The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday January 19th

Race question in Zimmerman trial demands answer

The trial of George Zimmerman will go down as one of the most controversial cases in the last decade. And no matter your view of the outcome, we cannot refute this as a tragic moment.

Zimmerman, regardless of intent or necessity, ended a teenager’s life. And Trayvon Martin’s family and loved ones wishe he were still with them today.

While I feel no sympathy for Zimmerman, who seems to find his actions justifiable, I believe we should not react with hatred or violence toward him or anyone else we disagree with. This mindset bears no resolution; it resurrects no bodies and only incites more misunderstanding.

And while no one can truly ascertain if Zimmerman’s actions that night were motivated by racial prejudice or if race significantly affected the trial, race definitely has a place in our discussion of the case.

The media has been rightly accused of divisively portraying Zimmerman as a white man killing a black teenager(instead of a multiracial American of white and Peruvian descent). Some acknowledged this, but there were still clearly chosen sides.

Those on Zimmerman’s side were largely from white and conservative backgrounds, while Trayvon’s team included mostly minorities and what could be considered more liberal whites. (I’m all ears to be proven wrong.)

Excluding the blatant racists on social media throwing slurs, invoking stereotypes and generalizations, another argument was thrown against defenders of Trayvon: “Why do (black) people make this about race? It’s not.”

How are you so certain? Rather, why don’t you investigate where supporters of the “race” argument are getting their rationale?For African-American males and other minorities, I believe a defensive stance is justified after so many years of systematic oppression.

The ugly truth behind this whole case is that we are not yet in a post-racial America. The topic of racism is difficult, but we do not rid ourselves of the problem by denying its existence.

We can’t be afraid to have this dialogue. Some say racism is like a hydra, that we often cut off its head, only to reveal more heads. “We’ve got to come up with a better way to combat it; we’ve assumed it dead too many times.”

We should recognize our differences and not fear each other because of them. Without fear, we can embrace a willingness to understand and end injustice everywhere.

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