomic status were probably hanging their heads in shame. Yet I have to (and hate to) wonder if Rachel were lighter skinned and lighter bodied with longer hair and keen features (i.e. more White facial features); speaking with a tone and timber of a White woman would the defense attorney have been as harsh in his cross examination? Would so-called Black/African Americans have been so damning of who she was perceived to be: an ignorant Black girl clearly from the hood who ain’t never been nowhere (bad grammar; “Da Blogga” taking liberties to provide illustrative and needed emphasis, LOL!)? I doubt it.
We have a looooong way to go; but in the words of Sam Cooke “a change is gonna come”…when we do – first.
Hang tough, Rachel!