A lot has been written recently about the verdict of “not guilty” for George Zimmerman. Nevertheless, I would like to add my two cents’ worth concerning the case.
First of all, I do believe Zimmerman was profiling Martin. The young man was wearing a hoodie, which automatically makes him suspect in some people’s eyes. Second, of course, he was black. As Martin’s father stated in an interview, if Martin hadn’t been black this whole thing would not have occurred.
Second, I believe that Zimmerman was the aggressor in that he followed Martin when he was told not to do so by the 911 operator. Who ended up on top of whom is almost immaterial, because Zimmerman continued to pursue the young man for no reason except, in Zimmerman’s eyes, Martin didn’t belong there.
So I believe that the verdict should have been manslaughter, but the jury saw it differently. Sadly, this will set back race relations in this country. Blacks will feel frustrated and will believe that there is no justice for African Americans. There are no winners in all this, just losers. Martin’s parents have lost a son, and Zimmerman’s life will never be the same.
So where do we go from here? Hopefully, this sad affair will get us thinking about our own prejudices, subtle though they may be. While we might not go out and shoot somebody, we do harbor biases that may, at least to some extent, influence our behavior and attitudes. By the way, I’m referring to biases on both sides, not just on the part of whites. Martin referring to Zimmerman as a “cracker” may not be the equivalent of the “N” word, but it does reveal some prejudice on his part as well.