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Think of Rachel

Rachel Jeantel

Article by Meggie Pretorius
democrat
Rachel Jeantel doesn't care if you don't like her. She doesn't care if you think she is disrespectful. She doesn't care that she can't read cursive and she doesn't care that you think she is uneducated. She doesn't care that she can't read cursive because that hasn't mattered in her life thus far. She doesn't care that Zimmerman's legal team was rude and condescending to her, so she decided to be rude and condescending right back.

She doesn't care when newscasters refer to her as "Precious" nor does she care when you call her a liar. She doesn't care that she was forced in the middle of a national race conversation that includes the state of education today. She doesn't care that she has divided people into thinking that she is either a hero or a villain.

Rachel Jeantel doesn't care if Mark O'Mara thinks she should speak in a certain way and she doesn't care that some people in the courtroom had trouble understanding her. English isn't her first language, but it is her second, and she speaks a third as well. She doesn't care that in the Haitian community she grew up in what they called white people "crackers", nor does she probably care when she hears the n-word on a daily basis.

Most of all, she definitely doesn't care that you think that all of her actions pointed to the fact that she didn't want to be there that day.

Why? Because she didn't want to be there that day. If she didn't have to be in the courtroom that day, that would mean her friend Trayvon would be alive. That would mean he wasn't killed while unarmed on the way back from buying Skittles and a soda. That would mean Rachel wouldn't have to be up on that stand, doing the best she could, with her carefully applied make-up and outfit that I'm sure she planned in advance, only to be torn down by people who don't even know her- all while tediously recounting the last conversation she had with a boy she loved.

Rachel isn't on trial- She is simply telling her story about what happened while she was on the phone with Trayvon, and in the aspect, she hasn't changed her story at all. She is a young girl in a world that (clearly) doesn't understand her. Let's all try to think back to when we were teenagers and how we felt. Let's remember our best friend and imagine him or her being killed while we were on the phone with them. Let's think about having to testify and trying to fight for his justice only to be nationally picked apart and mocked. It already wasn't easy being Rachel Jeantel, and it only got harder after she made the decision to answer the phone that day.

Think about the helplessness she must have felt being on the phone and hearing everything but not being able to actually do anything. Imagine how she felt after the line went dead. Picture her face after the strangeness that happened on the phone, and imagine her furiously dialing the phone only to hear voicemail- over and over again. Imagine the worry when more time passed when she didn't hear from him. The sinking in her stomach when she found out he was gone forever

Imagine how much she must miss her friend. She misses him so much and she wants to do right by him, but she probably thinks she failed because of the way everyone is speaking of her.

Hopefully, when this is all over, she can start to get some sleep at night. Hopefully those last few minutes won't continue to haunt her. Hopefully she won't struggle with self-consciousness or question her identity.

Ideally, by then, we as a nation may have learned that the differences in each other are what make us whole. Ideally, we may have learned that not everyone has to confirm to these rigid standards of "thin," or "pretty," or "smart." Ideally, we won't see colors, only people. Ideally, we may have learned that it's more important to lift someone up than tear someone down.

Have some sympathy for a young girl who did nothing wrong but still has to endure the ridicule of the public just to gain some closure. Just to be able to move on and grow.

Just to live.





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