Kathleen Parker: Racism strategies are useless in the George Zimmerman trial

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  • tenx Santa Clara, UT
    July 3, 2013 12:26 p.m.

    Who is more racist? The media, of course.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 3, 2013 12:21 p.m.

    I think he's on trial for "Murder"... Not "Racism".

    Even IF they prove he's a "Racist"... that doesn't prove he's a "murderer", just the same as an admission of infidelity or alcoholism in a trial doesn't automatically make the defendant guilty of "Murder".

    It can show his character flaws... but if the jury is instructed correctly... that doesn't prove he's a murderer. IF a jury were to convict someone of "Murder" because they thought he was a "Racist"... that would be grounds for that verdict to be thrown out, and the trial becomes a complete waste of everybody's time.

    We don't convict people of "Murder" because they are a bad person, or an alcoholic, or a philanderer, in the American Justice System.

    It would be best if we left the topic of "Racism" out of this trial (EXCEPT as it pertains to motivation or aggravating factors). But of course that's NOT the reason "Racism" is being brought up... it's to Sensationalize the case for more interesting and enthusiastic public consumption.

    It's a good thing the political jab-takers here are NOT part of a real jury.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    July 3, 2013 9:40 a.m.

    @Truthseeker "I was postulating..."

    Yes. And I was suggesting we lay aside speculation and deal with facts.

    @The Real Maverick "...because of skin color."

    What evidence do you have that it had anything to do with skin color? Please post it right here -->

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    July 2, 2013 8:05 p.m.

    I'm really becoming afraid for what is rapidly becoming the vision that repubs have for America. Lawlessness. Guns. The allowing of strange men with guns to stalk us because of skin color. He was suspected of stealing stuff? At 6pm? When I think of burglars I always think of folks wearing hoodies stealing stuff during the day.... Duh!

    It's just scary. Is there any sanity left?

    Bottom line: the boy was being stalked when he had no reason to be. He and another man entered into an altercation. One died.

    Had Zimmermann left that boy alone, both would be alive and free today.

  • Truthseeker2 SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA
    July 2, 2013 8:00 p.m.

    "The questions that matter are, what did Zimmerman do, and what did Martin do. You know, seeking the truth."

    I was responding to ChrisB who stated, "If Treyvon was truly worried, he should have called police. He CHOSE not to," "Zimmerman protected himself appropriately," "Zimmerman did the right things," "Treyvon did not."

    Motive, circumstances and personal experiences underlie actions and are taken into consideration in court. I was postulating why calling the police might not be Trayvon's first line of defense, which ChrisB promptly dismissed.

    Unlike ChrisB, I have not reached a conclusion on this case. I am not on the jury and have not heard all the evidence.

    "Our police force has been charged with dealing with crimes. If you're proposing that law enforcement no longer be used to enforce laws, good luck with that."

    NOwhere did i propose/suggest that law enforcement should not be used to enforce laws.

    However, I do believe "stand your ground" laws can and sometimes do usurp the role of police in dealing with crimes.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    July 2, 2013 7:29 p.m.

    Chris B.... you are simply amazing. The trial isn't even done.... and yet you, with out access to all the files and evidence, and without hearing all the testimony, have it all figured out. Simply amazing. We don't even need a court system.... it should be trial by internet from now on. think of the savings in time and money.

    Chris.... we'll just put you in charge... you've got it all figured out.

  • Truthseeker2 SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA
    July 2, 2013 6:38 p.m.


    I was specifically responding to ChrisB about why Trayvon Martin might not automatically call the police and his assessment that Zimmerman did the correct thing (and is innocent) while Trayvon Martin did not. Motives and circumstances leading to behavior are part of assessing whether someone is guilty or not. As for myself, I've not made a decision of guilt/innocence on this matter, since I'm not in the jury hearing the facts.

    "Our police force has been charged with dealing with crimes. If you're proposing that law enforcement no longer be used to enforce laws, good luck with that."

    Which is exactly what can happen under "stand your ground laws." People no longer have to rely on the police. They can carry loaded weapons, and take matters into their own hands.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    July 2, 2013 5:32 p.m.


    Your stories from ThinkProgress and Mother Jones have very little to do with the case at hand. The questions that matter are, what did Zimmerman do, and what did Martin do. You know, seeking the truth.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    July 2, 2013 4:04 p.m.

    Law and order in Sanford (shooting location) in recent years has been plagued by allegations of racial injustice, and a series of public missteps involving its police department. In 2006 two private security guards—one the son of a Sanford police officer, the other a volunteer for the department—killed a black teen with a gunshot in his back. Even though they admitted to never identifying themselves, the guards were released without charges. Then, in 2010, Justin Collison, the son of a Sanford PD lieutenant, sucker-punched a homeless black man outside a bar, and officers on the scene released Collison without charges. He eventually surrendered after video of the incident materialized online; the police chief at the time was ultimately forced into retirement. "Bottom line, we didn't do our job that night," a police department representative told local news station WFTV of the incident.

    As it would turn out, the Sanford patrol sergeant in charge on the night of Collison's assault, would also be the first supervisor on the scene of Trayvon's shooting death.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    July 2, 2013 3:58 p.m.

    The gun owner, protected in his own vehicle, was clearly the innocent victim here.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    July 2, 2013 3:54 p.m.

    Where did I propose not enforcing laws?
    Did the African American officer pull his gun, order you out and search the car? Did he frisk you?

    The stories I provided were told this week and are stories I've long heard from MANY people of color in the U.S. There is a legitimate distrust and fear among minorities of law enforcement based on real personal experiences.

    Of note, Levar and Don Lemon were not highlighting any racial disparity in being pulled over--they were highlighting the differences in TREATMENT by law enforcement officers--also noted by a white friend.

    Just last week, the DOJ released a 2 yr. investigation of the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department that reveals egregious and disproportionate police targeting of blacks and Hispanics. This racially disproportionate policing starts early with high rates of suspension and disciplinary infraction arrests among school children.

    A 2005 study by the (Bush) Justice Department found that while Hispanic, black and white drivers were stopped by the police about as often, Hispanic drivers or their vehicles were searched 11.4% percent of the time and blacks 10.2% of the time, compared with 3.5% for white drivers.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2013 2:31 p.m.


    Sorry, your sob stories and victim card just don't hold up. If you have proof there is rampant racism in police departments TODAY we're happy to hear it.

    If anecdotal stories from random people are the best you got.....yawn.

    Our police force has been charged with dealing with crimes. If you're proposing that law enforcement no longer be used to enforce laws, good luck with that.

    The incorrect perception of the black community in no way justifies doing what is wrong.

    If calling the police is the right thing to do, calling the police is the right thing to do.

    Let me try a sob story though..

    I was pulled over once for speeding by an African American cop, even though there was another African American driving a vehicle even faster than mine, just ahead of me.

    Crying for me yet?

    Zimmerman did the right things.

    Treyvon did not.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    July 2, 2013 1:51 p.m.

    CNN’s Don Lemon recounts similar experiences, with people often stopping him on the street in Louisiana to ask, “Where’d you get that car, "n" ? Whose car is this?” He recounted one experience driving with a white friend who said after a police stop that he’s never had the police deal with him like that. “I’m like hello, welcome to my life,” Lemon said.

    Author Tim Wise, who is white, describes an entirely different reality. He recounts a day living in Louisiana when he locked himself out of his car and the police offered to help him break in:

    One day I locked myself out of my car on Roberts Street and so I’m trying to break into my car with a coat hanger and a cop comes up. And he sees me doing it. He does not even ask me for ID or proof that that’s my car. Now there is not a black man in this country 23 [years old] for whom that would’ve been the reaction.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    July 2, 2013 1:06 p.m.


    "If Treyvon was truly worried, he should have called police. He CHOSE not to."

    You apparently are ignorant to the experiences of being black in the U.S.

    Former Reading Rainbow host (and actor) Levar Burton explains his protocol for handling a police stop to avoid (police) violence:

    "Listen, I’m gonna be honest with you, and this is a practice I engage in every time I’m stopped by law enforcement. And I taught this to my son who is now 33 as part of my duty as a father to ensure that he knows the kind of world in which he is growing up. So when I get stopped by the police, I take my hat off and my sunglasses off, I put them on the passenger’s side, I roll down my window, I take my hands, I stick them outside the window and on the door of the driver’s side because I want that officer to be relaxed as possible when he approaches my vehicle. And I do that because I live in America."

  • casual observer Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2013 11:53 a.m.

    Racist arguments thus far have been a priori. Did Zimmerman ever report that a black man was in the neighborhood? Punks come in all races.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    July 2, 2013 11:40 a.m.

    @There You Go Again "Zimmerman saw a black man wearing a hoodie."

    Zimmerman saw a man he didn't recognize, walking in his neighborhood at night. There is no evidence that the color of the man's skin held any significance to him -- showing Zimmerman to be less a racist than many of his accusers.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    July 2, 2013 9:58 a.m.

    The ONLY proof of racism?

    Zimmerman saw a black man wearing a hoodie.

    All black men wearing hoodies are up to no good.

    Therefore, all black men wearing hoodies should be stalked, confronted and murdered.

    No racism there at all.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2013 8:38 a.m.

    Why try and compare the word "cracker" to the n-word in the first place?

    That's like suggesting hitting someone in the face 5 times is not "as bad" as hitting someone in the face 10 times, and therefore hitting someone in the face 5 times isn't bad.

    Using slang terms to refer to someone's race is racism.

    And Treyvon martin used that racist term.

    That is the ONLY proof of racism in this case.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2013 8:35 a.m.

    Dishonest people will claim that Zimmerman was commanded by law enforcement to not follow.

    Allow me to state the truth, since those supporting Treyvon will not.

    When asked if Zimmerman was following, the dispatch said:

    "ok, we don't need you to do that"

    The police have made it clear in this case:

    It was NOT illegal for Zimmerman to follow a suspicious character, who turned out to be a drug user.

    It was NOT illegal for Zimmerman to carry a firearm.

    Additionally, even if it was a command not to follow(which it wasn't), Zimmerman said "ok" and began to return to his vehicle when he was attacked.

    If Treyvon was truly worried, he should have called police. He CHOSE not to.

    If Trevyon was worried about being followed, he had more then enough time to go home, and again call police.

    Instead he chose to not go home, but wait in the dark and then attack Zimmerman.

    Zimmerman protected himself appropriately.

  • Interloper Portland, OR
    July 2, 2013 8:03 a.m.

    Note to moderator: The use of the n-word at the George Zimmerman trial is the topic of the article being discussed. So, it must be used in comments.

    I agree with Kathleen Parker's analysis of the language issue. The n-word is deeply abusive because of the centuries long history of oppression of the people it is used against. There is nothing comparable.

    But, the real race issue in the George Zimmerman trial is not language. It is that the defendant, himself a person with a history of felonies, had called the police to report more than 50 people as suspicious in his self-appointed role of neighborhood watch captain. All of them were black males. He identified one 'suspect' as being about seven years old. It is this troubling background and Zimmerman's actions that night that make the trial about race.