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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Race Not a Factor? Trayvon Martin Juror's Words are Revealing

Post civil rights America is supposed to be race neutral or color-blind but the reality is that the racism still exists but it has taken on the language of obfuscation and has been cultivated and justified as part of the "war on crime."

That an armed white vigilante can still get away with the murder of an unarmed black teenager in the 21st century is the proof that the system is anything but color-blind.

I think Anderson Cooper's interview with Juror B37 of the George Zimmerman trial shows that racial bias did play a role in the outcome of the trial, in spite of the claim by this juror that it did not:
COOPER: Well, was that a common belief on the jury that race was not -- that race did not play a role in this?

JUROR: I think all of us thought that race did not play a role.

COOPER: So nobody thought race played a role?

JUROR: I don't think so.

COOPER: None of the jurors?

JUROR: I can't speak for them. I'm not their voice--

COOPER: That wasn't part of the discussion in the jury room?

JUROR: No, no, we never had that discussion.

COOPER: It didn't come up, the question of, did George Zimmerman profile Trayvon Martin because he was African-American?

JUROR: No, I think he just profiled him because he was the neighborhood watch, and he profiled anyone who came in acting strange. I think it was just circumstances happened that he saw Trayvon at the exact time that he thought he was suspicious.
Juror B37 never really makes it clear why George Zimmerman thought Trayvon Martin was "suspicious", although she does later offer this explanation as to why Zimmerman may have gone "too far", as she put it:
JUROR: I think he was frustrated. I think he was frustrated with the whole situation in the neighborhood, with the break-ins and the robberies.
In other words, the problem wasn't that Trayvon looked black, the problem was he looked like a criminal! What exactly what made Trayvon look like a criminal isn't clear. This is how we don't address race in America today.

Her discussion of the witnesses also reveals what she means when she says race played no part in the deliberations:
COOPER: I want to ask you a bunch of the -- I want to ask you about some of the different witnesses. Rachel Jeantel, the woman who was on the phone with Trayvon Martin at the start of the incident.

What did you make of her testimony?

JUROR: I didn't think it was very credible, but I felt very sorry for her. She didn't ask to be in this place. She didn't ask -- she wanted to go. She wanted to leave. She didn't want to be any part of this jury. I think she felt inadequate toward everyone because of her education and her communication skills. I just felt sadness for her.

COOPER: You felt like, what, she was in over her head?

JUROR: Well, not over her head, she just didn't want to be there, and she was embarrassed by being there, because of her education and her communication skills, that she just wasn't a good witness.

COOPER: Did you find it hard at times to understand what she was saying?

JUROR: A lot of the times because a lot of the time she was using phrases I have never heard before, and what they meant.

COOPER: When she used the phrase, "creepy ass cracker," what did you think of that?

JUROR: I thought it was probably the truth. I think Trayvon probably said that.

COOPER: And did you see that as a negative statement or a racial statement as the defense suggested?

JUROR: I don't think it's really racial. I think it's just everyday life, the type of life that they live, and how they're living, in the environment that they're living in.
My first comment is that if juror B37 didn't consider "creepy ass cracker" a racial statement then she should have been disqualified on the grounds that she lacked the social context or understanding of current culture to try any criminal case. You can't just drop in from Mars and start judging right or wrong on Earth. Either that, or she is being disingenuous, and should be disqualified for hiding her real thinking.

You wouldn't ask a color-blind person to judge the color accuracy of your PhotoShop setup and if juror B37 is truly so socially "color-blind" that she doesn't see a racial aspect to the phrase "creepy ass cracker," she should never have been ask to judge a case in which race plays such a big role.

My second comment comes with a question. Since juror B37 insists that Trayvon Martin's race played no role in her, or the other juror's, deliberations, for what does the pronoun "they" stand duty for when she says "the type of life that they live, and how they're living, in the environment that they're living in"?

And later:
JUROR: I think George Zimmerman is a man whose heart was in the right place, but just got displaced by the vandalism in the neighborhoods, and wanting to catch these people so badly, that he went above and beyond what he really should have done. But I think his heart was in the right place. It just went terribly wrong.
And just who are "these people?" When B37 imagines "these people" do they have skin tones? Are they white in her imagination?

Welcome to American racism in the 21st century.

You got your black president, now you want justice too?

These are the people I support in Syria. I support their revolution as I know they will support ours.

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