Without a doubt race played the leading role in the George Zimmerman case. Mr. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, took it upon himself to follow and harass Trayvon Martin, an African-American teenager. Zimmerman spotted Trayvon walking through his neighborhood.
While it is true that the neighborhood had recently experienced a number of burglaries, there was no reason to suspect Martin had been involved. However, the neighborhood watch was on the alert for strangers and Trayvon was a stranger to Zimmerman.
The teenager was wearing a hoodie and talking on his cell phone when Zimmerman spotted him. Zimmerman did not identify himself to Trayvon and ask if he was looking for someone who lived in the neighborhood. If he had done so, Trayvon could have informed him that he was visiting someone in the neighborhood, given the name of his father’s girlfriend, whose home he was returning to after buying skittles and a soda at the store.
Instead George Zimmerman proceeded to follow Trayvon. Zimmerman then called 911 to make a report and request police investigate. He told the 911 operator that there was a suspicious acting person in the neighborhood. He stated that this person did not look as if he belonged in the neighborhood. You have to wonder what made him look like he did not belong there. He further stated that he was tired of these people coming into his neighborhood and getting away with stuff.
Zimmerman again called 911 after a few minutes to report that the stranger was still in the neighborhood. During that call Zimmerman made several racist remarks. These remarks are clear on the tape of his call but it will not be repeated here.
Racism is alive and well in America despite the progress the country has made. The stereotype or racial profiling of young African-American males as thieves and gang members is taken as fact for all African-Americans. Despite the fact that the majority of African-Americans are honest, hard-working people, the perception continues. Trayvon Martin was a victim of this racial profiling. He was killed by George Zimmerman, a minority himself, because of his race. Trayvon Martin was not a saint, he was a teenager like millions of others. He had faults and problems, the kind that teens of all races have in today’s society. George Zimmerman did not know anything about Trayvon. He only saw a tall, African-American male, wearing a hoodie and walking through his neighborhood. An area Zimmerman felt Trayvon did not belong.
Zimmerman’s racist pronouncements explicitly expressed during his conversation with the 911 operator shows his racist attitude. His feelings of superiority and supposed right to do what he wanted kept him doing what he had been instructed not to do. The fact that he was armed bolstered his resolve and he forced the situation. The stand your ground defense flies in the face of Trayvon Martin’s right to defend himself against a stranger who was following and harassing him.