Defenders of Rachel Jeantel Channel John C. Calhoun

Rachel Jeantel's testimony probably won't help convict George Zimmerman, but it sure has flushed out the new segregationists.

Consider Chrissy Coleman (@ChrissyCole). She explains away Rachel Jeantel's shifting story and absurd disassembly of the racial term "cracker" thusly:

So let's cut to the chase. Any attorney, jury member, judge or white person in that courtroom is not going to understand Rachel Jeantel. And I don't expect them to. In fact, I certainly, like my fellow writer Rachel Samara, understand why white people wouldn't like Rachel. ... But maybe the reason white people don't understand Rachel Jeantel has something more to do with white privilege than, what they would call, Rachel's capricious nature. ... The thing is, what white people see in Rachel has little to do about her own issues, and more to say about the America that white people are blind to. ... It's just that your world and our world are, excuse the cliche, worlds apart.

Coleman sounds like John C. Calhoun (D-SC), the South's leading defender of slavery and segregation. Calhoun believed that blacks and whites could never live together, and that after any emancipation, they'd forever be "worlds apart."


Opposing Calhoun's segregationist ideology was Senator Charles Sumner (R-MA). Sumner's position was the Judeo-Christian one -- that all individuals are made in the image of God, hold divine worth, and are given rational freewill to do good or evil.

For this position, he was beaten with a cane on the floor of the U.S. Senate by Rep. Preston Brooks (D-SC).

Sumner's philosophy drove the Civil War Amendments into the Constitution, enshrining into law the notion of racial equality under law. The civil rights movement was all about integration of cultures, as well as in law.

Fast forward to 2013. We are told by Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon that racial preconceptions explain away Jeantel's unreliable testimony: "She is not thin or blond or demure. So there goes her credibility."