George Zimmerman: Not Guilty of Murder or Manslaughter? Perhaps. Racial Profiling? Definitely.

An organized rally for Trayvon Martin at Pasadena City College last year.

An organized rally for Trayvon Martin at Pasadena City College last year.

I’ve had some time to reflect on the Zimmerman verdict. While I’d like to plop my ass on a chair and look through the same evidence that the jury looked through, I think I’d end up getting even more frustrated. I’m biased though. Likewise, I think anybody with the same biases as me who’s been closely examining the trial would feel the same way, if not angrier.

If the Florida jury found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter, I hate to say it, but we’ll just have to roll our eyes and swallow our pride. I understand the frustration. The racial undertones of the case have unraveled in light of the many rallies happening nationwide. Institutionalized racism is alive and kicking, my friends. But how do we deal? How will black, Latinos, and our Muslim friends cope? Asians and Pacific Islanders, I didn’t forget about you. But in comparison with those three? We’re somewhat favored in the white world. I, for one, can’t attest to blatant institutionalized racism. I’ve got the IQ of a sponge, but I’ve been pigeon holed into the group that’s strict on their education and work ethic.

I know that accepting (not agreeing) the verdict seems like a kick to the gut, but if we take the testimony for what it is – and let’s just pretend it’s sound evidence – the case has all the makings of a solid self-defense case: Zimmerman was overpowered, banged up, yelling for help, and he fired a single gunshot that inevitably killed Trayvon Martin. Granted, it only takes one bullet to kill someone – but the trigger was pulled in struggle. The defense also brought to light that Zimmerman didn’t even know he even killed Martin. Do we believe these claims after weeks of shaky testimony? Perhaps not. But the state’s trial is done with and the prosecution failed to prove to the jury that Zimmerman acted with malice. While it’s tough to chew on, the underlying issues of this case are even more difficult to bear with.

Bluntly, Trayvon Martin wouldn’t be dead if George Zimmerman didn’t pursue him. A neighbor had testified that her house had been broken into way before Martin was killed. The description came out to be that of a black man. In high alert, Zimmerman, of course, would act on his duty as neighborhood watch and follow anybody with that very description. Was Zimmerman following Martin because he didn’t recognize him as someone from the neighborhood? Highly unlikely.

Personally, I’ve googled the shit out of “is racial profiling legal?” and not one website can give me a YES or NO answer. Some states are tackling racial profiling head on and some states (Arizona) are a bit more lax on the issue. Either way, federal government officials and law enforcement have received guidelines that generally forbid them from profiling. That doesn’t exactly stop them as the horse shit continues on a daily basis. And while the higher ups have been told not to enforce stereotypes on the people they’re suspicious of, those guidelines aren’t going to stop the everyday average Joe. That didn’t stop Zimmerman from violating the “observe and report” rule of neighborhood watch, now did it?

Race is such a broad topic and there’s so much to discuss especially when it comes to our justice system. But if we don’t address these discriminatory ideas or policies now, the prejudices on the most oppressed minorities here in America will never die. Those shackles that made Zimmerman look like a convict are now back on the black community. Though, it’s not like they’ve been taken off of them to begin with.

About neilprotacio

Freelance journalist who just so happens to know what goes well with certain breads.
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