I've written about race relations / racism here before. Now that there is this nationwide outcry against the verdict in the Zimmerman trial, I find it interesting to revisit the topic.
I have not followed the whole situation REAL closely, so if anybody has opposing FACTS, please supply them. Of course, you are welcome to supply your OPINION as well, we just want to differentiate between the two.
What struck me most strongly, both when the event occurred and when the verdict came out, was the visceral reaction of the public - at least the part of the public that was portrayed on TV. I read one news story where a man was so upset about the verdict he was literally 'shaking' in anger over the court's acquittal. When the story first broke, these reactions called to my mind scenes from Western movies, or even the not-so-distant past of public lynching, where the mob decided and enacted justice without the nuisance of an actual trial. Even before there was any trial, and any examination of the facts, people were calling for Zimmerman's head - revenge.
On one hand, the prosecution says Zimmerman was a vigilante. He was tracking Martin. He instigated the conflict. On the other hand, the defense says Zimmerman was attacked and was defending himself. Apparently, there had been some recent crimes committed in the neighborhood by some blacks. Was he profiling? Is profiling wrong? Zimmerman is some kind of neighborhood watch person, but he's not a cop. He was, however, legally carrying a gun.
I wondered about the racial makeup of the jury. I heard it wasn't released but was thought to be 7 women - 6 of whom are white and 1 Hispanic. That sounds a little stacked in favor of Zimmerman, but my understanding of jury selection is that the prosecutor and defense attorney both have the equal power to submit and reject any of the potential jurors when the jury is being selected. So the prosecutor must have been as satisfied with the outcome as the defense. Is this another OJ situation, where the local law was overwhelmed by high profile defenders? I haven't heard that mentioned and I don't think Zimmerman was wealthy.
In order to be fair, maybe I should ask myself if I'd feel outraged if it was a black citizen shooting and killing an Hispanic youth, or a white youth.
It's a tragedy any way you look at it. A kid is dead, a family is traumatized, a man will be demonized - rightly or wrongly. But what's the bigger picture here? Racism, just like sexism, ageism, and other disparities and hatreds, certainly exists. Are we part of the problem if we don't protest the decision, or are we part of the problem if we do? What do you think about the media's involvement? When I searched for images to place in this post, these were the two most popular.
|One final picture that illustrates my last comment.|