What more can be said about the George Zimmerman trial that has not been said? It seems that two sides have staked out their territory and are not budging.
On one side, we have those who are looking at the case purely through a lawyerly lens. The evidence did not rise to beyond a reasonable doubt; therefore the verdict of not guilty was correct. On the other side, we have those representing Trayvon Martin as the avatar of racial problems in America. Trayvon’s blackness was the catalyst for the “white” Mr. Zimmerman’s actions and acquittal.
Both sides talk past each other without listening.
So many times I hear or read inaccurate accounts of the trial and evidence. Very few people listened to all seven hours of closing arguments, much less tracked down coroner reports, read through the entire Zimmerman call to police, or listened to Rachel Jeantel’s recollection of Trayvon’s last phone conversation. So whenever someone complains about the trial by brandishing a blatant error, one side perceives the other to lose all credibility. No amount of explaining the facts of the case, as known, will move the other person.
On the other hand, when President Obama tried to explain why so many in the black community were moved by this case, that they saw themselves or their sons as Trayvon, many shouted that Mr. Obama was trying to incite a race war. They claim race does not matter, but by not listening to people’s concerns, they shut themselves off from understanding and the ability to help overcome prejudice.
There will be a civil suit against Mr. Zimmerman by Trayvon’s family. The American Civil Liberties Union has recommended that the Department of Justice not try Mr. Zimmerman for federal civil rights violation or hate crimes, and Justice likely will not have the evidence to convict. However, whatever the department decides will thrust the case back into the spotlight and reignite the same tired arguments.
We have entertainers and celebrities calling for a boycott of Florida. I am at a loss to figure out how taking income away from citizens of Florida — no matter their race, creed or color — equals justice for Trayvon. The NAACP, the Rev. Al Sharpton, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson have all called for protests and vigils on Trayvon’s behalf.
Youths have shouted “This is for Trayvon” while committing crimes. In Baltimore, 10 black youths were videotaped mercilessly beating a white kid to avenge the injustice of Trayvon. A similar incident happened this past weekend in the District’s Adams Morgan neighborhood. Where is the outcry from the mainstream media? Do we have one standard of justice for black victims and couldn’t care less if whites are beaten to a pulp or killed?
The first posttrial sighting of Mr. Zimmerman happens when he helped a family of four out of their overturned vehicle. Both sides waiting with bated breath to hear if the family was white or black.
The left has decided to crusade against “stand your ground laws” despite the statute not being used as a defense in the Zimmerman trial.
Obviously, this case hits at something deeper and has become a catch-all for other issues. What I find interesting are the questions no one is asking.
First, does this case tell us how the black and white communities view Hispanics? Mr. Zimmerman was quickly identified as “white” or “white Hispanic.” I notice white people tend to quickly note his Peruvian heritage, even going so far as to ask if this would make Mr. Obama a “white African-American?”
The “white” conservatives seem quick to defend Mr. Zimmerman (a registered Democrat and Obama voter), but won’t claim him. If Republicans dislike Hispanics, why do they insist on defending one? Is it because of the rule of law or because of the leftist meme that “they just hate blacks more”? Do blacks now see all Hispanics as “white”? If Mr. Zimmerman were more “brown,” would that have made a difference?
Are Hispanics becoming enfolded into the fabric of America more quickly and easily than blacks have? If so, what kind of resentment and friction is this creating? Asking such questions brings silence.
I do know this: interracial crime should not be our primary concern.
One black male teenager is killed on Chicago’s South Side almost every day by another black. Blacks are only 12 percent of the U.S. population, but commit approximately 95 percent of all black homicides, and 60 percent of all homicides in America.
This is a true epidemic. The principal reason for this issue is the breakdown of the black family where male role models are absent. Close to 80 percent of all black children are born out of wedlock.
But we are not allowed to talk about that.
The same entertainers demanding “Justice for Trayvon” promote misogyny, violence, dysfunctional lifestyles of drugs and promiscuous sex — the very lifestyle that Trayvon was living before his death. That lifestyle had correlations to his death, even if it was not the cause.
Rather than thinking about the lifestyle they promote and encouraging people of all races to reject “thug life” and proceed to focus on constructive issues, they practice cognitive dissonance. In fact, they protest a law that they unwittingly promote with violence in their lyrics and actions.
At the end of the day, a legally constituted jury rendered the decision in the Zimmerman trial. As Mr. Obama stated, we should “move on.” Rather than focus on our differences and winning the unwinnable argument, each and every one of us should take this time to focus on issues that can bring about change and not further divide this nation.
• Armstrong Williams is the author of the book “Reawakening Virtues.” Join him from 4 to 5 a.m. and 6 to 7 p.m. daily on Sirius/XM Power 128. Become a fan on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.