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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Help Me Understand the Zimmerman Verdict / Travon Martin Shooting (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Help Me Understand the Zimmerman Verdict / Travon Martin Shooting
Aros
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So, I didn't know anything about this incident before the public uproar. I believe that there are cries of racism and a lot of people disparaging Florida? I went to Wikipedia, and I'm uncertain if most of the protesters even understand the situation.

As I understand:
- Zimmerman was the head of the neighborhood watch. There has been a lot of crime in the neighborhood.
- He carried a gun at the recommendation of local law enforcement, but mostly because of dangerous animals.
- Travon Marin was on the phone and wandering around outside for several minutes in the rain.
- Martin began running. Zimmerman exited his car and followed.
- The girl that Martin was speaking to on the phone said that he uttered some expletives and approached Zimmerman.
- At least two eyewitnesses observed Martin beating Zimmerman severely, while Zimmerman was on the ground screaming for help.
- Other witnesses saw things differently, but none of them were direct eye witnesses.
- The yelling for help was heard on the phone and went on for at least 13 seconds before shots were fired.

An issue causing confusion:
- A news story reported that Zimmerman identified the man as black, sparking racism allegations. In truth, Zimmerman didn't identify anyone he reported by race in the seven calls he made over the years to 911. He only identified by race when asked to. The news story was purposefully edited to play the race card, and the reporter in charge was fired.

My conclusions:
- The only likely scenario is that Zimmerman approached Martin, an altercation began, Martin gave Zimmerman a severe beating (breaking his nose and lacerating the back of his head in multiple places) while Zimmerman called for help, and then Zimmerman acted in self-defense by firing a single bullet.
- Zimmerman may have been too aggressive in approaching Martin, but I don't know that it was outside the law. He was the head of the neighborhood watch and going to school for criminal justice.

I also deduce that one or more of the following is probable:
- Martin and Zimmerman had a previous disagreement or altercation.
- There were additional environmental factors involved or persons involved that Zimmerman doesn't wish to speak about.
- Martin had violence / impulse control issues and didn't believe that he was endangering his life by attacking Zimmerman.

Side-thoughts:
- Charges of racism seem unwarranted and seem to stem from the "creatively" edited news report.
- Martin probably was the attacker based on witness reports.

Final thoughts:
- In the US, you can only be convicted of a crime if the evidence proves "beyond a reasonable doubt" that you are guilty. Especially with the "Stand Your Ground" law, this seems to be a fairly clean case of self-defense. Any reasonable doubt by some of the witnesses was discounted by eye witnesses who'd actually seen the incident.
- Again, I don't think that most of the people causing an uproar understand the case. If they have a problem with it, shouldn't their problem be with self-defense laws in general?

Please don't critique my analysis for a lack of sympathy. I think the event was tragic for everyone involved. But I also think that people have a right to defend themselves.

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
I also deduce that one or more of the following is probable:

Martin and Zimmerman had a previous disagreement or altercation

Highly improbable, since Martin was new to the neighborhood, and both major testimonies (Deedee's and Zimmerman's) say that they didn't recognize each other.
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TomDavidson
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To sum up:

1) There had been a little crime in the neighborhood, not a great deal. Zimmerman was the head of the neighborhood watch, a job he'd originally assigned himself two years before (although he was later elected by his neighborhood association) and which he performed somewhat overzealously. He had begun training in mixed martial arts and self-defense at a local gym in order to better perform these duties and to shed some excess pounds.

2) One of his friends, a cop kicked off the force for corruption, had recommended that he carry a gun because of wild dogs.

3) Martin was on the phone with his girlfriend and walking home from a convenience store in the rain.

4) Martin had been smoking pot earlier in the day, but was not significantly high by the time of the incident.

5) Zimmerman had been drinking earlier in the day, but was not drunk by the time of the incident.

6) Zimmerman observed Martin, someone he did not recognize from the neighborhood, and began tailing him in his truck. Martin noticed him almost immediately and, according to his girlfriend, took him for a sexual predator.

7) After Zimmerman followed Martin around a turn, Martin began to actively evade him. Zimmerman called the police, exited his vehicle, and began pursuing him on foot despite being advised gently not to do so; he expressed frustration that the local thieves always got away.

8) After a relatively short distance, Zimmerman stopped and watched Martin, who also stopped running. Zimmerman then says he started to return to his truck when Martin doubled back and confronted him. Martin was within shooting distance of his home at this point, but his girlfriend has speculated that he did not want to let Zimmerman know where he lived.

9) Martin's girlfriend testified that Martin asked Zimmerman to identify himself; Zimmerman refused and demanded that Martin identify himself instead. A fight then broke out. We do not know who struck first, or why.

10) In the ensuing fight, Zimmerman sustained a single blow to his nose, which broke, and fell backwards onto the concrete. Martin then climbed atop Zimmerman.

11) One eyewitness says he saw multiple blows; others say they merely observed Martin on top, pinning Zimmerman. Zimmerman's injuries were minor and generally superficial, so it's impossible to say with any accuracy whether Martin was indeed repeatedly cracking Zimmerman's head onto the concrete very, very ineffectively or simply trying to immobilize Zimmerman.

12) Zimmerman claimed (but did not testify; he did not take the stand) that Martin told him he was going to kill him, and went for his gun. Zimmerman claims that his gun was holstered behind his back, but that he was able to pull it and fire before Martin could get it.

13) Martin was struck at close range while on top of Zimmerman and died almost immediately.

14) Zimmerman claims that he was unaware that Martin died. He rearranged Martin's body a bit once he got out from under him; the degree to which he did is disputed.

15) Zimmerman was treated for his injuries and questioned, but was neither arrested nor charged. He was well-known to the local police for both good and bad reasons, whereas Martin was known to one of the officers who questioned Zimmerman as a recent import and bad apple.

16) Martin was considered a bad apple because they suspected him -- probably quite rightly -- of small-time drug dealing, especially pot and purple drank. He was apparently a good student but had in recent years been mixed up to varying degrees with a bad crowd; he'd been suspended once for spraypainting another student's locker, once for marijuana possession, and once more for unexcused truancy. (There is also a disputed account that says he was found with a screwdriver and women's jewelry when his bag was searched following the spraypaint incident; no actual record exists of this discovery, his parents say they were never informed of it, and Trayvon was never punished for it. Miami-Dade police, however, say they received descriptions of the jewelry but never identified any of it as stolen.)

17) Once it became known that Zimmerman wasn't even going to be held, the Black Twitterverse blew up. Seriously. Lots of people pointed out that an unarmed black kid had died for, as far as anyone knew at the time, walking down the street near someone who didn't recognize him. Gun rights activists rose in Zimmerman's defense, and things got a bit noisier. Obama was finally asked to make a statement, which he did shortly after the state decided to actually arrest Zimmerman and investigate in more detail; his statement polarized the right wing, which had largely ignored the incident up to this point, and they mobilized to defend Zimmerman from what they saw as a bunch of anti-gun race-baiters backed by the power of a white-hating president.

18) Both the prosecution and the defense made a hash of the trial itself, but the prosecution was far, far worse. They were terrible. Witnesses were clearly brought to the stand without any consultation whatsoever, obvious lines of inquiry were abandoned, and the charge sought was generally agreed by all observers to be excessive and, given legal precedent, almost impossible to prove.

19) The Zimmerman defense sought to make its argument by demonstrating that he had every reason to fear Martin; the right-wing press seized on this to, as some on the left felt, put the victim's character on trial. Certainly since Zimmerman was not put on the stand, the major question left to determine was whether Martin seemed sufficiently scary to justify Zimmerman's fear and thus his claim of self-defense; this required that Martin be vilified as much as possible, something that was limited to some degree in court but which the press was more than happy to augment for the rest of us. As Martin could not take the stand in his own defense for obvious reasons, there was no functional counter-narrative; it was left to the jury to decide whether the picture the defense painted of Martin seemed credible. (Things were complicated by all kinds of media fraud and confusion in the early going; people on both sides of the conflict edited recordings, falsely circulated mislabeled photos, etc. To this day, I still see pictures of "Trayvon" as a shirtless thug circulated on Facebook by people who don't realize that the man in question is not actually Trayvon Martin, and who claim -- incorrectly -- that the picture his family released of him was a shot of when he was a fresh-faced twelve-year-old.)

I think it's obvious that the jury found as the law demanded, based on the cases presented to them. But I think if the prosecution had been more competent, more options would have been available to them. And, of course, it's regrettable that this happened at all.

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El JT de Spang
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I'm certainly no lawyer, but that appears to be a really clear and understandable summary, Tom. Thanks for sharing it.
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Aros
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Nice summary, Tom, though you omitted the 13+ seconds of Zimmerman screaming for help. I'd wager calling for help repeatedly and being either continually attacked or pinned down is what clinches the self-defense theory -- regardless of the circumstances leading up to it.

I think that proof "beyond a reasonable doubt" of a murder charge would have been extremely difficult. Manslaughter might have been possible with a competent prosecution.

Regardless, I feel that the protests and attention are unwarranted. It seems to have been a fair jury. I'd like to think that a reasonable citizen would have voted the same as a jury, in most instances.

The public outcry is shamefull. It doesn't seem that race had anything to do with it. All of the grandstanding and soap-boxing is disrespectful to everyone involved in this travesty.

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DustinDopps
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I agree, Tom. That was a pretty fair summary, in my opinion.
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Edgehopper
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I would add to 6) that Zimmerman suggested that Martin called the non-emergency number before any possible following of Martin, and that he said he was suspicious not because of Martin's dress or race but because Martin was walking slowly in the rain, off the sidewalk.

I'd add to 16) that information on the stolen property since then has shown that the school had a policy of covering up its students' criminal behavior to keep its reported crime rate low. The jewelry found in Martin's backpack did match a stolen property report, but it wasn't matched up until after the shooting because the school reported it as found, rather than stolen property.

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Edgehopper
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And I'd add to 19) that while Martin's character was tried in the media, it was not at court; no character evidence regarding Martin was allowed in. The closest the defense got was showing pictures of 17 year old Martin at the time of the shooting rather than the much younger photos shown in the media, which was directly relevant to one witness who said she believed Zimmerman was on top only because she saw that an adult sized person was on top, and she thought that was Zimmerman because Martin looked like a kid.

The defense was allowed to offer Martin's THC levels at death, but never did; the defense was not allowed to offer texts about Martin's previous fights, even though the prosecution made a big deal about Zimmerman's (weak) MMA training indicating that he started the fight.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
information on the stolen property since then has shown that the school had a policy of covering up its students' criminal behavior to keep its reported crime rate low
This has been claimed, but mainly by not-very-credible people. I tried to leave off as much hearsay as possible.

It's worth noting that Zimmerman had an actual arrest history that wasn't brought up, either.

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
'm certainly no lawyer, but that appears to be a really clear and understandable summary, Tom
It has rather a lot of omissions (most prominently the shouts for help), and it's false in lots of the details, which annoys me. Here's a list of the errors I detected at first glance. (if I'm wrong in any of these, please forgive me, but I don't think I am)

1) Zimmerman didn't assign himself the job.
2) It wasn't a friend of his that advised him to get a gun, it was the County Animal Services themselves.
3) It wasn't Martin's girlfriend, just a female friend, it seems.
6) According to Martin's friend, *she* thought it might be a sexual predator, *he* thought it was 'a creepy-ass cracka', which seems to mean either white guy or "police".
9) Martin's friend didn't testify that Martin asked Zimmerman to identify himself, she testified that Martin asked "Why are you following me?"
13) Martin didn't "die almost immediately", there was testimony that he could have lived anywhere between 1-10 minutes

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Edgehopper
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
information on the stolen property since then has shown that the school had a policy of covering up its students' criminal behavior to keep its reported crime rate low
This has been claimed, but mainly by not-very-credible people. I tried to leave off as much hearsay as possible.

It's worth noting that Zimmerman had an actual arrest history that wasn't brought up, either.

I'll grant that this link isn't to a stellar trustworthy source, but it does have the relevant primary document--the deposition transcript of the employee who wrote down the "found property" report. http://theconservativetreehouse.com/2013/04/12/part-2-the-trayvon-martin-cover-up-hurley-blows-a-gasket/

Ideally I'd link to a reputable news source with a primary document, but the so-called reputable news sources don't seem to do that any more.

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Dr Strangelove
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I don't know if this perspective is valuable or not, but I've spent a lot of time in Sanford. My great-grandfather, grandfather, and now aunt and cousins live in the area (could go back further and I'm just not aware of it), so not just passing through and eating at the fantastic German restaurant they have in the downtown area. From my own impression and the impression of most Sanfordites I know and have talked to, there's not too much doubt that race was involved. The city has been and continues to be quite a racially charged place. It's entirely possible that George Zimmerman is not racist, but I find that to be a lot harder to believe, knowing the area, than that he was at least in part motivated by racism. (And I should note, the fact that he "self-identified as Puerto-Rican" or whatever the case was only reinforces this - most of the violence in the town that I'm personally aware of has been between the Hispanic population, specifically Puerto-Rican, and the African-American population. Not exclusively, but not being "white" doesn't mean much).

I'm not saying he should be found guilty of murder or anything, but just because racism is quite hard to prove in court doesn't mean that its not there. For me at least, that's what's frustrating about the verdict. I think it was right, by the law (and facts, as have been discussed), but it kinda sucks that the law found itself unable to address the endemic racism that is painfully obvious in the city of Sanford.

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Edgehopper
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quote:
Originally posted by Dr Strangelove:
I don't know if this perspective is valuable or not, but I've spent a lot of time in Sanford. My great-grandfather, grandfather, and now aunt and cousins live in the area (could go back further and I'm just not aware of it), so not just passing through and eating at the fantastic German restaurant they have in the downtown area. From my own impression and the impression of most Sanfordites I know and have talked to, there's not too much doubt that race was involved. The city has been and continues to be quite a racially charged place. It's entirely possible that George Zimmerman is not racist, but I find that to be a lot harder to believe, knowing the area, than that he was at least in part motivated by racism. (And I should note, the fact that he "self-identified as Puerto-Rican" or whatever the case was only reinforces this - most of the violence in the town that I'm personally aware of has been between the Hispanic population, specifically Puerto-Rican, and the African-American population. Not exclusively, but not being "white" doesn't mean much).

There is a term for making assumptions about a person's attitude based on his race or residency. I believe it's called prejudice--and as to race, racism. At least, that's how I read your post. You know nothing about Zimmerman other than that he lives in Sanford and identifies as Hispanic (and you got the ethnic background wrong too--his family is Peruvian, not Puerto Rican).

Zimmerman tutored black kids, once had a black girlfriend, and that criminal record Tom noted above? One arrest was for interfering with police who he believed were mistreating a homeless black man. But he's Hispanic and from Sanford, so he's probably racist?

I also have a bone to pick with your second paragraph:

quote:
I'm not saying he should be found guilty of murder or anything, but just because racism is quite hard to prove in court doesn't mean that its not there. For me at least, that's what's frustrating about the verdict. I think it was right, by the law (and facts, as have been discussed), but it kinda sucks that the law found itself unable to address the endemic racism that is painfully obvious in the city of Sanford.
Why would you, or anyone, think that the purpose of a criminal trial is to "address endemic racism?" Even the big Supreme Court cases in Anglo-American law aren't about big social purposes, they're about adjudicating individual cases. As the Court frequently admonishes in its standing opinions, they decide cases and controversies, not issues. A criminal trial even more is not about society, it's about whether the state has sufficient evidence to prove the individual defendant guilty of a crime. It's not a forum to wax rhapsodical about the evils of racism; that's a discussion for debate halls and Internet fora. My current case isn't about society's or Vermony's policies towards former employees, it's about whether my client breached by his particular employment agreement. The trial in State of Florida v. George Zimmerman had one purpose: to determine if George Zimmerman was guilty of murder or manslaughter. That's it.
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capaxinfiniti
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It was shown that Rachel Jeantel, Martin's female acquaintance (sometimes mistakenly referred to as his girlfriend), lied under oath before the trial began and at times gave conflicting and unclear testimony during the trial.

The gated community in which Zimmerman lived had reported 8 burglaries in 14 months. Several of these burglaries, according to residents, were perpetrated by young black men. In at least one instance, this information was proven to be correct. A black minor and another black male were arrested in connection to the burglary (technically a home invasion) of the home of Olivia Bertalan, who testified during Zimmerman's trail.

Zimmerman did not invoke Stand Your Ground. His case was presented as a standard claim of self-defense. There's no indication Zimmerman had a significant understanding of the SYG law or that it influenced his decisions the evening of the shooting.

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Obama
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I know as a young man that the first thing I would think if I saw an older man trailing me would be male on male rapist.

Yeah, not really. The girl was obviously cracking a joke, and Martin treated it as such.

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Dr Strangelove
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Edgehopper:

Yeah... I suppose this is why I don't post on these boards anymore. I don't really have the energy to form a cogent response. Suffice it to say, I'm fine if deep down, Zimmerman is not a racist. It wouldn't surprise me. But I think it is more than a little naive to think that race didn't play a part in the events. Live in Sanford for 6 months, teach at their schools, go to their churches (as I have done for a good portion of my life), and you might find it easier to believe that race was a motivator. Again, it might not be. We don't and can't know. But assuming that Zimmerman was not motivated in some way by race seems more of a stretch than to assume that he was.

And like I said, I think the court got it right. Good for the courts, good for the lawyers, good for the justice system. They did their job. They ignored the issue of race and racism. Yay. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean the issues go away or don't exist, and in fact might serve to perpetuate the idea that the justice system is biased. Again, I'm not saying that the system is biased at all, or that the trial could have or should have gone any other way. But nor can I be intellectually honest with myself and not see a real problem with racism (in the towns in Florida I've lived in, Sanford included. I can't speak for everywhere), and be frustrated by the fact that the issues are relegated to "debate halls and Internet fora." My frustration is not that the justice system failed. It didn't. My frustration is that I want some hard and fast way to address these painful issues and the justice system doesn't give me that. No fault of the system there... but no comfort for me.

I'm not really interested in debating any further. I don't necessarily disagree with you calling me out. I very well may fall in to the trap of prejudice based on my personal experiences in the town of Sanford. Zimmerman could be an exception to the general trend I've noticed and experienced. But it doesn't change the trend. And I agree, the trial was exactly what it should be. But that doesn't help me not be frustrated at the mess I'll be going to when I visit my family in a couple of weeks, nor does it make me not wish that there was somewhere more productive other than the oh-so-effective path of discussion on Hatrack to vent my frustration.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Obama:
I know as a young man that the first thing I would think if I saw an older man trailing me would be male on male rapist.

Yeah, not really. The girl was obviously cracking a joke, and Martin treated it as such.

Zimmerman looks older than he actually is, and frankly, if we're doing any sort of stereotyping or profiling at all...if I'm a teenage boy and a middle-aged looking white-ish looking guy is following me in a car, that's roughly what I'm going to worry about.

But if I'm a black teenager? In the South? Being trailed by a white-looking guy?

It could be any of a dozen different kind of troubles, but it's almost certainly trouble.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Obama:
I know as a young man that the first thing I would think if I saw an older man trailing me would be male on male rapist.

Yeah, not really. The girl was obviously cracking a joke, and Martin treated it as such.

Zimmerman looks older than he actually is, and frankly, if we're doing any sort of stereotyping or profiling at all...if I'm a teenage boy and a middle-aged looking white-ish looking guy is following me in a car, that's roughly what I'm going to worry about.

But if I'm a black teenager? In the South? Being trailed by a white-looking guy?

It could be any of a dozen different kind of troubles, but it's almost certainly trouble.

No, but racism is over, remember. And anyway Zimmerman was (to most people's sensibilities) Hispanic, and that means racism *couldn't* be a factor...

Unless we're talking about how unfair it is, all this outcry, then race becomes a factor again.

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Lyrhawn
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Yeah.

The whole "but Zimmerman is Hispanic!" thing is really interesting to me, because everyone who says it as an excuse for it not being racism sort of outs themselves as ignorant on racial issues. No black-brown friction in America? Hah. Everyone who isn't white is exactly the same? Hah. Only white people can be racist? Hah.

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Rakeesh
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I'm not even sure, with the people I've spoken to who raise that point, what the basis is. Is it an idea, specifically considered or not, that racism doesn't really happen intra-minorities? Or is it a notion of (very human) apathy that it's known racism happens between minorities, but it's a remote problem to the lives of most people?

Who can say if it's either or none? But speaking for myself, I'm immediately prone to skepticism when someone disavows even the *possibility* of a stronger-than-usual initial response of anxiety or suspicion when faced with a strange young black man versus, say, an equally young white man-or Hispanic or Asian for that matter. It's just...for those that do, why should I be inclined to take their word for it that they're the rare specimen of human being who has completely rooted out even the small glimmers of prejudice and racism we get transferred to us by our broader culture, our broader media?

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Obama
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I'm in no way saying that Martin had zero cause for concern. What I am saying is that it's a little ridiculous to imply that Martin was actually concerned that he was being trailed by someone who wanted to rape him.
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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
And anyway Zimmerman was (to most people's sensibilities) Hispanic, and that means racism *couldn't* be a factor.
I've never heard a person say that. I've heard them say things like "Zimmerman was part-black himself (had a black great-grandfather), and he tutored black kids, and he once had a black girlfriend, and he protested against the police mistreating a homeless black man"

You should try to steelman other people's arguments, not strawman them.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
Originally posted by Aris Katsaris:
quote:
And anyway Zimmerman was (to most people's sensibilities) Hispanic, and that means racism *couldn't* be a factor.
I've never heard a person say that. I've heard them say things like "Zimmerman was part-black himself (had a black great-grandfather), and he tutored black kids, and he once had a black girlfriend, and he protested against the police mistreating a homeless black man"

You should try to steelman other people's arguments, not strawman them.

So because you've never heard it (not unlike people having utterly eradicated prejudice from their initial responses, because your not having heard it has zero chance of being a factor of selection) that means it doesn't get said, and that I'm putting words in people's mouths.

Anyway, suffice to say I've heard the following as nearly a direct quote from two separate people: "Why are you talking about racism? Zimmerman's Hispanic." On numerous other less blunt occasions I've heard similar remarks alluding to a similar theme.

You're right. I'm probably just making that up, out of (not race baiting) 'tribal politics', right? Steelmanning? Please.

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Chris Bridges
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What I am saying is that it's a little ridiculous to imply that Martin was actually concerned that he was being trailed by someone who wanted to rape him.
Why?
No idea if he was or not, of course. Just curious why, in your mind, there's no way he'd worry about this?

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Obama
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I could be wrong, I suppose. But I've yet to meet a male, teenage or otherwise, who would react to a strange man trailing them by thinking "Oh no, he wants to rape me." Fear of possible regular violence, yes, but "Oh no there's a strange man does he want to rape me," is chiefly a female line of thought.
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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
So because you've never heard it (not unlike people having utterly eradicated prejudice from their initial responses, because your not having heard it has zero chance of being a factor of selection) that means it doesn't get said, and that I'm putting words in people's mouths.
No, Rakeesh, once again I'm beyond your comprehension. ;-)

If I had meant "It doesn't get said", I'd have said "It doesn't get said". I did not say that.

I'm sure that everything, no matter how stupid, gets said *somewhere* in the universe, it just is a strawman if you are implying it relates to the discussion that is taking place here.

Unless you can find something who said something like that in *this* discussion board?

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TomDavidson
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I can find someone who said that on Ornery, in a thread in which you participated.
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stilesbn
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So we can use arguments that other people have said to refute Rakeesh? Cool.
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TomDavidson
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Specifically, I'm just pointing out that something Aris says he's never heard has in fact been "said" in a thread he posted in. He may not have read that post, of course.
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Aros
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People will always be prejudiced. If not about race then income, style of dress, choice of music. It's people being people.

Using race as an excuse is a scapegoat. Regardless of color, some looney dressed in a ragged hoodie, pacing on the grass in the rain, could be construed as suspicious.

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TomDavidson
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A couple quibbles: Martin wasn't pacing, and his hoodie was not ragged.
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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
He may not have read that post, of course.
Or forgotten it if I did indeed read it. Or of course that we have a different interpretation of whatever it is that was said. Can't be sure unless you be more specific.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
People will always be prejudiced. If not about race then income, style of dress, choice of music. It's people being people.

Using race as an excuse is a scapegoat. Regardless of color, some looney dressed in a ragged hoodie, pacing on the grass in the rain, could be construed as suspicious.

Ignoring race is willfully ignorant, or downright dishonest.
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The Black Pearl
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
People will always be prejudiced. If not about race then income, style of dress, choice of music.

It would be almost as offensive and stupid if Zimmerman did suspect criminal activity based off of many of those things. If he profiled him off as race, then there is some difference, in that he's judging someone based off of something that Martin did not choose, cannot change, and cannot hide.
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capaxinfiniti
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
People will always be prejudiced. If not about race then income, style of dress, choice of music. It's people being people.

Using race as an excuse is a scapegoat. Regardless of color, some looney dressed in a ragged hoodie, pacing on the grass in the rain, could be construed as suspicious.

Ignoring race is willfully ignorant, or downright dishonest.
Overstating the significance of race - to the obfuscation of other significant factors - is downright dishonest as well.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Anyway, suffice to say I've heard the following as nearly a direct quote from two separate people: "Why are you talking about racism? Zimmerman's Hispanic." On numerous other less blunt occasions I've heard similar remarks alluding to a similar theme.

Interesting factoid (as in not a correction), as I understand it, Hispanic is not a race, they're actually independent categories at least in the US census.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_ethnicity_in_the_United_States_Census#Census_2010

One could be Hispanic AND white, Hispanic and black, or even Hispanic and Chinese for that matter.

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Wingracer
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Ignoring race is willfully ignorant, or downright dishonest.

That could be taken as a very racist comment.

I know that's not how you intended it but careful, I've been called far worse for far less.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2odOu0Oguo

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The White Whale
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Wingracer, I think you misunderstood Lyrhawn (and Lyrhawn, please tell me if I'm wrong).

In America, as law and law enforcement are practiced today, you are being willfully ignorant if you state that everyone has completely equal treatment no matter their race.

He's not saying that the is inherently a difference between people of different races. If he did, that would be racist.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
People will always be prejudiced. If not about race then income, style of dress, choice of music. It's people being people.

Using race as an excuse is a scapegoat. Regardless of color, some looney dressed in a ragged hoodie, pacing on the grass in the rain, could be construed as suspicious.

Ignoring race is willfully ignorant, or downright dishonest.
Overstating the significance of race - to the obfuscation of other significant factors - is downright dishonest as well.
To make that argument, I think you have to understand the role that race plays in our society, and then explain how you think it doesn't apply. Race in America is like water on pavement - it finds every crack and crevice, and often widens them. Not everything is about race, but so much is that it's reasonable to assume it plays some sort of a role in a situation like this. That's why the "But Zimmerman is Hispanic" crowd is so loud.

Just because people are sick of hearing about race doesn't mean the problem is solved.

Your willingness, even drive, to excuse race as a reason is suspicious to me, either of a willful desire to ignore a problem, or of a lack of understanding of the problem.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Anyway, suffice to say I've heard the following as nearly a direct quote from two separate people: "Why are you talking about racism? Zimmerman's Hispanic." On numerous other less blunt occasions I've heard similar remarks alluding to a similar theme.

Interesting factoid (as in not a correction), as I understand it, Hispanic is not a race, they're actually independent categories at least in the US census.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_ethnicity_in_the_United_States_Census#Census_2010

One could be Hispanic AND white, Hispanic and black, or even Hispanic and Chinese for that matter.

Good luck with that. The difference between how the government defines race and how society defines race is the subject of thousands of pages of study over centuries of American history.

Suffice to say, Americans by and large don't consider Hispanics to be white.

Take a look at the controversy over allowing Marc Anthony to sing "God Bless America" at the All-Star Game.

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Dan_Frank
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Re: "but Zimmerman is Hispanic!" ...

There are at least as many people saying that this case is an example of, not just racism, but specifically white-on-black racism. Pointing out Zimmerman's ethnicity seems a reasonable rebuttal to those sorts of specific claims.

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Lyrhawn
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It doesn't shift the conversation away from race though, it just specifies which racial conversation we're having.

Maybe that will make white people feel better about not being the bad guy this time, but it doesn't make it any less of a racial issue.

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Dan_Frank
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It's more that lots of people are, in fact, stating that white people are the bad guy this time.

It's not that they're like "He's Hispanic, so we're not the bad guy, yay!"

It's more that people are saying "white people are the bad guys," and then they say "but... He's Hispanic!"

Perhaps the other thing is happening too. But I've seen a lot of the stuff I explain above.

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DustinDopps
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Lyrhawn said: "Suffice to say, Americans by and large don't consider Hispanics to be white. "

A co-worker of mine whose family is from Nicaragua asked me about the Zimmerman case the other day. She (surprisingly) didn't know anything about it. I told her that Zimmerman was Hispanic but the news media called him white sometimes. I brought up a picture of him on my computer screen.

"He's definitely Hispanic!" she said. "How could anyone call him white?"

So a self-identified Latina doesn't consider him white. There's my anecdote.

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TomDavidson
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As noted, so many "white" and "black" people identify as Hispanic -- and vice versa -- that the federal government actually changed its method of ethnicity reporting specifically to accommodate people of any skin color who also wanted to call themselves Hispanic. So you can register in the census as a black Hispanic, a white Hispanic, even a Pacific Islander or Asian Hispanic. It's officially not a "race" anymore; it's basically a cultural signifier.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
It's more that lots of people are, in fact, stating that white people are the bad guy this time.

It's not that they're like "He's Hispanic, so we're not the bad guy, yay!"

It's more that people are saying "white people are the bad guys," and then they say "but... He's Hispanic!"

Perhaps the other thing is happening too. But I've seen a lot of the stuff I explain above.

If that's all they care about, then they're really missing the point.
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Stone_Wolf_
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Sure...but that is a HUGE if that might have nothing to do with what Dan is saying.
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Samprimary
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zimmerman self-identifies as white and is pretty white passing. he is also hispanic. i guess people are confused about this.

also he's racist, turns out there were some myspace posts by him from some time ago, said some racist things and bragged about escaping conviction or arrest about some shit.

but it's hardly news that he's an idiot.

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capaxinfiniti
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
zimmerman self-identifies as white and is pretty white passing. he is also hispanic. i guess people are confused about this.

Zimmerman self-identifies as Hispanic and is nowhere near passing as white.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Re: "but Zimmerman is Hispanic!" ...

There are at least as many people saying that this case is an example of, not just racism, but specifically white-on-black racism. Pointing out Zimmerman's ethnicity seems a reasonable rebuttal to those sorts of specific claims.

If it's done in response to such a thing, it's both fair and relevant. It's often not. I can't speak (and nor, I might add, can anyone) to whether that's a lot overall, but it's hardly a rare thing for people to realize Zimmerman was a Hispanic and then stop thinking about how it might be a racism question, or whether it is a question that they might need to think about.
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