T he acquittal of George Zimmerman this week for the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 2012 exposes the racist nature of U.S. institutions, the criminal justice system, the media and the mentality of a large percentage of white Americans.
In this article I quote from three African Americans on their reactions to the trial and acquittal of Zimmerman.
Glen Ford of "Black Agenda Report" (Blackagendareport.com) wrote on 7/17/13 in "Trayvon and White Madness":
"... George Zimmerman is no more provably racist in a U.S. court than most white Americans -- which is why the Florida cops and prosecutors initially refused to arrest him, why the jury acquitted him, and why the bulk of the corporate media empathized with the defense.
In fact, white folks in general do not think it is racist or evidence of malice to believe that Black males are a prima facie threat; it's just a fact. Therefore, it is 'reasonable' that civilians, as well as cops, be prepared to use deadly force in confrontations with Black males ...the criminal justice system is white supremacy's playground, where racial hatreds, fears and suspicions are given free rein...."
In "What It Feels Like to be Black in America" (counterpunch.org), Kevin Alexander Gray, a civil rights organizer in South Carolina, echoes many of Glen Ford's sentiments:
"The police, prosecutors, judges and defense lawyers are all complicit in a system that regularly jails young black drug offenders, the majority of which are non-violent offenses. They are not going to contradict one another... The defense's goal was to flip the script and make Martin the accused... In a nutshell, racial profiling takes away the 'benefit of a doubt.'"
In "Freedom Rider: Obama Dog Whistles Over Trayvon" (blackagendareport.com), Black Agenda Report editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley writes:
"Some were quite happy that Martin was killed and were happy when his murderer went free... White privilege -- including the privilege to kill Black people -- 'is accepted and it continues like mass psychosis.' The verdict 'tells us that we remain defeated, oppressed people surrounded by but dependent upon enemies.'"
Contact President Barack Obama and demand justice in the Zimmerman case (whitehouse.gov/contact/; 202-456-1111; fax: 202-456-2461).
Tell him to investigate this case and all similar cases and use his power to end the "stand your ground" laws which are a license for racist murder.
Carolyn Bninski is on the staff of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center.