My review of Suspicion Nation first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers. It is appearing here today with their permission. This is truly a book that should make us stop and think, really think about our society. We can't be passive and hope everyone else fixes things. It starts with the little choices and actions we make every day.
First line: "Maddy had had it."
Trial attorney and legal analyst Lisa Bloom evaluates the George Zimmerman murder trial, sharing her views on where the Florida state prosecution failed in their attempt to win justice for Trayvon Martin. Bloom takes readers step by step through the areas she’s identified as key problems: refusal to address the issue of race, lack of trust in their own witnesses, excluding vital evidence, even in their tendency to pose questions to the jury instead of making firm statements. Then she shares alternate strategies for the prosecution’s thwarted approach.
In the second half of the book, Bloom analyzes why Trayvon Martin’s plight is not uncommon. While Martin made international headlines, many more frighteningly similar tragedies barely make their local news reports. Through a combination of anecdotal and statistical evidence, Bloom illustrates how “our laws, beliefs, assumptions, and blind spots combine to create the conditions that led to the death of Trayvon, and which made Zimmerman’s acquittal by far the most likely outcome.”
No one wants to believe they are racist. And placing the label on anyone is a severe affront. But Suspicion Nation is an alarming, somewhat uncomfortable and brutally honest look at the reality of race, stereotypes and violence in the United States. Racists do exist and race does matter—in education, in employment, in the justice system. The evidence clearly shows continued inequality in all realms of life and how that inequality deprives a significant segment of the population of its chances for success. Reading this book and thinking there is no longer a problem would be a great feat indeed.
Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It is available in hardcover (ISBN: 9781619023277) from Counterpoint Press. An unabridged audiobook version (ISBN: 9781480584297), read by the author, is also available from Brilliance Audio.