Eve and Trayvon: A Response

April 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

By Alex Karsten

The problem with the blog post[1] I am responding to is not that the author is a racist. The problem is two-fold. First, this post is trying to capitalize on the death of Eve Carson, which it misunderstands. Second, this post proves that the Trayvon Martin tragedy did not become the teaching moment it should have been.

As far as the misunderstanding of Eve Carson’s death is concerned, the title is the strongest piece of evidence. “Eve Was Unarmed. She Wasn’t Wearing a Hoodie. She Was Murdered. Are You Angry?” clearly implies that there are people who weren’t angry about Eve Carson’s brutal murder. If such people exist, I have yet to find them. The post seems to be outraged at the lack of attention directed towards Eve’s murder, which was in fact a national news story.[2]

The author is right, there were no “protests, marches, and outraged politicians.” Instead there were scholarships being funded, events organized, and inspiration being immortalized. It is as if the author thinks it is unfair that Eve’s friends didn’t have to deal with the media zoo, or that Eve’s parents didn’t have to stare down Geraldo Rivera. Frankly, it’s unfair that Trayvon’s do. Eve didn’t need to become a nationally trending hashtag to become a constant reminder to the entire UNC community of how good a student can be and how fragile that goodness is.

But there is a more sinister side to Eve’s memory that this article brings to light. Because Eve’s name has become a sort of buzzword on UNC’s campus, the use of it has become any easy way to grab attention. This title, as long and awkward as it was, made anyone in the UNC community stop and take a second look.[3] I don’t know if this post went viral anywhere other than UNC, but even that is too much.

Beyond all the ethical reasons not to use Eve’s death to get more hits, there is the simple, more important, fact that it is a bad example. Regardless of who was used to make the author’s point, the point remains the same: “Why is it only about race if the victim is black?” The post-race message of the blog post is that we should regard all violence with an equitable color-blind disgust, but Eve Carson was killed by men who sought to profit from her and Trayvon Martin was killed because only because of how he appeared to his murderer. The murders were equally senseless and awful, but they are very different. You cannot claim that Atwater and Lovette were equally motivated by race as Zimmerman was without claiming that race is synonymous with socio-economic status. Unfortunately, the author is all too willing to make that claim. To make this claim is not racist—that is a word that is much too easy to throw around—it is proof that the biggest problem with race right now is how hard it is to prove it is a problem.

I only wrote this response because of how clearly the post in question proves that, despite the moment of reckoning presented by the horrible death of Trayvon Martin, everyone has left feeling like they were proved right. Those who believe that race plays a major role in injustice in our country were given another tragic example. Those who believe that race would be an issue of the past if it weren’t for a few loud radicals on either side were given the indignant noise they could have predicted. No one has left with a changed mind.

[1] This essay is a response to the post below. I am linking it despite my hesitations because, frankly, I hate to give it any more views: http://lettersfromawhoremongerswife.com/2012/03/28/eve-was-unarmed-she-wasnt-wearing-a-hoodie-she-was-murdered-are-you-angry/

[3] Certainly most of this post’s readers found the long and detailed description of who Eve Carson was unnecessary.

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