Zimmerman Verdict Confuses Racism and Empathy
In the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict, the concept of racism is confusing to most Americans; many cannot seem to tell the difference between bigotry and empathy. While it is understandable that the seemingly unnecessary death of Trayvon Martin has been an emotionally charged issue, it has divided our country and has become an issue between black and white. Literally.
For almost a year and a half, there has been turmoil in the United States over racism in the case of Zimmerman and Martin with everyone from President Obama and his comments about the victim to anyone with access to a megaphone or Twitter account demanding to be heard. Obama ignited a fire when he claimed, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
Never letting a race issue go unnoticed, Al Sharpton declared, “Forty-five days ago, Trayvon Martin was murdered. No arrest was made. The Chief of Police in Sanford announced after his review of the evidence there would be no arrest. An outcry from all over this country came because his parents refused to leave it there.”
President Obama’s declaration that “When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids, and I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this…” did little to suppress the racially charged tensions in the country in March of 2012. Instead of sounding empathetic over the death of a teenager, Obama made it sound racially charged. If not, why would he not create a specific platform for every murdered teen or child in America and appear on the news every night begging for justice for each one of them?
Instead, he only commented on Martin, while campaigning.
On Saturday, July 13, jurors found Zimmerman not guilty and determined that he acted out of self-defense. The country became more divided after collectively holding its breath waiting for the verdict.
There were Zimmerman supporters, Martin supporters, those who claim they just wanted to see justice served and that they believed in the law plenty of mudslingers and name callers.
By the time the verdict was served, it did not take long for people to take to Twitter and to let their passions for the verdict are known; one site took any supportive tweet of Zimmerman to be a racial remark. Their headline read: Sad Day: Look At These Racist Tweets From Zimmerman Supporters
However, the tweets did not have the slightest inclination towards either race; they were merely empathetic in nature:
From Brady James Jackson, “I can’t even explain how happy I am that George Zimmerman was found innocent. America finally did something right.” (bossip.com)
“I’m glad Zimmerman is innocent!” OG Pollo. (bossip.com)
Audrieeee, “Has anyone heard of self defense?! I’m glad this Zimmerman guy didn’t get in trouble for defending himself, that would be unjust!” (bossip.com)
Others on Twitter merely let their feelings known, “I don’t know what happened. Nobody does. There is a reasonable doubt and I think our justice system did what it’s supposed to do.” B. Green (Twitter)
While some became verbal about their dislike for the verdict and their disrespect for the system, “I do hope #TravonMartin’s family sues #Zimmerman for everything he’s got for wrongful death before someone kills him,” Brandon Reno.
However, sites like Bossip.com and people like President Obama, rioters and Al Sharpton do little to repress race issues in our country. The more they try to bring attention to the color of individuals involved in violent events, the more it becomes an issue. Violence only begets violence, and drawing attention to race only makes it more colorful.
By Dawn Cranfield
US News Special Correspondent