If you're a white man, like George Zimmerman, you can chase down a Black man on the street, violently confront him, kill him, and then walk free with the likelihood of very little if any jail time. However, if you are a Black person, like Cece McDonald of St.Paul, Mn, then there are virtually no circumstances under which you can kill an attacker and be thought to have acted in legitimate self-defense. At The Root reports the case,
In a matter of moments, on a warm summer night last June in St. Paul, Minn., what started out as an innocent trip to a grocery store for Chrishaun "CeCe" McDonald and her friends quickly turned into a street brawl that would result in someone being killed. McDonald, a 23-year-old black transgender woman and college student, and a few of her friends (black people who variously identify as LGBT and straight) passed a local bar, where they encountered two white women and one white man. The man, Dean Schmitz, hurled racist, homophobic and transphobic epithets at the young group of color as they walked by.
"Chicks with d--ks!"
And then it got violent.
One of the two white women with Schmitz smashed a beer glass on McDonald's face. People from the bar spilled out into the streets to help the white trio fight the black youths. Somewhere in between fists and insults being thrown, McDonald took out a pair of scissors from her purse and stabbed Schmitz, who died at the scene.
Despite claiming self-defense, that same night McDonald, after being treated for injuries, was interrogated and ultimately charged with second-degree murder. She was also kept in jail for two months.
It's incredibly hard to ignore the similarities and the hypocrisy between the killing of Trayvon Martin and McDonald's attack. Both were young and black and walking down the street minding their own business. Both were harassed and attacked for being different. But both had very different outcomes.As far as the police are concerned today, and the US Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision of 1856:
It is difficult at this day to realize the state of public opinion in relation to that unfortunate race [Blacks], which prevailed in the civilized and enlightened portions of the world at the time of the Declaration of Independence, and when the Constitution of the United States was framed and adopted. But the public history of every European nation displays it in a manner too plain to be mistaken.
They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect;(Anyone who hasn't read the whole Dred Scott decision should do so now, since it is perhaps the single best "history book" on Black people in America in relation to white people. If you want to know the America your grandparents experienced, and why you still experience some of the same things, then read Dread Scott for free online, today.)
So, returning to CeCe McDonald, can a Black woman who is in fear for her life lawfully kill a white man, where the white man has visible Swastika tattoos and he is threatening her and is engaged in the commission of a hate crime against her? No, the Black woman probably cannot kill that color-aroused antagonist menacing white man, for a reason that no one requires a law degree to understand: her skin is brown while his skin is white and they both live in the United States of America.
Nonetheless, consider the following: If you find yourself in CeCe McDonald's position, go ahead and kill your Nazi-inspired attacker anyway. You might personally pay a heavy price for it, but your act will serve as a strong deterrent to other people like CeCe's color-aroused antagonist attacker. People like you all over the country might well benefit when you behave as if you are a white person who has both the de jure right and de facto privilege to defend yourself in the United States of America.