“The Wire” Creator David Simon Catches Heat For Saying He’s “Ashamed” To Be American After Zimmerman Verdict

July 17, 2013  |  

The Wire. Ask anybody about that series and many will call it one of the greatest television shows ever for it’s take on institutional dysfunction in Baltimore’s inner city with a focus on the drug trade (and for exposing us to Idris Elba). Simon was able to tell this type of story like no other because of the fact that he wrote for the Baltimore Sun for more than a decade, working on the crime beat and working closely with black folks in the city who inspired characters in the series.

But how much else do we know about creator David Simon? Well, we know now that he’s just as pissed as we are about “Stand Your Ground” laws and George Zimmerman being acquitted for killing Trayvon Martin. On his blog, “The Audacity of Despair: collected prose, links and occasional venting from David Simon,” the famous name behind critically-acclaimed shows like The Wire and Treme (and Homicide: Life on the Street) sure did vent, but in a thought-provoking and clear way about why “Stand Your Grown” laws are a travesty, and why he feels “the season on African-Americans now runs year round” in Florida. Here’s his succinct thoughts on it all in a post titled, Trayvon, which he published on Saturday:

You can stand your ground if you’re white, and you can use a gun to do it. But if you stand your ground with your fists and you’re black, you’re dead.

In the state of Florida, the season on African-Americans now runs year round. Come one, come all.  And bring a handgun. The legislators are fine with this blood on their hands. The governor, too. One man accosted another and when it became a fist fight, one man — and one man only — had a firearm. The rest is racial rationalization and dishonorable commentary.

If I were a person of color in Florida, I would pick up a brick and start walking toward that courthouse in Sanford. Those that do not, those that hold the pain and betrayal inside and somehow manage to resist violence — these citizens are testament to a stoic tolerance that is more than the rest of us deserve.  I confess, their patience and patriotism is well beyond my own.

Behold, the lewd, pornographic embrace of two great American pathologies:  Race and guns, both of which have conspired not only to take the life of a teenager, but to make that killing entirely permissible.  I can’t look an African-American parent in the eye for thinking about what they must tell their sons about what can happen to them on the streets of their country.  Tonight, anyone who truly understands what justice is and what it requires of a society is ashamed to call himself an American.

Of course, many of those individuals who can’t in any way see how this was an injustice, let alone an example of racial discrimination, didn’t agree whatsoever and tried to come for Simon. But at least on his own blog, he held his own with witty comebacks (“Thanks for playing”) and a calm response for those who tried to spew disgusting anti-Semitic rhetoric his way, or tried to call him a hypocrite because his own show, The Wire, featured a majority of its black characters as drug dealers or soon-to-be dealers and addicts. Check out this back and forth:

Reader: “Zimmerman, and by extension, society, perceives young, black males as dangerous criminal thugs. Well, gee, where on earth could that come from? Maybe from TV shows where literally 80% of the black characters are murderous drug dealers? Shows which get praised for their “realism?””

David Simon: “You didn’t actually watch or read anything I wrote or filmed, did you? Just winging it with a superficial critique and an incorrect percentage of black characterization. I suppose it was only a matter of time on this thread.”

And that life was treated.

But what do you think about Simon’s piece? Let us know below.

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