The PJ Tatler

Wait -- Racism Really Does Explain the Zimmerman Trial

Two must-reads attempt to explain the Zimmerman trial.

Bernard Goldberg asks why the media devoted so much time to the George Zimmerman trial.

Rev. Jesse Lee Patterson says that black racism killed Trayvon Martin.

Both columns need to be read in full to be appreciated.

There’s another aspect to the case that hasn’t gotten much comment. The media ran with a narrative based on two things: the image of a young, friendly black boy as seen in the pictures of Trayvon that dominated the story early on, the the name of the man who had killed him. George Zimmerman. It looked like an obvious case of generational racism motivating murder in a part of the country with a dark racial past. Media reactionary liberals bathe in stories like this.

Our brains learn to associate words with images and to make connections based on our experiences and education. It’s unavoidable. We shouldn’t try to avoid it. It’s what helps us make sense out of life’s chaos. Even though it sometimes misleads us into jumping to wrong conclusions.

George Zimmerman. Forget the man we know now after more than a year of hearing about him. That name does not evoke the image of a mixed-race Hispanic man yet to reach 30 years of age. George Zimmerman sounds like an older man, middle aged at least and, in Florida, probably a retiree. He could be a Vietnam or even World War II veteran. George Zimmerman suggests a white man who has some means and when put together with the fact that he was involved in a neighborhood crime watch, maybe an old school community center, shuffleboard and churchgoer type. In the Old South, in the minds of most of the media’s liberal elitists, old school plus Old South equals old racist white man. With a name like George Zimmerman, he’s gotta be a Republican Tea Party activist, right? Has to be one of those gun nuts. And that old geezer killed a little kid in cold blood! He probably couldn’t even see straight that night.

The media reacted to photos of a young black boy and the name of the old white man who killed him. Both images were entirely misleading. Trayvon Martin turned out to be an athletic 6’2″ young man who was on a bad path for his life. George Zimmerman turned out to be a young Hispanic man just trying to help stop crime in his community. In yet another twist, George Zimmerman turned out to be an Obama supporter from a demographic that the Democrats desperately want to lock in as it rises to become a major strategic voting bloc. In yet another of many twists, the only verified racist comment to come from either Martin or Zimmerman came from Martin — “creepy-ass cracker.” The media narrative lost again when prosecution witness John Good testified that he saw Martin on top of of Zimmerman pounding him. There went second degree murder, or even manslaughter. Zimmerman fired in self-defense.

Rather than a targeted racist killing, February 26, 2012 turned out to be a case of two men who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and one or both read the situation badly. It was a tragedy. It was not the crime of the century, or decade, or even of the year. Four actual murders of Americans in Benghazi remain unsolved, their killers walk free, and the media have chosen not to focus on that at all.

The media ran with two narratives that turned out to be totally wrong based on how racist liberals see the world. Once invested, it lacked the honesty and character to admit that its first read on the story was wrong. By that point, NBC and ABC had already fabricated evidence and Al Sharpton had descended on Florida to render Zimmerman guilty until a court would prove him innocent of the crime of second degree murder. Then the media turned to trying not only George Zimmerman, but the entire concept of self-defense and the always evergreen “racism in America.” They’re stuck on that narrative now even after they lost the case on Saturday. Because reactionary liberals never admit to being wrong.