Best-Of Advice

On guilt and racism

How do I explain to someone why Zimmerman is guilty of manslaughter when they say “listen, let’s remove race from the equation and all of these facts logically point to not guilty”? In fact how do I protest against “let’s remove race” when it seems clear to me that it’s crucial to this situation?

Quit wasting your breath. Zimmerman isn’t guilty of manslaughter, because six Florida women who couldn’t get out of jury duty said so. Sure, a different jury with a different set of instructions hearing different arguments might very well have convicted him of manslaughter or worse, but that’s not how it played out.

Point is, don’t get bogged down in the legalities. That shit will make your head explode, especially if you’re arguing with a privileged blowhard. It’s much easier to say that what George Zimmerman did was wrong, and a system that would declare him not guilty is broken.

Any system that would allow George Zimmerman to legally carry a concealed weapon, legally hunt down a teenager he felt was suspicious, legally confront that teenager against the instruction of authorities, and then legally use deadly force in the resulting altercation — I mean, come on — any system that would legally allow all of that is fucking broken.

As for removing race from the equation, that’s a giant red flag. Anyone who says “let’s remove race” is arguing from a place of white privilege. Call them out on that bullshit.

Race is integral to this killing. Whether intended or not, everyone with any kind of opinion on this case uses race to help justify it, and let’s not kid ourselves, race is the reason that George Zimmerman profiled, followed, and confronted Trayvon Martin in the first place.

You can’t remove race from this case any more than you can remove the gun, and it’s irrelevant whether Zimmerman’s actions fall within the textbook definition of manslaughter, because he was found not guilty.

The larger point is a simple: what George Zimmerman did was wrong, and the broken system that acquitted him is a glaring example of the racism that only idiots think can be removed from the equation.


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