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Old 07-22-2013, 12:29 PM   #981
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I am curious about the racial element in this thread - are people seriously suggesting that I - a white person that agrees with the jury in the Zimmerman trial - is somehow a racist against blacks because I think there is not enough evidence to convict Zimmerman? How is that connection made? If so - would that mean I am somehow a racial-cheerleader for Hispanics?


i don't think you're being a racist. but i do think you're not grappling with *why* this case hits such a nerve and is so resonant for so many people, especially black Americans.

i wouldn't have convicted GZ of Murder 2 either. and i blame the guns and the asshole vigilante mentality more than race.

but race is a part of this.
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Old 07-22-2013, 12:45 PM   #982
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i don't think you're being a racist. but i do think you're not grappling with *why* this case hits such a nerve and is so resonant for so many people, especially black Americans.
Thank you for not thinking of me that way. I agree - I still grapple with the *why* this case hits such a nerve with the black community. Even after Sean's post (which he packed more insight into a few sentences than I've heard on just about every show or read in any article) - I don't see how the acquittal of Zimmerman equals racial injustice.

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i wouldn't have convicted GZ of Murder 2 either. and i blame the guns and the asshole vigilante mentality more than race.
I am very much in agreement with you on this - and I am hopeful the laws will change as a result of this case.

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but race is a part of this.
I still do not understand why it has to be. In this particular case - it seems the main discussion should be around the future legality of armed citizens roaming the neighborhood. By making race a part of this - it appears I am taking the "side" of white-hispanics simply because I don't think Zimmerman is guilty of breaking the law as it is written today.
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Old 07-22-2013, 01:00 PM   #983
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I still do not understand why it has to be. In this particular case - it seems the main discussion should be around the future legality of armed citizens roaming the neighborhood. By making race a part of this - it appears I am taking the "side" of white-hispanics simply because I don't think Zimmerman is guilty of breaking the law as it is written today.
Because many of us believe that had Martin not been black, had not been wearing things like a hoodie that make him appear "gangsta", and had looked like he "belonged" in that gated community, then Zimmerman would never have followed him in the first place.

Certainly people entered and exited the community immediately preceding Martin's arrival, so why make a 911 call and start following him in this particular instance?
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Old 07-22-2013, 01:19 PM   #984
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Because many of us believe that had Martin not been black, had not been wearing things like a hoodie that make him appear "gangsta", and had looked like he "belonged" in that gated community, then Zimmerman would never have followed him in the first place.

Certainly people entered and exited the community immediately preceding Martin's arrival, so why make a 911 call and start following him in this particular instance?

I think it is a valid point, and there's more than likely some truth to it. But this wouldn't make Zimmerman guilty of murder - it would him guilty of being unreasonably suspicious (which is not illegal).

There is no proof that Zimmerman broke any laws, which is why I thought the jury reached to verdict it did. However, by making race the central issue of this incident - it seems to place those who think Zimmerman is "not guilty" into a camp of souls that are entirely unconcerned with racial equality when, in fact, it has nothing to do with the legal arguments of the case.
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Old 07-22-2013, 01:24 PM   #985
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There is no proof that Zimmerman broke any laws, which is why I thought the jury reached to verdict it did. However, by making race the central issue of this incident - it seems to place those who think Zimmerman is "not guilty" into a camp of souls that are entirely unconcerned with racial equality when, in fact, it has nothing to do with the legal arguments of the case.
I agree that race should not have been a factor in the legal proceedings, but race does influence the legal system in a variety of ways, especially in terms of jury behavior. I think this article summarizes the racial bias of some elements of the justice system succinctly:

The Trayvon Martin case: Race and juries | The Economist

The most pertinent section:

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Are juries racially biased? Of course they are. Economists Shamena Anwar of Carnegie Mellon, Patrick Bayer of Duke, and Randi Hjalmarsson of Queen Mary University studied Florida jury verdicts from 2000-2010; they found that "(i) juries formed from all-white jury pools convict black defendants significantly (16 percentage points) more often than white defendants and (ii) this gap in conviction rates is entirely eliminated when the jury pool includes at least one black member." However, the non-jury "professional" elements of the American justice system may be even more racially biased. Last year John Roman of the Urban Institute crunched the data on "justifiable homicide" determinations broken down by race and by whether or not the state was a stand-your-ground state. These are determinations made by police or prosecutors as to whether a homicide was justifiable, before the case ever reaches a jury trial. He found that white-on-black killings were more than twice as likely to be found "justified" as white-on-white killings, and more than three times as likely in stand-your-ground states. And of course it was the trained law enforcement professionals in the police force, not any jury, that initially decided George Zimmerman should not even be arrested for the killing.
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Old 07-22-2013, 01:51 PM   #986
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Originally Posted by BoMac

Because many of us believe that had Martin not been black, had not been wearing things like a hoodie that make him appear "gangsta", and had looked like he "belonged" in that gated community, then Zimmerman would never have followed him in the first place.

Certainly people entered and exited the community immediately preceding Martin's arrival, so why make a 911 call and start following him in this particular instance?
Lots of assumptions being made here though. Only 50% of the community was white to begin with. Being black didn't stand out
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Old 07-22-2013, 01:58 PM   #987
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There is no proof that Zimmerman broke any laws, which is why I thought the jury reached to verdict it did. However, by making race the central issue of this incident - it seems to place those who think Zimmerman is "not guilty" into a camp of souls that are entirely unconcerned with racial equality when, in fact, it has nothing to do with the legal arguments of the case.
I think we need to separate the purely legal arguments from the emotional/life experience arguments.

Yes, from a legal point of view, the correct verdict was reached. This was not a miscarriage of justice, it wasn't a tainted jury (though strangely composed wrt sex and race but that's just an observation), there is no suggestion of prosecutorial misconduct or anything of the sort.

But this case also brought up the way young black men are often looked at with suspicion, from the way they dress to the way they walk, talk, appear, etc. So yes, race matters in that respect. When you say race doesn't or shouldn't matter but then go on to discuss whether TM was dressed like a "gangsta" (what is a "gangsta" exactly) it sounds bit like cognitive dissonance.
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Old 07-22-2013, 02:08 PM   #988
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That's quite a trap. And it's very sad. Thank you for sharing this - it's very helpful.
.
It's more than a trap. It's a legitimate question, the answer to which I don't know.

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Thank you for not thinking of me that way. I agree - I still grapple with the *why* this case hits such a nerve with the black community. Even after Sean's post (which he packed more insight into a few sentences than I've heard on just about every show or read in any article) - I don't see how the acquittal of Zimmerman equals racial injustice.
It's more than this (though this is part of it):

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Because many of us believe that had Martin not been black, had not been wearing things like a hoodie that make him appear "gangsta", and had looked like he "belonged" in that gated community, then Zimmerman would never have followed him in the first place.

Certainly people entered and exited the community immediately preceding Martin's arrival, so why make a 911 call and start following him in this particular instance?
For me I would question this verdict regardless of the race of those involved. I just feel that when someone shoots an unarmed person even if they felt it was warranted at the time, there should be consequence. To me this verdict suggests a "shoot first, ask questions later" approach that is dangerous. I understand the argument that Martin attacked Zimmerman and might have harmed even more if he hadn't fired, but that scenario seems far from certain. There's a lot we can't say for sure about what happened. This part of my response has nothing to do with race. I actually don't "blame" Zimmerman for shooting--I might have done the same; but I still think he should be held accountable.

The part that does have to do with race is the sense that I (and many other blacks) have that if Zimmerman had been black he would not have been found not guilty. In all the "oh yeah look at this story, black man commits heinous violence against white person" that have been circulating on Facebook this past week none have as the capper that the black guy was acquitted. If there is such a story out there besides the OJ Exception I have yet to hear it. What we in the black community hear in this acquittal is that the justice system has spoken and said that a white man can kill black man and suffer no consequences. Obviously that has a long historical precedent so it doesn't come from a vacuum. You can understand the difficulty in persuading that historical precedent no longer applies when you have a situation that looks awfully like exactly that historical precedent.
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Old 07-22-2013, 03:12 PM   #989
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I agree. But it's important to recognize that these are fringe types, extremist. It'd be like me saying "even so I don't think slurs against blacks and hate filled rants from the KKK and people like the NeoNazis should be shrugged off. It doesn't help with the race discussion etc etc" Of course I wouldn't say that because we all understand that these groups are extremists and that the vast majority of white people share no common ground with these types. The same is true of black people and so, I think we can just agree to exclude these people and their ideas from our discussions.
But it seems like extremist blacks are more easily given a platform. Louis Farrakhan used to attract a lot of media attention, but a neoNazi leader didn't. When I was in college, the student newspaper used to print Op-eds and letters to the editor by this woman who made it clear she wanted to see whites suffer just like black people, and by her choice of words, she was not kidding. Yet, no one said anything about that. I don't know if it was white guilt or intimidation that allowed such comments to be published like that, but it was scary to read such venom.
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Old 07-22-2013, 03:20 PM   #990
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I actually don't "blame" Zimmerman for shooting--I might have done the same; but I still think he should be held accountable.
In which way? How can we hold someone accountable if they are not guilty of committing a crime as they are written today? Yes, we can (and should) use this case to rewrite some of these laws around self-defense and being armed in a public place, but that was not the job of this jury. Their only job was to come up with a verdict based on current, not hypothetical, law.

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The part that does have to do with race is the sense that I (and many other blacks) have that if Zimmerman had been black he would not have been found not guilty. In all the "oh yeah look at this story, black man commits heinous violence against white person" that have been circulating on Facebook this past week none have as the capper that the black guy was acquitted. If there is such a story out there besides the OJ Exception I have yet to hear it. What we in the black community hear in this acquittal is that the justice system has spoken and said that a white man can kill black man and suffer no consequences. Obviously that has a long historical precedent so it doesn't come from a vacuum. You can understand the difficulty in persuading that historical precedent no longer applies when you have a situation that looks awfully like exactly that historical precedent.
Many great points here, Sean. Is it possible the media initially made the mistake of setting this trial up as such an example? A jury can't acquit/convict anyone based on emotion and/or historical baggage - they must come to a verdict based on evidence and knowledge of the law.
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Old 07-22-2013, 03:23 PM   #991
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The part that does have to do with race is the sense that I (and many other blacks) have that if Zimmerman had been black he would not have been found not guilty. In all the "oh yeah look at this story, black man commits heinous violence against white person" that have been circulating on Facebook this past week none have as the capper that the black guy was acquitted. If there is such a story out there besides the OJ Exception I have yet to hear it. What we in the black community hear in this acquittal is that the justice system has spoken and said that a white man can kill black man and suffer no consequences. Obviously that has a long historical precedent so it doesn't come from a vacuum. You can understand the difficulty in persuading that historical precedent no longer applies when you have a situation that looks awfully like exactly that historical precedent.

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Old 07-22-2013, 03:30 PM   #992
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What we in the black community hear in this acquittal is that the justice system has spoken and said that a white man can kill black man and suffer no consequences.
That's far too much weight to put into a case that was in no way going to be a slam dunk. This wasn't To Kill a Mockingbird, where the jury gave a guilty verdict against to a black man despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
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Old 07-22-2013, 03:37 PM   #993
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Zimmerman emerges to help family escape overturned car in Sanford, Fla. - U.S. News

GZ's Latino heritage comes on handy
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:17 PM   #994
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GZ's Latino heritage comes on handy
Sometimes I'm a bit slow - can you please help me understand your comment?
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Old 07-22-2013, 05:26 PM   #995
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I think we need to separate the purely legal arguments from the emotional/life experience arguments.

Yes, from a legal point of view, the correct verdict was reached. This was not a miscarriage of justice, it wasn't a tainted jury (though strangely composed wrt sex and race but that's just an observation), there is no suggestion of prosecutorial misconduct or anything of the sort.
If only the media and politicians agreed with you.

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But this case also brought up the way young black men are often looked at with suspicion, from the way they dress to the way they walk, talk, appear, etc. So yes, race matters in that respect.
Yes, it is worthy to discuss. But it seems many would convict Zimmerman simply to make a point, to have him be the sacrificial lamb for all the prior injustice against blacks.

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When you say race doesn't or shouldn't matter but then go on to discuss whether TM was dressed like a "gangsta" (what is a "gangsta" exactly) it sounds bit like cognitive dissonance.
You're taking me slightly out of context here. I was using TM's own texts to demonstrate that this was the image he wanted to project (he called himself a "gangsta" alongside pics of him wearing fake gold teeth, holding a handgun, smoking pot...etc)- so it shouldn't have been that much of surprise that this was how Zimmerman saw him that night.
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:04 PM   #996
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You're taking me slightly out of context here. I was using TM's own texts to demonstrate that this was the image he wanted to project (he called himself a "gangsta" alongside pics of him wearing fake gold teeth, holding a handgun, smoking pot...etc)- so it shouldn't have been that much of surprise that this was how Zimmerman saw him that night.
He's probably your average teenage boy.

There is no evidence that I'm aware of that he was holding a handgun, smoking pot or wearing fake gold teeth THAT NIGHT. So Zimmerman had nothing to go on but the fact he was in a hoodie? That alone made him gangsta? Think about it a bit...
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Old 07-22-2013, 08:11 PM   #997
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He's probably your average teenage boy.

There is no evidence that I'm aware of that he was holding a handgun, smoking pot or wearing fake gold teeth THAT NIGHT. So Zimmerman had nothing to go on but the fact he was in a hoodie? That alone made him gangsta? Think about it a bit...
The hoodie and he was walking around aimlessly at night (taking 40 minutes to walk a distance covered easily in 10 minutes) in the rain in a neighborhood recently besieged by break-ins...
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Old 07-22-2013, 08:16 PM   #998
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He's probably your average teenage boy.
I hope not.
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Old 07-22-2013, 08:40 PM   #999
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How so?

My younger brother is a high school teacher. He has stories that would make your hair stand on end.
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Old 07-22-2013, 09:25 PM   #1000
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He's probably your average teenage boy.
Lots of teenagers make neighborhood watch people annoyed. When I was a teenager, I would frequently hang out with friends in my neighborhood. Some neighbors would tell us to get out of the street. We usually complied. We were followed once by a neighbor, till I explained that I lived nearby and was heading home. He followed us until I went inside. That dude was annoying, but I don't remember thinking that he was a problem. (When I was 12 there was a brutal murder three blocks from my house, so people being somewhat on-edge wasn't necessarily a problem.)

Quote:
There is no evidence that I'm aware of that he was holding a handgun, smoking pot or wearing fake gold teeth THAT NIGHT. So Zimmerman had nothing to go on but the fact he was in a hoodie? That alone made him gangsta? Think about it a bit...
A car parked in front of our house a few nights ago -- one we haven't seen before. We could not see in the dark. I promptly locked the doors, walked out to the car, asked the gentleman to roll down his window and told him to please take no offense, but we've had some break-ins in the area recently and I was going to have to ask him to move along. He moved along. (Not that I think it matters, but he was white.)

Two weeks ago someone from the neighborhood watch was out when a loud BANG went off. A guy was walking around in the neighborhood who wasn't from around here, and the neighborhood watch guy called out to him and questioned him. A car sped up and the guy got in and drove away. I don't think our neighborhood watch guy was wrong for questioning somebody who was lurking in the shadows in the aftermath of a loud gunshot-like sound.

Sometimes lurkers are enough for people to be suspicious -- especially people who are members of a neighborhood watch. And if you're in an area with a high crime rate...

Or to put it another way -- was wearing a hoodie an automatic sign that TM was black?
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