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George Zimmerman verdict, Voting Rights Act setback confound, disappoint

C. Shawn McGuffey | 7/17/2013, 11:59 a.m.

Although the Supreme Court rightfully dismantled DOMA and now federally recognizes same-sex marriage, in that same week it also dismantled key provisions of the Voting Rights Act and threatened the sovereignty of Native American communities in a suit against the Cherokee Nation that guts the Indian Child Welfare Act.

And now George Zimmerman walks free for pursuing and killing an unarmed teen walking home from the convenient store with snacks. So apparently the federal government and 13 states will recognize my right to love, but the criminal justice system will not protect my right to live. I have the right to vote for a black president, but the government will not protect that right in states with a proven record of past and current voter intimidation practices directed at black and, increasingly, brown people. I have a right to native community, but that community does not have the right to protect its children.

 Without a doubt I have benefited from this country’s educational system and am living a comfortable life. And I really want to be proud of this country, unapologetically. But it is hard to be when the government continually reminds me that — I am not welcome.

C. Shawn McGuffey, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Boston College Department of Sociology and African and African Diaspora Studies.