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Opinion

Opinion

‘White’ not really about race

March 25, 2012

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I’m here to explain why George Zimmerman is white.

This seems necessary given the confusion and anger with which some readers responded to my use of that word last week in this space to describe the man who shot an unarmed black teenager named Trayvon Martin to death last month in Sanford, Fla. One person wrote: “Mr. Zimmerman was Hispanic not White plez do your homework before writing your column!!!!”

But it is they who are wrong. There are two reasons. The short one is this:

“Hispanic” is not a race, but an ethnicity. As the U.S. Census Bureau puts it in its 2010 Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin, “People who identify their origin as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish may be any race.”

The long reason begins with an understanding that the word in question — race — is a term both meaningful and yet, profoundly meaningless. It is meaningful in the sense that it provides a tool for tribalism and a means by which to organize our biases, fears, observations, social challenges and sundry cultural products. It is meaningless in the sense that, well ... it has no meaning, that there exists no definition of “black” or “white” that carries any degree of scientific precision.

We are taught to believe the opposite, that “black” and “white” are self-evident and immutable. But I invite you to look up Walter White, the blond, blue-eyed “Negro” who once led the NAACP, or Gregory Howard Williams, the university president who didn’t even know he was black until he was 10 years old. Dig up the old Jet magazine story about a woman who gave birth to twins — one “black,” one “white.” And then think again. Race is a fraud, a cruel and stupid fraud.

The people who came here from Europe did not automatically consider themselves “white.” They identified as Irish, Hungarian, Italian, Jewish, Armenian. As David R. Roediger observes in his book, “Working Toward Whiteness: How America’s Immigrants Became White,” they were emphatically taught that “white” was the identity that conferred status and privilege and that it was defined by distance from, and antipathy toward, black. They were advised to avoid being friendly with blacks or else put their whiteness at risk.

Nor did Africans kidnapped into slavery think of themselves as “black.” They were Mandinkan, Fulani, Mende, Songhay, Wolof. “Black” was something imposed upon them as justification for slavery and other means of exploitation. As one historian puts it: Africans did not become slaves because they were black. They became black because they were enslaved.

Well into the 20th century, America recognized dozens of “races.” In that America, people we now regard as white — the Irishman, Conan O’Brien; the Armenian, Andre Agassi; the Jew, Jerry Seinfeld — could not have taken for granted that they would be seen that way. People like this had to become white, had to earn whiteness, a feat African-Americans have found impossible to duplicate, no matter how many harsh chemicals they use on their hair and skin.

White, then, is not simply color, but privilege, not necessarily in the sense of wealth, but rather in the sense of having one’s personhood and individuality respected, a privilege so basic I doubt it registers with many whites as privilege at all. We’re talking about the privilege of being seen, of having your worth presumed, of receiving the benefit of the doubt and some human compassion, of being treated as if you matter.

Consider that, then consider the fair-skinned Hispanic man, George Zimmerman, who evidently stalked and killed an unarmed kid he wrongly thought was up to no good, yet was not arrested, nor even initially investigated. He said it was self-defense. Police took him at his word and sent him on his way.

Folks, that’s not just white. It’s blinding.

— Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald. He chats with readers from noon to 1 p.m. CDT each Wednesday on www.MiamiHerald.com.

Comments

Liberty_One 2 years, 9 months ago

I like the conceit in Pitts thinking he knows so much about white people. I'm sure if a white person wrote a similar article telling black people what it means to be black, Pitts would welcome such an effort and praise its accuracy and depth.

tomatogrower 2 years, 9 months ago

I am white, and because of that people assume I love hearing nasty racist jokes, until I set them straight. I am white so people assume they can say things to me, like "All black people are lazy, so we aren't hiring that guy." "Watch out for that black kid. Black kids are always stealing things.

Shop lifting by a white kid - "Oh, boys will be boys. Give him a good lecture and send him home." Shoplifting by a black kid - "Call the cops, the dirty little thief."

Because I am white, other white people think I am like them. The racists are dead wrong.

imastinker 2 years, 9 months ago

Who do you hang out with that tells racist jokes? I can't remember the last time I heard a blatant one.

djchaz 2 years, 9 months ago

False--Pitts describes what he views as white. This in his opinion does not exemplify race but privilege. He outright expresses this by not limiting any one person's individuality but showing how it may be more generally accepted.

tomatogrower 2 years, 9 months ago

That's right. Liberty, I described the privilege above with the difference in reaction to shoplifting.

Kirk Larson 2 years, 9 months ago

Read your Francis Fanon. Oppressed peoples always have to know more about their oppressors than the oppressors have to know about them. It's a survival mechanism.

djchaz 2 years, 9 months ago

False, he never said anything "racist."

rockchalker52 2 years, 9 months ago

looks like #100 came in at 1:25. Still, you be close with the guessin'

grammaddy 2 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 9 months ago

Your proof is Fox "News"? Get real. One witness...ONE witness...contradicts at least five others and you accept it as gospel because it came from Faux News. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

cato_the_elder 2 years, 9 months ago

I submitted it simply as an additional piece of evidence for consideration. Your intolerant, tightly closed liberal mind can't tolerate that.

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

This Pitts nutcase can't get passed the color of people's skin at all can he? He needs to play with his dog or something.

bad_dog 2 years, 8 months ago

Psst! "passed" s/b "past"

Sorry, pet peeve.

Armstrong 2 years, 9 months ago

Pitts is like that kid in 3rd grade who would eat bugs for attention. Sad

50YearResident 2 years, 9 months ago

All you Hispanics will glad to know you are no longer Hispanic, you are now "White" , according to Pitts.

tomatogrower 2 years, 9 months ago

Don't confuse bigots. They don't understand the difference between race and ethnicity. Those people are different and they all act the same, and I hate them.

grammaddy 2 years, 9 months ago

And few of them can actually read and comprehend.

50YearResident 2 years, 9 months ago

Winner! Congratulations, you are first to get your panties in a bind. You win 10 free posts on this subject.

djchaz 2 years, 9 months ago

And 50YearResident backs into a corner and retreats--way to completely avoid a logical answer.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 9 months ago

Welcome to the Brave New World of tribalism, mob rule and selective outrage.

grammaddy 2 years, 9 months ago

"Kansan"? His Mother and Grandparents were from here. He was born in Hawaii.

verity 2 years, 9 months ago

At least get your quote right: "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon," Obama said, . . ."

grammaddy 2 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

tomatogrower 2 years, 9 months ago

So because 1 black guy got away with murder, this guy should get away with murder? And I believe Pitt's columns in the past have indicated that he thinks OJ was guilty, and the stupid prosecutors were too blinded by being a "celebrity" they didn't do their job, and that OJ could afford the best lawyers. But lets ignore the reality.

verity 2 years, 9 months ago

I remember a saying at the time: "Never try to frame a guilty man." The investigation was flawed from the beginning and the prosecution didn't do their job. While I didn't follow the trial really closely, I was convinced he wasn't guilty until the civil trial. I could be wrong, but I don't think most people celebrated because they thought a black person got by with murder. Many probably thought, like I did, that he was being railroaded.

Abdu Omar 2 years, 9 months ago

When filling out federal forms of any kind there is a section on the bottom that states:

Are you Hispanic or Latino: yes or no

What is your racial background: Then lists several choices one being white.

Pitts, I think, is right. You can be a black hispanic or a white hispanic. I give you the population of Haiti, most of whom were from Africa and they use the Spanish language.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 9 months ago

The official language of Haiti is French, though many speak Creole.

tomatogrower 2 years, 9 months ago

Ok, in the Dominican Republic many of them are black. They speak Spanish. Spain kept slaves too. There are redheaded hispanics, and blond blue eyed hispanics, pale skin and dark. Spanish is in Europe remember. Some people from Spain may have had middle eastern ancestors since the south of Spain was part of the Moorish empire many years ago. When they came to the Americas, some of them intermarried with native Americans, so many have dark hair and dark skin. But they spoke Spanish. Guess what. Not all northern Europeans settled in the US. Some went to Mexico, Central or South America. They learned the language that most people now speak there, just like they did in the US. Look up Bernardo O'Higgins - a South American hero of their revolution for independence. Learn some history. Get to know some other cultures. You'll find that life isn't as black and white as you think. Pun intended.

Kathy Getto 2 years, 9 months ago

I am so sorry you are feeling inferior on this beautiful Sunday morning! Never fear, we are all relatives.

http://www.ramsdale.org/dna10.htm

JustNoticed 2 years, 9 months ago

PItts is not making this up. Race is a social construct and he is simply pointing that out.

RoeDapple 2 years, 9 months ago

According to my dear departed grandmother I am "part German, part French, part Italian, part Mexican, part Negro, and (her words) don't tell anybody but part Indian." I think grandma was a bit confused. I know she confused me. I thought I was from Kansas City.

Jon Jambor 2 years, 9 months ago

It had to happen: Since real racism is nearly nonexistent (see: White House, and President therein) the definition of racist has to be expanded. Otherwise, where will Pitts and his fellow race hustlers get their material?

Kirk Larson 2 years, 9 months ago

"Otherwise, where will Pitts and his fellow race hustlers get their material?"

They can always get it from FOX.

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/40088_Fox_News_Commenters_React_to_Trayvon_Martin-_Good_Shot_Zimmy

F=6th letter O=15th letter, 1+5=6 X=24th letter, 2+4=6 FOX=666, Network of the Beast

costello 2 years, 9 months ago

More power to Mr. Pitts. I read the comments by people who are clearly racist but seems to be genuinely blind to that fact, and I want to throw up my hands. If it were a mental illness, we'd say that they lacked insight into their condition.

For those who didn't read past the headline (I'll confess sometimes I skip from the headline to the comments ;-) ), I thought the following paragraph was particularly important. It would be a useful exercise to imagine what it would be like to be labelled "suspicious," reported to the police, and followed for no reason other than one's skin color.

"White, then, is not simply color, but privilege, not necessarily in the sense of wealth, but rather in the sense of having one’s personhood and individuality respected, a privilege so basic I doubt it registers with many whites as privilege at all. We’re talking about the privilege of being seen, of having your worth presumed, of receiving the benefit of the doubt and some human compassion, of being treated as if you matter."

Armstrong 2 years, 9 months ago

You should really look elsewhere for a value system other than the mainstream media

50YearResident 2 years, 9 months ago

Implying drugs is the reason anyone would travel down Prospect or Troost. Isn't that a shame?

Mike Ford 2 years, 9 months ago

Colonialism and ethnic cleansing are the culprits here. All of Europe colonized North America and Brazil and Spain and to a way lesser extent Britain, Holland, and France colonized South America. Down there Indians, Meztizos, Criollios, Peninsulares, and Maroons existed in name due to catagorizing by the White European Spaniards and Portuguese. When a colonizing country sets out to divide and conquer they create the racial catagorizations to maintian their social caste system. Down there Indios is a slur at the bottom of the identity structure.

Americans being the oblivious people they are don't realize that the Indians down there spoke hundreds of languages like Quicha and Aymara and that countries like Peru, Bolivia, Equador, and Brazil still have large Indian populations. Countries like Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Paraguay have been ethnically cleansed with lots of European last names. The NBA is a perfect example.....Andres Nocioni... European Argentinian, Manu Ginobli....same......Anderson Verajao.... Portuguese..... Tiago Splitter..... Portuguese, Beno Udrih....... Argentinian. Spaniards and Euro-American immigrants created these labels to maintain power. Why did Apartheid exist in name? to maintain power. Why did the Racial Purity laws exist in Virginia under Eric Plecker to label Pamunkey and Mattiponi and Monacan Indians as colored until the 1960's....to maintain White power in Virginia. Who created blood quantum and the one drop rule? White colonial Virginians who used said laws to legally disenfranchise Gingaskin and Nottaway indians in the 19th century. Why does the census ask so many questions about Hispanics on the census with the whole in the household bit? paranoid racism. Beyond that the whole blood quantum issue created genocide by paper as advocated by the White power structure in the Commonwealth of Virginia which was adopted by the rest of the south in the midst of Jim Crow laws. Spanish and American title are paper genocide in effect. Who puts down history on here unless it's the white textbook version with gloss overs and cowardly attacks me for stating said history above? I will take liberty from naming three or four people. White is an attitude of priviledge for which multi culturism can't get in the way of denial....don't believe me.....ask Pat Buchanan for one of his enlightened views like the ones that made him unemployed on tv....

voevoda 2 years, 9 months ago

"The Anointed One" is the title of Jesus Christ, BornAgainAmerican. Can't you refrain from blasphemy on the Lord's Day?

KSWingman 2 years, 9 months ago

Jesse,

You are wrong, The Sanford Police Dept did conduct an investigation.

The Sanford PD report: http://www.sanfordfl.gov/investigation/docs/Twin%20Lakes%20Shooting%20Initial%20Report.pdf

According to the report by Officer T. Smith, Zimmerman was transported from the scene to the police station, where he was turned over to Investigator D. Singleton for interview. The report by Officer R. Ayala stated the crime scene investigation was supervised by Lt. Taylor, who requested the Major Crimes Unit to respond to the scene.

voevoda 2 years, 9 months ago

BornAgainAmerican, The shooter is George Zimmerman. Trayvon Martin is the victim. Nobody on the left (of you, that is--in reality, the mainstream center) has "already convicted Martin," because he's the one who is dead. Before you start voicing opinions of your own and condemning people for the opinions they hold, shouldn't you learn the basic facts of the case?

Mike Ford 2 years, 9 months ago

people don't try to run interference when they're wrong do they? laissez faire cops looked the other way like some of the esteemed posters on here would want. Whitey tried to sweep it under the carpet....sorry baa enough history has already been swept under the carpet as archie bunker would want it.

Mixolydian 2 years, 9 months ago

I see his point. A white immigrant from South Africa could be called an African American, as could an arab immigrant from Egypt.

People also confuse religion with race. It happens here on this website frequently. Say something negative about islamic terrorists and get inexplicably called a racist.

Is Sotomajor the first latino/hispanic on the US Supreme Court or do you go all the way back to Benjamin Cardozo, whose lineage is Portuguese?

In this case, Zimmerman self idenitifes as hispanic. If that's how folks here are describing him, it's only because they are taking him at his word.

I think what's interesting about this case is few folks are discussing the racism that exists between blacks and hispanics. Anyone that works in corrections or law enforcement deals with it daily.

voevoda 2 years, 9 months ago

An awful lot of white privilege speaking on this forum. People who haven't been subjected to prejudice because of race, ethnicity, religion, or gender sometimes can't fathom what it's like to encounter it. But obviously the very idea that they could lose their privileged position scares them, which is why they claim a) prejudice doesn't really exist, except in the minds of minority members; and/or b) white, Christian, males of northwestern European extraction are the real victims.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

I don't care what "color" Zimmerman is. Agree with Pitts or not on how to describe Zimmerman, it does not change the fact that a kid got killed for walking down the street while Black. (Would a White teen girl have been confronted similarly by Zimmerman?)

To anyone supporting Zimmerman, I just wonder, how would you feel if an armed adult was following your teen as he or she walked down the street toward your house, then gets out of his vehicle and confronts your teen, gun at the ready? Put it in that context, then tell me how you would feel. Would it matter if the armed adult neighbor stopping your child for questioning were "White" or "Brown"?

50YearResident 2 years, 9 months ago

Bea, your points have not been established, you need to get the facts in context. 1!)There is no confirmation that Zimmerman had anything in his hands 2) It has not been established that Zimmerman got out of his car to approch Travon. 3) It has not been claified how Zimmerman recieved the injuries and grass stains on his back. 4) It has not been determined which person initiated the confrontation. Until the actual facts come out, none of us can put this enven into context.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

1) If Zimmerman didn't have his gun in his hand, what part of his body did he use to pull the trigger? 2) Zimmerman got out of his vehicle. He did not shoot the child from within his car. 3) Correct, that has not been clarified. However, I am quite confident he did not get the grass stains on his back by staying inside his vehicle (see # 2). 4) Zimmerman was following Martin, not the other way around. Put yourself in the same scenario. You are walking down the street and some guy in a car starts to follow you. At some point, that person gets out of their car and approaches you -- possibly questioning what YOU are doing walking down the street, and likely not in a friendly "Howdy neighbor" manner -- who would you determine to be the person initiating the confrontation? It would not be the kid walking home from the store after buying candy. Had Zimmerman minded his own damn business rather than getting into someone else's, Martin would be alive to enjoy Skittles today.

Sorry, but it is very clear that an armed adult in a car followed a teen who was walking down the street. At some point the adult got out of his car, and shot the teen. That actually has been established.

50YearResident 2 years, 9 months ago

observant, I can see by the words in your post you have already convicted Zimmerman (the White Hispanic) of stalking and murdering Treyvon. You may as well go collect that $10,000 reward the Black Panthers are offering for his capture.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

What stand are you taking? Are you possibly saying Zimmerman wasn't the shooter? That he didn't follow a teen, call 9-1-1 while doing so, disregarded the instructions from the 9-1-1 operator, and then shoot Martin? You seem to be denying Zimmerman's involvement altogether? Why is that exactly?

jhawkinsf 2 years, 9 months ago

Just wondering... If a Christian, a Jew and a Muslim, all of European decent, are all considered equally "white" by other ethnic groups? If they equally consider themselves to be "white". I wonder this because I wonder what Mr. Zimmerman considered himself to be?

If Obama, with one black parent and one white parent considers himself black, he's black, right? If society views him as black, he's black, right? If Zimmerman viewed himself hispanic and society viewed him as hispanic, he's hispanic, right?

jhawkinsf 2 years, 9 months ago

I recall having a discussion a few years ago with a group of young Latinos, in their mid 20s, born and raised in California. When asked what ethnicity they considered themselves, to a man, they said "Mexican". If filling out a form, that won't be an option. Yet it's a reality in the minds of some. And a reality that we should somehow recognize.

verity 2 years, 9 months ago

Since the PC name has changed a number of times in my lifetime and not wanting to offend, I asked a friend of mine whose grandparents had come from Mexico what she wanted to be called. She also identified as Mexican. I don't think she has ever been to Mexico and probably knows less about the country than I do---certainly knows less Spanish---and certainly has no loyalty to Mexico. She has also experienced bigotry and discrimination because of her color.

My grandparents all came from northern European countries, therefore I am white and don't need any other identification. Never really thought about this before, but I'm now wondering if people who have been discriminated against feel the need to identify with some racial or ethnic group---maybe a banding together against the "other" who may hurt them. Just a thought.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 9 months ago

As a member of a religious minority, I would check that box, if it were available. But usually it's not, so I check white. That was my point, if given certain choices, people will make choices within that list. If the list is expanded, or contracted, they may choose something else. Maybe we should all check human and be done with all the other artificial stuff.

verity 2 years, 8 months ago

"Maybe we should all check human"

I agree with that, jhawkinsf. My life is richer because of my inherited culture, but absorbing other people's culture makes it even richer.

kugrad 2 years, 9 months ago

This is an outstanding article. Pitts really nails it on this one with an extremely accurate description of race in America today.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

It isn't about political gain, it is about demanding justice. Zimmerman his still not been arrested. That isn't political.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

I will also never convince a stone that 1 + 1 = 2.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 9 months ago

tuschie, I think Pitts would lump you in with the white folks.

Mike Ford 2 years, 9 months ago

naw.....I've been a victim of white exclusion...Ask the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Department. February 8, 2009, my wife and I were heading up I-35 to the OK-66 exit in Edmond, Oklahoma at 11:30 am in the morning. I had a miata with Missouri tags pass me and yet I was pulled over allegations of seat belt not on....it was. I had hair out of pony tail with Kansas tags. We'd just spent a couple of hundred dollars watching a still bad OKC Thunder team beat the Blazers the night before. My wife wanted to go to US 66 museum in Clinton, Oklahoma. Ironically, those people don't know their history and gave me three different distances to travel.. none of which were correct. As I was summoned to profiling cops car he freaked out as I put my hands in my pocket to get wallet. Never been assumed guilty in broad daylight before. Ten minutes later he knew his profile was wrong and he asked my wife questions hoping for a slip up. Imagine if he'd gone Zimmerman on me shooting an unarmed innocent man in daylight on a Saturday morning? Same thing happened on a old US 75 later that year in September north of Carbondale. My wife and I alone on old highway followed for no reason by Osage County Sheriff's Dept. The trumped up ticket for blinker stuck in court but judge did let my wife say on the stand in Lyndon, Kansas, that she felt we were profiled over the objections of the Kobach look alike prosecuting attorney. Truth spoken but who won.... not whitey....not at all....

Flap Doodle 2 years, 9 months ago

Here's hoping Zimmerman has a shotgun close to hand when the lynch mob shows up.

KSWingman 2 years, 9 months ago

Given that the New Black Panther Party put a $10,000 "dead or alive" bounty on Zimmerman's head, and Spike Lee tweeted Zimmerman's home address, I won't be surprised if the mob finds him. If it does, that shotgun would come in handy.

Mike Ford 2 years, 9 months ago

why do some people reverse actual white practice of lynch mobs to claim malarkey about reverse racism. who believes you? you hang your own.....ever heard of the white mob who dragged Morman prophet Joseph Smith out of a jail where he was held for his own safety in Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1839? I'm no fan of Morman claims of origin for Native Americans or the indoctrination or the black market adoption of Native children which led to the passing of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 but there is a perfect rebuttal to your nonsense. White people have had more lynch mobs than anyone else. I referenced Elmer Jackson of Topeka being wrongly lynched in Duluth, Minnesota in 1920 recently. You weren't listening.....conservative people don't listen to history other than george will or texas textbooks which cleanse the majority of racial sins in the print of denial. Thirty-eight Dakota warriors hung in masse in 1862 by white settlers in Minnesota after Dakota people defended their lands against invasion and intential starvation and took the lives of hundreds of invaders who sought to wipe them out and succeeded in ethnically cleansing much of southern Minnesota of Dakota people exileing them to Nebraska, South Dakota, and Canada. Reverse racism... oxymoron term created by people with guilty consciences after Civil Rights laws were passed in 1960's.

Armstrong 2 years, 9 months ago

The left is awfullyt stirred up today and why not you get to yell racist with your racist buddy Pitts. I was wondering where is all the outrage when the same race kills one another off ? I forgot it's all about the show for the rest of the self righteous left to slap each other on the back and give those mental hugs for being so tolerant and caring for others.

.So are the caring and tolerant going to be content if " the man" charges the Barney Fife wanna be with manslaughter ?

Armstrong 2 years, 9 months ago

Really? A 16 year old innocent girl was gunned down in drive by in KC last week. What was her name ? Tell me again it's not about race

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

Oh BAA, how awful! To think, a president displaying empathy for a killed teen. Oh the horror!

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

Hey Armstrong, was the innocent girl killed in a drive by targeted for her race, or was she tragically in the wrong place at the wrong time? You see, there are differences in the two scenarios.

Armstrong 2 years, 9 months ago

www.kansascity.com/2012/03/19/3501257/16-year-old-shooting-victim

Here get your jollies

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

Jolies? Although you have said that the real tragedy is the way the news has been covered, we are talking about children being killed. There are no jolies to be had by such news.

Katara 2 years, 9 months ago

Hmm. Did the drive-by shooter stick around for the police to show up and then claim self-defense? That the 16 year old girl attacked him? Was the driver by shooter an adult that outweighed the girl by about 100lbs and was following her?

And did the KC police let him go?

Because more people are outraged that a man killed an unarmed teenager and that the police let him go and did not do a proper investigation even though the "stand your ground" defense (under which police claimed as the reason why they didn't arrest the man) does not apply when you pursue and confront another individual than they are outraged about the races involved.

Armstrong 2 years, 9 months ago

Because he doesn't agree with you. Nor does anyone else who can put up a post pubecent thought.

Armstrong 2 years, 9 months ago

Having clean bong water as a priority in life is not the kind of normal crew you want to be hanging around.

Armstrong 2 years, 9 months ago

You do realize you have to be at least 18 to serve on jury duty.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

First, we need to see if it is possible Zimmerman will be arrested for the crime. I mean, why rush things. He only killed a black kid after all.

verity 2 years, 9 months ago

Those of you claiming that racism is not alive in the US today---have you ever put yourself in the shoes of someone of another race or religion? I realize that being a woman doesn't have the same stigma as being a darker color, but I do know something of what it is to be considered inferior merely because I am a woman or because of my appearance (yes, I'm a blond).

It was only about 150 years ago that blacks in this country were slaves---they were bought and sold like animals. A very bloody war was fought to keep society as it was. I'm sure sometimes blacks see racism where it isn't, but when you've been discriminated against because of inborn characteristics, a lot of things are going to look like racism, whether they are or not.

That said, I do believe there were some racial slurs recorded in the 911 call.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

Yes, we get it. There are racists and there are those who aren't racist. Yes, we get it.

Still think whites have no power now that Obama is in office?

Oh, that is right. That wasn't you who wrote that. That was someone completely not you you at all who has since been banned. Uh huh.

verity 2 years, 9 months ago

ijm, have you ever put yourself in the shoes of someone of another race or religion?

Flap Doodle 2 years, 9 months ago

In less hysterical news: "..The impression is being generated that young black men are continuously hunted by white men, and killed. So I wanted to know the exact figures. The most recent, those of 2009, I could find are on the site of the Department of Justice. About 13% of the population is black. About 80% is white (this number includes Hispanics). In 2009, 2,963 white individuals were killed by white offenders. White offenders killed 209 black individuals. In that same year, 2,604 black individuals were killed by black offenders. And 454 white individuals were killed by black offenders...." http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2012/03/23/crime-and-the-numbers-game/

Mike Ford 2 years, 9 months ago

about two weeks ago I was on yahoo news where all the racists hang out due to no moderator. I wondered why a couple of you weren't on there or maybe you were with your real names. the article in question dealt with the increase in mixed-race marriages in census data. looking through the posts I saw a gigantic stars and bars posting ID and the poster was from Jasper, Texas, where James Byrd was dragged to death. He spoke very eloquently about his hate. So much so that I almost contacted the FBI and the Southern Poverty Law Center after i saw the post and yes the poster identified as klan. Don't tell me racism doesn't exist. I saw a mennonite choctaw church near bok chito, mississippi that had been rebuilt. it's just down the road from the Choctaw holy mound "Nunih Waiya" where my ancestors came from. the klan burned down that church as a message after tribal members informed the fbi where the freedom rider's station was left in a swamp on choctaw lands in 1963-64. those of you who play the reverse racism card to duck culpability are only fooling yourselves and haley barbour and bill o' reilly.

ThePilgrim 2 years, 9 months ago

"People like this had to become white, had to earn whiteness, a feat African-Americans have found impossible to duplicate, no matter how many harsh chemicals they use on their hair and skin." Ridiculous. Using this logic would underscore the way that blacks supposedly treat successful African Americans - by calling them "white". Shame on you Pitts! I live in a nice townhome neighborhood where the rent is "too damn high".. One of my neighbors, an African American, has a vanity license plate that says "KEEPH8N". Apparently he feels the same as Pitts, or he feels guilty and the vanity plate gives him "street cred".

Mike Ford 2 years, 9 months ago

firstly nahollo ilbasha....shukha holisso pisa li. you're not racist at all. jack abramov referred to his mississippi choctaw lobbying clients as monkeys and had to answer to an enraged Ben "Nighthorse" Campbell, a US Senator and Cheyenne Indian in a US senate on indian affairs hearing during the indian lobbying and theft debacle that sent abramov and a number of republican politicians to jail or prison seven years ago. there were e mails stating the monkey reference that abramov was caught up on. you have no idea of the mess you've just stepped in. i'm forwarding your racist id picture to indianz.com. now you will truly be known as a racist nationally.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

Now "math" is questioning the moderators' ability to identify and remove banned users????

As he likes to say: Wow. Just wow.

Mike Ford 2 years, 9 months ago

still in denial after having a monkey in a headdress? I hope you don't run into any people who are willing to publically let you know how racist that avatar is. after being dealt with you will finally be forced to admit you said something racist and paid for it publically. you are clueless....

Mike Ford 2 years, 9 months ago

nice reversal and subject change....common tactics of guilty conservatives... you chose to offend me witt a racist headdress on a monkey avatar....did you think this is appropriate??? what planet do you hail from...mississippi??? you use a monkey in a headdress avatar...I'm a Choctaw/Biloxi descendant who has been war whooped by college students at Baker University a couple of years ago at a Baker versus Haskell basketball game. Due to those racist actions these two schools no longer play each other in basketball. you say offensive comments to get a rise out of people and you thnk you should not have to be confronted by the people you offend....what planet do you live on???? it must suck to know you can't get over on someone like me. i will not tolerate your nonsense. I have stood with members of the American Indian Movement when they protested the Washington Redskins and Kansas City Chiefs mascots a couple of years ago. I was called all kinds of vile names by people like you as I stood with the late Ojibwe activist Vernon Bellecourt who protested mascots in Cleveland, D.C., Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, and Atlanta before KC with many other native people. Calling me out on my grammar....waaaagh... even with my grammar I'm ten times smarter than you. pathetic.

Mike Ford 2 years, 9 months ago

you may have changed your avatar....but guess what genius...I cut and pasted it and sent it to myself and to indianz.com. there's evidence of what you did.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 9 months ago

This thread has become tuschie celebrating his eternal victimhood?

Mike Ford 2 years, 9 months ago

denegrating one's ethnicity by having primate in head dresses....not racist at all... besides you're not smart enough to realize what you do anywany...this country is falling behind in the world and Canadians told my father when he travelled through there last fall that they thought this country was full of lunatics and hillbillies...they're right. ignorance is to be celebrated. a couple of you need to give yourselves a hand as jeff foxworthy and larry the cable guy use you as punch lines.....

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

Hey math, how is the White Supremacist movement reacting to Martin's death? It would be about as relevant to the situation.

The "New Black Panther Party," which barely exists outside of the imagination of Fox News, is apparently a group of radicals. If they put a bounty out on someone, they should be arrested. Pretty simple to respond to that one.

Regarding "far-left blogs," why don't you tell us what they are saying. I suspect you spend far more time reading them than the rest of us combined.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 9 months ago

"Let 'em go" Holder is certainly doing a darned good job of ignoring the existence of the NBPP. The Department of (selective) Justice is following his lead.

tbaker 2 years, 9 months ago

This tragic story would have no traction had the shooter been black.

Armstrong 2 years, 9 months ago

Not sesational enough for the media. Malvo and company were victims too. Society had done them wrong so they were merely lashing out blah blah blah blah......

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

Um ... you mean that case from 10 years ago that virtually every adult knows exactly what you are talking about as soon as you mention the name Lee Malvo? That case?

Obviously, it wasn't downplayed. It was all over the media a decade ago. He was also arrested, tried and convicted.

Next.

Armstrong 2 years, 9 months ago

Yep, everybody new about it I do not disagree one bit. How many protests / vigils were held nationwide - 0.0 Where were the angry mobs shouting no justice no peace ? Here is the whole problem with this story and liberalism in general. The actions fit the emotions of the moment ie. the ( knee jerk ). Is it a tragedy this kid was killed, hell yes but what about all the other killings going on daily ? Why is this so much different then the 16 year old girl gunned down last week ? Where is the outrage ?? The media is playing you.

Armstrong 2 years, 8 months ago

I'll make you a bet. When Zimmerman is charged with probably manslaughter the media will still be beating this story and protesters / demonstraters will still be crying racism. Meanwhile the run of the mill murders will still be going on with little hype

KSWingman 2 years, 8 months ago

Jesse,

The Sanford Police Dept conducted an investigation on the night of the shooting, with crime scene investigation, witness interviews at the scene, and interview of Zimmerman by an investigator at the police station.

Initial police report is here: http://www.sanfordfl.gov/investigation/docs/Twin%20Lakes%20Shooting%20Initial%20Report.pdf

Given that the police collected physical evidence at the scene, interviewed six witnesses, and interviewed Zimmerman at the police station, the possibility exists that the evidence and statements do not support probable cause that Zimmerman committed a crime under the laws of the state of Florida. In other words, the evidence the police have, but we don't, may support justifiable homicide.

It is also possible that you are being misled by a media and political machine who wants you to feel, and not think.

KSWingman 2 years, 8 months ago

I see you backpedaling from "no investigation" to "inadequate investigation". I disagee. The report I read indicates a proper, thorough investigation at the scene. Each officer did exactly what he was supposed to do: Secure the scene (safety and evidence); provide emergency medical services; identify victim, subject/suspect and witnesses; collect physical evidence; and in this case, transport the subject/suspect to the station to be interviewed.

Remember "Dragnet"? Just the facts. The police department released the preliminary report, but didn't release investigation report(s) nor witness statements. The contents of those reports are not known. Where in the police report did you see that a police officer "corrected" a witness? The veracity of anyone who says "the police made me change my story" has not been established.

Alcohol and drug screens of the subject/suspect can not be compelled without a warrant based on probable cause; in a homicide investigation, alcohol and drug screens are routinely performed on the dead body at autopsy, not on the subject/suspect during interview.

Per the report: Interviews of six adult witnesses at the scene by Officers Mead and Wagner (two officers, not one as you stated). Which officer "corrected" a witness, and upon what do you base that statement? Crime scene investigation, led by Lt. Taylor. Major Crimes Unit requested by Lt. Taylor. Report not released, contents unknown. Subject made a spontaneous statement which was reported by Officer Smith. Officer Smith stated in his report that he did not question Zimmerman, which was proper procedure. *Officer Smith transported Zimmerman to the police station and turned him over to Inv. Singleton. The investigator's report has not been released.

After Zimmerman was interviewed by the investigator, he was released. The police concluded that he was not a danger to the public, and he had not committed a prima facae violation of the law. You may not like their conclusion, but that is not the same as them not investigating.

Just the facts. Think, don't feel.

KSWingman 2 years, 8 months ago

Crime scene investigation, collection of physical evidence, and interviewing the subject/suspect are elements of "an investigation", as is the taking of witness statements.

What investigative technique do you know (and I stress the word "know") the Sanford police failed to do?

KSWingman 2 years, 8 months ago

I didn't quote you, I used quotation marks as I characterized your position.

A pretty smart fella said this recently: "A "bigot" is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices." Matthew 7:3.

Think, don't feel.

Mike Ford 2 years, 9 months ago

malvo's accomplice is still incarcerated and malvo was executed a couple of years ago. don't let facts get in front of your trolling nonsense. clown.....kennewick man was claimed by Umatilla, Walla Walla, and Yakima peoples and was reburied without study. trolling doesn't require facts or intelligence so we know you didn't finish school. yahoo news is where you belong with the other winners.

Jay Keffer 2 years, 9 months ago

Beatrice, et al, what say you to the other side of the story (with witnesses)??

SANFORD, Fla. — With a single punch, Trayvon Martin decked the neighborhood watch volunteer who eventually shot to death the unarmed 17-year-old, then Trayvon climbed on top of George Zimmerman and slammed his head into the sidewalk several times, leaving him bloody and battered, authorities have revealed to the Orlando Sentinel.

That is the account Zimmerman gave police, and much of it has been corroborated by witnesses, authorities say.

In his version of events, he had turned around and was walking back to his SUV when Trayvon approached him from behind, the two exchanged words then Trayvon punched him in the nose, sending him to the ground, and began beating him. Police have been reluctant to provided details about all their evidence, but this is what they've disclosed to the Sentinel:

Trayvon was visiting his father's fiancee, who lived there. He had been suspended from school in Miami after being found with an empty marijuana baggie. Miami schools have a zero-tolerance policy for drug possession.

Zimmerman called police and reported a suspicious person, describing Trayvon as black, acting strangely and perhaps on drugs.

Zimmerman got out of his SUV to follow Trayvon on foot. When a dispatch employee asked Zimmerman if he was following the 17-year-old, Zimmerman said yes. The dispatcher told Zimmerman he did not need to do that.

There is about a one-minute gap during which police say they're not sure what happened.

Zimmerman told them he lost sight of Trayvon and was walking back to his SUV when Trayvon approached him from the left rear, and they exchanged words.

Trayvon asked Zimmerman if he had a problem. Zimmerman said no and reached for his cell phone, he told police.

Trayvon then said, "Well, you do now" or something similar and punched Zimmerman in the nose. Zimmerman fell to the ground and Trayvon got on top of him and began slamming his head into the sidewalk, he told police.

Zimmerman began yelling for help.

Several witnesses heard those cries, and there has been a dispute about from whom they came: Zimmerman or Trayvon.

Lawyers for Trayvon's family say it was Trayvon, but police say their evidence indicates it was Zimmerman.

One witness, who has since talked to local television news reporters, told police he saw Zimmerman on the ground with Trayvon on top, pounding him and was unequivocal that it was Zimmerman who was crying for help.

Zimmerman then shot Trayvon once in the chest from very close range, according to authorities. When police arrived less than two minutes later, Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose, had a swollen lip and had bloody lacerations to the back of his head. Truth has yet to be determined - but you ran to the 'racist' conclusion. May or may not prove out to be what the media has concocted, but sure shows the knee-jerk racists you all seem to be.

Hmmmmm......

KSWingman 2 years, 8 months ago

Stalking is a word with specific meaning under Florida statute. Upon what evidence do you base your use of the word?

"Zimmerman stalking him, obviously with weapon drawn" is your assumption, and not based on facts. It is equally possible that Zimmerman drew his weapon from the holster while Martin was on top of him, punching him in the head, or immediately before firing if there was a break in contact.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

Home-slice, please point out exactly where I called Zimmerman a racist. If you can't, then apologize for making false accusations about me.

I have said Zimmerman followed a kid legally walking down the street. The kid was doing nothing but walking down the street and yet, for some reason, Zimmerman chose to follow him -- and the kid ended up getting shot to death.

If the story actually happened as Zimmerman says it did and as you describe it, I need to ask: how long are you going to let someone follow you around before you start to ask questions?

Looks like you are actually the one calling people racist. Sad.

equalaccessprivacy 2 years, 9 months ago

Beyond the wrenching loss for Trayvon's family and the widespread sense of social injustice experienced by many who identify or empathize when hearing about his case and remembering similar ones from the past, his murder is a teaching moment about white privilege. Anyone who can walk the streets of Lawrence, without the fear they will be inappropriately approached and bothered by strangers on the basis of gender or perceived physical limitation( let alone race) is enjoying a form of the same privilege. "Hi. You deserve to be discriminated against. Even though I'm obviously not a thinking person and not good for much of anything, my backwoods parents raised me to approach strangers and announce I'm a mindless, prejudiced bumpkin: Need help?" Here's another great article I found about white privilege today:

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/trayvon-martins-death-this-white-womans-reality-check.html?page=1

50YearResident 2 years, 9 months ago

Websters* (not really) Sucker Punch: When a coward waits until your back is turned and hits you with all his strength intending to cause great bodily harm. Applies to all races.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 8 months ago

Trayvon's mom is trying to trademark his name so she can cash in. I can see the reality show now, "Who wants to commit assault and battery on an armed man?"

Armstrong 2 years, 8 months ago

How is it you know so much about this, and your always right. Wow just wow

verity 2 years, 8 months ago

Larry Native: "if what the shooter is saying is true, it was justified."

No. It. Was. Not.

Zimmerman left his vehicle with his gun and pursued a person who was walking down the street minding his own business. If, in fact (and we're to believe the shooter, of course), Martin turned around and beat the s#*# out of the person who was pursuing him, wasn't Martin then within his rights?

Some of you are really reaching to try to make Zimmerman into the victim. He killed An. Innocent. Person. Whether Martin "was no angel" or not is completely and totally irrelevant. Doesn't matter if he smarted off to Zimmerman (and we will never know what really happened, will we, because dead people tell no tales), Zimmerman was the one who started this. He was the aggressor. No twisting of the facts can change that.

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 8 months ago

Doesn't this remind you a lot of the "blame the victim" mentality in a rape?

verity 2 years, 8 months ago

"Why are several officers and the police chief lying?"

Why, indeed? If you'd done your homework, you'd know that this particular police force has a history of problems---and, from the reports of witnesses, they were coercing them into saying what they wanted them to say.

Zimmerman killed a person---there seems to be no question about that---even he's not denying that. So, of course, he would never lie. And he's had awhile to come up with a plausible story.

There was a death, a killing. Why didn't the police investigate further at the time? This is what makes it look like a cover up.

And if you want to look at Martin's background, why aren't you looking at Zimmerman's background?

verity 2 years, 8 months ago

Mr. Martin is dead and Mr. Zimmerman is alive, so I think we're pretty sure that Mr. Martin didn't kill an innocent neighborhood watch guy. Or is Mr. Martin still alive and in hiding and this is all a hoax to get the "lefties" unset and it is actually Mr. Zimmerman who is dead?

Wow, it's really easy to make stuff up---who knew?

Flap Doodle 2 years, 8 months ago

The protests are all about raising money at this point. The usual rabble rousers are going to keep this going as long as they can. Remember the Tawana Brawley hoax?

beatrice 2 years, 8 months ago

Hoax? Now you are comparing Martin's death to a hoax? While Brawley was a severely troubled teen who made up a story of being attacked, Martin actually was killed. What does one have to do with the other?

For the record, we also remember the Susan Smith case.

beatrice 2 years, 8 months ago

As is so often the case, you would be wrong.

beatrice 2 years, 8 months ago

But for kicks, I have no doubt you were one of those people wanting to hunt down the black man who reportedly kidnapped Susan Smith's children.

jaywalker 2 years, 8 months ago

Nice try, Larry, but let's get real. After calling for the mobilization of 10,000 black men to "hunt" down Zimmerman, Mikhail Muhammed then went on to offer the ten grand. When asked if he was inciting violence, he said "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth."

Feel free to bury your head in the sand.

beatrice 2 years, 8 months ago

Jay, are saying that the New Black Panther Party -- a hate group that is not a recognized organization by any legit organization -- is 10,000 strong? I don't think so. I'll bet they would get a hard job of getting 100 people together.

jaywalker 2 years, 8 months ago

No, I'm saying exactly what I wrote. Never said he called for 10,000 "members."

beatrice 2 years, 8 months ago

Again math, what are the White Supremacists saying about this case?

The point being, who cares what an extremist group is saying.

Armstrong 2 years, 8 months ago

Miss - the point strikes again ! You go Bea

beatrice 2 years, 8 months ago

I did not miss the point -- it is right there underneath your hoodie.

booyalab 2 years, 8 months ago

White is when you get your simple facts so wrong that even people who can't spell call you out on it.

begin60 2 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

geoismeo 2 years, 8 months ago

I find tusches use of the word "whitey" to be offensive and racist.

equalaccessprivacy 2 years, 8 months ago

"Do I look Suspicious?" Powerful Trayvon campaign video:

http://campusprogress.org/articles/video_do_i_look_suspicious_howard_university_students_ask/

Freedom means being free of street harassment by strangers who approach you based on offensive assumptions and who are completely blind to your intelligence and spirit. It is a version of profiling. After all, yahoos can't obviously see what they themselves lack. I always felt free to be myself on the West Coast before running into the plug-stupid people in MO and KS.

I was chosen out of hundreds in my field to be one of three candidates at MO , and my colleagues treated me with the respect accomplished, capable people deserve, but the hateful street harassers and southern-justice bigots did me in by aggressively making their problems mine-- singling me out based on superficial characteristics for abuse. Dang, I so despise southern culture and the sexist, patronizing , self-flattering, insincere intrusiveness that passes for good manners in places like KS--just too retrograde. MO is backward, but KS has 'em beat by far.

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