George Zimmerman and Race in America

I was raised in a family where we “didn’t see race.” This was the world of “colorblind” conservatism. I believed we lived in a post-racial world where everyone was equal and it was the quality of your character that mattered, not the color of your skin. And then I grew up, and I realized that the era of racial equality I thought I had been living in was a fairytale—a myth.

We are at this moment in the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the murder of Trayvon Martin. A friend of mine recently told me about how an African American law professor of hers once told her about giving his son the “how not to get killed” speech. She told me that he told his son that he might have constitutional rights, but those rights didn’t matter jack shit if he was dead. My son is white, and because of that my son being a victim of potentially deadly racial profiling is something I don’t have to worry about—something I have never had to think about. I have privilege.

This week Lisa Wade of Sociological Images has been doing some amazing blogging on race, the criminal justice system, and America. Let me offer some links and some excerpts, because I think you will find it interesting as well.

Who Would You Shoot?

In 2002, a study by Joshua Correll and colleagues, called The Police Officer’s Dilemma, was published. In the study, researchers reported that they presented photos of black and white men holding either a gun or a non-threatening object (like a wallet) in a video game style setting.  Participants were asked to make a rapid decision to “shoot” or “don’t shoot” each of the men based on whether the target was armed.

They found that people hesitated longer to shoot an armed white target (and they were more likely to accidentally not shoot). Participants were quicker and more accurate with black armed targets but there were more “false alarms” (shooting them when they were unarmed). These effects were present even though participants did not hold any explicit discriminatory views and wanted to treat all targets fairly.

The effect we see here is a subconscious but measurable preference to give white men the benefit of the doubt in these ambiguous situations. Decision times can vary by a fraction of a second, but that fraction can mean life or death for the person on the other end of the gun.

Stand Your Ground Increases Racial Bias in “Justifiable Homicide” Trials:

At MetroTrends, John Roman and Mitchell Downey report their analysis of 4,650 FBI records of homicides in which a person killed a stranger with a handgun. They conclude that stand your ground “tilts the odds in favor of the shooter.”  In SYG states, 13.6% of homicides were ruled justifiable; in non-SYG states, only 7.2% were deemed such.  This is strong evidence that rulings of justifiable homicide are more likely under stand your ground.

But which homicides?

Ones similar to the one decided in favor of George Zimmerman today.  A finding of “justifiable homicide” is much more common in the case of a white-on-black killing than any other kind including a white and a black person.  At PBS’s request, Roman compared the likelihood of a favorable finding for the defendant in SYG and non SYG cases, consider the races of the people involved.  The data is clear, compared to white-on-white crimes, stand your ground increases the likelihood of a not-guilty finding, but only when a person is accused of killing a black person.

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Notice, however, that white people who kill black people are far more likely to be found not-guilty even in states without SYG and black people who kill whites are less likely to be found not-guilty regardless of state law.

It’s simple: We are already biased in favor of the white defendant and against the black victim. Stand your ground laws give jurors more leeway to give defendants the benefit of the doubt.  This increase even further the chances that a white-on-black homicide will be considered justifiable because jurors will likely give that benefit of the doubt to certain kinds of defendants and not others. Stand your ground may or may not be a good law in theory but, in practice, it increases racial bias in legal outcomes.

These next two aren’t directly applicable to the George Zimmerman case, but they are still relevant more generally to the issue of race in our criminal justice system. Post racial nation? Think again.

The Death Penalty, Race, and the Victim:

There is much to be worried about when one considers the role racial discrimination plays in delivering the death penalty.  Scholars are newly looking to the way that the race of homicide victims, instead of the defendants, shape outcomes.  It turns out a disproportionate number of people who are executed under the death penalty have been convicted of murdering a white person (Amnesty International):

“[H]olding all other factors constant,” Amnesty International summarizes, “the single most reliable predictor of whether someone will be sentenced to death is the race of the victim.”

Racial Bias in Presidential Pardons:  

In analysis of Presidential pardons during the George W. Bush administration, ProPublica has found that whites were four times as likely as non-whites to be granted a pardon.  Pardons were granted to 12% of whites, 10% of Hispanics and Asians, and zero percent of Blacks and Native Americans. The disparity remained even when investigators controlled for type of crime.

And that is all. Feel free to add your thoughts on this issue, and on this particular case, if you feel so inclined.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • smrnda

    Thanks for this post. The information isn’t surprising to me at all, as I’ve done research in social psychology, but it’s nice to see all sorts of real, solid empirical evidence that *nobody is colorblind* and that even people who say they aren’t racist can be shown to be clearly racially biased. It’s the regrettable truth, but at least the truth is useful, and falsehoods, no matter how good they feel to believe, aren’t. I recall the shooting experiment in particular, since it kind of demonstrates that racism actually prevents a very serious danger, even more so in our gun obsessed culture.

    I’ve just never personally figured out the whole ‘I don’t see race’ deal, though part of this is that I’ve lived in places where white American people were the minority. I sure *saw race quite obviously* (mostly my own) when in other countries, and if you live in a diverse enough environment, you realize that yes, we all don’t share a common culture, but that that’s not a bad thing.

  • eamonknight

    From discussion elsewhere, I was under the impression that SYG was not invoked in the Zimmerman trial; that it came down to a straight self-defense plea.

    Be that as it may, I blame Zimmerman for being a self-important jackass with a hero complex, and instigating the confrontation. And of course, one doubts he would have been so assiduous in following a white kid down the street.

    • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

      His defense did not present it, but the judge issued jury instructions concerning it.

    • Scott_In_OH

      That was my impression, too, Eamon. But I’m not sure exactly what it means.

      I’ve heard people say the prosecution failed because it didn’t/couldn’t show that Zimmerman was NOT afraid at the time he shot Martin. Is that the standard? If I’m scared, I can shoot someone? I would have thought the defense would at least have to show a reasonable person would be justified in thinking his life was in danger. Are there different standards in different states?

      • Anat

        According to the juror that was interviewed they were supposed to ignore the whole lead up to the confrontation. All that was supposed to matter to them was that in the last moments Zimmerman felt he was in danger.

        Because of the heat of the moment and the Stand Your Ground. He had a right to defend himself. If he felt threatened that his life was going to be taken away from him or he was going to have bodily harm, he had a right.

      • gimpi1

        I wonder, why doesn’t “Stand Your Ground” apply to Martin? After all, he was threatened by an armed stranger following him. He thought his life was in danger. Surly we don’t decide who’s fears are valid based on race? Do we?

      • Anat

        Because he is dead, so arguing about his rights matters? But the interesting question is what would have happened had he survived and been on trial (for assaulting Zimmerman?)

      • gimpi1

        Actually, I thought it mattered, because Zimmerman’s defense was that he was in fear for his life. If Zimmerman was the attacker (as I contend) then Martin’s attack on Zimmerman was a “Stand Your Ground” act, and Zimmerman’s counter-attack unjustified. At least that’s how I see it.

        For instance I don’t think an attacker could corner me, overpower me, start tearing my clothes off, and then claim “Stand Your Ground” for shooting me when I kicked him in the balls. Who was the aggressor is relevant, I think.

      • smrnda

        Yeah, by that logic, a person could attack anyone, and the moment the victim fights back, they can kill them and claim ‘self-defense.’ That would be an absurd notion of self defense.

        It seems like a kind of wild west shootout type mentality – it’s expected that citizens will get into violent altercations, and the fastest draw gets to tell their side of the story. My real worry is that I think some people actually want things to be that way.

    • Anat

      Not exactly. A member of the jury says in interview that several jurors who would have wanted to find Zimmerman guilty voted to acquit because of SYG considerations.

  • John Alexander Harman

    While I don’t necessarily think the jury was wrong to find a reasonable doubt as to the charge of second-degree murder, I do think that Zimmerman is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of manslaughter, as the instigator of a confrontation in which he killed a man. I also don’t believe for one second that that same white Floridian jury would have acquitted Trayvon Martin, if he had wrested the gun away and killed George Zimmerman with it, even though he had a much better claim than Zimmerman to be “standing his ground” in response to an aggressor.

    • UWIR

      “I do think that Zimmerman is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of manslaughter, as the instigator of a confrontation in which he killed a man.”

      That’s not what “manslaughter” means.

      “I also don’t believe for one second that that same white Floridian jury would have acquitted Trayvon Martin, if he had wrested the gun away and killed George Zimmerman with it, even though he had a much better claim than Zimmerman to be “standing his ground” in response to an aggressor.”

      If you walk towards someone with a gun, you are not standing your ground, and the person with a gun is not the aggressor.

      • GCT

        If you walk towards someone with a gun, you are not standing your ground, and the person with a gun is not the aggressor.

        Zimmerman was the aggressor. There should be no question about that. How in the hell can you accuse Martin of being the aggressor?

      • Anon

        You’re missing the point. This was a what-if scenario.

      • GCT

        No, you’re missing the point. Zimmerman walked towards Martin with a gun, but was found not guilty. If the roles had been reversed, the chances are significantly higher that Martin would have been found guilty. Even if Martin had not brought the gun, but had been able to wrestle it away from an aggressor attacking him, he would most likely still have been found guilty.

      • gimpi1

        I am also bothered by the fact that Zimmerman was told to back off by 911. He was following someone without reason, he was armed, he had called the police and was told to stop following Martin, he disobeyed that direction, continued to act in an aggressive fashion, and when things escalated, he killed a teenage boy. All he had to do is follow the instructions of the 911 operator, and that young man would be alive today.

  • Miss_Beara

    There is something seriously wrong with a country where people have to tell african americans how not to get killed and women how not to get raped.

    • John Alexander Harman

      I’m afraid the latter is more a depressing commentary on our entire species than on any one country; I’m not aware of any country where rape, rape culture,* and bad how-not-to-get-raped advice are not common phenomena.

      *This takes a wide variety of forms depending on the overall culture; Saudi rape culture is obviously very, very different from American rape culture, but it clearly exists and is in some ways even nastier. Even the relatively enlightened Scandinavian nations are not free of rape culture; Stieg Larsson’s “Millenium Trilogy” was in large part a critique of Swedish rape culture.

  • Saraquill

    Ugh, I’m deeply bothered that a man got away with shooting a minor, and I
    really hope Zimmerman gets thoroughly shunned by society.

    On a different note, I remember in a survey Libby Anne did about those raised QF or evangelical, and what views on race they were exposed to. A few said that they were brought up in places that allegedly frowned on racism, but that mixed marriages were icky and to be heavily discouraged. How on earth can someone reconcile those two contradictory views?

    • Mr. Pantaloons

      Because they think that racism is limited to the treatment of a collection of individuals, and that marriage, something where “two become one” and is only legitimized by their interpretation of what “God intended,” doesn’t qualify as such. Thus a question about marriage becomes a moral equation to be solved or check/balanced into compliance.

      Counteranthropomorphism (taking a human idea or institution and imagining it to be an issue of God/force of nature) is how you can get away with discrimination, be it anti-marriage equality or whatever, in general, without ever having to feel guilty of something as personal as “bigotry.” That’s my understanding of it anyway, presuming your question wasn’t rhetorical. :P

    • The_L1985

      My parents would tell me that they didn’t want me to marry a black man “because of how other people will treat you.” Which is just racism in another guise, and blamed upon other people.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        My parents always had a religious hierarchy, but not a racial one. Which isn’t any better, granted, but just struck me as funny/odd how different such things can be between households.

  • Truthspew

    And another little secret. People think Black and Latino people commit more crimes. Not true – most of the MAJOR crimes are committed by, you guessed it, WHITE people. We’re the biggest criminal class out there when it comes to murder.

    • Mishellie

      I can understand this in some situations. People see people of color in the so called “bad” neighborhoods/gangs. There IS a lot of crime there, and I do think a lot of white people are GENUNINELY scared of going into those areas. (I live in Chicago and to a certain extent can admit beingh uneasy sometimes, as I’ve seen a few gunfights by passing by and it was people of color and it was scary. The issue is : they don’t see what’s CAUSING these problems. It’s not being of color that’s causing the problem. It’s racism, lack of education, lack of resources, poverty, and the white people in these areas are absolutely caught up in the violence as well. There are just less of them, because white people have more privilege/opportunity to leave. Essentially I’m saying that the stereotype is caused by pure observation without any deeper thinking involved. I think. I hope I didn’t really make a mess of this, I’m just constantly flabbergasted and frustrated when people think things like “he’s black, so he’s violent” instead of “this person got caught up in a really bad situation which led to violence. We should do what we all can to solve the bad situation to alleviate the pressure that is causing the violence”

      • Mishellie

        And I am certainly not arguing with your point about white people being really prone to commit crimes- I feel like they’re usually more isolated but far more violent and disturbing with far more casualties.

      • Truthspew

        Here in Providence people are terrified of the south side for some reason. Me, I’ve walked ALL OVER the South Side. I’m white (Well, Italian mostly) and I’ve never been bothered. Now when it comes to property crime in the city it follows where the perception of money happens to be, that would be the East Side. Me, I live near the West End. It’s got problems including property theft but an active community and people like me who are willing to advise them on protecting said property.

      • smrnda

        Wanted to add. I’m white, and I’ve lived in Chicago on the south side, and I always remind people that everybody there seemed fairly nice and polite to me. I recall one day, I was walking down the street, and a driver pulling out of an alley backed up once he noticed he was blocking the sidewalk.

        There is violence going on there, but it’s because gangs are the only employers paying a living wage. The kids get in these gangs as a job the way someone might join the military as a job, not because they necessarily want to be violent but because there’s no other industry.

        I actually tended to feel safe in those areas. I’m the *random white person* passing by, and if something bad happened to me, the law would regrettably care more than if I were not white. If a Black teenager got killed on the south side, they’d be just another statistic. If a white woman got killed on the south side, it would definitely attract a lot more attention.

        On ‘crime’ – how many minorities are busted for drug charges? White college kids are doing drugs left and right, and making them and selling them, but without stop and frisk aren’t getting busted as often.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        Studies have shown that white people use drugs at the same rates as communities of color, and 90% less likely to be convicted from of it.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        I think you worded it well. I went to elementary school in a pretty bad part of Santa Monica (there’s one area that was red-lined, although the rest is pretty nice. My school was just across the street from the red-lined area). Even by 4th and 5th grade, there’s a lot of pressure on the kids just because it’s safer to be part of a gang than not for walking to school.

        It didn’t help that a lot of the students were illegal immigrants or their parents were. Living in the shadows sucks.

    • UWIR

      That’s a flat-out lie. Black people commit about 20% more murder than white people. And that’s not 20% more murder per capita, that’s 20% more total.

      http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10shrtbl03.xls

      • onamission5

        Correction: Black people are convicted of murder at a rate of 20% higher. Convictions do not equal crimes committed. With the very well documented racial injustices of our court system, with the extraordinarily high rate at which white people tend to get off the hook for violent crimes when those crimes are committed against PoC, with the harsher charges under which PoC– specifically black men and boys– tend to come, and all the other social factors at work that you have to take into consideration when looking at conviction rates, take those stats you posted with a hefty grain of salt.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        Justice Ginsberg has pointed out that in her 40+ years on the bench, she’s never seen a person with a good defense get the death penalty.

        That plays into murder convictions too. A good COSTLY defense does matter, and typically poor black people cannot afford that defense.

        Conviction rates demonstrate nothing more than bias.

      • UWIR

        The idea that because something is not conclusion, it tells us nothing, is a blatant fallacy.

      • Truthspew

        Thank you. You’re right – Black people as a whole tend to be poorer than other groups and so cannot afford quality legal representation. Therefore they’ll suffer a higher conviction rate.

      • UWIR

        The site does not say where the numbers come from, so it’s not clear to me whether it’s a matter of convictions, or something else. But let’s pretend, just for the sake of argument, that every single one of the “unknown” murders was committed by white people. Then white people have committed 70% of the murders, while being 72% of the population. So they’re still underrepresented. Now, if we assume that all of the “unknown” murders are committed by white people and that in 62% cases where a black person is convicted of murder, it was really a white person, then white people would being committing murder at a higher rate. If we assume that “unknown” murders are being committed with the same racial demographics as the known ones, then we would have to assume that 73% of black convictions should have convicted a white person. While this is theoretically possible, the balance of probability is clearly that black people commit murder at a higher rate than white people.

        The poorly named poster “Trustspew”, on the other hand, has provided no reason to accept his position. He has simply asserted that white people commit murder at a higher rate than black people, with no evidence whatsoever. You can take all the grains of salt you want, but the fact of the matter is that there is extremely strong evidence for my claim, and none at all for Truthspew’s.

      • Truthspew

        First of all you are misinterpreting that data. It’s all in the first row – the number 32% were committed by White people, 38% by Black people, 27% by unknown which is likely Latino/Hispanic. So yes, Black is the leading however they’re not even a full standard deviation from White people.

        In fact if we want to do it by the percentages 32/38 = 15%. Math, it’s a powerful thing.

      • UWIR

        “First of all you are misinterpreting that data.”

        How so?

        “It’s all in the first row – the number 32% were committed by White people, 38% by Black people, 27% by unknown which is likely Latino/Hispanic.”

        You don’t bother actually presenting a coherent sentence, so I have to guess at what your point is, but apparently you don’t understand the difference between percentage difference and percentage point difference.

        “So yes, Black is the leading however they’re not even a full standard deviation from White people.”

        On what basis do you assert this? Do you even know what “standard deviation” means? Or are you just parroting terms you’ve heard other people use? The sample estimated standard deviation is about 60. Divide the difference in number of murders by that, and you get 15.4. So blacks are more than fifteeen sample estimated standard deviations from whites.

        “In fact if we want to do it by the percentages 32/38 = 15%. Math, it’s a powerful thing.”

        Why are you dividing 32 by 38, and how the hell do you you get 15%? Math is indeed a poweful thing, but you clearly have absolutely no idea how to use it. The correct calculation is (38.2-32.1)/32.1 = 19%. Which I rounded up to twenty.

    • The_L1985

      That was one thing that a rather conservative radio show I used to listen to pointed out once. “Really, if you want to talk racial stereotypes, we’ve got all the psycho serial killers. It’s to the point that if you hear the headline,
      ’2 Shot in Convenience Store Robbery,’ you think ‘Black dude!’ but if you hear, ‘Man Kills and Dismembers His Family, Keeps the Parts in His Basements, and Eats Cats,’ your first thought is ‘White guy!’”

  • victoria

    This has been making the rounds on social media today, but it would seem to be apropos here: http://www.upworthy.com/know-anyone-that-thinks-racial-profiling-is-exaggerated-watch-this-and-tell-me-when-your-jaw-drops-2

  • Alexis

    Can someone either explain or point me to an explanation of the difference between a ‘stand your ground’ law and the general principle of the right of self-defense? (I’ve heard the term a lot these days, and given how non-judgemental the commentors on this blog tend to be I felt it would be a good place to ask.) What is it about these types of laws that causes high aquittal rates in such a racially-biased way?

    • James Yakura

      http://lawcomic.net/guide/?p=950

      My (non-laywer) understanding is that under ordinary self-defense, you aren’t allowed to use lethal force unless you’re 1) unaware of any safe retreat, 2) defending against a home invasion, or 3) protecting someone who is subject to (1) or (2). According to the comic, “Stand your Ground” means that you don’t have a duty to retreat.

      The racial bias in acquittals is probably because the jury gets to decide what does and doesn’t count as a threat warranting self-defense.

    • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

      Self defense is predicated on the idea of NOT escalating, and if you escalate, it’s no longer self defense.

      SYG, on the other hand, is predicated on the idea of “no requirement to retreat”, which leaves open loopholes for escalating.

      And at the end of the day, the racial bias comes in from the fact that the juries are more likely to accept assertions from white-passing defendants than from defendants of color.

  • smrnda

    This is something I felt I had to point out. I’m female. Being followed by a car at night, for me, would be terrifying to the point of me pissing and shitting my pants, because I can’t think of any reason for a person in a car to follow me aside from them wanting to rape and/or kill me. I also have horrible eyesight, which means I can’t get plate numbers or really tell much about the person getting out of such car except whether they are bigger than me.

    Zimmerman, by following at least on person in his car at night, was being a public menace by willingly and knowing doing something that a normal person would be frightened by. Zimmerman is being ridiculous if he’s saying he’s doing this out of fear – unless a pedestrian has some kind of a rifle, I don’t think they can pose much of a significant risk to a person in a car, and in a car, you can get very far away from anything that scares you fairly quickly.

    The way this case went, it’s like Zimmerman is entitled to do something that makes him feel safe (as if he was really ever at risk, I felt it was more ‘makes him feel like a big man and asserts that this is *his* turf) that would make other people feel scared. It’s like Zimmerman had a right to feel afraid and was entitled to having his fears to be taken seriously, but Martin didn’t, even though, given the situation, Zimmerman is being ridiculous to pretend he was at any danger, and Martin had much more call to be afraid.

    I notice this happening over and over again, in that Black people have legitimate complaints about society, but they always get blown off. Other minority or disadvantaged groups get the same deal.

    • Julia

      This. If a man followed me in a car and then got out of that car and still followed me, knowing that as a cis female I probably wouldn’t stand a chance against him in a physical confrontation, I would knock on a door, ring, try to get the neighbors’ attention. Now, as a cis white female, I’d probably get it and be able to get into a house. However, if I were a black male teen in Florida in this kind of neighborhood, I’d know that the people living there wouldn’t give a shit about the creep following me and would leave me outside. In that case, what’s left? Confront the creep. I’m not saying Martin attacked first, just pointing out that if he did, it’s because he didn’t have much of a choice in the first place.

      • Mary

        Actually- Zimmerman didn’t get out and follow on foot. It’s a common misconception. He let TM leave, then got out, stayed by his truck, looked around, and then reported to the dispatcher that TM had left. Z then got back into his truck. At that point, TM came back and confronted Z. Instead of locking his doors and calling the cops back, Z pulled a stupid and got out of his vehicle, whereupon TM attacked him. Z should have stayed in his vehicle and only shot if TM was actually breaking in, imo- but TM was totally the aggressor when he returned for the confrontation. Look it up. There is a lot of misinformation out there about this case, and it’s difficult to sift through, but I think we should try.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Actually- we don’t know for sure. That’s what Zimmerman is claiming happened, but we simply don’t know, because one of the people who could tell us is dead.

      • Richter_DL

        Zimmermann’s story. That you consider it unclouded truth speaks volumes of you.

      • smrnda

        Trailing someone in a car for a prolonged period is still out of life behavior, though probably legal. It’s definitely threatening.

      • GCT

        Zimmerman’s story doesn’t make sense and doesn’t accord with the what multiple witnesses have said they saw and heard.

  • UWIR

    The implication that black people are in danger of being killed by white people is blatantly dishonest. 90% of black homicide victims are killed by other black people, and about two and half more white people are killed by black people as the reverse.

    Are those photographs representative of the test? Because I don’t think I’m at all racist for immediately seeing that the black guy in the middle row has a gun, but having to squint to see the white guy’s gun.

    While the statistics presented suggest bias, they by no means prove them. It’s wildly unscientific to simply dismiss out of hand alternative hypotheses, such as that black shooters are less likely to be found justified because black shooters are less likely to be justified.

    • gimpi1

      I looked at the photos completely differently. Yes, the photo with the clearly visible gun also had a black man, but that gun was pointed at no one I could see. I saw no reason to shoot in any of the photos.

      You realize that your last statement is weird, right. Why would the color of someone’s skin make them more likely to shoot someone without cause? The only reason I can see to believe that is if you believe that knowing the color of someone’s skin tells you anything about them other than the way they look. You do know that’s pretty much a definition of racism, right?

      • UWIR

        “You realize that your last statement is weird, right. Why would the color of someone’s skin make them more likely to shoot someone without cause?”
        That’s a dishonest way of phrasing it. I said that we need to consider the hypothesis that black people are less likely to be justified, not that black skin causes them to be less likely to be justified.

        “The only reason I can see to believe that is if you believe that knowing the color of someone’s skin tells you anything about them other than the way they look. You do know that’s pretty much a definition of racism, right?”
        Libby Anne seems to think that knowing the color of someone’s skin tells her something other than the way they look, namely that black people are more likely to be convicted of murder. Is Libby Anne racist? The FBI says more murders are committed by black people than white people. Is the FBI racist? Or are you just spouting bullshit?

      • gimpi1

        I don’t think either the FBI or Libby Anne is racist. Libby Ann understands that circumstances affect how people react, and black people still face discrimination, albeit not as overt in the past. She also understands how our psychology affects how we perceive people, threat and risk. That’s one of her main points.You seem to be dismissing all that.

        The FBI is only in the business of tracking statistics. The reason behind those statistics are not their purview.

        You seem to be saying that people with dark skin are somehow different, and worse, than people with light skin. You don’t seem to be acknowledging circumstances or psychology. If that’s what you are saying, then yes, I would consider you racist. If that’s not what you are saying, then I don’t understand what you are trying to say.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        He’s saying that black people are less likely to be found acting in their own self defense, not because they are black, but just because they aren’t actually acting in their own self-defense, and are only saying so to get out of trouble.

        And that racism has nothing to do with it.

      • gimpi1

        Thank you for your explanation, Aeryl, but I still don’t follow. If he is indeed saying that black people are more likely than white people to lie, or overreact or whatever, I still would view that as racist. Mainly, because I don’t think there are any real differences between races.

        There are cultural differences, differences in experience, and positions of privilege and disadvantage, but all those factors should serve to help understand how people who are pretty much the same can react differently. That information can also be used to change circumstances, to get better results. It in no way implies that one group is somehow better than another. I don’t see any understanding of that in his statement.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        It’s absolutely racist.

      • gimpi1

        OK, so I am understanding him. He just doesn’t understand himself. He’s racist, and he does not know it. Well, sadly, he’s not alone in that. Thanks for the follow up.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        BTW, your cat is BEAUTIFUL.

      • gimpi1

        Thanks. She’s actually not my cat anymore. I domesticate and re-home feral cats. I found her scavenging in our back yard, and was able to befriend her and convince her humans were not so bad. She was adopted my my neighbor, who named her Notaé, or Night in Italian. Whenever I get ready to re-home a kitty so I can start working with another one, I always post a photo on several local websites and bulletin boards, to be sure they aren’t a stray pet. This is the photo I took of her as she was becoming friendly. She’s a success-story, for sure!

    • smrnda

      Whether or not Black homicide victims are killed more often by white or Black criminals isn’t relevant to the discussion – the question is what happens in the criminal justice system after that fact.

      On the whole ‘scientific’ thing : given the sort of information we get from court cases, there’s no legitimate way to distinguish a person who is found in court to be justified and a person who in actually justified, or the other way around.

      On “I’m not racist.” Um, you seem to be using ‘racist’ in a way that implies that a person isn’t racist unless they are consciously against some group of people, and that’s a big misunderstanding of racism. Racism is a bias in your thinking, and it isn’t necessarily something that a person is conscious of. That is why psychologist do experiments like this – to prove that people who claim they have no bias can be shown to behave in a biased fashion.

      • UWIR

        “Whether or not Black homicide victims are killed more often by white or Black criminals isn’t relevant to the discussion – the question is what happens in the criminal justice system after that fact.”

        Either you have serious reading comprehension problems, or you’re just being dishonest. From the original post:

        “She told me that he told his son that he might have constitutional rights, but those rights didn’t matter jack shit if he was dead.”

        So the issue is explicitly not what happens afterwards, but whether he gets killed (with the implication being that white people are especially dangerous).

        “there’s no legitimate way to distinguish a person who is found in court to be justified and a person who in actually justified”

        Exactly. So why is Libby Anne acting like we can just take one hypothesis for granted.

        “Racism is a bias in your thinking, and it isn’t necessarily something that a person is conscious of.”

        “Racism” has several meanings, and that is one.

        “That is why psychologist do experiments like this – to prove that people who claim they have no bias can be shown to behave in a biased fashion.”

        Again, you seem to have reading comprehension problems. This test was presented as evidence of unconscious bias. I asserted that it is not evidence of unconscious bias, if these pictures are representative.

      • smrnda

        Nice to know the peanut gallery has spoken. I guess my 3 PhDs and lifetime of achievements can be nullified by someone who wants to nitpick online :-) You also seem to not understand how psychology experiments work.

        Here’s the deal on unconscious bias – your CONSCIOUS evaluation of the pictures is irrelevant, the only thing that is relevant is the findings of the experiment. That’s the whole issue with studying things like that – if you give people a task and show them what they did, people can find any post-hoc rationalization for their choices and so “no way did I just have a bias to shooting the Black suspects! The guns
        were just so much more visible!”

        If I did an experiment that demonstrates a correlation between people liking a wine and being told it cost more money, that study would not be refuted by a person who knows the conclusion running up to the bar, taking a swig of each wine and saying ‘well, the wine you said was expensive *is actually better* than the expensive wine you said was cheap!’ The reason is that our perceptions (of quality of taste, of visibility of a gun) are influenced by unconscious factors and our expectations. It’s a pretty much proven fact that telling people a wine is expensive makes them think that it tastes better.

        The other thing is that, I read about this experiment years ago. When you look at the pictures presented in a static fashion and you *already know what the findings were* you are not being presented with the images in a manner
        consistent with the experiment, so your reactions do not count. I’m not sure if you know how psychology experiments go, but people taking part in an experiment are not supposed to know the hypothesis to avoid
        potential bias. If you are told ‘you will see pictures and shoot at only the armed people’ it’s a lot different than if you are told the outcome of the experiment and then shown the pictures.

        Reading comprehension *buddy*? I’ve just explained to you that the whole point in studying unconscious biases are that the experiments measure what people actually do in situations or what they actually think or feel at the moment when they make some sort of evaluation. If you think that a person who knows both the hypothesis and the outcome of an experiment can look at the material used and then say ‘well, the whole thing is invalid because clearly you can always see the guns the Black guys are holding’ has no idea how psychology experiments work. Like I said before, you need the following things:

        1. subjects cannot know the hypothesis.
        2. subjects must be presented materials in a uniform fashion, and their immediate impressions count.

        If you want to disprove this, by all means, generate better images, get some funding (or contact Joshua Correll, the guy who did the experiment. I’m sure he’d be happy to give you more information. I can’t find the full text of it online.) and set up an experiment where you feel that the guns are equally visible. That’s how science work.

        ‘”She told me that he told his son that he might have constitutional
        rights, but those rights didn’t matter jack shit if he was dead.”‘

        That’s not a thesis statement, it’s advice.

        This statement implies that the criminal justice system is biased, and that if a white person who feels ‘threatened’ by a Black person were to shoot them, the white person likely to be taken at their word that they acted in legitimate self-defense. You can find lots of cases of Black people who are no threat to anyone being shot. You might want to look up Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr. A Black teenager was shot in my area last year in some rather murky circumstances by the police. I’ve been in enough Black neighborhoods to be able to note a stark contrast in the behavior of police towards an average Black person and an average white person.

        I have never been stopped by the police and asked my business when I am walking at night. Apparently the police assume I am no threat. I don’t know any Black person that this hasn’t happened to.

        Now, I’m *sure* some rationalization can be found that when these Black people were stopped, there’s *got to be some other factor* but this stuff has been studied already, and the verdict is the whole ‘it was the hoodie, not that he was Black!’ can be shown to be false. I can’t compact a whole field into a sound-byte, but I’d advise you to look into it.

        That people are biased against Black people (this bias even affects Black people themselves regrettably) is a fact we’ve found out through social psychology. You might want to look into that field, and also remember that 1. if you know what an experiment is about, your reactions have to be thrown out as invalid. In many studies, subjects aren’t told the real purpose of the experiment or are provided with various distraction tasks, because knowing anything would affect the outcome.

      • UWIR

        Nice to know the peanut gallery has spoken.

        I’m not quite sure what that’s supposed to mean. Wikipedia mentions it indicating that the “ “great unwashed” should defer to their betters”.

        I guess my 3 PhDs and lifetime of achievements can be nullified by someone who wants to nitpick online

        Way to sound like an elitist asshole, there. There are plenty of fields where one can get a PhD without the slightest common sense or everyday knowledge. I had a professor who didn’t even know what the word “quota” means. Your argument should stand on their own, not by an appeal to authority. And I’m not “nitpicking”, I’m pointing out an apparent glaring flaw. If you’re going to play the “no one is allowed to disagree with me because I’m so totally awesome” game, you might want to at least learn how to spell “sound-bite” correctly.

        You also seem to not understand how psychology experiments work.

        You seem to not understand how experiments in general work.

        Here’s the deal on unconscious bias – your CONSCIOUS evaluation of the pictures is irrelevant

        That’s nonsense. As anyone with any sense at all knows, the purpose of an expirement is to isolate a particular variable and test just that variable. If both conscious and unconscious evaluations are affecting the result, then you are not measuring the effect of unconscious bias. If there are differences between the pictures other than the race of the subject, then you are measuring the effect of race. If people find it easier to notice a black man holding .45 than a white man holding a .22, that’s not evidence of racial bias. Mind telling me where you got your PhDs so I can ask that they be revoked?

        That’s the whole issue with studying things like that – if you give people a task and show them what they did, people can find any post-hoc rationalization for their choices and so “no way did I just have a bias to shooting the Black suspects! The guns were just so much more visible!”

        Any decent experiment will control for that issue, and not just say, “Well, anyone can say the guns are more visible, so we’ll just ignore that”.

        If I did an experiment that demonstrates a correlation between people liking a wine and being told it cost more money, that study would not be refuted by a person who knows the conclusion running up to the bar, taking a swig of each wine and saying ‘well, the wine you said was expensive *is actually better* than the expensive wine you said was cheap!’

        You do understand that those experiments made sure to randomly assign the “expensive” and “not expensive” labels to the wines, right? If someone claimed that the wines labeled “expensive” were, in fact, better, that would be a critique that would need to be dealt with in a manner more rigorous than saying “Nuh uh”.

        The reason is that our perceptions (of quality of taste, of visibility of a gun) are influenced by unconscious factors and our expectations.

        I have put forth the assertion that the gun held by the black man is objectively more conspicuous. If you want to counter that assertion, it’s not enough to say that it’s theoretically possible that I’m being influenced by the race of the man holding the gun, you need to provide an actual argument for believing that this is actually the case. You’re making a circular argument; you’re saying that this experiment shows bias, but when I present an alternative explanation, you dismiss it on the basis that I’m biased.

        I’m not sure if you know how psychology experiments go, but people taking part in an experiment are not supposed to know the hypothesis to avoid potential bias.

        I find the condescending explanation of experimental protocol from someone who clearly understands it less well than I do quite annoying.

        If you think that a person who knows both the hypothesis and the outcome of an experiment can look at the material used and then say ‘well, the whole thing is invalid because clearly you can always see the guns the Black guys are holding’ has no idea how psychology experiments work.

        Lost track of whether you were writing in the second person or the third, eh? Look, if there are objective differences between the pictures other than race, then there are objective differences between the pictures other than race, and the fact that I know the hypothesis and outcome does nothing to change that. What if the black man were carrying an AK-47, and the white man were carrying a derringer? Would you still insist “Well, you know the hypothesis and outcome, so you are incapable of evaluating whether the test is valid”?

        Like I said before, you need the following things:

        1. subjects cannot know the hypothesis.

        2. subjects must be presented materials in a uniform fashion, and their immediate impressions count.

        To prove that a test is valid, one needs these things. One does not need these to prove that a test is invalid. I guess this is what happens when people mindlessly learn things by rote without understanding them.

        That’s not a thesis statement, it’s advice.

        It’s what I was responding to

        This statement implies that the criminal justice system is biased

        No, it clearly implies, to anyone with decent reading comprehension, that the speaker is more concerned with whether the person lives or dies, than with how the justice system treats him.

        1. if you know what an experiment is about, your reactions have to be thrown out as invalid.

        Repeating it doesn’t make it true. If this were true, we would have to throw out the concept of peer review, since anyone who has seen the results of the experiment would be unqualified to criticize it. You are being confused by the fact that experimental subjects have to be ignorant of the purpose of the experiment into thinking that critics of the experiment have to be ignorant. According to your logic, no one can criticize the validity of any experiment, since if they don’t know what the experiment is about, they don’t have anything to criticize, and if they do know, then all of their criticisms must be dismissed.

      • smrnda

        I am aware that some people think that you’re supposed to stick to first, second or third person, but I tend to find these rules aren’t worth following unless breaking them causes confusion.

        “I have put forth the assertion that the gun held by the black man is objectively more conspicuous.”

        You pointed out that one picture showed the Black man with a more conspicuous gun than the other pictures. This is your reaction to this picture right now after reading an account of what the experiment was about and what it was supposed to prove. If I think that a particular picture shows a man who is obviously armed or unarmed, I suspect that it’s likely that, had I been in the experiment, I might not have reached the same conclusion, because my perceptions of the pictures are already skewed by knowing what the experiment was about.

        The idea is to see how often people correctly identified and acted given the picture. The whole point is that the guns aren’t always supposed to be uniform in how obvious or not obvious they are.

        If the one picture is a Black guy with a visible gun you still have to account for the behavior on the remaining potential targets. Shooting at the picture with a clear visible gun doesn’t negate that participants showed a greater propensity to shoot at Black targets without conspicuous guns.

        The experiment is years old and has been subjected to peer review already. Peer review often does through out experiments – Baron-Cohen did an experiment that apparently showed that male infants looked at mobiles more than faces, and others were unable to replicate his findings and pointed out a significant flaw in his methodology – the infants were too young to actually control their head movements reliably.

        I wasn’t suggesting that you were ignorant, just leaping on one picture seemed like an odd move for someone to make as if it could disprove the whole experiment; I did miss that you prefaced that by ‘if these pictures are typical’, but given the conclusions of the experiment it does not appear significant given the other pictures to negate the conclusions. One picture is worth pointing out, but a ‘glaring flaw’ seems a bit much for one picture.

        In terms of the progress of race based issues in social psychology, the evidence that racial biases influence behavior is becoming stronger over time.

        Sorry to have been rude. It’s wrong to take a blog post that most of us are probably writing while doing something else as if it could be used as conclusive proof of what people do and don’t know. It’s just that in terms of racial bias, I still hear random white people declaring that it’s impossible that they are racially biased at all. I’m not suggesting that is your perspective, but it sounded close.

    • GCT

      The implication that black people are in danger of being killed by white people is blatantly dishonest.

      On a post about Zimmerman killing Martin and getting away with it? Really?

  • Katherine Hompes

    Being Australian, this case isn’t as big news here, so I don’t have the knowledge regarding the case of some others. I do have some American friends though, and one of them said something that stuck with me- “forget about race for a moment- Trayvon was a CHILD. How do you justify following and killing a child?” Of course, the answer to that DOES involve race.

    I just find it incredibly sad, and incredibly baffling.

    • Katherine Hompes

      Another thing, I have seen on some websites a plethora of pro-Zimmerman comments. The racism there was enough to make me feel physically ill.

      • Tonya Richard

        You should see my facebook feed. I live in South Louisiana and am truly embarrassed to know these people well enough for them to friend me on facebook. The overt racism I see is disgusting. BTW, I am a white woman. Oh, and these are good Christians who would swear up and down that they aren’t racist at all, yeah right!

      • Kate Monster

        This is one of those events that can help you know which people in your life shouldn’t be there anymore.

    • Mary

      Actually, he wasn’t a child- he was 17, and at 5’11, he was 3 inches taller and approx. 20 lbs lighter than Zimmerman.

      • Saraquill

        He was still a child in the eyes of the law.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        Aww, come on, don’t you know black people have parties when they turn 16 to celebrate their new “Scary Black Adult” status!!!

        /sarcarsm

      • Keane Sanders

        When they turn 12, actually.

        Not actually being sarcastic–that’s when our culture decides they’re Big Scary Black men.

  • Hat Stealer

    http://www.wctv.tv/news/headlines/Florida-Mom-Gets-20-Years-For-Firing-Warning-Shots-215759571.html?device=tablet

    This isn’t about gun control. It’s about keeping uppity black people in their place. Why do we need guns in the South? Uppity black people. Why can’t blacks have guns? Because they’re uppity black people.

    The hypocrisy (and everything else) is disgusting.

    • The_L1985

      I’m a history buff from Alabama, so to me the racism was blatantly obvious. The KKK and similar terrorist groups started the whole problem by lying and saying black people were more violent as an excuse for lynchings and such. We’re not killing innocent people for not “knowing their place,” nosiree. We’re just making sure that violent predators don’t attack our precious white women! *gags*

    • smrnda

      My partner is white and she’s from the south. She told me that many down there objected to the idea of *women* having guns, even white women. The prevailing opinion is that a woman doesn’t need a gun, she needs a man who apparently comes with a gun included as part of the deal.

  • Dez

    Travyon was guilty of walking while black. It’s common knowledge in the black community that you do not have to do anything to be treated with suspicion but just being black.

    • smrnda

      Yeah, I mean, I can’t think of any way that just walking at night in a residential neighborhood can be suspicious in and of itself. Following someone around in a car seems a lot more suspicious to me.

      I also get irritated by people saying “well, Zimmerman never *said* Martin was Black.” If you end up hearing racists talk enough (I regrettably have), they *never* use racial terms because just hassling ‘punks’ (that all just happen to be Black) somehow is supposed to prove they’re not racist.

  • Mary

    Addressing the pictures above:

    Profiling strictly based on race is stupid, but no decent profiler works on that alone. Look a the pictures above- two of the black men are dressed very differently from their white counterparts. They are dressed to identify themselves with a certain culture, a culture which is commonly understood to glorify violence and downplay the importance of education, for example. (much like the redneck/country music culture- the similarities between redneck and gangsta cultures in areas of gender, racism, and other things are intriguing) I’d like to see several things here- 1. The demographics of the people tested. Were they white? of mixed races? Black? 2. I would also like to see a test where the images were more similar except for race- where the two men were wearing the same thing, in the same pose, etc. 3. I would like to see the test repeated, except that this time it’s two white guys- one that looks like a redneck and one that looks like a professional. I would be willing to bet that the redneck gets shot more than the professional. 4. I would then like to see the test done with a black man in a suit vs. a white man in a suit, and then with a black man in a friendly, non-threatening posture vs a white man in a aggressive one- etc, etc. Let’s not assume it’s all about race when there are so many other variables not accounted for.

    Look at the clothes, posture, and settings for the photos. (for example, the black guy with the obvious gun- he’s in an excellent shooting position, and it looks like he’s in the concourse of an apartment complex, a place where I would not expect to find a person with an unconcealed weapon. He is also dressed a bit gangsta. The white guy is dressed in a collared shirt, standing by an entrance to a parking lot- because of that, and his up-front posture, my eye goes to look for a security badge, because a position as security for a lot/event is entirely consistent with his dress and posture. If the white guy was dressed and posed the same way as the black guys is, and with an equally obvious weapon, I would not be surprised if the results were a bit different. ) I would argue that those things are better clues than race, by far. I know that I am judged differently based on who I’m with, how I’m dressed, where I am- and race changes none of those things. Humans have intuitive, subconscious mechanisms for judging danger, and they are varied and complex. This test is overly simplistic, and its data seems very, very questionable.

    • Composer 99

      They are dressed to identify themselves with a certain culture, a culture which is commonly understood to glorify violence and downplay the importance of education, for example.

      … wait, what?

      If you want to criticize the paper that these photos are from (Correll et al 2002 from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology) perhaps ‘twould be better to do so with cites in hand rather than handwaves like this.

      • smrnda

        I actually can’t tell much difference in the clothing. I was assuming they just went ‘bland male casual’ so that clothing would be fairly uniform.

    • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

      I am a college educated white woman, with a regular full time job and a 12 year old daughter.

      I also where a hoodie and baggie clothes, yet for some reason, NO ONE EVER ASSOCIATES THAT WITH A DESIRE TO IDENTIFY WITH CRIMINALITY!!!! I WONDER WHY!

  • Kate Monster

    I think the thing that stands out to me the most is that Zimmerman appears to have no regrets. He says he’d do it all over again, not change a thing. If we believe him when he says he was in fear of his life, that just doesn’t make sense. If I killed someone in what I thought was self defense, and found out later that I’d killed an unarmed teen who was just walking home from the store, I would be appalled. I’d be devastated. I’d spend the rest of my life running the scenario over in my mind, trying to figure out where I’d gone wrong, why I’d been so afraid, what I could have done differently. I don’t know how I’d be able to live with myself. But Zimmerman? He’s okay with what he did. He’s glad to get his gun back. As far as it seems, he’s going on with his life with no apology. And that is terrifying to me.

    • UWIR

      Zimmerman didn’t kill someone who was just walking home from the store. He killed someone who who smashing his head into the ground.

      • GCT

        After he attacked that person and caused that person to act in self defense against him. Then, he got away and was able to pull a gun and shoot a person who was pleading not to be shot. I highly doubt that had Martin been slamming his head into the ground as Zimmerman claims that he would have been able to do what he did. But, even if Martin was slamming his head into the ground, it was because Martin was standing his ground against an aggressor.

      • UWIR

        “After he attacked that person and caused that person to act in self defense against him.”
        Cite?

        “Then, he got away and was able to pull a gun and shoot a person who was pleading not to be shot.”
        Cite?

        “I highly doubt that had Martin been slamming his head into the ground as Zimmerman claims that he would have been able to do what he did.”

        Personal incredulity isn’t much of an argument.

      • GCT

        How did Martin attack Zimmerman while being on the phone with someone else? I’m serious, how does that work? How was he talking on the phone and at the same time rushing Zimmerman and attacking him from behind, or the front, or whatever version of Zimmerman’s story you believe today in your rush to be a racist PoS?

        How did Zimmerman shoot Martin? Supposedly Martin was on top of Zimmerman bashing his head into the ground. At that point, Zimmerman was able to get to his gun (that he was lying on top of), put a round in the chamber, and shoot Martin. Additionally, Martin didn’t fall on top of him, the gun had no blood on it, and Zimmerman didn’t have Martin’s blood on him. How in the world does that happen? Additionally, if your head is being repeatedly slammed into the ground, it leaves more than superficial lacerations and probably would have resulted in a severe concussion if not loss of consciousness. How did he hold it all together well enough to get to his gun, shoot Martin, and defy gravity at the same time?

        Sorry, but your racism isn’t enough to change the laws of gravity.

      • UWIR

        ” your rush to be a racist PoS?”

        You have no basis for this vicious personal attack. This, in addition to your insistence in having your posts consist primarily of rhetorical questions assuming facts not in evidence, shows that trying to have a conversation with you is pointless, as you it will be met with nothing but lies and insults. Your behavior is in blatant violation of the commenting policy on this blog http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/comment-policy

      • GCT

        You have no basis for this vicious personal attack.

        Your comments here are basis enough.

        You’ve swallowed Zimmerman’s story hook, line, and sinker. You’ve claimed that Martin must have been the aggressor, and I can only assume it’s because of his race given your propensity to argue that black people are simply more prone to crime. If you feel I’m violating some comment policy for pointing this out, then feel free to report my post.

      • UWIR

        You’ve swallowed Zimmerman’s story hook, line, and sinker.

        In this country, we have something called “presumption of innocence”. This means that we assume that the accused is innocent, until proven beyond a reasonable doubt otherwise. That you would twist this into something sinister says quite a lot about you.

        You’ve claimed that Martin must have been the aggressor

        I don’t believe that I have, you have presented no cite for your claim, and you have a history of extremely dishonest behavior. The overwhelming evidence is that you are simply making shit up.

        and I can only assume it’s because of his race

        Bullshit. You have plenty of other options. You choose to assume it’s because of his race because it allows you dismiss everything I say.

        given your propensity to argue that black people are simply more prone to crime.

        Truthspew claimed white people commit more crime than black people. You didn’t call Truthspew out for racism. Why is that? I didn’t simply mention the higher black rate of crime out of nowhere. I presented it in direct response to Truthspew’s libel against white people, and Libby Anne’s implication that black people need to take special care to not be killed by white people. So that is not evidence of a “propensity”. Furthermore, your choice of words “simply more prone to crime” implies that I believe that criminality is an inherent property of black people, which is completely unsupported. So your “justification” for this insult is based on flat-out dishonest reframing of events. Finally, nothing I said in this regard was simply my personal opinion. I reported actual, objective facts. So, apparently, you think that any facts that reflects badly on black people should not be mentioned, and it’s okay to call anyone who mentions them “racist”.

        If you feel I’m violating some comment policy for pointing this out, then feel free to report my post.

        I’ll tell you what: if you can address all of my points, if you can refrain from basing your response on facts not evidence, if you can back up all your claims, if you cease engaging in personal attacks, and if you’re willing to acknowledge when you’re shown to be wrong, then I will not report your posts. If you can’t, then that shows that you are not posting in good faith.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Actually, presumption of innocence is a legal concept, not something individual people are held to. In other words, I am not required to presume that someone is innocent. And I generally try not to, actually. I generally try to approach an altercation or situation with an open mind and without a predisposition and look at the facts of the case and then make up my mind. But at no point was I ever required to start by assuming that Zimmerman was innocent—and nor were you.

      • UWIR

        “Actually, presumption of innocence is a legal concept, not something individual people are held to.”

        Presumption of innocence is a general concept that has a particular application in legal contexts.

        “In other words, I am not required to presume that someone is innocent.”

        There’s no law requiring you to, but you still ought to.

        “But at no point was I ever required to start by assuming that Zimmerman was innocent—and nor were you.”

        Zimmerman’s innocence should be the default position. There’s nothing wrong with me asking people who accusing Zimmerman of misconduct to present evidence for their claims. Characterizing that as “swallow[ing] Zimmerman’s story hook, line, and sinker” is illegitimate.

        “Please quit the sarcasm and simply make your point.”

        My point was that if smrnda wishes to claim that banks are more likely to extend credit to whites with the same credit score, then smrnda really ought to provide evidence that banks are more likely to extend credit to whites with the same credit score, and that I didn’t recall seeing smrnda present evidence that banks are more likely to extend credit to whites with the same credit score, and to express that point, I stated that that I didn’t recall smrnda present evidence that banks are more likely to extend credit to whites with the same credit score. I find that really quite transparent, and I don’t understand why you are having trouble comprehending this. Sarcasm is when you say the opposite of what you mean, not when you mean exactly what you say.

        “Also, you’re being really offensive”

        If you’re going to accuse someone of being offensive, the decent thing to do is provide some basis for that accusation.

        “and getting on my nerves.”

        There are quite a few people here getting on my nerves.
        If you have some complaint about objectively offensive conduct on my part, that’s one thing, but I get the impression that you simply object to me expressing a point of view that you don’t like, and you consider me somehow obligated to avoid doing so.

        “You are not being persecuted by being called a racist.”

        I don’t think that just because you are the mod of this blog, that gives you the right to imply that I have said something that I did not say. I didn’t claim to be persecuted, I claimed that that GCT’s behavior was in violation of your purported commenting policy, which apparently does not apply when the target of the incivility is someone who is saying something that you don’t like. It does seem to me that if someone is going to write up a commenting policy, they ought to actually enforce it.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        I notice you didn’t actually respond to the evidence I gave you that whites are more likely to be drug users than blacks, but that blacks are more likely to be arrested and jailed for their drug use. Interesting.

        As for the rest, I’m not simply the mod of this blog, I’m the one who owns, writes, and runs this blog. I don’t have to make an apology for what I find offensive—and your suggestion that pointing out that black crime is over reported because it is over prosecuted and not necessarily because blacks are more likely commit crime is “libel against whites” while your insistence in the contrary is “just the facts” is offensive—because this is my blog and mine to run. If you don’t like how I run it, you don’t have to hang around here. Also, I never said you said you were being persecuted by being called a racist. I simply told you you are not being persecuted for being a racist. Any implication you read into that is yours, not mine.

      • UWIR

        I notice you didn’t actually respond to the evidence I gave you that whites are more likely to be drug users than blacks, but that blacks are more likely to be arrested and jailed for their drug use. Interesting.

        I find the fact that you tried to change the subject more interesting than the fact that I didn’t go along with it.

        I don’t have to make an apology for what I find offensive

        Slinging the term “offensive” around every time someone says something you don’t like is rather rude. It’s also giving ammunition to conservatives who claim that Leftists enforce a code of “Political Correctness” in which people are censured based on politics, and that Leftists’ use of the word “offensive” can be dismissed as merely a way that they complain about people disagreeing with them. I don’t like conservatives dismissing truly legitimate concerns about objectively offensive statements by claiming that “offense” is merely in the eye of the beholder.

        —and your suggestion that pointing out that black crime is over reported because it is over prosecuted and not necessarily because blacks are more likely commit crime is “libel against whites

        I never said any such thing.

        while your insistence in the contrary is “just the facts” is offensive

        I didn’t insist the contrary, at least not the direct contrary.

        —because this is my blog and mine to run.

        That is a complete non sequitur. Just because this is your blog to run doesn’t mean that you get to redefine words.

        If you don’t like how I run it, you don’t have to hang around here.

        The “I have a blog, so I have no obligation to conduct myself civilly” argument is rather silly in general, and even weaker when they claim to have a particular commenting policy. If anyone who doesn’t agree with you is fair game, the least you could do is not post a commenting policy suggesting otherwise.

        Also, I never said you said you were being persecuted by being called a racist. I simply told you you are not being persecuted for being a racist. Any implication you read into that is yours, not mine.

        That’s just plain ridiculous. When people post comments in reply to other comments, the implication is that the content of the comments are in response to the original comment.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        I love how *I* am the one who is conducting myself uncivilly! I never said having a blog meant one didn’t have to be a decent human being, what I *did* say was that this is not a public forum, it is *my personal blog,* meaning that I set the rules and I say what is okay and what isn’t and who can comment and who can’t. Doing this doesn’t make me a hypocrite any more than believing I can choose who to invite to a dinner party makes me a hypocrite. Also, you can’t use my own comment policy against me. That’s not how it works.

        My point about whites being more likely to do drugs than blacks was not an attempt to “change the topic” and the fact that you apparently feel that it’s not worth discussing does not mean I can’t call you out for not addressing it. You have found the idea that black crime rates may not be so high when corrected for poverty, or that black crime rates may be high in part because blacks are more likely to be prosecuted and do jail time than whites because of profiling, to be “libel against whites.” I present evidence that it’s not any such thing and your response is that I’m “changing the subject”? Seriously?

        As for “I never said any such thing,” I’d suggest you reread your own previous comments, where you did indeed say just what I said you said:

        Truthspew claimed white people commit more crime than black people. You didn’t call Truthspew out for racism. Why is that? I didn’t simply mention the higher black rate of crime out of nowhere. I presented it in direct response to Truthspew’s libel against white people, and Libby Anne’s implication that black people need to take special care to not be killed by white people. So that is not evidence of a “propensity”. Furthermore, your choice of words “simply more prone to crime” implies that I believe that criminality is an inherent property of black people, which is completely unsupported. So your “justification” for this insult is based on flat-out dishonest reframing of events. Finally, nothing I said in this regard was simply my personal opinion. I reported actual, objective facts. So, apparently, you think that any facts that reflects badly on black people should not be mentioned, and it’s okay to call anyone who mentions them “racist”.

      • UWIR

        I love how *I* am the one who is conducting myself uncivilly!

        I’m not the one misrepresenting what other people have said. I’m not the one standing up for people calling other people “racist PoS”. I’m not the one calling other people “offensive”, and when challenged, saying that having my own blog means that I can insult other people without any justification.

        I never said having a blog meant one didn’t have to be a decent human being, what I *did* say was that this is not a public forum, it is *my personal blog,* meaning that I set the rules and I say what is okay and what isn’t and who can comment and who can’t.

        You seem to not understand the logical consequences of your position. If you have an obligation to be a decent human being, then you have an obligation to not engage in indecent behavior. Which means that there is a limitation to how you can run your blog. “Act decently” is a limitation on how to run your blog. If you assert that you have the right to run your blog however you want, with no limitation whatsoever, then you are asserting that you have no obligation to act decently.

        Doing this doesn’t make me a hypocrite any more than believing I can choose who to invite to a dinner party makes me a hypocrite.

        If you publicly declare that you have a policy against incivility, but then jump on someone who points out that someone else is acting incivilly, then yes, you are a hypocrite.

        Also, you can’t use my own comment policy against me. That’s not how it works.

        Yes, that is how it works. The whole purpose of posting a comment policy in the first place is to affect how people expect you to act. If you don’t want people to expect you to act a certain way, you shouldn’t post a comment policy asserting that you’re going to act that way.

        You have found the idea that black crime rates may not be so high when corrected for poverty, or that black crime rates may be high in part because blacks are more likely to be prosecuted and do jail time than whites because of profiling, to be “libel against whites.”

        No, I have found the claim that white people commit more murder than black people to be libel against whites.

        I present evidence that it’s not any such thing and your response is that I’m “changing the subject”? Seriously?

        Yes, I am quite serious in the assertion that presenting evidence against an assertion that I never made is changing the subject.

        As for “I never said any such thing,” I’d suggest you reread your own previous comments, where you did indeed say just what I said you said:

        I, unlike you, am quite aware of what I have said in my previous comments, and rereading them changes nothing. I did not say what you said I said. There is no place in what you quoted that I said what you said I said. I find it quite disturbing that not only can someone get away with lying about white people, when I point out it is a lie, you insist on misrepresenting me as saying that something else is a lie.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        I don’t have to put up with people coming to my blog and lecturing me about what is or is not decent human behavior. Again, this isn’t a public forum, it’s my personal blog. I don’t need justification for banning someone. If it makes you feel any better, I have reprimanded the person who called you a “racist PoS.” And to be clear, I didn’t “jump” on you for calling out another commenter’s violation of my comment policy, but rather for your own words.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Also, you’re being really offensive and getting on my nerves. You are not being persecuted by being called a racist.

        Are you aware that white people are actually more likely to do drugs than black people, but that black people are nevertheless much more likely than white people to be arrested and charged for that drug use?

        http://healthland.time.com/2011/11/07/study-whites-more-likely-to-abuse-drugs-than-blacks/

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/oct/31/race-bias-drug-arrests-claim

        http://www.csdp.org/publicservice/kids.htm

      • GCT

        In this country, we have something called “presumption of innocence”. This means that we assume that the accused is innocent, until proven beyond a reasonable doubt otherwise.

        I notice that you don’t extend the same courtesy to Martin.

        I don’t believe that I have, you have presented no cite for your claim, and you have a history of extremely dishonest behavior.

        Except that you’ve blankly accepted Zimmerman’s claims that Martin attacked him, and even made arguments based upon that. And, my “dishonest behavior” has been calling out your racism and sexism. That you deny the claims doesn’t make me dishonest when they are backed by your own comments.

        Bullshit. You have plenty of other options. You choose to assume it’s because of his race because it allows you dismiss everything I say.

        You leave me with no choice because you use racist apologetics.

        Truthspew claimed white people commit more crime than black people. You didn’t call Truthspew out for racism. Why is that?

        Because whites are not oppressed. That you more than imply they are is straight from the racist’s handbook.

        Furthermore, your choice of words “simply more prone to crime” implies that I believe that criminality is an inherent property of black people, which is completely unsupported. So your “justification” for this insult is based on flat-out dishonest reframing of events.

        You’ve given no other option, even when questioned on it.

        So, apparently, you think that any facts that reflects badly on black people should not be mentioned, and it’s okay to call anyone who mentions them “racist”.

        Not at all. I think you are looking for ways to interpret the facts in such a way as to paint blacks as evil/inferior/prone to crime/etc.

        I’ll tell you what: if you can address all of my points, if you can refrain from basing your response on facts not evidence, if you can back up all your claims, if you cease engaging in personal attacks, and if you’re willing to acknowledge when you’re shown to be wrong, then I will not report your posts. If you can’t, then that shows that you are not posting in good faith.

        Report all you want. I have a feeling that nothing I say or do short of simply agreeing with you will count as posting in good faith according to you.

      • UWIR

        I notice that you don’t extend the same courtesy to Martin.

        Except that you’ve blankly accepted Zimmerman’s claims that Martin attacked him, and even made arguments based upon that.

        I notice that, once again, you don’t bother stating what your basis for your claims is, even though I specifically said you ought to do so. I don’t understand how you can complain about my supposedly “blankly accept[ed] Zimmerman’s claims when you have made accusations against Zimmerman based on nothing but supposition.

        And, my “dishonest behavior” has been calling out your racism and sexism. That you deny the claims doesn’t make me dishonest when they are backed by your own comments.

        No, your dishonest behavior has been saying and implying things that are not true, and not arguing in good faith. So your claim is doubly dishonest, for claiming that I have accused you of dishonesty on the basis of something other than dishonesty, and accusing me of racism of sexism. You have yet to present any of my comments that show racism or sexism.

        You leave me with no choice because you use racist apologetics.

        And once again, you show what a dishonest debater you are by engaging in a circular argument. What you put in your posts is entirely in your control, and pretending otherwise is dishonest.

        Because whites are not oppressed. That you more than imply they are is straight from the racist’s handbook.

        “Whites are not oppressed” is both ambiguous, and irrelevant. Racism is racism. Apparently, in your book, it’s perfectly fine to lie about white people, and if someone complains about it, they’re the racist. That’s just plain disgusting. You are blatantly playing Oppression Olympics.

        You’ve given no other option, even when questioned on it.

        Yet another example of you making a statement without any support.

        Not at all. I think you are looking for ways to interpret the facts in such a way as to paint blacks as evil/inferior/prone to crime/etc.

        … because I am mentioning fact that reflect badly on black people. If I’m so racist, why can’t you find any evidence whatsoever other than what you “think”?

        I have a feeling that nothing I say or do short of simply agreeing with you will count as posting in good faith according to you.

        And I have a feeling that nothing I say or do short of simply agreeing with you will count as not being a “racist Pos” according to you. The difference is that my feeling is based on reality, and yours is based on being so ideologically blinded that you can’t see how dishonest your posts are.

      • GCT

        I notice that, once again, you don’t bother stating what your basis for your claims is, even though I specifically said you ought to do so.

        Seriously? Are you that incapable of actually following a discussion, especially one you are involved in? You claimed that people must be thought of as innocent until proven guilty, yet in order to do so with Zimmerman (as you’ve done) requires you to think that Martin is guilty. The guy who passes for white gets the automatic “innocent” assumption from you, while the black guy is automatically guilty. That you can’t or won’t follow this is rather damning.

        …you have made accusations against Zimmerman based on nothing but supposition.

        Again, seriously? Guy brought a guy to an altercation that he started and killed an unarmed minor, and that’s nothing but supposition? You’re simply racist.

        No, your dishonest behavior has been saying and implying things that are not true, and not arguing in good faith.

        What you’re doing is no different than just JAQing off. And, I’ve supported why you’re a racist, you just refuse to deal with it.

        And once again, you show what a dishonest debater you are by engaging in a circular argument.

        There’s nothing circular about noting that you use racist apologetics and calling you out on it.

        “Whites are not oppressed” is both ambiguous, and irrelevant. Racism is racism.

        Oh FFS, let me shed some tears for your poor, oppressed state of being in the majority.

        Apparently, in your book, it’s perfectly fine to lie about white people, and if someone complains about it, they’re the racist.

        Nope. I’m saying that the way you complain is blatantly racist.

        … because I am mentioning fact that reflect badly on black people.

        No, it’s because you ignore all context and confounding factors in order to condemn blacks.

        And I have a feeling that nothing I say or do short of simply agreeing with you will count as not being a “racist Pos” according to you.

        Well, you could start by not being racist. You could start by even trying to examine your biases. Instead of arguing that you can’t possible have said anything wrong, that you can’t possibly be racist in any way, you could examine what it is that you’re saying that might make people think that way. Ah, but that might actually lead you to stop projecting all your crap onto others.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Please read my comment policy. Calling someone a “racist PoS” is a personal attack, something I ask commenters to avoid. Feel free to attack a person’s arguments, in contrast—in other words, you could say “what you are saying is racist” or “what you are saying has racist implications” or “your words make it sound like your argument stems from racist assumptions” or something like that.

      • gimpi1

        He killed someone who he had been stalking, someone who he had been warned to stop stalking by the 911 operator. If he had listened, if he had waited for back-up, if he had not escalated the situation, Martin wouldn’t have been dead. If I had made those mistakes, yes, I would be sunk in shame and regret.

        If you were Martin, not Zimmerman, and a stranger was following you, and approached you, armed, and demanding an explanation for your being on a street where you had every right to be, how would you react? I might lash out, to protect myself. (As an aside, I’m a woman, so that might change the equation. I would be afraid of sexual assault. Though, young men might fear that as well.)

      • UWIR

        “He killed someone who he had been stalking”
        A subjective evaluation

        “someone who he had been warned to stop stalking by the 911 operator”
        An objectively false statement.

        “If you were Martin, not Zimmerman, and a stranger was following you, and approached you, armed, and demanding an explanation for your being on a street where you had every right to be, how would you react?”
        Citation for the claim that GZ demanded an explanation from TM?

      • smrnda

        You mean that you think following someone around in a car isn’t suspicious behavior? I’m a relatively small white woman. If a car was following me, I’d be pissing and shitting my pants because, aside from wanting to rape or kill me or both, I can’t think of any reason why someone would follow me in a car.

        Following a person in car is threatening behavior. It cannot be defended on any grounds. Might not be illegal, but it is certainly suspicious and menacing behavior that any normal person would feel frightened by.

      • GCT

        A subjective evaluation

        Hardly. We know Zimmerman was following him. In fact, Zimmerman has admitted as much. (That Zimmerman finds nothing at all wrong with it is beside the point.)

        An objectively false statement.

        The 911 operator told Zimmerman not to follow Martin. How you can claim this is objectively false is mind-boggling.

        Citation for the claim that GZ demanded an explanation from TM?

        Actually, I agree with you. I don’t think Zimmerman asked Martin anything before setting upon him.

      • Monala

        Rachel Jenteel (who Trayvon was talking to) testified that she heard Zimmerman say, “What are you doing around here?”

      • GCT

        Thank you for the reminder. It doesn’t really change the fact that Zimmerman was not the angel that he and his racist apologists are trying to portray him as.

      • gimpi1

        Following someone from a car is stalking in my book. Again, I’m a woman, and was quite a looker in my younger days, so that might color my view. I was stalked from moving cars a few times, and was subjected to one attempted abduction, when a man who had been following me and trying to engage me in conversation suddenly burst from the car and rushed me. I was able to run to the safety of a store, and I had a cashier call the cops. (This was before cell-phones.) I can say with some authority, following someone from a car is stalking, and an implicit threat.

        The 911 operator had told Zimmerman to stop following Martin. That isn’t in dispute.

        The information that Zimmerman had challenged Martin came from his cell-phone conversation, I believe. It could be mistaken or exaggerated.

        To me, the stalking and the 911 operator’s instructions are the indications that Zimmerman was the aggressor. There is also the fact that he is a grown man and was armed. With power comes responsibility. Adults have more responsibility than kids. Arming yourself requires you to assume responsibility for the power you choose to wield. Do you disagree with any of that?

        You seem determined to exonerate Zimmerman, and condemn Martin. Do you know why?

      • UWIR

        “The 911 operator had told Zimmerman to stop following Martin.”

        No, the 911 operator told Zimmerman that he didn’t need to keep following Martin. And accounts have been conflicting as to whether he continued after that point.

        You seem to be determined to make excuses for smashing someone’s head into the ground. Do you know why?

      • gimpi1

        As I said, I have experience being followed, and regard it as a threat. For good reason, since one stalking turned into an attempted abduction. If I were Martin, with Zimmerman following me, I would have felt threatened. If I was in a residential area, with no businesses to run to when he got close, (as I did in the encounter I described above,) I might well have lashed out in the same way, to protect myself. That is why I think smashing someone’s head into the ground needs no excuse in that situation. I could well have done the same thing, and been justified.

        The way the Florida Stand Your Ground laws seem to be written, it appears whoever lives to tell the tale has their view taken as gold. If the man I described following me above had managed to put hands on me, if I had lashed out and managed to get the upper hand, and if he was armed and had shot me, would you have regarded me as the aggressor? How is Martin’s situation different? Because he’s male? Men are abducted. Because he’s black? Black people get abducted. You can’t know the intent of an aggressor.

        Neighborhood watch, which I have some experience with, cautions people not to take up arms, not to follow or challenge people and to simply report what they see. When you take up the task of a Neighborhood Watch, you have a responsibility to follow those protocols. When a 911 operator tells you to back off, you have a responsibility to follow directions. There is a reason for this. People make mistakes, and when those people are afraid, tense and armed, those mistakes can kill. Police officers have training to assist in those judgements, the general public, not so much.

        Zimmerman was not a part of an organized Neighborhood Watch. For some reason, instead of organizing an actual Watch, he set himself up as a sort of unofficial guardian. I believe Zimmerman was unsuited to the role he had cast himself in, he failed to fulfill basic responsibilities that went with that role, and a kid is dead because he escalated a situation that he shouldn’t have been in the first place. That is why I regard him as at fault.

      • GCT

        You seem to be determined to make excuses for smashing someone’s head into the ground. Do you know why?

        Because the black man is not allowed to stand his ground, but Zimmerman is allowed to start an altercation and then shoot Martin once he starts to lose? If someone was coming at me with a gun and I had to defend myself, I would certainly smash their head into the ground if I needed to. That you refuse to even pretend to acknowledge that Martin may have been acting in self defense is very telling.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        And then, if the stranger following you did assault you and you didn’t lash out to protect yourself, it would be your fault for not smashing his head into the ground.

        No winning.

      • David S.

        After this, I’ve thought about where the nice big rocks are around the places I walk. Because I’d rather be explaining to a lawyer why I picked it up and smashed someone’s head in then that person explaining to the lawyer why they absolutely had to kill me in self-defense… or just disappearing into the darkness.

  • Mary

    I’m seeing a lot of misinformation on this TM vs Z case. The facts of a case should matter more than the races involved, folks. The case is being used to highlight a real issue (racism) when in fact it had nothing to do with that issue until after the crime occurred. Yes, Z profiled TM. But it was his ACTIONS that Z cited to cops, not his skin color. TM was dressed in a hoodie, walking slowly around houses in the rain, and it appeared to Z that he was casing a future robbery. Z was fed up with the recent rash of robberies in his neighborhood, and so he did what any responsible citizen should have done- he called the cops. I’m sorry, but if I looked like I were casing a joint, I would want my neighbors to call the cops.

    (This actually happened to us- we had just moved in, very little stuff in the house as the furniture truck wasn’t here yet, and my hubby had his old beater Kia backed into the driveway, unloading his guitars. The front door was ajar. Someone called the cops, seeing a shady-looking car pulled up to a nice house with a trunk full of nice stuff and the door ajar. The cops came, and my hubby had to prove that he was actually the owner of them home. He’s white, but the circumstances were a bit suspicious.)

    Z followed TM in his car until TM left the road. Z is recording saying “shit, he’s running” followed by the dispatcher telling Z that they didn’t need him to follow TM. Z says ok, he calms down, and tells the dispatcher that TM left. He gets out of his truck, looks around, and gets back end. Z ends the call with the dispatcher. Just to be clear- TM HAD LEFT ALREADY AT THIS POINT. Nothing had to escalate from there. The next two minutes are unrecorded, but there is eyewitness statements of the actual confrontation. After Z ended the call, and after TM had a call from a friend, TM goes BACK TO WHERE Z’s TRUCK IS and confronts him. Z should have stayed in his vehicle, dialing the cops again and only shooting if TM was actually breaking into his vehicle, imo- nonetheless, Z broke no law in getting out when TM confronted him. The shooting took place 30 yards from the truck, so Z not only got out, but walked towards TM- another stupid move, no matter what TM was saying to him. Then, and we have eyewitness accounts for this, for what they’re worth, TM physically attacks Z, banging his head on the pavement. At that point, Z has little recourse but to shoot TM. So- two things could have prevented this. 1. TM not coming back to confront Z, and 2. Z not responding to whatever TM was yelling, and just staying in his truck and calling the cops. Either way, it’s about stupid behavior, not race. Or not, at least, until the racism against Z and, rather inexplicably, against whites, began. (inexplicably not because whites don’t have a history of racism against blacks, because they do, but because Z was not white and thus retaliatory attacks against whites seem a little odd)

    • GCT

      Nothing to do with race? He was profiling him (as you admit) and it had nothing to do with race? Also, I disagree with your synopsis of the events. Zimmerman disobeyed the 911 dispatcher and went after Martin. Then, after he started a confrontation and Martin defended himself, he shot Martin. That you are trying to defend such blatantly bad actions and racism is beyond the pale.

      • Mary

        Obviously, one of us has an inaccurate view of events. If TM was just a kid walking down the street, and if Z attacked him, then the verdict should have been very different. From what I have read, that was simply not the case. Perhaps my sources are inaccurate; since the police department and the trial verdict/transcripts support them, though, I rather doubt it.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        All of those sources are inaccurate, or should at least be taken as highly suspect, as the ONLY transcripts are Zimmerman telling his side of the story, with no rebuttal, no challenges, since he was too cowardly to defend himself on the stand.

        Of course Zimmerman’s going to tell a story that makes his behavior look best.

        The only person who could’ve contradicted any of those statements is dead. Isn’t that convenient for Zimmerman?

      • Mary

        I was referring to transcripts of the trial proceedings in general, which do not feature Z, as he elected not to testify on his own behalf. Said transcripts feature eye witnesses, family members, local police, attorneys, etc. There were actually several eye witnesses, along with people on the phone at the time, so there is quite a bit of evidence.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        Yes, and all those people saw Martin atop Zimmerman, but none of them can explain how Zimmerman got his gun out from under his body that was pinned to the ground, as he claimed.

      • UWIR

        “Yes, and all those people saw Martin atop Zimmerman”
        Liar.

      • GCT

        If TM was just a kid walking down the street, and if Z attacked him, then the verdict should have been very different.

        Wait, seriously? So, the fact that Zimmerman was found “not guilty” means that his version of events is therefore true? Do you extend the same courtesy to OJ Simpson?

        From what I have read, that was simply not the case.

        You’ve read the pro-Zimmerman account that seems to be nothing short of propaganda and makes absolutely no sense.

      • UWIR

        There is a difference between defending actions, and denying that they happened. Just because you claim that Zimmerman did that, that doesn’t mean that anyone who defends him is defending that behavior.

      • GCT

        All too often there is functionally little difference. For example, when Mary claims that there’s no racism going on because Zimmerman didn’t specifically state he was going after Martin for being black, it’s an implicit defense. I could cite examples from you as well.

    • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

      You said “racism against whites”

      Your argument is invalid.

      • Mary

        I’m assuming that’s sarcasm….

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        No

      • Mary

        Racism is judging someone based solely on their race. It still happens far too often in America, and yes, it can happen to a person of any race. I have personally seen racism against Asians, Hispanics, Blacks, and Whites, from all of those groups. There are still places/neighborhoods where it is not safe to go as a black person, and places where it is not safe to go as a white person. Both are equally tragic.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        No racism is a system of oppression that white people(however that is defined) are exempted from.

        BIGOTRY is judging someone based solely on their race. And yes people can be bigotted towards white, but that matters little when there is NO institutional oppression that can be brought to bear against them.

      • Mary

        Dude. Google racism.

        noun
        1.
        a belief or doctrine that inherent differences
        among the various human races determine
        cultural or individual achievement, usually
        involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to
        rule others.
        2.
        a policy, system of government, etc., based
        upon or fostering such a doctrine;
        discrimination.
        3.
        hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

        I would argue that there is no INSTITUTIONAL oppression of blacks in this country any longer- technically, racially based discrimination is illegal. DOes it still happen? Yes, and all too often. I don’t think anyone would argue that. But by your own definition, (a system of oppression that whites are exempted from) racism in non-existent.

        Bigotry is a more general prejudice- it can apply to sexism, homophobia, racism, etc.

        Again- google.
        (I’m using American dictionaries here- if your version of English defines those words differently, well and good- but this is what I mean when I say racism or bigotry.)

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        I’m very well aware of what the dictionary says.

        Dictionaries are written by privileged people doing their best to maintain their hierarchies through language.

        You are attempting to conflate a few people issuing death threats to Zimmerman, with the several hundred year history of racial oppression in this country, and that’s NOT FUCKING COOL.

        You just watched a white passing man show no remorse and then get off for the cold blooded killing of an innocent child, and you want to say that racism is non-existent.

        Ignorant fools like you are why I have been unable to talk about this IRL.

        Yes, Virginia, POC are still systemically oppressed, because while discrimination is technically illegal, the system that prosecutes laws IS STILL BIASED AGAINST POC.

        Look at the case of Marissa Alexander, who tried to use SYG after using a gun to scare off her abusive boyfriend she had a restraining order against, and was sentenced to 20 years(prosecuted by the same attorney as Zimmerman, FYI).

        Look at the murder of Jordan Davis or Darius Simmons, two young black boys murdered for not being deferential enough to scared white men.

      • Mary

        I’m not familiar with the other cases, so I’ll leave those. Though I have no doubt that there have been many times, particularly in years past, that the justice system has failed americans of color- there is a difference between people discriminating and the law discriminating. we needed the civil rights movement- now, we need a movement combatting all racism, not just against any particular race, and also against sexism, homophobia, etc.

        I never said racism was non-existent- in fact, I said the opposite. I did say that by your definition it was non-existent, but that is me saying you have a faulty definition, not that racism does not exist.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        If you claim, that my definition is faulty, because it’s predicated on the idea that institutional oppression exists, then yes you are denying institutional oppression exists.

        And I’m not surprised you are not aware of those cases. I’m sure you’ll be an expert by the time those verdicts roll around, prepared to tell us what else that 13 year old kid IN HIS OWN DRIVEWAY, taking out the trash should have done to keep from getting shot.

      • Mary

        To the first- nope. Your definition is faulty because you have no sources to back it, and because you cannot prove it. You can blow off dictionaries, but what then do you use as the standard for language? Can you prove that institutional oppression exists but is not felt by whites? I think we’re talking past each other here, so I’m bowing out- but yes, I think that institutional oppression of any particular race does not exist. (It did, once, but we have updated the law a bit since the sixties.) Racism is alive and well, and that is sad.

        To the second- your assumptions are illogical. WHy would you first assume that I know nothing about a case, but then assume that I intend to research it and share my research? How is that even relevant? Also, from your brief description, I can think of no possible reason for the shooting. It sounds tragic indeed. My view of the current case is based on a different set of facts than the ones to which you hold; any killing of an innocent child is reprehensible. Full stop. Any racially based killing is reprehensible. Full stop. I simply do not think that the facts of this case bear out that analysis.

      • smrnda

        You might want to look into fields like sociology, economics and social psychology. They have a lot of information you won’t find in the Webster’s Handy Dandy. These fields show that there is widespread systematic discrimination against Black people, from hiring practices, access to capital, access to education and housing.

        You’re using a definition of ‘institutional’ meaning ‘by the law’ which is completely at odds with the definition used by people in the three fields I mentioned. There are sources of power aside from legislation.

        On racism in this case, how often are white kids shot by would-be vigilantes?

      • GCT

        Read the OP…it’s filled with examples of institutional racism that you claim don’t exist.

      • GCT

        we needed the civil rights movement- now, we need a movement combatting all racism, not just against any particular race, and also against sexism, homophobia, etc.

        IOW, we need to stop oppressing you and your poor white brethren, right? You are part of the problem.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Do you understand the difference between de jure and de facto?

      • Mary

        yep. it’s the difference between legislated and practiced. Racism is not, to my knowledge, legislated or supported by law here; it is systemically practiced, which includes some of those people who administer the law. Whites are not, in my experience, exempted from racism/discrimination. It just happens in different contexts.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        What context are white people passed over for jobs?

        What context are white people jailed for petty crimes at a rate 10 times more than black people?

        You want to conflate INDIVIDUAL instances of discrimination, with institutional systemic oppressions.

        You are wrong.

      • Mary

        1. Easy. Affirmative action has led to several people I know getting passed over, while being superiorly qualified, because their prospective employer needs a non-white person. It happens. ALso- try being white and filing an EEO complaint. Also- and I can cite personal examples of this as well- if a black person claims that you made a racial slur, even when you did not, an employer will fire you because they are scared of the NAACP and discrimination claims. True story- happened to my cousin. The black people in his office could call him cracker all day, but even the false report of him saying the n-word got him fired on the spot. I’ll say again- racial discrimination happens far too often, and it’s bad. Always.

        2. Perhaps because they commit more petty crime? Black people are statistically more likely to be lower income, which is a factor in turning to petty crime, as are many other things.

        3. No, not really. The opposite, in fact.

        4. I could be, but I see no evidence to support that conclusion.

      • smrnda

        1. Affirmative action. Don’t white people with personal connections and trust funds just get a different type of affirmative action? I mean, George W Bush was pretty much just in politics because his father was. It isn’t like plenty of incompetent white people didn’t get ahead through knowing the right people while other demographics weren’t even allowed to compete.

        It is possible that a Black person could claim a white person used a racial slur and that it isn’t true. Care to wonder how many Black people were executed by whites making claims against them that weren’t true? Not saying one is automatically okay, but clearly the discrimination has historically been biased in favor of white people. I’ve never been accused of that, and if I was, I doubt anyone would believe it, mostly since (I hate to sound cliche) I have actually had lots of long term friendships and such with people who weren’t white. I even knew of a white manager who was accused by one employee of racism, but when the matter was investigated, the accounts of Black workers was taken as evidence that there was no systematic bias. I know this is just an anecdote, but one anecdote deserves another.

        2. If we’re talking crime, let’s be honest about how much of this crime is drug related. White people use drugs at similar rates but don’t get busted as often, mostly since white neighborhoods aren’t treated as occupied territories by the police.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Oh yeah, don’t even get me started on how the “legacy admittance system” at elite universities is affirmative action for whites …

      • smrnda

        Proportionally its a much bigger issue, compared to that ‘affirmative action’ is spit in a bucket against a raging sea. Yet I note white people tend to be freaking out of unqualified minorities while showing only peripheral concern for other white people’s privilige.

      • UWIR

        “affirmative action” refers to something quite specific. It is not a general term for any advantage that accrues to one demographic more than another. The disrespect that your side has for the meaning of words is telling.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Affirmative action means giving one group of people bonuses when being considered for a position or opening or slot for school. Most schools give applications points based on various things. Race adds a certain amount of points. So does being a legacy. Because of this country’s history of overt racism, though, legacy students are almost all white. It is in fact entirely correct to call legacy admittees beneficiaries of affirmative action; they have received special bonuses because their parents went to the school. And because legacies are known to be primarily fairly wealthy whites, that makes legacy admittance affirmative action for white well-to-do people.

        Bush II didn’t get into Yale or Harvard because he was such a good student. He got there because his dad gave the schools a lot of money and because Bush I had gone there.

      • UWIR

        “Affirmative action means giving one group of people bonuses when being considered for a position or opening or slot for school.”

        No, that’s what affirmative action means. Not all affirmative action involves giving bonuses, and not all bonuses are affirmative action. When someone points out that your position is based on a misperception, simply repeating that misperception doesn’t make it true.

        “It is in fact entirely correct to call legacy admittees beneficiaries of affirmative action”
        No, no, it’s not. I have explained quite clearly how it is not, and simply contradicting someone without any legitimate counterargument is rather rude.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        It’s not rude to tell you you’re wrong. You don’t have to like my arguments, but to pretend I never made them goes beyond rude. Pot, kettle, anyone?

        Today, all affirmative action is in the nature of giving bonuses. The Supreme Court has narrowed what is and is not permissible affirmative action; quotas are clearly out, as are racial bonuses that completely outweigh other qualifying measures such as test scores.

        If you don’t like my definition of affirmative action, why don’t you come up with your own?

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        1. So white people are facing a widespread loss of wealth, because of the systemic promotion of unqualified POCs? Where is the data that backs this up? Because I have data that states that ALL races have a widespread loss of wealth due to the systemic transfer of wealth from the middle class to upper class, and that communities of color HAVE BEEN HIT HARDER.

        In addition, who does that? What employer would be stupid enough to ACTUALLY SAY to a prospective employee that you didn’t get hired because I had to hire the black guy? And HOW do you know they were superior in qualifications? Did you get a look at the black guy’s resume? Or is that just coming from the assumption that OF COURSE the white guy is more qualified because????

        2. OK, so you are just admitting you’re a ignorant now? Because studies have borne this out, that people of color do not commit crimes at higher rates, they are only convicted at higher rates. For you to claim, “well they must commit more crime” is a supremely clueless thing to say, but demonstrates why Zimmerman was OK in his actions.

        3. OK, so what systemic oppressions do white people endure?

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        What Aeryl said. There is no systematic discrimination against white people. There is systematic discrimination against POC, especially black people. The justice system is rife with it. Job discrimination studies confirm it; Jane is far more likely to get a white-collar, professional job than Janiqua, though George beats them both. In fact, being a black man is about as bad as being a white woman for automatic, unconscious discrimination, while being a black woman makes it extra special hard.

        So why don’t you tell me in what contexts white people suffer institutionalized, systematic discrimination?

      • Mary

        They don’t. I’d argue that no one does, depending on your definition of institutionalized. Both whites and blacks, and both men and women, suffer discrimination in different contexts. Historically, women have been discriminated against far more than men, and blacks more than whites. Now, I’m seeing both/all, as if people think that we should have equal opportunity discrimination, vs, ya, know, no discrimination.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Ah, I see. Your anecdotes/feelings trump sociological data.

        Oh wait, no they don’t. Discrimination sucks. We don’t ever want to see it. Sticking your hands over your eyes and refusing to see that it disproportionately hurts some people and some groups of people over others is not the solution.

      • smrnda

        Your using ‘institutionalized’ in a way that nobody in any relevant field does to mean exclusively law based forms of discrimination. Institutionalized just means that those with power are biased against you. If private banks are more likely to extend credit to whites of a similar credit score to Black people, then you’ve got institutional discrimination. So, we already have proof of it.

      • UWIR

        Funny, I don’t recall seeing you present evidence that banks are more likely to extend credit to whites with the same credit score.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Please quit the sarcasm and simply make your point.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        Damn, you can always see an affirmative action whine coming a mile away…

        I recommend you check out this well-known study, Mary, which found that resumes get significantly fewer responses from employers when they have “black” sounding names on them than when they have “white” sounding names on them. Yes, the exact same resumes. Then tell us that black people no longer suffer institutionalized job discrimination.

        http://scholar.harvard.edu/mullainathan/files/emilygreg.pdf

      • UWIR

        There’s a rather lot of equivocation as to whether “racism” means, as the word implies, discrimination on the basis of race, or discrimination on the basis of culture.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        That would be race. Two people with identical resumes (same high school, same college, same degree, same amount of work experience at the same company doing the same thing), one named Trevor and one named Trayvon. Guess who gets hired more often, or at least given a callback to come in for an interview? That can’t be “cultural”.

      • UWIR

        I really don’t understand how you could fail to understand my point. One’s name is a rreflection of one’s culture. There is no “name your child ‘Trayvon’ ” gene. So, giving preference to Trevor is more accurately described as discriminating on the basis of culture, rather than race.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Not so much, no. We know that a man named Trevor is more likely to be white, while a man named Trayvon is more likely to be black. That is a cultural thing, yes, but it is a proxy for race. A middle-class black person who has gone to the same schools, earned the same grades, and had the same job experience is not being discriminated against due to his culture. Or are you arguing that black people are automatically less qualified for professional jobs, because __________?? If you are, that is straight up racist and not just unconscious bias.

        The same type of studies show widespread sexism, as well intersectionality of discrimination. If you give people resumes with the names Janiqua, John, Jane, and Jaime on the top, guess which person gets called the most and which one gets called the least.

      • UWIR

        “That is a cultural thing, yes, but it is a proxy for race. A middle-class black person who has gone to the same schools, earned the same grades, and had the same job experience is not being discriminated against due to his culture.”

        To anyone capable of rational analysis, this is clear evidence of your bias. You have come up with a particular hypothesis (“people are discriminating on the basis of race”), and you are interpreting all evidence to comply with that hypothesis. When I point out that what you have presented is culture discrimination, you reply that culture “is a proxy for race”. That certainly is a possibility, at least theoretically, but rational people do not wholely dismiss counterarguments merely on the basis that “well, I can come up with a scenario that is theoretically possible that is consistent with my hypothesis”. It’s perfectly legitimate to propose that culture is a proxy for race, but to assert it, with no apparent other basis other than it supports your position, is not legitimate. Maybe culture is a proxy for race. Maybe race is a proxy for culture. The evidence that you presented is clearly more in favor of the latter than the former.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        I’m not going into the giant pile of sociological literature because you can do that yourself. I’m presenting things that are well-documented and backed up by numerous studies, but I’m not at university anymore and I don’t have access to the articles behind the paywalls anymore. Suffice to say that your interpretation is so very, very wrong.

      • Richter_DL

        Of course it isn’t. It’s only coincidence that 13% of the population make up 50% of the largest prison population per capita in the world. It certainly has nothing to do with America’s criminal justice system that puts judgement into the hands of people hand-picked by (usually) the person who can afford the more expensive lawyer. Which, given the socioeconomical makeup of America, often is the person lower on the von Luschan scale.

        It’s not institutionalised at all. It’s just a hell of a lot of bad apples.

      • smrnda

        Depends on what’s an institution. Banks are pretty racist and this has been shown. Institution == something powerful, not just government.

      • UWIR

        So, the KKK is an institution, the KKK is racist, so there is institutional racism?

      • GCT

        LOL, and we’re the ones who are not arguing in good faith?

      • smrnda

        What places? Chicago currently has the highest murder rate. I’ve been to at least 4 of the 10 so-called ‘worst’ neighborhoods within two years to visit friends of friends, and I’m white, and nobody hassled me.

        Plus, let’s look at it this way. If you think of a place where a white person is afraid to go, it’s usually some place that no white person wants to go anyway.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        Thing is, the places white people aren’t safe to go, tend to be places THEY SHOULDN’T GO. Some places and communities are hurting, or healing, and they don’t need white people coming in making it worse, even if it’s in an attempt to “help”.

        Whereas the places where it’s not safe for black people to go, tend to be places THEY SHOULD GO! Like the police station, or school. The bus stop, or the convenience store.

        So there’s a BIG DAMN DIFFERENCE, but you want to continue to equate the two.

      • smrnda

        Plus, if a place is unsafe for white people, it is probably even more dangerous for non-white people, and unlike the white people, the non-white people probably live there.

        I can think of places that are safe for white people and not for people of color, but I can’t think of anyplace that is really safe for people of color but then dangerous for white people.

    • Monala

      The only evidence that TM went back to confront Zimmerman is Z’s word. Zimmerman had 3-4 minutes after his phone call with the police dispatcher to get back to his truck. Where was he and what was he doing all that time?

      Meanwhile, Martin’s phone call ended just as their altercation began. It’s pretty hard to sneak up on someone to attack them when you’re on the phone.

  • Composer 99

    Couldn’t find it skimming the comments, but I think someone was trying to find a link to the Correll et al 2002 paper that Libby Anne refers to in the OP (the link Libby Anne provides turns up as a 404 error, for me at least).

    I found a link to the abstract here, and a link to a PDF copy of the paper here.

  • Anat

    Has anyone seen Letter to George Zimmerman from a black man?

    I hope this comes true, one kind of justice that is still possible in this case. If it does, Zimmerman might finally learn a lesson.

  • Michael R

    Your general narrative has some merit, but using Zimmerman as an instance of widespread racism is a stretch. Judging by the characters of Trayvon and Zimmerman, the likely critical factor in Trayvon being killed was his own gangsta attitude that went off when Zimmerman approached him. Trayvon was a stereotypical pot-smoking gangsta-wannabe. Trayvon was not the little boy shown in most media photos, he was athletic and taller than Zimmerman and was seen on top of Zimmerman, pounding his head onto the concrete (hence the bloody photos of Zimmerman). The critical factor was the black gangsta culture that is just looking for a fight. It’s the violent attitude that comes from rap music. Zimmerman tutored black kids. He wasn’t a racist. Black culture is the problem, not being questioned by a neigbourhood watch officer.

    • David S.

      If the roles were reversed, and the black man with the gun stalked the Hispanic teenager who was just in the neighborhood, you would be calling the shooter “a stereotypical pot-smoking gangsta-wannabe” and still saying that “The critical factor was the black gangsta culture that is just looking for a fight.”

      As for looking for a fight, I join many of us here who Zimmerman would have scared the hell out of. He didn’t question Martin; he followed him. He didn’t tell Martin who he was and why he was there. Martin had no reason to treat as a watch officer of any sort; he was simply a man with a guy who had decided to follow him.

      • Michael R

        Er, no. I called Trayvon “stereotypical” because the FACTS lean that way, not my bias. I’m talking about Trayvon’s gun-toting, pot-smoking, selfies (pictures). Like Libby Anne, you’re twisting the facts to make up a narrative. There are plenty of admirable gun-toting blacks who are upstanding and moral citizens that I wouldn’t dream of describing as gangsta-wannabees, because there’s no FACTUAL basis for such characterisation.

        As for your 2nd paragraph, that fear was Trayvon’s motive, fear makes you fight and run for your life i.e. fight to ESCAPE. Fear doesn’t make you stick around on top of Zimmerman and pound his head into the concrete – with Zimmerman screaming for help – it’s black gangsta “don’t f*ck with me” attitude that does that. The critical factor was Trayvon’s attitude, not Zimmerman’s approach.

      • David S.

        How convenient for you that Trayvon Martin was a stereotype. Standard teenage behavior of pot-smoking and taking pictures of himself are now proof that he was worthy of death. The fact that Zimmerman was charged with domestic abuse is something you don’t mention, despite the fact it says something concrete about his violence, unlike anything you brought against Martin.

        There’s no proof it was Zimmerman screaming; that is and probably always will be contested. It’s stupid to try and outrun a guy in a truck, especially once you know he has a gun. It’s stupid to try and walk away from a guy with a gun who was stalking you that you’ve attacked; it’s a good way to get shot. Fear tells you you need to do something to stop this guy from jumping you or shooting you; intelligence tells you that if we’re starting from the assumption that he’s a threat, you need to be proactive, and you can’t stop until he can no longer threaten you.

        The black gangsta “don’t fuck with me” attitude? If someone tried doing to Mitt Romney what George Zimmerman did to Trayvon Martin, his office will issue a notice about the “unfortunate circumstances” that left the stalker in critical care. A bit classist? I bet there are millions of white women who would have shot Zimmerman, or at least pepper sprayed him. Pretty much everyone has a “don’t fuck with me” attitude.

      • UWIR

        “The fact that Zimmerman was charged with domestic abuse is something you don’t mention, despite the fact it says something concrete about his violence”

        No, getting convicted would have said something. Getting charged says nothing “concrete”. It would really suck to have you on a jury “Well, they charged this guy with a crime, so that says something concrete about his violence”.

      • Monala

        But somehow Trayvon’s tweets are more concrete evidence of violence than George’s actual arrest records?! (which also included assaulting a police officer and being required to take anger management courses)

      • UWIR

        “But somehow Trayvon’s tweets are more concrete evidence of violence than George’s actual arrest records?!”

        Huh? I never presented Trayvon’s tweets as evidence of anything. And if you were paying attention, you would have noticed that I challenged Michael R to provide links to alleged pictures. Apparently, some people have been using pictures of “Trayvon Martin” as support for their positions, without regard for the possibility that there may be more than one person of that name, and I would like to check to see whether that is behind Michael R’s claims. Unlike many people here, I am motivated by a desire that the case be honestly represented, not by an insistence that a particular side by defended regardless of facts.

      • David S.

        It would really suck to have me on a jury, huh? Because I actually want to look at who was involved, instead of the stereotypes? Because “black man” says more concrete about Martin then anything that Zimmerman did and people could have testified to?

        I could say that it must suck to have you on a jury, given that you just showed that you don’t pay attention to context.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        OT: I think I have the best way to get off a jury ever. “Your honors, I am a college-educated, logical thinker who is trained in the scientific method and skepticism. I will evaluate the evidence presented to me and place it in proper cultural and historical context, knowing as I do the culture of racism and sexism in this country. I understand statistics fairly well and can see through much academic jargon.”

        “Dismissed. Next!”

      • UWIR

        “It would really suck to have me on a jury, huh? Because I actually want to look at who was involved, instead of the stereotypes?”
        No, it would suck to have you on a jury because you have indicated that the mere fact that someone is arrested is something that you consider to be major evidence for their guilt. I made it very clear that that was what I was saying, and your game of “let me list a bunch of straw men” shows just how dishonest you are.

      • David S.

        And we’re going to ratchet up the personal attacks, I see. I never said “major evidence”; I said it was concrete, more concrete then the crap I was handed. I love how actual testimony of Zimmerman’s violence should be ignored in favor of crap that we have no testimony on. Certainly if we can judge Zimmerman on his (alleged) music-listening tastes, his (alleged) photos, his (unalleged) gangsta-wannabee attitude, we can listed to his ex-wife’s allegations.

      • UWIR

        “I never said “major evidence”; I said it was concrete, ”

        Oh, it’s “concrete”, but not “major”. Excuse me for not reading your mind as to what that meant. You didn’t have any problem intentionally misreading my post.

        “I love how actual testimony of Zimmerman’s violence”

        You didn’t say “testimony”, you said “arrest”.

        “Certainly if we can judge Zimmerman on his (alleged) music-listening tastes,”

        I take it you meant to say “Trayvon”. As I said before, I’m not the one who asserted that we can judge Trayvon on his music-listening tastes, and I in fact challenged the commenter who did so.

      • David S.

        You didn’t have to read my mind; when judging someone for their words, it behooves you to be careful when going to beyond their literal meaning. And you claim you can read my mind in the next sentence by claiming intentionality.

        You are the person who ripped a sentence out of the discussion I was having with that person out of context, and then used it to personally attack me. You did not in fact challenge the commentator personally (which is a good thing, but disproportionate); you in fact didn’t challenge that commentator’s evidence at all; you merely asked a question.

        I don’t think that charges are admissible in court, and I’m not sure if his ex-wife’s accusations are. I certainly don’t think my statements in a quick online discussions should be taken as definitive as to whether or not I should be on a jury, especially not ripped out of the context of the greater discussion.

      • UWIR

        There was not enough evidence from your posts to conclude that by “concrete”, you did not mean “major”. There is enough evidence from your posts to conclude that it is highly likely that your misrepresentation of me was intentional. There is simply no good faith reason for suggesting that I think that

        “It would really suck to have me on a jury[...] Because I actually want to look at who was involved, instead of the stereotypes[...] Because “black man” says more concrete about Martin then anything that Zimmerman did and people could have testified to”

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        None of those things about Trayvon Zimmerman could have known in advance.

        What was his excuse for prejudging him?

      • UWIR

        Can you provide links to those pictures?

      • Michael R

        Just do a google image search and see for yourself. This article has 6 pictures from Trayvon’s cell phone and his admission “I’m a gangsta”:

        Gun, drug texts feature in new Trayvon Martin shooting evidence

        “Much of the new evidence disclosed Thursday in filings by Zimmerman’s attorneys comes from Martin’s cell phone, including photos showing a semiautomatic pistol and ammunition and small marijuana plants growing in pots.

        In other pictures, Martin is pictured making obscene gestures in an apparent self-portrait…

        “So you just turning into a lil hoodlum,” the person with whom he is texting says.

        “Naw, I’m a gangsta,” the text message read.

        In other messages, text message exchanges appear to be discussing guns.

        “U wanna share a .380 w/ (blacked out),” one text message sent from Martin’s phone reads.

        The text messaging logs are also peppered with references to marijuana use.

        “I got weed nd I get money Friday,” a message sent from his phone reads.

        “I hid m weed,” another text sent from Martin’s phone reads. “its wrapped.””

      • Kristen Rosser

        CNN is usually a reliable source, but apparently at least the picture in which Martin is making obscene gestures to the camera is a picture of a different kid who happens to share the same name. Martin really did look like just a typical 17-year-old kid. http://www.snopes.com/photos/politics/martin.asp

        The fact that he had smoked pot, etc., is just as irrelevant as whether or not a woman who was raped has a sexually pristine past.

      • Michael R

        That CNN article didn’t have the obscene gesture photo, but this is probably it here (it’s not the snopes one):
        http://www.thesmokinggun.com/buster/Trayvon-Martin-evidence-photos-679832

        As for being a typical “kid”, here you can see in a life-size cutout from the courtroom that Trayvon was taller than Zimmerman:
        http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/07/12/Zimmerman-defense-silhouettes

        Once again you guys twist facts to deny the obvious truth that Trayvon had a typical gangsta attitude that went off when approached by Zimmerman. Black gangsta culture was the critical factor that got Trayvon killed.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        A kid walking home from a convenience store at night wearing a hoodie is not “black gangsta culture”. My brother-in-law, a blond-haired white man, does that on a regular basis.

      • GCT

        This is racist victim blaming. Martin got shot, so it must have been his fault, eh? As Kristen Rosser points out, this is all as irrelevant as a woman’s sexual history during a rape. That Martin may have said or texted something in the past does not make him guilty of attacking Zimmerman and it does not mean Zimmerman is innocent or did nothing wrong.

      • Michael R

        Another statement INCONSISTENT WITH THE FACTS. The only injuries to Trayvon, apart from the gunshot, were to his fists, consistent with throwing punches. That fits Zimmerman’s story that Trayvon attacked him, along with the witness that saw Trayvon on top of Zimmerman, pounding his head into the pavement. That’s why Zimmerman was acquitted, because THE FACTS UPHOLD HIS STORY. Zimmerman could have handled the situation better but, nonetheless, it was Trayvon who attacked and left Zimmerman with no choice but to defend himself.

      • GCT

        So, let’s ignore the fact that Zimmerman was following Martin and even got out of the car to confront him against the orders of the 911 dispatch. Let’s ignore the fact that Martin was on the phone the whole time. Let’s ignore the fact that Zimmerman’s story makes no sense (Martin sneaking up on him while talking on the phone, Martin being on top of him while Zimmerman is able to get to his gun, get it ready to fire, fire, and avoid getting any blood on him or having Martin fall on him, while simultaneously avoiding unconsciousness in the process and getting away with superficial lacerations on the back of his head from someone who was big enough to do serious damage if it happened the way he claims). Let’s ignore that ZImmerman started this whole thing and Martin was the one who had ground to defend himself. Actually, I’d rather not ignore all of that in favor of some racist fairy tale about some heroic vigilante.

        And, this idea that Zimmerman must be innocent because he was acquitted is rather comical. I guess you believe OJ must be innocent too, right? He was acquitted as well, so that must mean that the “FACTS UPHOLD HIS [OJ's] STORY” too, right? Zimmerman was acquitted because of racial bias in our system. Read the OP.

      • Michael R

        I couldn’t find any factual reporting of the supposed lack of Trayvon’s blood on Zimmerman. It’s interesting, but until I see (a) evidence that there was no blood on Zimmerman and (b) experts saying that there should have been blood on him, Zimmerman’s story still seems more likely to me.

        Here is a good video of Trayvon’s violence and drug use (starts at 3:10). Trayvon was turning into a thug and that’s why it’s easy to believe that he, not Zimmerman, was the attacker:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bF-Ax5E8EJc

      • GCT

        If Martin was on top of Zimmerman smashing Zimmerman’s head into the ground when Zimmerman shot Trayvon, then Martin should have bled all over him and his gun. There was no blood on Zimmerman’s gun and he wasn’t covered in Martin’s blood.

        Of course, Zimmerman’s story seems likely to you because you’ve prejudged Martin based on your racist biases.

      • Michael R

        This is YOUR judgement. Where are the links to (a) evidence that no Trayvon blood was found anywhere on Zimmerman and (b) expert evidence that there should have been blood on him? For all I know, it’s entirely possible that little if any blood landed on Zimmerman. Where’s the forensic reports, or did you make this up from your own bias?

      • GCT

        A quick google search can find the following:

        Martin’s DNA was not on the gun.

        Zimmerman’s DNA was only found on Martin in one spot, lower down on Martin’s sweatshirt.

        There is one small spot of Martin’s blood on Zimmerman, but not enough to be consistent with Martin being shot while straddling Zimmerman.

        Martin was found face down with his arms under him, which would be inconsistent with him having been on top of Zimmerman when shot.

        http://blog.al.com/wire/2013/07/zimmermans_criminal_justice_ed.html

        Seriously, it’s not that hard. I’m sure you’ll find some reason to decide that Martin still deserved being shot for being too “gangsta” or something, which is still totally racist.

      • Michael R

        Okay, so the lack of Trayvon DNA on the gun contradicts Zimmerman’s claim that Trayvon grabbed the gun, but (a) it might have been washed away by rain and (b) the weight of evidence is still in Zimmerman’s favour.

        Gun grab? No Trayvon Martin DNA on George Zimmerman gun, expert says

        Defense attorneys, for their part, got Gorgone to acknowledge that environmental conditions such as humidity or rain could have washed surfaces clean of DNA.

        “Environmental factors, whether it’s raining, or there’s heat and humidity, all those factors can degrade DNA,” said Gorgone. “It chops it up into pieces.”

        Heavy rain was falling Feb. 26, 2012 …

        Zimmerman trial: Forensic evidence shows Trayvon left DNA on George four times

        While Martin’s DNA was found on Zimmerman in four different locations on the front and back of the defendant’s jacket, there were only two DNA matches for George on Trayvon’s clothing…

        Having more DNA of Martin on Zimmerman’s clothing rather than the other way around could go a long way in supporting the defense’s contention that the older man was being roughed up by the younger. Hence the greater DNA contact.

      • Michael R

        If Trayvon’s clothes were a few inches away from his flesh, and Zimmerman fired at an angle, it’s possible that the blood splatter was contained within Trayvon’s clothing.

        Forensic expert: Trayvon Martin shot leaning over George Zimmerman

        “So … the muzzle of the gun was against the clothing. But the clothing itself had to be two to four inches away from the body at the time Mr. Martin was shot,” he said.

        “This is consistent with Mr. Zimmerman’s account – that Mr. Martin was over him, leaning forward at the time he was shot,” Di Maio said.

      • Michael R

        And here is a photo that proves Trayvon did not noticeably bleed much. There’s barely anything noticeable on the outside of his clothing at all:
        http://gawker.com/this-courtesy-of-msnbc-is-trayvon-martins-dead-body-753370712

        So again, you’re doing exactly what you accuse me of: making stuff up to fit your narrative.

      • GCT

        What am I making up? You’re doing everything you can to make sure that the black man is at fault. Zimmerman stalked Martin. Zimmerman started the confrontation. Zimmerman brought the gun. Martin should be granted the right to protect himself, but you refuse him that right, so as soon as he stands his ground he’s guilty in your eyes. Zimmerman is allowed to start an altercation and then shoot Martin because black people are scary and he has a right to be scared and then shoot?

        If Martin were on top of Zimmerman, then why did the surveillance video from the police station show a Zimmerman with no blood on him when he was brought in? Why did Martin not get any of Zimmerman’s blood on him? Why did Martin end up face down with his arms under him? How did Zimmerman get to his gun, which he claims was in his waistband on his back (meaning it would have been pinned between him and the pavement)? How was Zimmerman able to retrieve, ready, and fire the gun while a huge, scary black guy (as you claim) was slamming his head into the ground? How did Zimmerman not black out? How did Martin sneak up on Zimmerman and punch him in the nose while simultaneously speaking on the phone to his friend?

        Additionally, I see that you have a habit of grabbing only testimony and “facts” that the defense presented. Why is that? Face it, you’re acting in a racist fashion. You’re saying Martin deserved to be killed simply for being too black for your tastes. This is racism and it’s wrong. The aggressor in this situation was Zimmerman. If Martin did get the upper hand and did slam Zimmerman’s head into the ground, that would be self-defense for being stalked and accosted by Zimmerman. But, apparently, according to you Martin doesn’t have the right to stand his ground, but a white-passing Zimmerman does.

      • Kristen Rosser

        Yes — it is easy to wonder if the Stand Your Ground laws would have been interpreted the same way if it had been Zimmerman who died rather than Martin.

      • Michael R

        As I said earlier, the photo of Trayvon’s dead body from the scene showed no obvious signs of blood:

        This, Courtesy of MSNBC, Is Trayvon Martin’s Dead Body

        All the blood was contained within Trayvon’s clothing. That’s why there was none on Zimmerman. Look at the photo, see for yourself, and stop making things up.

      • GCT

        I see your response consists of ignoring everything I’ve said in order to continue to argue one point that I didn’t even bring up. Not only did ZImmerman not have any of Martin’s blood, but he wasn’t bleeding himself in the video from the station when he was brought in. That, and all the other issues that I brought up are unanswered.

        But, I guess none of that matters to you, since the black kid got what he deserved for being too “gangsta,” right?

      • Michael R

        You can’t even follow your own argument. Even Charles Barkley can see it: “Trayvon did flip the switch and started beating the hell out of Zimmerman”

        Charles Barkley Agrees With Zimmerman Verdict, Hits Media For …

      • GCT

        And, you can’t do anything but ignore my objections. I think we’re done here if all you’ve got is evasion and racist arguments. (And, yes, it’s also racist to claim that simply because one black person said X, that it should apply across the board for all black people.)

      • Kristen Rosser

        His being taller doesn’t signify anything. My 14-year-old son is taller than his dad. Some kids are tall and skinny. You can see in the Snopes picture that Trayvon was tall and skinny. He may even have experience in fighting– he may have had to. So what?

      • Michael R

        Again you’re making stuff up. Trayvon was not skinny. The shirtless snopes picture was apparently not Trayvon, and the other picture was when Trayvon was younger. But in the CNN pictures he clearly has a muscular and mature body:
        http://edition.cnn.com/2013/05/23/justice/florida-zimmerman-defense
        And Trayvon was developing a lust for violence (I can’t find those quotes at the moment) but he was enjoying violence.

      • Kristen Rosser

        Did you even look at the actual Snopes picture of Martin – the one taken with his family at a birthday gathering for his mom? That is the last known picture of him– and he was certainly tall and skinny. Skinny doesn’t mean “without musculature,” by the way. But his shirt hangs on him in that pic, and his waist is very thin. I resent your statement that I’m “making stuff up” when I’m simply looking at a picture and saying what I see.

    • GCT

      IOW, shooting Martin was OK because of racism. Got it.

      Let’s not talk about Zimmerman’s penchant for calling 911 anytime he saw black kids in his neighborhood. Nope, let’s simply proclaim he’s not a racist and ironically use racist stereotypes in the process to condemn a minor who was shot and killed.

      • UWIR

        “Let’s not talk about Zimmerman’s penchant for calling 911 anytime he saw black kids in his neighborhood.”

        Yet more claims for which you have presented no support whatsoever. According to Wikipedia, his previous call to the police was justified:

        “Three weeks prior to the shooting, on February 2, 2012, Zimmerman called police to report a young man peering into the windows of an empty Twin Lakes home. Zimmerman was told a police car was on the way and he waited for their arrival. By the time police arrived, the suspect had fled. On February 6, workers witnessed two young black men lingering in the yard of a Twin Lakes resident around the same time her home was burgled. A new laptop and some gold jewelry were stolen. The next day police discovered the stolen laptop in the backpack of a young black man, which led to his arrest. Zimmerman identified this young man as the same person he had spotted peering into windows on February 2.”

      • GCT

        Yet more claims for which you have presented no support whatsoever.

        Here ya go:
        http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/03/22/george-zimmerman-s-history-of-911-calls-a-complete-log.html

        I love the one where the 7-9 year old black kid was suspicious.


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