Do we have enough facts to say that George Zimmerman was racist?

  • Trajen1

    Posts: 115

    May 03, 2012 2:40 PM GMT
    Just wondering, its kinda like a poll but read this excerpt from a paper I wrote (no my writing btw, had to turn it in really fast)

    The facts of the case certainly create a compelling story that appeals to the emotions of those who follow it. However, upon simple research one can begin to discern that the reporting of the case appeared to be an example of highly unethical journalism. The first area of concern is the photos that the media used to acquaint George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin with the public eye. Zimmerman was shown as a brutish thug in a prison, orange jumpsuit. This was a photo that was taken seven years before the shooting of Trayvon. Meanwhile, the photo used to portray Martin depicted a cheerful, young, and childish individual. This image was taken when he was thirteen, when in fact, the juvenile was seventeen years old. Clearly these are not the most useful or timely photos that the media could have used. The outcome was Zimmerman being characterized negatively and rough while Martin was characterized positively and innocent. These images encapsulated that crucial first impression for the average American and associations of guilt and innocence began to be placed.
    The unethical journalism surrounding this tragic innocent does not end with two photos. Incredibly, the news media were also guilty of doctoring recordings and images. When the 911 tapes were released, this is what America heard Zimmerman say: “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks Black.” This obviously creates the impression that Zimmerman is racially motivated in his actions. However, it was later revealed that it was an edited version of the emergency response recording. In between the two sentences that Zimmerman utters, the dispatcher asks the question: “OK, and this guy…is he White, Black, or Hispanic.” Therefore, Zimmerman’s use of a racial word was simply a merited response to a question. The misuse of audio tape was so unethical that the news company, NBC, fired those deemed to be responsible. In conjunction with the misleading recording, photos of Zimmerman’s condition upon his police interview were also selectively used to mislead the public. Instead of showing the pictures of Zimmerman from all angles, NBC only aired the photos which depicted Zimmerman free of injuries. Upon simple investigation, photos surfaced showing the back of Zimmerman’s head having a possible bloody injury. The resulting lack of media airtime showcasing the media’s poor coverage and highlighting the journalists’ mistakes is quite peculiar.
    There are numerous issues at stake in the discussion of the media’s unethical portrayal of Trayvon Martin’s murder. These issues can be summed up by a series of questions. Did the media use certain journalistic tools incorrectly? If so, why would they have done so? Was this a momentary lapse of judgment for the media, a mistake? Or, was the media attempting to create and glamorize a narrative for the public to follow? And if so, what was the purpose for creating this narrative? Was it an easy way for our 24/7 media culture to sell their product, the news? Or, more sinister, was this an attempt to gin up racial angst? Why would one desire to create this racial tension? Does the media’s natural liberal slant have anything to do with the coverage of this story? Also, is it a coincidence that these unethical actions occurred during the Presidential election season? Next it is important to ask the question of how often is justice not pursued for African Americans. If it is common, why did the media pick this incident and this time to highlight the issue? Finally, if the media wanted to highlight a disparity within our criminal system, why pick a situation which they had to “doctor” the information to make the case become race oriented? Most of these questions have no easy answer, if they even have an answer at all. However, it is important for our society to isolate important issues and ask the tough question in order for progress to be made.
    While inquiring about the events around the Trayvon Martin incident it is important for one to see the history behind the accused aggressor, George Zimmerman. One’s history is key, because it sheds light onto ones rationale, behavior, and personality. Zimmerman grew up in a mixed –race household and in 2004, he opened an Allstate insurance office with an African American as his founding business partner. His wife, Shellie, was cornered by an escaped pit bull in 2009, prompting him to purchase a gun which the police had recommended. Zimmerman lives with Shellie in a neighborhood called Twin Lakes which is located in Sanford, Florida. During 2011 this racially mixed neighborhood experienced a string of burglaries where witnesses described the perpetrators as African American. Zimmerman, a victim of these burglaries, had his bike stolen from is front porch in July 2011. George Zimmerman was also a witness to burglars fleeing through his back yard from his neighbors house. Later that year the neighborhood association decided that they should respond to the unsafe conditions by creating a neighborhood watch comprised of citizens. Zimmerman was then asked by the association to head up this new initiative. More robberies occurred which eventually led to Zimmerman personally observing an African American male looking through the windows of a neighbor’s house. At this point he called the police to report the incident. “I don’t know what he’s doing. I don’t want to approach him personally,” is an exact quote from Zimmerman’s 911 call recorded from that incident. Unfortunately, the police responded too late to catch the trespasser, angering the victims of the burglaries. Trayvon Martin would be the next individual who Zimmerman encountered and described as acting suspiciously. Again, Zimmerman decided to call the police and report the incident to the authorities. However, this time, he didn’t want to see a possible suspect escape; therefore, he pursued Trayvon Martin in hopes that he could deter another crime from occurring. This was the fateful night that would generate a media firestorm and the resulting public outcry.

    I don't know if we have enough information is given for anyone of us to bestow the word racist on him. Please add new info if you have it...naturally, I'd like to find the truth.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 20927

    May 03, 2012 2:47 PM GMT
    I think the best anyone could accurately say right now, given the loads of misinformation out there, is that there are some troubling signs surrounding George Zimmerman --- how accurate any of them really are remains to be deciphered and accurately determined. Somewhere between George Zimmerman being a "Cold Blooded Killer of Innocent Skittle Carrying Black Teenagers" and "An Over-Zealous But Well-Intentioned Community Watchman Caught In A Chance Encounter Gone Terribly Wrong" is the real "Truth". Hopefully, the police investigators and a jury will come up with a fair and accurate verdict that everyone can accept.
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    May 03, 2012 4:42 PM GMT
    The key thing to remember is: the question of whether or not Zimmy himself acted with racial animus is NOT the determinant for whether or not he goes to prison.

    A (no adjectives) boy was unarmed and shot dead by a (no adjectives) man after a struggle sparked by the questionable pursuit of the latter. The issue of race-based animus on the part of the defendant as motivation for the alleged crime should only arise if, indeed, the defendant is found guilty of the charged crime, thereby potentially affecting sentencing (i.e., how much longer should his prison sentence be?).

    Now that Zimmy is actually going to be on trial, the job falls to the prosecution to first prove the crime charged, THEN, if necessary, assess some of the conclusions you're seeking, to see if the likelihood of racial animus preceding the action can be proven in a court of law. That is when questions about 6-year old immature social media posts and who the "They" are that are "always getting away with it" can come into question and be defended as well. Now that he is actually being prosecuted, as he should, searching to see if "we have enough" to find "the truth" to satisfy our own morbid curiosities ahead of a conviction would be premature and perhaps self-defeating.

    Where questions of racial bias should be directed at this time by the media and the general public is not so much at Yosemite George here, but at the people of legitimate authority in Sanford who conducted a shoestring investigation and quickly said, "Uh, yeah, George, you're free to go!"

    Zimmy is merely symbolic of several larger issues of crime, community policing, racial profiling, and law enforcement practices that the community there will need to address collaboratively. Externally, however, the media, interest groups, and random snoopers like us from both "wings" pretty much did the minimum investigation that would have been expected by taxpayers of this police department before they set George free to roam the streets anew.

    We may find that inadequate and insufficient evidence collection in the aftermath of the crime is what will lead jurors to find Zimmy not guilty, rendering any legally-relevant questions of racist intent moot. If you or media members are still concerned at that point about the scale of his racial biases, a (properly-)freed Zimmerman might later help answer that concern for you.

    Investigators doing their job without the need for extra- zealous State intervention would not have saved Trayvon from his demise, but it would at least have saved Zimmerman from becoming a national pinata/pariah/cause celebre. In that regard, don't be surprised if Zimmerman's legal team eventually files lawsuits against Sanford Police as well. It his his actions that made this a case, but it was their subsequent actions (and inaction) that made this a circus.

    Were decisions like this by those enforcing our laws just a one-off, or the tip of an iceberg in need of a major meltdown? One way or another, the Martin family and their representatives will get to the bottom of that question, seeing to it that justice is carried forth systematically in Florida, not just symbolically via the Zimmerman trial.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 20927

    May 03, 2012 4:49 PM GMT
    dayumm saidOne way or another, the Martin family and their representatives will get to the bottom of that question, seeing to it that justice is carried forth systematically in Florida, not just symbolically via the Zimmerman trial.

    Unfortunately, due to "potentially" weak or insufficient evidence, and the problematic "Stand Your Ground" law in Florida, this case may never actually go to trial.
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    May 03, 2012 5:39 PM GMT
    It doesn't matter whether Zimmerman was racist or not.