The Media Should Be Ashamed For Their Part In The Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman Case
I was on Bourbon Street in New Orleans when the verdict on George Zimmerman trial came down. The street was filled with quite a diverse crowd. Apparently alcohol fueled happiness renders a controversial verdict moot. No one seemed to care. Do we really care? I mean, people on social media like to spout about these things as if they care, but there hardly seems to be any solutions offered to problems, only victimization, racist rants, and talking points.
The Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman tragedy tells us much about our society, and none of it good.
Let me start with those who were “Zimmerman supporters.” I understand people feeling like Zimmerman was railroaded by race baiters, determined make this all about race and racial injustice, but I would ask those that feel that way to take a moment and separate the narrative about race from the reality on the ground. Think about how you would feel if your 17 year old son went to the store and the next you know is that he has been shot. No matter what you think or hear the facts are, you are going to want to have an arrest to find out if the shooting was justified. So, in that respect you cannot blame Trayvon’s parents for doing everything they could to insist on an arrest. You would have done the same.
What race baiters and the media did was the second tragedy in all of this. Many in the media edited the 9-11 tapes to make it seem more racial than it was. They referred to Zimmerman at first as white, then had to correct it to the ridiculous term “white Hispanic.” Clearly the narrative they were trying to put out there wasn’t served by Zimmerman being Hispanic. The media was shameful from the start in their twisting of facts in this story. They stirred up racial divisiveness, and gave a platform to the biggest race baiter out there today, Al Sharpton.
This story blew up, became political, and Trayvon’s parents and the Zimmerman family were thrown into the whirlwind of racial politics, media distortion, and the pathetic way the media stirs racial hatred.
Just as I ask Zimmerman supporters to put themselves in Trayvon’s parent’s shoes, I ask those who are “Trayvon Supporters” to think about what you would have done if they were being beaten by someone who you did not know, did not know was a teenager, and felt your life was in danger. You have a gun to protect yourself. You would have done the same.
Putting yourself in another’s shoes helps us to understand someone else’s point of view. We could all do with a bit more of that.
As regular readers know, I grew up in the 60′s, during the civil rights movement in Mississippi. I was a part of the first wave of integration in the schools there. I never dreamed, with all the progress that has been made in civil rights, that this country would be as divided as it is on race in 2013. Sadly there is a political system in place, and a willing media, that perpetuates this division. There are so called leaders that would rather focus on sensationalism than focus on the root of our racial problems, and a media that gives them a forum. What this case did was highlight how we allow the media to distort stories, and play us all like violins.
This case brought out the worst from so many. I thought that at least when the case was decided we could move on, but there are still those who seem determined to continue using it to divide us. And the media will happily play along. Read the rest of the column in the Houston Chronicle.