Let's Get Political Racial Injustice in America: George Zimmerman Acquitted in Murder of Trayvon Martin Jessica Tholmer

This may not be the most HelloGiggly thing you have ever read, but we were hit with a hard punch of the reality of our country yesterday. George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin yesterday afternoon in a Florida state court, causing much uproar (and still not enough, in my opinion) across our country.

In case you do not follow national news, Zimmerman is a “neighborhood watch coordinator” (a title cringeworthy in itself, in my opinion) for his gated community. Allegedly always quick to call the police, Zimmerman reported that Martin “look[ed] like he [was] up to no good, or he [was] on drugs or something.” Zimmerman got out of his car, confronted Martin and shot him point blank in his heart.

In the child’s heart.

justive

It almost goes without saying, but Trayvon Martin was a young Black man.

You guys, I am struggling. I want to believe this was not a crime concerning racial injustice. I want to believe that Zimmerman’s lawyers, and that the jury itself, are not racists. I want to ignore the similarities between Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till. I want to feel that our country has evolved even a little bit, but I cannot. I cannot believe.

My family is Black, and I would usually defend or sidestep that statement by claiming that it “doesn’t matter,” but it does. It does matter. I am never profiled for anything. I have been told that I do not “look Black,” I simply look like I tan well in the summer sun. I have been told that I don’t “act Black” because I had great grades in high school, and I went to a liberal arts college, and I majored in English Literature, and I work at Starbucks, and I shop at Old Navy, and my girlfriends are nice blonde girls. I have been told that I do not “seem Black” because I listen to pop music, not just hip-hop, and I speak eloquently, and everyone in the world has this stupid image of what a Black person is supposed to be, and I clearly do not fit the rough image everyone in America has created about Black people, but I am gonna spit some truth really quick.

I am a Black person. And a proud Black person, at that. I am a privileged Black person, as well. I am privileged in that I can walk down the street without ever having to worry about being profiled because I don’t “look,” “act,” or “talk” Black. But my brothers do. My older brother “looks, acts and talks” Black. He doesn’t straighten his hair to fit in like I have always shamefully done. He doesn’t dress up because he wants to be perceived as anything other than who he is like I have always admittedly done. He is the smartest man I know, but he speaks with such strong colloquialisms that sometimes even I need an interpreter to understand his words. I don’t know how often police officers have stopped him, even arrested him on expired warrants or now-irrelevant-drug laws. I don’t know how many times “neighborhood watch guards” have called the police on “suspicious activity” when he is around. I have walked, head high and proud, next to my brother–both of them–and seen the way they look at us. We can’t even go into grocery stores without eyebrows raised. Racial profiling is infuriating, for it continually ends in the deaths of young men.

Trayvon was my brother as much as my blood brother.

Zimmerman is not a police officer, but if he was, this trial would have likely not even happened. Police officers get away with–literally–murder of Black men all the time. The fact that Zimmerman was a regular man, not one with too much authority, is why I sit here heartbroken and even more disturbed than I am on a regular night. I thought he would be convicted. This story reads differently than the rest.

Martin’s “suspicious activity” was that he was wearing a hoodie, and walking around in the dark in an area that “his kind” do not usually belong in. You see, young Black men do not have the privilege of walking in any area they please at any time of the day. Young Black men have to hold their breath when cop cars drive by, or in department stores, or in the halls of their high schools. Young Black men are not allowed to catch a late night snack without being murdered for looking as if they are “up to something.”

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  1. Hi there i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anywhere, when i read this post i thought i could also create comment due
    to this good paragraph.

  2. Goddamnit, you are so right. Fuck that noise. Fuck racism. This is so ridiculous. I am so sad for the country I live in right now, because, let’s face it, the same thing could happen right now, and it would be ignored. Eew. Disgusting.

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  4. And on a side note, that picture of the young African American boy with the sign saying “Am I Next?” is only a ploy to make buy into the “innocent child” idea of Martin. It has no relevance to the case nor to the actual facts…. Sure little boy, if you grow up to be violent and abuse drugs, with the intention of attacking any authority that confronts you for your dodgey way’s…. you just may be. Grow up right little boy, because we aren’t fooled.

  5. I know it seems difficult to understand, but you can’t just look at one side of the coin. Most of the information in this article is one sided. This “child” was not a child. He was a drug user that was prone to violence and hate. He didnt just “walk to up him and shot him point blank into the chest” there was a fight before a shot ever went off that ended in Zimmerman being beaten and THEN the shot was fired. I dont see how a innocent child as it is put is capable of mounting a full grown man and beating him repeatedly is so “innocent”. The way they media has portrayed this is just ridiculous. The whole defense of this case against zimmerman is that he was a poor innocent child… being young these days does not equal innocence, and based on the ACTUAL facts that I have found, Zimmerman was acting on self defense. While he lay underneath this “child” being beated in the face and hearing “I’m going to kill you” shouted into his face, I doubt he was convinced of the “childs” innocent nature, and took it upon himself to defend his life, something we all have the right to do. While regardless this is a sad event, and life should be cherished, I don’t think people who have no idea what actually happened or refuse to see the actual facts should be posting where millions can see and be drawn into the half-truths which are so blatantly stated as facts.

    • What a joke. Trayvon Martin was walking through HIS neighborhood to go to HIS house, and George Zimmerman confronted him. He is the one that instigated this conflict, so don’t get all up Whity about it. That’s bullshit

  6. P.S. I’d like you, the author, to tell me if this is right.. that African American gang members have threatened and HAVE killed innocent caucasian people due to the medias disgusting coverage of this trial. Is it fair that more should die? Is it right that you are adding fuel to this sad, racially inaccurate PERSONAL matter? No.
    Also, please stop getting your news from twitter, facebook, and buzzfeed or where ever you do. Because George Zimmerman was factually a minority as well. Ask yourself: Why is the media trying to make him a “white man”?
    And most of all… WHY DOES RACE MATTER?

  7. You know this is such a sadly misinformed article. None of the “facts” are accurate and you are contributing to this media driven race war. You should be ashamed you blogger from hell. George Zimmerman might have done something wrong, but guess what! He also saved a family! He’s a human and he’s definitely not out there trying to kill anyone else.
    You, just like every other American now thinks they are a lawyer. Well let me ask you think, what about the hundreds who are shot and killed in Chicago daily? No media coverage there. So, maybe you should ask yourself before typing something to a group of followers flocking to you like a seagulls around a child with a hot dog – AM I MEDIA LITERATE? Because your answer should have came up “No. I am not. Nor am I a lawyer, I am a blogger who is slandering and invading someones right to privacy”.

  8. Wow, if anything, it sounds like you (the author) is the one that has been missing out on the news. He wasn’t “shot point blank in the heart.” He.. well, let’s just say that it is painfully obvious that you’re itching for it to be a racial issue.

    Here’s a survey that you should take. Read the FACTS about the case (evidence from the trial) and how the media presented it and then re-read what you wrote. I think (hope) you’d see things differently.

    http://www.dlas.org/questions-zimmerman-verdict/

    It is shameful how the media distorted the facts in their rush to be the first to report. It’s even more shameful how NBC actually edited video to try to elicit a racial response. Watch the clip in the link above.

  9. All of the evidence points to it not having been racial-based, and there isn’t (and I doubt there ever will be) definitive evidence wether or not the crime was or wasn’t provoked. The fact that you would continue (and openly support) the uproar that this was some kind of racist hate crime really speaks of your character, and shows that you are no better (or more intelligent) than any of the others who are SO EAGER to take a side which isn’t warranted by the facts, point a finger, and say it fits the bill for a hate crime.

  10. My husband and I have watched this case closely AND considered the evidence. While the prosecution did not present the case well enough for a guilty verdict, the evidence was there. I do not believe that Zimmerman was completely guiltless in this incident, and he deserved punishment for actions. I believe he most certainly provoked a confrontation. First, Zimmerman got out of his car, when neighborhood watch guidelines specifically suggest members DO NOT get involved, simply call law enforcement. Additionally, the 911 operator specifically advised Zimmerman “we do not need you to do that” when he said he was following Trayvon, but he continued to do so anyway. Second, sure Zimmerman had wounds, however that does not imply that he did not initiate the fight. Would pushing Trayvon have left bruises? What about grabbing his him? Not necessarily, there are many ways Zimmerman could have physically assaulted Trayvon without leaving a bruise. Furthermore, Zimmerman did not seek medical attention, even though the paramedics recommended he at least get checked out, therefore I doubt his nose (which, by the way, the medical examiner was unsure whether it was broken or not) and the two one inch injuries (which needed no stitches, just simply a band aid) were concussive as some of you have so ignorantly implied. So please do not suggest that since Trayvon did not have wounds he was the aggressor. Also, did you notice Zimmerman’s shoes were wet in the front? He must have been on top at some point, and if he was on bottom for so long, surely he would have had some grass stains on his orange jacket. Third, this young teenager was likely afraid when a grown 200lb man was following him in a truck, then got out of his truck to follow him on foot, in the dark? In the rain? Wouldn’t you run? Fourth, Zimmerman did not identify himself as neighborhood watch when HE stopped Trayvon to CONFRONT him. He could have simply said, “I am part of the neighborhood watch, and you seem lost I am just making sure everything is okay.” I wonder where Trayvon would be had the confrontation went that way. Lastly, I cannot definitively say whether this was racial or not, but understand Zimmerman called the police on several occasions, which were played for the jury, and identified the “suspect” as a BLACK MALE, then on the call about Trayvon he says “they always get away.” He did not follow any other of his supposed “suspects” but it seems he was going to make sure this one did not “get away.” I do not have the time, nor the patience, to go through every detail for you people, but before you make accusations, please know the facts.

  11. You are my breathing in, I own few blogs and often run out from to post .

  12. “. . . shot him point blank in his heart.” I don’t believe that’s what evidence has shown in the case. You may be writing from an emotional perspective, but people read your words and many won’t bother to take you seriously if it seems like you’re skewing things to fit your perspective.

    I understand that you think this case is sad and as a black person you feel very emotionally driven by it, but I ask this. . . What about all the other thousands and thousands of black men, women, and children everyday that get killed? Do you make a point of being emotionally attached to their situations? Do you follow all of their deaths and cases? Or is the Zimmerman/Martin case so emotionally for you simply because you saw it on the media? Were you aware of this death before the national media began turning this into a media storm?

  13. If your are like Trayvon and have these sorts of pictures then yes you willl probably attack someone and they may defend themselves too.

    https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/467597_576733509038647_804231360_o.jpg

    • LADIES AND GENTLEMAN I GIVE YOU EXHIBIT A OF RACIAL PROFILING!!

      By posting this picture you are one of the main reasons why this case was made out to be “racist” when race has nothing to do with it! So what if he is black? So what if he smokes trees and has those pics on his phone? The picture you posted proves absolutely NOTHING because you know Trayvon as much as I do, which isn’t enough to ASSUME (as you have done) that he was a thug looking for trouble. A 17 year old unarmed civilian was killed and there wasn’t enough evidence to prove self defense or that he acted in malice, which is why Zimmerman got acquitted.

      • Now wait a minute…are you telling me that if you see a WHITE guy holding a gun and smoking pot you wouldn’t have concerns about his character? Of course you would as would anyone else.
        The fact that he posted these pictures is NOT an example of racial profiling; it’s an example of using your brain to form an opinion based on how the said individual chooses to live his life.

  14. Zimmerman was a dick but prosecution sucked.

  15. When it is leagal to defend ones own psychosis/(moronic opinion) whith deadly violance this kind of thing will occur.
    There are few places in the world where it´s leagal to pull a gun on a compleete stranger and call it selfdefence just becuse you somehow feel threatened by the individual in question.

  16. You forget the fact that Trayvon beat Zimmerman to a pulp with his bare hands and beat his head into the ground, giving him a minor concussion and broken nose. Had he not acted he surely would have been murdered by Trayvon once he had gotten control of the firearm.

  17. I just want to tell you all, now that there are hundreds of comments, that I have some things to say.

    1. I write emotionally because I am not a journalist. I never claimed to be a news source. I do not, nor do I want to, write for The New York Times. This is an emotional situation for me (OBVIOUSLY) and it is personal to me, and I write from my heart. And if you don’t want to read my words, then don’t. Did you guys go comment and say mean things to everyone on the internet that believes Zimmerman’s fate is unjust? I sure hope you have something better to do in your life.

    2. I left out Martin “attacking” Zimmerman because it still does not change my opinion on the subject matter. Yes, I believe in the right to defend yourself, but I do not believe that Zimmerman’s injuries prove that Martin should have been KILLED for also defending HIMSELF against a man who found the need to get out of his car to confront a young man for walking down the street.

    3. It does not matter literally AT ALL if Trayvon Martin was five feet tall, seven feet tall, or a little person: he was simply walking down the street. It does not MATTER if he is more of a physically threatening being to Zimmerman or anyone else, because the fact of the matter is that he was not intending to cause anybody harm.

    4. I care, more than a lot of people, about “Black on Black” crime. Yes, I care for all of the little Black boys that are taken from their mothers far, far too soon in this embarrassingly regressive country. I care if a young man is killed by his friend, his enemy, or himself. I care if it’s unfair, and I care if it’s fair.

    And I care when white kids get killed too, the unfortunate truth is that, more often than not, we lose white kids in tragic situations, not in targeted events. People don’t shoot white kids for no reason half as much, and when they do, they usually get into some sort of trouble for it.

    DO NOT bother linking me to one or three or seven different articles proving that every once in awhile, the roles are reversed. Yeah, it is a big, big world and sometimes Black men DON’T go to jail, and sometimes it is a young white kid who is shot to death, but that does NOT change the facts and feelings surrounding this particular situation.

    And for those of you who have nothing more fulfilling in your lives than to attack someone who writes for HelloGiggles for HER opinion on HER races–BOTH of them, thank you to the person who claimed that I hate “every race but my own” because I have multiple to choose from, so that isn’t even a thing–get a LIFE. Get some FRIENDS to have an open conversation with about this rather than being mean on the internet. You are only further embarrassing our country.

    Lastly, I am well aware of Zimmerman’s racial build-up. Does it matter less knowing that he is of mixed race? Absolutely not. I never claimed that this was White Versus Black, like so many things in our country are. I am saddened that anyone can “justifiably” kill a young Black man and get away with it.

    • I am disgusted that it matters to you that its a black kid.
      And that you don’t care that the 17 year old attacked someone, almost killing them.

      Was it illegal for Zimmerman to follow Trayvon? No.
      Was it illegal for Trayvon to assault Zimmerman? Yes.
      Is it legal for Zimmerman to defend his life so he doesn’t have his head crushed by Trayvon, a 6’2″ tall , 175 lbs athletic, young man? Yes.

    • Thank you Ms. Tholmer for providing such a well articulated piece that discussed profiling on a personal level. And thank you for being emotional! It IS emotional.

      I’m a privileged white woman. Once upon a time, over a century ago, it was legal to shoot my ancestors because they were Basque. Now the culture is celebrated.

      But that is NOT the case with many different people of color. Profiling isn’t just about airports. And it makes me sick to think Americans can be okay by tacitly agreeing to the ridiculous idea of “you look different so you must be bad suspicious/untrustworthy/bad/less.”

      I may be saddened by this, but your piece made me feel just a little better. And I appreciate your rebuttal to some of these outlandish comments. This may have been the best thing I’ve read on this site.

      • Trayvon was a 5’11 and less than 150lbs. Zimmerman was over 200lbs. The altercation lasted less than one minute and the body was found on the grass far away from the concrete. How could he have been bashing his head in the moments before the shot? He wasn’t so afraid. He had enough thought to “move his arm for a better shot” straight through the heart.

        I’m not so sure Zimmerman didn’t slip on the wet grass and hit his own head.

    • You make it sound as if Trayvon was just strolling down the street and Zimmerman just walked up and shot him and that was the end of it. If there was a fight between the two, that puts a whole new perspective on the matter. That leads to follow up with questioning who instigated the fight, as that would be significant in determining who the guilty party is. More often than not, the one who instigated the fight is at fault. They way you explained it in the article seemed rather misleading to anyone who didn’t know very much about the story going around.
      You left out Martin attacking Zimmerman much like other journalists who distort the truth for their own gain. They edit out the bad, and only post what makes their side looks good. It doesn’t matter if said action didn’t change your opinion, it happened and therefore should be mentioned. To intentionally not mention it is lying by omission..
      Whether leaving it out was maliciously intentional or not is not known to me. Regardless of this, if such is a habit you can’t get around, then it’s advised in your best interest to avoid posting journalistic material on current events as it will surely have a bias view to it.
      The fact that emphasis needs to be put on the fact that Zimmerman was white and Trayvon was black only further enhances how racist some of the outrage over the situation is. Should that matter? Assuming Zimmerman really ought to be at fault… why are we making it a big deal about race? On the 911 call Zimmerman makes no mention of Trayvon’s race or ethnicity as he couldn’t tell with the hoodie over his head. Why then must we call the racism card? If you want to hate Zimmerman for shooting a 17 year old, fine, go with that But to dwell on racist implications when no such evidence supporting racist motivation is found, you only will promote more racism. One could just as easily turn the card and say you support Trayvon only because he is black… but yet that would be considered racist by some as equality is what people try to make of it whether it is fair or not.
      If Trayvon was simply “walking down the street” then Zimmerman would have had no need to call 911 and run toward the alarm he had heard.
      If Zimmerman really was going to just straight up murder Trayvon… why was he talking to police minutes before? Think about this… how foolish would somebody be to call the police themselves when committing a murder?
      Although having the law on your side can be the greatest alibi, I highly doubt that is a risk anyone would take when committing a crime. It seems foolish in itself.
      It seems highly improbable that Trayvon was “simply walking down the street with no intention of causing harm to anyone” when the only injuries found on him were bruises on his knuckles and a gunshot wound, while Zimmerman on the other hand had a broken nose, multiple lacerations, and concussive blows to his head. That alone implies there was a fight at hand, and more than likely that Trayvon was the attacker. Trayvon is unfortunately dead, so we can’t be absolutely positively certain of what happened beyond what we know from physical evidence and Zimmerman’s side of the story. In spite of this, that no physical evidence was able to be found or provided to disprove Zimmerman’s story, and if anything evidence found further proved he was telling the truth, than in all fairness according to the law he should be found innocent.
      If you disagree with this and are a fan of conviction without the need to provide proof or evidence indicating guilt, then I would advise moving to a country that does such that, like Cuba, where if you are even suspected of possibly breaking a law, then you are found guilty and punished until proven innocent.

    • Excellent and very relevant case to post James. Thanks for finding this and posting it.

      I agree with this juries decision. According to the article Roderick had every right to defend himself.

  18. Martin was a thug and Zimmerman a toothless tiger who bit off more than he could chew. I thought manslaughter would have been appropriate but the jury spoke and that’s how we determine culpability in America. Peaceful dissent is fine. Unfortunately this will escallate into something else.