Saturday, July 27, 2013

What You may not be Getting in the George Zimmerman Case

I read that there is political pressure to get Florida to change the "Stand Your Ground" laws, and at the same time federal prosecutors are trying to figure out whether they can charge Zimmerman with other things and get a conviction.  

    Of course, the real winner in this is the news media, which has been the greatest beneficiary of Travon Martin's death. They have sought collectively to fan the flames as much as possible in order to milk the tragedy for as much profit as possible.  I don't know whether that is good or bad, but it just is what it is.  

   At the center of the controversy, in my opinion, is that the white community and the black community look at the event from different perspectives.  The white community is fascinated by the particulars in the case, and the correct reading of the laws. And in fact America is a country which abhors wrongful convictions, and yes we do let murderers go free based on technicalities, and most Americans (including the Village Elliot) are pretty much ok with that.

    But what may be being missed is that the black community tends to view this not as a single case, but an example of a systematic failure of the justice system to provide equal justice under the law. 
    Since the time of the Civil War, we have had a justice system in which it was possible to tolerate lynchings and ordinary murders.  in other words, when a white person killed a black person, there were often ways to allow the white person to go free, whereas when a black person killed a white person, punishment was much more certain.  Lynchings were never legal in the south, but they were pretty much permitted despite their lack of legal standing.  I think that may blacks view the Zimmerman verdict as further evidence that it is still pretty much okay for a white person to kill a black person.  

    The white persons figure that they need to fix the particulars of the Zimmerman case, and generally have been very vocal about it, and so they can't figure out why African-Americans are still mad.   Well, the reason is that the whites still have not figured out that the entire system is corrupt.  It's not just one case or one bad law that needs to be fixed. 

   I haven't read that much about the trial, but as far as I can tell every single African American in the trial testified against Zimmerman, while every single white person testified FOR him.  That is the real travesty of justice.  

    Now the bitter irony is that the Zimmerman camp is complaining about vigilantes, while elsewhere there rumblings that Zimmerman should be taken care of outside the law (like what do you guys want to do?  Lynch him?).  

    I think the first step towards genuine healing can come only when both sides can realize and articulate that the system is unfair, and that equal justice has been denied for over 100 years. It's not just one case, not just one law.

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