Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Result of Racial Profiling

Although I've been following the news about the trial of George Zimmerman, who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African American teenager, I've hesitated to comment until now. I guess I was waiting to see what would happen. Now that we have the disappointing trial results, I add my voice to those who believe that a great injustice was done. For me, it all boils down to this: Zimmerman followed a "suspicious" looking youth. What made this youth suspicious? He was black. For those of my white friends who roll their eyes (inwardly or outwardly) at situations like this, saying or thinking, "Here they go again, playing the race card," let me just say that this case is all about race. Period. As whites we have no idea what it would feel like to send our sons out into a world every day where the color of their skin puts them in jeopardy, where they are continually suspect because of their physical appearance. We have no idea.

Therefore, I want to give voice to an insider to the pain the Zimmerman verdict has caused. Here is a blog post from Drew Hart, a minister and graduate student of theology. Drew writes from a Christian perspective, and I find his posts to be informative and insightful. I believe it's important to give voice to someone directly affected by this event. I hope you'll read and consider carefully what he has to say.  Drew Hart's blog.


  1. I guess the jury was a bunch of racist...
    ...or maybe the jury made an honest assessment based upon the facts of the case.

    I wasn't in the courtroom, nor, frankly, did I follow the case very much but I cannot believe the jury would go against the CLEAR public opinion against Zimmerman unless they believed him to be not guilty.

    If you remember the Boston Massacre, the British soldiers were acquitted (thanks to their attorney John Adams) even though the public opinion was so against the soldiers.

    We are a nation of law.

    1. Certainly no one here is advocating a dismissal of law. That is not the point of this post. Nor is public opinion the point. The point is that Zimmerman followed an unarmed black youth because he thought he looked "suspicious" and then shot him when they got into a fight. Zimmerman would not have followed this teenager had he been white-- he had a history of reporting "suspicious" looking males (read: African American) to the police. Another question is, would the jury have convicted him if he'd shot an unarmed white youth? That's a rhetorical, of course.

  2. It could have been his behavior and not his color that made him look suspicious. From some of the stuff I read, Zimmerman was not a racists. This from the London telegraph:

    "What's more, there were examples from his life where he'd engaged in notably un-racist behaviour such as taking a black girl to his high-school prom and mentoring black school kids in the community.(http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100226442/would-zimmerman-have-walked-if-hed-been-blond-white-and-anglo-saxon/)

    Also, he reportedly was a big Obama supporter:
    "he also was a supporter of the very president who would later slander him by innuendo." http://www.examiner.com/article/ignored-by-media-zimmerman-voted-for-obama-tutored-black-kids

    The plain fact is you don't know if he would have followed a white person around. Zimmerman could have "profiled" him based on Martin's demeanor and not skin color.

    I believe the only reason why this case even went to trial was the public outcry and charges of racism, just because the victim was black. Once it went to trial, the jury found him not guilty.

  3. His behavior? He was walking home from the store. His demeanor? He was wearing a hoodie, something pretty common among teens (my own included). In terms of whether or not Zimmerman is racist -- he may not be any more outwardly racist than I am. (Although I did see a news report about his old MySpace page, which had racial slurs about Mexicans on it.)

    However, it is a matter of record that he called the police on black males that he viewed as "suspicious" many times. As whites, we've internalized images of black males as dangerous and suspicious. The point of my post is that he profiled Martin, which led to a fight, which led to the death of an unarmed teenager. He disobeyed the order of the police dispatcher in following Martin, with tragic results. Accountability is required here.