When President Obama commented for the second time on the George Zimmerman verdict, he crossed the line. By politicizing the legal procedures, in an apparent effort to potentially obtain a different result, the President runs the risk of perverting America's objective and impartial legal and judicial system.
I have to take issue with Rachel Décoste's recent blog, "Racism is Front Page News at the Ottawa Sun," because she unfairly labels the Ottawa Sun's handling of Trayvon Martin's death as racist. In doing so, she trivializes the real issue of racism in our society, and undermines the very cause that she is advocating. There is no evidence that the Ottawa Sun acted in a racist manner and prejudicial manner. And there is no evidence that as a result of such treatment of the Martin matter, the Ottawa Sun is perpetuating inequality in our Canadian society.
Recently, juror B37 in the George Zimmerman murder trial got and quickly lost a book deal. What is confusing to me, is that such deals are legal in the first place. A book deal potentially creates both a prejudice and a stake in the outcome of the trial.
The jury in the Zimmerman trial made a decision that they felt comfortable with, they didn't have to be racist, Florida law protected and provoked their decision. The point is, collective anger and protest needs to be directed against the law, not store windows.
Although I am convinced that the death of Trayvon Martin was not because of his race, and that the jury reached a correct verdict in declaring George Zimmerman "not guilty," I also feel the people raising the issue of "black on black" crime (and saying it is ignored in a way that white on black crime isn't) are being disingenuous. The fact is, "black on black" crime is no more common than "white on white" crime or "Chinese on Chinese" crime. Most murders are intraracial. If Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton annoy me with their contrived despair, so do conservatives like Newt Gingrich with their "What about black on black crime" line.
I got home and found out about George Zimmerman's acquittal. I watched white people make this about them, and then I watched them slowly but surely provide themselves with the tools to forget that this had ever happened. And I watched black people wonder if their kid was next. When people of colour raise their voice, I'm going to do my best to make sure that they get a megaphone, and then I'm going to hightail it to the back of the room and listen.
George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the death of Trayvon Martin on Saturday and many Americans immediately took to Twitter
For those of us who are not American, George Zimmerman's acquittal may give us an added sense of helplessness. While we feel the rage and pain, the fact that the verdict is not in our justice system may leave us feeling that we have no avenue for action. Here are some things Canadians can do.
Canadians gloss over our bloody history in order to pretend that we're better than the rest of the world, that racism isn't an issue here. It's only not an issue if you're not a person of colour. It's only not an issue if you've never had to watch your children grow up and battle their own skin colour in order to live. It's only not an issue if you're not someone like Trayvon Martin, walking in a neighbourhood where he looked suspicious because he was black.
The prosecution's critical mistake was over-charging Zimmerman with murder. It required proof that Zimmerman had acted with ''ill will or hatred'' and set out to harm Trayvon Martin when he left his car prior to the shooting.