I wanted to wait before I posted this primarily due to its sensitive subject for so many people either pro or con for George Zimmerman and his guilt or innocence.  I don’t want to inflame either side but I also think that Rachel Jeantel is being displayed in an ugly light by most media outlets.  Rachel was on the phone with Trayvon Martin and he said that a “crazy ass cracker” was following him.  She was uncomfortable on the stand and had a bristly attitude which most media outlets misunderstood to be detriment to Ms. Jeantel’s character.  She was asked to speak up, repeat what she said for clarification, and was clearly upset by lines of questioning that echoed in pauses of uneasy silence.  It is unfair that Ms. Jeantel was unfairly judged by media and possibly the jury because of her strong and brisk personality.  I understood every word she said, I felt her frustration and her intolerance of not being listened to.  That is the majority of the problem with prejudice; the inability to listen, understand, and ask questions that clarify meaning for the listener.  That isn’t what this post is about.  This post is about Ms. Jeantel’s strong nature, standing her ground, and losing patience with the attorneys directing and cross examining her testimony.  Both sides failed to truly listen to her and she may have taken the presence of a bad attitude.  For centuries that has happened to women over and over again; if you are a sharp, strong, unmovable force to be reckoned with, there will always be one or two idiots that dismiss you as being a “bitch”.  This is why Ms. Jeantel will never be a victim.  She would not tolerate treatment of herself by others that is grating, abusive, and unworthy of her attention.  Ms.  Jeantel is the woman that shake the foundations of societal judgments that women are to be meek, take what they are given, and feel lucky to have two peanuts and a roll of toilet paper as a reasonable salary.

It is my opinion that once some people are confronted by a strong, no nonsense, pretty woman that they expect some amount of stereotypical yielding toward men.  Sometimes there are some people who can’t deal with strong women at all and label them as a bitch because she is not bendable toward their will and not her own free will.  It is especially hurtful prejudice toward women of any ethnic background, religion, culture, and success level.  The strong, unwavering woman to some people is unattractive because her tolerance threshold for ridiculousness is very low.  When a strong woman gets placed in uncomfortable circumstances, she stands up for herself and clearly draws a line in the sand that says “No.  You don’t get to treat me poorly”.  This is what Ms. Jeantel presented to the jury, defense team, and prosecution team and pretty much every home in America who cared about the case.  The cultural differences aside, there are some that prefer the fainting Victorian lady on her lacy bed.  The worst part of all this is not only that she was a woman not tolerating any crap, but she was a black, curvy woman that defied the pressure of either attorney to hamper her personality.  She was firm.  She was clear on the facts.  She had no patience with word games or spin flung by either attorney.  The problem was three fold: Ms. Jeantel is African American and expected to react poorly as a stereotype of being both a woman and a black woman, she is a teenager who has had enough (pardon my language) bullshit to last her a lifetime, and because she did not fit into a file box as a “hood rat” or uppity negro that just plays the system for what it’s worth.  She is a teenager that obviously doesn’t tolerate bullying, inappropriate behavior, or treatment that she feels is unwarranted.  Ms. Jeantel had the presence of being outside her comfort zone and her wall of defense rose quickly.

Now, if we observe without any preconceived information Ms. Jeantel’s testimony, the young teenage woman seems prickly and intolerant of her circumstance and the arena to which it played.  This is why Ms.  Jeantel is not going to be a victim, a fainting maid on her Victorian bed, or a door mat for someone to use and abuse.  Oh no, not Ms.  Jeantel.  She isn’t going to tolerate any such behavior and given that she is a strong woman, it’s going to be relationship based on what she deserves and doesn’t deserve.  She isn’t going to let anyone dog her down, hurt her, or pull her apart.  This creates an air of Ms. Jeantel that tolerates very little, gives very much, and loves her friends and mourns a friend.  The stereotype of a woman, especially a young woman teenager, is that we are supposed to have predefined responses to emotions like crying or getting angry in a way that is “ladylike” and “sweet”.  As much as I dislike the observation, but woman have been presenting as stronger in environments that are hostile.  They have to be because predators are always sizing up their prey, which Ms. Jeantel will never be because of her strength, love, and dedication to herself, her self esteem and attitude.  I can only hope that as she matures, so does her strength.