Seeing Race in Sanford

Charles Blow asks in his NYT column today how we (we black, Asian, Hispanic, and white Americans) would be likely to frame and perceive the trial of Trayvon Martin–oops, of George Zimmerman–if the races and ethnicities were reversed, and if the dead young black male were a dead light-skinned blonde female. Blow asks: “Are we acculturated to grant some citizens the right to feel fear while systematically denying that right to others?”

African-Americans can hardly avoid seeing and hearing the media expectation (egging on?) of rioting after a not guilty verdict.

George Zimmerman said in a Fox TV interview that his killing of Martin “was all God’s plan,” not to be second-guessed.

Juan Williams writes today on foxnews.com that Trayvon Martin can no longer “speak for himself and get beyond the box of racial stereotypes the media built for him” or escape the “racial slander” the media has attached to the case. Zimmerman, having declined the chance to testify, is going to “carry his box of racial stereotypes around until his death…. Whatever the final verdict… . There are no winners here.”

And we live in the land of the free? How much does our sense of liberty depend on the privilege of feeling chosen to play Cain rather than Abel?

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