What if Zimmerman were Black?

I’m happy that the rest of the country has started talking about Trayvon Martin. More details about George Zimmerman.

From Buzzflash:

Let’s face the racial politics simmering in the Trayvon Martin murder head-on: if Zimmerman were black and Martin a white teenager, then Zimmerman would be in jail facing a homicide rap, regardless of Florida’s license to kill.

Yes, the NRA and even ALEC are responsible for giving the “gun guys” a license to kill, as BuzzFlash detailed yesterday in our commentary, “The NRA and Florida Legislators Gave George Zimmerman a License to Murder Trayvon Martin”

So let’s just sketch out this hypothetical scenario. Supposing a black man named Harold Smith, who was previously charged with assaulting a police officer, stalks a white teenager who is carrying a Snicker’s bar in one hand and a can of Pepsi in the other.  Supposing Smith calls 911 and is told not to follow the white teenager and Smith says, “These assholes always get away.”  Supposing Smith hunts down the white teenager who is ambling over to his girlfriend’s house and the next thing you know the white teenager is dead: a black man with a gun shoots an unarmed white teenager eating a candy bar.

Is there anyone that is going to argue that Smith would not be in jail under indictment?  Is there anyone who is going to argue that the police officer at the scene would not have immediately arrested Smith and taken drug and alcohol tests? Is there anyone who is going to argue that FOX News and Limbaugh wouldn’t be all over the airwaves denouncing black men with guns who kill innocent white teens? Newt Gingrich might even try to revive his moribund presidential bid by calling the murder a “symbol of the nation’s declining moral standards and coddling of minorities.”

We’ve lived through nearly four years of what was supposed to be a post-partisan racial society that has turned into a hyper-racist hateful crusade – by vocal segments of white America – against the nation’s first black president.

BuzzFlash at Truthout can argue about allegations that the Sanford, Florida — where Trayvon Martin was killed —  police department has shown evidence of being a discriminatory law enforcement agency.  We can point out that the Sanford area is so gun crazy that a truck dealer offered an AK-47 assault weapon for every vehicle purchased a couple of years back.

But the simple reality is this: if Zimmerman were black and named Harold Smith and  had shot and killed a white teenager athlete from the local high school named Joey Brewster – given the Martin homicide circumstances – Smith’s ass wouldn’t be going anywhere.

It would be parked in jail, which is where Zimmerman belongs.


2 Responses

  1. I was at a country-style breakfast cafe in small-town Mississippi this morning when a racially mixed group of cops (including a black female) at the next table started talking about this case (which was playing on the news).  To a person, they all agreed that the shooter should have been arrested, even under the “Stand your ground” law, and it’s left to the prosecutor and grand jury to sort out whether there would be an indictment.

    The question they had is, if this kid is 17, why does the photo look like he’s 12?

  2. Because all of the new photos feature him flipping the camera off (his old Twitter avatar) or scowling with gold teeth (his current Twitter avatar). The photo they chose was absolutely strategic. It’s sensational journalism and politics 101!

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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