Why The George Zimmerman Case Has Nothing To Do With Racism

Edit: I am writing this over 4 months later, because as it happens, the situation has changed. My argument back in July was that there was not enough evidence that Zimmerman did not act out of self-defence (which I still think was true), but as has become obvious now, he truly is a very bad person.

Still, I think it is wrong to blame racism. Zimmerman is a terrible man who will do terrible things regardless of the person’s race, and the fact that he was released last time is not an issue of race, it is merely an issue of gun possession being legal and self-defence being a reason to kill someone due to those guns.

As often as these situations occur, I’m starting to think it’s just part of modern society. Whether it is sexism, homophobia or racism, whenever someone from a “minority” is disadvantaged, the claims that it happened because of discrimination are always present. Of course, sometimes it is actually true: homophobia is still a major issue and when people from the LGBT-community are involved in violence, it often is because of their sexuality. To a lesser extent, this also applies to ethnic minorities (especially black people in the US), and to an even lesser extent, it also applies to women.

Still, it seems like discrimination, or in this case racism, is used to explain issues much more often than can be justified. It is used irrationally, without further thought. A black man is killed and the attacker is acquitted, so immediately the conclusion is that there was racism involved. It seems valid, and it is a great way to blame something other than the justice system. But that doesn’t necessarily make it true.

When George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin, a life was lost. That is terrible, and such things should never be allowed to happen. However, when the case came to a trial, that was not what the jury was meant to judge. The jury had to decide whether or not there was sufficient proof to show that Zimmerman had not acted in self-defence, and to put it as simple as possible: there wasn’t enough proof.

Most of the evidence spoke in his favour, or at least not in Trayvon Martin’s favour. There had been calls for help, but nobody had been able to prove that those belonged to the victim, and only the perpetrator was there to testify that they were his. That’s how it goes in murder cases. On top of that, one of the most important witnesses on the side of the prosecution ended up making a mistake which greatly discredited her account.

Even worse, however, was the fact that George Zimmerman carried a gun not on his own account, but because he had been advised to do so by the police. He lived in a neighbourhood which had experienced many issues over the past few weeks, he was afraid, and he was sick of criminals always getting away. On top of that, he was armed with a gun which he had gotten on advice by the police. How could that ever end well?

Does that justify his actions? No. He murdered someone, and that is always wrong. Did he deserve to be locked up for a great portion of his life, perhaps. But were any of his or the jury’s actions racist? Most definitely not.

Yes, Trayvon Martin was black, but on top of that, he was also an adolescent who had been involved in quite a few delinquencies. I am a white male who has never been suspended from school, but even I often get looks of fear from elderly people when I pass by looking less than very cheerful. Ageism, you might call it, or perhaps it’s more fair to conclude that anyone walking the streets at night just looks bloody creepy.

In the end, when the fight started, there were two very scared men (/boys) trying to defend their own rights. One had a gun, the other did not.

The problem doesn’t lie in racism. It doesn’t even lie in the jury system and the fact that uneducated and possibly biased people should never be expected to judge over cases like these. It lies in the fact that someone from the neighbourhood watch was given a gun and nobody came up with the idea that there was a chance he was going to use it. Zimmerman isn’t innocent, but that doesn’t suddenly mean everything should be centred around racism. If anything, it’s adultism that’s the problem here.

~

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More on this topic from Dean Richards:

White People’s Opinion on Racism is Important

Racism in Young Children: Our Future

Irrational Activism: Why “Black Peter” Should Not Be Called Racist

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About Dean Richards

A young student with a passion for writing. Aspiring author and human rights activist, but I write about anything. "If you don't like how things are, change it! You're not a tree!" New blog post every Monday!
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6 Responses to Why The George Zimmerman Case Has Nothing To Do With Racism

  1. I’m pretty sure if Treyvon was white, Zimmerman wouldn’t have even pulled out his gun. Tell me again this isn’t about racism.

    I understand the jury was following protocols but actions always speak louder than words. So save the technical bullshit.

  2. Perhaps, but the thing is: that doesn’t matter for the trial. I would argue that you can’t even see the colour of someone’s skin from a distance when it’s dark, but well… in the end, what it comes down to is whether or not Zimmerman killed him out of self-defence or not.

    What I don’t understand about your comment is that you say you understand the jury was following protocols, but then how is this an issue of race? It is an issue with the justice system which has failed to lock up a criminal, like it so often does. Why is this case suddenly different if you accept that the jury was following protocols?

  3. mbman says:

    If it were a white kid dressed in the same way, there is a good possibility that he would not have gotten a 2ed look. And even so, this may have ended differently.

    Either way, the fact is, as far as we know, Trayvon was not doing anything short of wanking though the area. Which one would think would mark the “stand your ground” argument irrelevant (Zimmerman was not “defending” anything, if Tray wasn’t doing anything wrong).

    As for the self defense argument, on the surface, yes, George Zimmerman was justified.
    His life “seemingly” was in danger (I watched some of the trial proceedings for a couple hours last night on HLN, which is why I use the word “seemingly”. An expert expressed doubt that the injuries on his head were from repeat blows against the concrete sidewalk. ALSO mentioned that he was not knocked out by the blows).

    But on the other hand, he didn’t wait for police. He chose to confront the mysterious person that he had only assumed was up to no good. As it turned out, the kid ended up blowing his ego by kicking his ass.

    We do not know the whole story, we may never know. All I know is that racism is likley a big part of it. There is no denying, which ethnic groups crimes the media likes over-report.
    Therefore I think its safe to assume that this at least CROSSED Zimmermans mind whilst he seen a black kid walking though his neighborhood.

    • mbman says:

      Wanking = walking LMAO. typing fail

    • But the anger isn’t because George Zimmerman’s actions were racist, right? The anger occurred because he was declared not guilty, and the suggestion many people brought forward was that the jury was being racist.

      The fact that Zimmerman might have been racist is also something people agree about, but it isn’t the reason thousands of people took to the streets to protest.

      Personally, I don’t see any reason to believe that Zimmerman was indeed racist, because, as I mentioned above, any teenager walking the streets at night looks like he’s up to no good, and with a hood on in the dark, you won’t be able to see your victim’s skin colour until you’re right on top of him. But in the end, it’s debatable, and the same goes for the jury decision.

      What is definitely clear is that the jury didn’t decide to punish Zimmerman just because the victim was black, but what is less good is the fact that that thought probably crossed their minds while they were discussing the verdict. Not that that is their fault, but still…

      Basically, to summarise this all, I would say that a guilty man had been declared not guilty, but that the only reason for this is the shortcomings of the justice system, not the racist thoughts of the anonymous jury we all don’t know anything about.

  4. leizyl angel romero says:

    An innocent child with a bag of skittles in his pocket was killed for walking through the wrong neighborhood at night. The person who killed the child walked free. If you take the idea of racism out of the picture, hopefully you can understand why there are people angry about this.

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