[T]he effect of the Fugitive Slave Law…is to subject all unowned [B]lack persons to the domination of all white persons. For by requiring that the self-proclaimed slave catcher be taken at his word, the law leaves unconstrained the ability of any white person to arrest and seize any [B]lack person. In effect, it renders all titularly free [B]lacks vulnerable to the power available to all whites in exactly the way that, according to Frederick Douglass, a [B]lack slave is vulnerable to the power exercised by his or her white master…

If it seems a stretch, finally, to paint [George] Zimmerman in the image of the slave catchers of yesteryear, recall that he himself invited the comparison when, while stalking the African-American teenager against the orders of a 911 police officer, he complained, using an expletive to refer to Trayvon [Martin], that they ‘always get away.’

Robert Gooding-Williams, “Fugitive Slave Mentality
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