Zimmerman Verdict Reveals Southern Racism

Zimmerman Verdict Reveals Southern Racism

In a gross miscarriage of justice, a jury of six women found George Zimmerman not guilty in the killing of Trayvon Martin. They had earlier asked for a clarification on the definition of manslaughter, leading many to believe they would settle on that verdict instead of homicide. When that didn’t happen, our country changed. No justice for Trayvon means no justice for anyone, and Southern racism is to blame.

The verdict means that no one is safe, and that people are allowed to racially profile children, pick fights, defy the orders of authorities, stalk and kill. It sets a precedent and speaks volumes about how we view race in this country. It also highlights the fact that Southern attitudes toward race greatly impacted the jury’s decision.

Those who defend Zimmerman never address the initial why of his actions. He began following Travyon because Trayvon “looked suspicious.” But what does that really mean? It really means that Trayvon was walking while black. He was wearing a hoodie. Perhaps he walked with confidence; perhaps he walked with his head down. None of those things are suspicious, so that leaves race as the only answer to the “why.”

No one who defends Zimmerman debates or argues the fact that Zimmerman racially profiled Trayvon, but they don’t discuss that fact either, because that fact is icky, and unpleasant. They quickly skip past the racial profiling to what happened afterward.

Everything that happened after Zimmerman racially profiled Trayvon was caused solely and completely by Zimmerman’s initial actions. Therefore, for the jury to find that what happened is not manslaughter means that justice is dead, at least in the South, and it’s a Southern problem.

Numerous studies show that the South is far more racist than the North. That doesn’t mean “everyone” in the South is racist, but social scientists recognize the reality of the deeply embedded and much more easily recognizable racism that is characteristic of the land below the Mason-Dixon Line. It’s time the general public started recognizing it, too.

This culture of southern racism is what led to the Zimmerman verdict. It’s not insignificant that the jury was nearly all white. It is impossible for most Southerners to separate their internalized, or in some cases, externalized racism from their decisions, even if those decisions can impact the entire country and deny justice to a grieving family.

Just a few weeks ago, Southern celebrity chef Paula Deen was asked if she had ever used the “N” word. She answered “of course.”

Let that sink in for a moment.

She answered that way because it is inherent in most Southerners’ psyches to view black people as inferior. However, nearly all Southerners become deeply enraged and offended when this point is brought to light by anyone other than their own kind. Very few Southerners got upset when Paula Deen revealed the inner psyche of many southern people, but Southern people will be upset at this discussion.

Paula Deen’s answer to the “N” word question is significant in talking about the Trayvon Martin case. For if racism is the default mechanism in many Southerners’ brains, how could a jury of Zimmerman’s peers have issued a fair verdict?

They couldn’t have, and they didn’t. The toxicity of racism is so pervasive that it impacts every decision a person makes when dealing with situations that involve race. It’s a cancer that always stays hidden inside the body, poisoning the blood and brain, never detectable to the naked eye but destroying the fabric of reason and logic.

Studies prove it, Paula Deen has revealed it, and now we need to start talking about it. Zimmerman racially profiled Trayvon because Trayvon was black. The jury acquitted Zimmerman because Trayvon was black. The South’s racism is to blame for the Zimmerman verdict, and now Trayvon’s family has been robbed of any hope they had for justice for their son.

By: Rebecca Savastio

(Op-Ed)

9 Responses to "Zimmerman Verdict Reveals Southern Racism"

  1. Afotey Annum   July 18, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    It’s quite clear that some White folks simply CANNOT understand why many Black folks are furious @ this verdict.

    Frankly put, some, if not most Whites cannot understand what it means to have to instruct your male children on how to react to bad cops (NOTE: I’m only talking about the BAD ones) in order to NOT be executed on a whim ala Amadou Diallo for ZERO good reason…what it means to be PREjudged SOLELY based on the color of your skin…to have the highest court in the land, in the face of CLEAR voter suppression tactics, outright tell you that your voting rights aren’t worth protecting.

    White folks, with all their inherent privilege (yes, White folks…whether you want it, recognize it, accept it or not, your skin makes you virtually immune to most-if not all-of the situations of the type I just laid out) in a country that was literally built on the backs of African, Native American and Asian slaves (and for HUNDREDS of years) and is somewhat designed to promote, foster and perpetuate this privilege…it’s very hard to expect such a group of folks to sympathize, understand or have true empathy for the plight of those who do not enjoy such privilege, HISTORICALLY.

    This is NOT indicative of ALL White folks, by the way.

    But it certainly explains why some of you simply cannot understand.

    Reply
  2. Sick of Racists in FL   July 14, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Frankie: you are an idiot — why not move to FL? You fit right in! Buy a gun and go hunting.

    Reply
  3. FrankieMundo   July 14, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Holy lol, the liberal narrative is so disconnected from reality it’s scary. First, there is no evidence of a racial motive in this case (unless you want to count Trayvon’s use of the word ‘cracka’, which I’m sure libs do not). The “racially charged element” was entirely manufactured by external media entities. The logic train that goes: ‘Black man and Hispanic man get in a fight; Hispanic man shoots Black man in self defense; jury upholds self defense; conclusion: White supremacism is alive and well’ is bewildering, to say the least.

    Second, this case was a pretty clear-cut instance of self-defense. The evidence points to Martin being on top of Zimmerman pummeling him ‘MMA style’ when Zim pulled the trigger. There’s really no argument that a reasonable person wouldn’t fear for his life in that situation. Aside from the legally impotent objections to the self-defense exception (“Zimmerman illegally exited his car”, “Zimmerman had illegal, suspicious thoughts about a black person”, etc) the prosecution had pretty much zero evidence to make malicious homicide stick.

    Reply
    • Afotey Annum   July 18, 2013 at 6:36 pm

      Essentially, what this verdict says, and quite incontrovertibly to Black folks is that someone can pick a fight with you and if they are losing, kill you with literal impunity.

      I’m fairly certain you won’t understand what I’m trying to say, even though your own words co-sign my point (“…Aside from the legally impotent objections to the self-defense exception (“Zimmerman illegally exited his car”, “Zimmerman had illegal, suspicious thoughts about a black person”, etc)…”). Some folks, mostly White too, seem to conveniently forget everything that happened BEFORE the tussle and subsequent shooting.

      But, like I posited in a separate post on this page, White folks simply CANNOT understand.

      Reply
  4. Rebecca Savastio (@RSavastio)   July 14, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    @JJ: Look up the definition of “op-ed.”

    Reply
    • JJ   July 14, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      While I already had a fair idea of the definition, let me present an excerpt from a JFK School of Government paper on writing a good op-ed….”While columns and op-ed pieces allow writers to include their own voice and express an opinion, to be successful the columns must be grounded in solid research. Research involves acquiring facts, quotations, citations, or data from sources and personal observation.”…..A good op-ed doesn’t include the use of broad brush strokes such as “if racism is the default mechanism in many Southerners’ brains”.

      Reply
  5. JJ   July 14, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Rebecca – Wouldn’t your particular brand of journalism be better suited to the tabloids? No real understanding of the facts or journalistic “elbow grease” is required for those positions and the topics are of little real importance. Simply fleshing out your piece with low hanging race-bait on a story of this magnitude is irresponsible.

    Reply
  6. swampsniper   July 14, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Zimmerman was declared innocent because the EVIDENCE said he was. Courts of law do not function on emotions, imagination, suppositions and gossip. If you are really determined to turn this case into a race war go right ahead, just don’t complain if you don’t like the outcome. You have over played your damned race card and no one really cares anymore.

    Reply
  7. Robert Van Meter   July 14, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Great points!

    Reply

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