Race, White Womanhood, and Trayvon Martin

Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at 11.38.14 AMReflecting upon the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, I’m struck by the expectations so many in mainstream and social media held for the six women jurors who found Zimmerman not guilty 0f second-degree murder. This jury was more often “gendered” than they were “raced.” Many of us—whatever “side” one took in this controversial high-profile case—assumed that the very biological determinism of their femaleness would engender maternal empathy for Trayvon Martin, the murdered victim, and trump other identities these women held (five of whom were white, one of whom was Hispanic).

There was another narrative that Zimmerman’s defense attorneys conjured up for the jurors that we need to consider, one deeply embedded in the intersections of race and gender: Essentially, his attorneys feminized Zimmerman as they simultaneously criminalized Martin.

It’s curious to me, if we look back to when this case first received national attention, how we as a nation were fairly united in believing the death of the 17-year-old Martin deserved an arrest and a trial. During those early conversations, the prevailing opinion seemed to be that this death, whether based in racial profiling or self-defense, resulted from an unjust confrontation involving an older, heavier, armed man against an underaged, unarmed teen. At the most, Zimmerman was a cold-blooded killer; at the least, he was a coward.

But then President Obama entered the fray and tried to humanize Martin by commenting that, if he had a son, he would probably look like this now-deceased teenager. It was after that moment that Trayvon’s posthumous image was denigrated. Instead of magnifying his humanity, Obama’s comments of paternal compassion deepened the political will of his opponents to demonize this teen.

What unfolded in the wake was what I consider a two-fold demonization. On the one hand, the narrative of a young black teen walking through a middle-class neighborhood in a hoodie deemed him a threat, even though he was only armed with Skittles and iced tea. Those who wanted to conjure an image of the criminalized “thug” could spin this tale however they wanted; Trayvon Martin was dead and rendered forever speechless.

The other narrative, the one less talked about, is perhaps the more enraging: the hypothetical “black president’s son.” This symbolic trespass is sacrilege for some.

The double-reading of “threat” applied to Trayvon Martin’s body propelled enough citizens to raise funds for Zimmerman’s defense, and his defense team did the rest: from ridiculing star witnesses such as Trayvon’s friend Rachel Jeantel to wrestling with an effigy representing Travyon (in the infamous “dummy” demonstrations) to the block of concrete that Trayvon was supposedly “armed with” (when defense attorneys argued that Travyon supposedly slammed Zimmerman’s head in the sidewalk, thus representing life-threatening danger). I thought I was watching theater of the absurd and not a legal court system at work.

I was holding out hope that the jury of women would see through the absurdity and, as prosecutors urged, use common sense. But what  is common sense when one is told that the heavier, older George Zimmerman is just a “scared, inept and cowardly Mr. Softy,” while the 17-year-old deceased is a super-scary black man, so dangerous and so embodied with superhuman strength that he could literally “arm himself with pavement” to the point that Zimmerman had no other choice but to use deadly force to save his own life?

That six women believed such a narrative, enough to constitute reasonable doubt, speaks volumes—less about their lack of maternal empathy for Sybrina Fulton’s son walking home, only to be killed by an armed stranger, and more about the gendered powerlessness, combined with racialized fear, that certain women are conditioned to understand. Never mind that Zimmerman has had a history of domestic violence and assaulted a woman while working as a bouncer—nformation that was never brought up in the trial.

I have a hard time believing that, had there been men on this jury, the defense team would have portrayed an armed “Mr. Softy” threatened by an unarmed teenager. Such a portrait violates the codes of masculinity that they have learned since the playground (i.e., who has the upper hand, which is always, always the guy with the gun). Granted, the attorneys might have tried an altogether different strategy had their been men on the jury, but somehow the feminine, powerless Zimmerman narrative was enough—and could only be convincing (at least enough to create reasonable doubt) if one accepts that Trayvon is the more powerful and violently oppressive of the two. Given his unarmed and underage status, this narrative can only be convincing if one believes, however subconsciously, in the stereotypes of black masculinity.

What bothers me about the gendered and raced narrative that feminized Zimmerman and criminalized Martin are the assumptions made about the women jurors—and white women in particular, most of them mothers. This isn’t just biological essentialism but also the assumption of loyalty to white supremacy. In the past, and perhaps even today, women were often appealed to because of the belief in their “inherent” compassion and empathy—based in motherhood, of course.  This was especially demonstrated during the antebellum Victorian era, when women abolitionists constantly appealed to white women’s common bond as mothers in empathizing with powerless, enslaved black mothers: from Angelina Grimke’s “Appeal to the Christian Women of the South” to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin to Frances E. W. Harper’s “The Slave Mother” to Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.

But think also of the white women who, when they failed to be included in the 15th amendment, which extended the vote to black men but not to white women, fell back on racist outrage and eventually rallied around white supremacy and supported groups like the Ku Klux Klan, which lynched black men to “save” white women’s virtues. White supremacy had become a system worthy of their loyalty.  Indeed, just from listening to Juror B37 in her interview with Anderson Cooper, her ability to sympathize with a George Zimmerman while dismissing the likes of Martin and his friend Rachel Jeantel as “those people,” indicate where her loyalties lie. No wonder Jeantel, in her interview with Piers Morgan, had to sum things up the way she did: “They old! That’s old-school people.” (Translation: based on the age, racial and socioeconomic backgrounds of the jurors, they’re woefully clueless about the lives of others.)

Adrienne Rich said it best in “Disloyal to Civilization” when she argued that white women could not form important connections with other women across the planet—the kinds of connections that would advance women’s collective power and overturn patriarchy—if they remained forever loyal to a white supremacist system. This year we’ve seen women like Abigail Fisher try and overturn affirmative action in a Supreme Court case, much like Barbara Grutter before her, even though white women as a group have benefited more than anyone else from affirmative-action programs. And now, another group of women have failed to give Trayvon Martin justice. These instances suggest that white privilege, power and dominance outweigh any notions of gender justice and solidarity.

Despite white privilege, this loyalty to the same oppressive system that would gladly run roughshod over our rights to choose or not choose motherhood, as has occurred in states like Texas, is woefully misguided. If feminism is to have a future, as Rich noted, “disloyalty [is now] urgent necessity.”

Picture of Rachel Jeantel taken from Youtube


  1. Elizabeth Martin says:

    I am outside looking in. I am Canadian. I am woman. I am a mother; single by choice and retired from a profession in the medical field. I have American cousins.
    I have watched the conception, birth and delivery of the American Human Rights movements; vast amounts of which have spilled upwards into my own country but precious little has flowed universally. I imagined, and believably so, as did other people including women my own age, that Americans were truly humanitarian and egalitarian; and the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights battles had been won decades ago. How wrong I am. American people still have raging racist, homophobic, misogynistic and religious wars in their own homeland; and surprisingly enough preach tolerance, democracy and altruistic principles to the rest of the world. It was with a ray of light that we speculated upon the fact that the people chosen as the jury may be somewhat swayed by the simple fact of their own womanhood and in some cases, motherhood, to the pathetic reality of the death of a young boy at the hands of an armed vigilante. How wrong. However, if the women had been women of colour; I can guarantee that the outcome for Mr. Zimmerman would have been, much to the chagrin of his white defenders, vastly different.



    • Jennifer Sauer says:

      Wow Mizscarlettsmammy. This is the sort of racism that you are complaining about right now. That was the most ridiculous comment ever. I am a white woman, I have my own thoughts and am not swayed by anyone. Stop trying to make this about race and gender with the jury, it was a fair trial and the jury has spoken.

      • ElizabethGS says:

        @Jennifer Sauer: “stop trying to make this about race and gender’, you say? Wha??? What on earth could it be about if NOT race and gender! I am ALSO a white woman. The difference is that I am fully aware of what goes on in jury rooms. While I originally had absolute faith in the fairness of a jury of my own peers –to see through George Zimmerman’s lies from day one, because it was eminently clear that HE was the accoster and not the one attacked. His story, along with those tiny little marks on his head which should have been bleeding PROFUSELY if he indeed had his head ‘bashed into concrete’ as his tale was told and retold and sold, and most likely actually occurred by a slip on wet grass, injuring his own head on a sprinkler or some stones. But no, no commonsense was to be had from this jury of white FLORIDA women–the kind who find it necessary to hide behind gated communities and ‘stand your ground’ laws. I had never before realized just how ‘southern racist’ is the prevailing attitude in Florida and thank my lucky stars I haven’t succumbed to the pressure of friends and family to move there. Zimmerman, the felon with a record was given a pass for MURDER while the besmirched 17yr old –purely because of the colour of his skin, was tossed away as trash. Yet you think this verdict ‘fair’? Pah.

      • Frances Morey says:

        The part Hispanic woman on the jury made her George Zimmerman’s peer. Trayvon Martin had no peers at all on the jury. I hope there is a civil trial so Zimmerman is called to testify. It would be nice to hear him explain his actions, one more time.

    • Even if the jurors were black they still would be bound by oaths like it or not

  3. Didn’t we already see a variation on this trope during the 2008 democratic primaries? I felt as though white women– especially these “old school” white women who bore the brunt of some of the bitterest injustices of life before the women’s liberation movement– couldn’t really come to grips with the way black women flocked to nominate Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton. What about feminism? A lot of black women are strong feminists, of course, but their experience as women is both very, very different and largely unacknowledged by the mainstream culture. From the beginning a lot of black women could not see themselves in Clinton at all, but especially not when her campaign started going negative in racially-coded ways.

    When the gloves were off in the primaries, the white privilege was invoked. There seemed to be an expectation, though I never heard it consciously articulated, that it was white *women’s* turn to exercise that privilege– it wasn’t just for men– this was *their* moment, and those blacks, including their would-be sisters in the struggle, had somehow jumped ahead of them in the pecking order.

  4. um…impassioned article but there are too many assumptions. First, you use a lot of quotations to highlight some of the hyperbole used…are those actual quotes from defense or are they your words? I’ve don’t think it’s appropriate to try and misrepresent the words of the defense and thoughts of the jury by saying “This is what they thought and said” when it’s not what they said and you don’t know what they thought.

    Overall though…it’s very passionate and I like that, but I can’t agree with is that the article boils down a Not Guilty verdict to essentially— These women should know better because they are mothers. Where is the empathy? Oh wait, they are white so they agree with white supremacy and lack compassion over all other things. Agree to disagree. If so, I have you imagine you would think that if there were African American jurors they would have instinctviely and automatically voted Guilty. I think that’s wrong. That’s not the system we have.

  5. dolores sandoval, Ph.D. says:

    The designation of Hispanic, and I would posit especially so in Florida, conjures up a category of folks bent on “passing.”
    There are still perks associated with skin colour that are as ingrained as the proverbial house slave and field slave differentiations.
    Hispanics are the house slaves whereas Latinos are the field hands. The first Cuban refugees flew in with a tan, not a burn. They
    were welcomed and immediately seen as economic assets. Later boat folk got darker and by the time the Francophone Haitians
    arrived with a burn, they were put in holding camps, i.e. penitentiaries, even though their ancestors had fought in the Revolutionary
    War in the South against the British.
    In the Black community we speak of “the touch of the brush” indicating some African blood somewhere. In the Hispanic community
    their touch of the brush would be Eurocentric-White, which they jealously guard. That touch of the White brush is shown in the
    designation in Europe of the “PIGS.” Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain. With the economic slowdown the Irish were added to the PIGS.
    But remember the “Black Irish?”
    Some of us grew up with, “If you’re black stay back; if you’re brown stick around; if you’re yellow you’re mellow; if you’re white you’re alright.

    Thank you Prof. Hobson and “Mizscarlettsmammy” for the white women in packs caution. Oh, yeah!

  6. Janet Hover says:

    This MS article is nuanced, well reasoned, and convincing. One can see this when the white feminist Northern movement agreed to side with White feminists after the Civil War so long, the Southern women insisted, that African American feminist were not included. Frances Harper had to walk at the BACK of the parade of feminists during a post-reconstruction feminist event, so as to ensure she would not be identified with the white feminists. I had not thought of the feminization of the criminal, and that is one of the epiphanies that responsible feminisms offer us. This is a pristine article with persuasive and convincing points. Thank you for writing it. I had not found one just like it, and I will use it with my undergrad and graduate students.

  7. Janell Hobson says:

    Fran, yes, those were actual quotes from the defense, and yes, Juror B37 did refer to Trayvon Martin and Rachel Jeantel as “these people.”

    It’s interesting to me, how “racial profiling” was not supposed to come up in this case yet, when one looks at how the defense framed the case, Trayvon Martin was, in effect, “racially profiled.”

    But that’s the cleverness of how we talk about race and white supremacy these days. Never say the word “race” but, you know, we’ll slip it in (another one of those “dog whistle” things, I suppose?).

    • i think your point about the cleverness of how we talk about race and white supremacy these days is worth a phd. thesis. not by me. maybe you’ll write it.

      the long history, beginning with the 1971 lewis powell memo, the diabolical geniuses paul weyrich/terry dolan/richard viguerie who re conformed electoral politics, and continuing through frank luntz, who invented such terms as “climate change” to mean global warming, the right — white patriarchy — has been working since nixon to own the political agenda through re-conforming the language and sticking to talking points. serious matter.

      the rest of this is wonderful too. the whole protection of white womanhood thing — is what you tell the boys to get them to win the football game or to invade iraq. or troy. principled feminist pacifism is a huge part of this response. thx.

  8. Janell Hobson says:

    Thank you, Dolores Sandoval and Janet Hover, for your insightful comments. When you bring up the racialized history of “Hispanics” I was reminded of a whole other conversation on race that we’re not having.

  9. Thank you so much for this analysis. I didn’t know about the ‘feminization of the criminal’ strategy that you describe, but the fact that Zimmerman was referred to as a “Mr. Softy,” as you mention, makes it clear. I also agree that if the jury had contained more men, Zimmerman would never have been referred to in this way. Different strategies for different folks, right? And strategies only work if the underpinnings of bias are there in people so that they can be successfully manipulated. Your article reminds me how underground the national discussion about race and gender are. The defense evoked gender and race in specific ways in order to win their case, meanwhile, just the other night, I watched an African American journalist/commentator on CNN discuss the verdict and you could tell how careful she felt she had to be, how studiously she avoided saying anything overtly race related. White allies need to speak out more. We need to talk about how we benefit from our cultural/class/skin and other privileges while at the same time working to dismantle them.

    • ElizabethGS says:

      @Leslie: some of us do! On Huffpost since the very beginning of the terrible murder of this young kid there has been an ongoing dialogue with those of us supporting his family and making it clear just HOW much we wanted a murder trial vastly outweighing the (often) very racist and occasionally plainly vicious comments (always anonymous) posted by those who thought of that 17yr old as a ‘thug’ purely because he was having some disciplinary problems –which his mother was taking steps to correct. I even heard the same sort of rhetoric from people I know–getting into loud and often very confrontational arguments with them, when I reminded them of their own teenage years and their own days of skipping school–their boasts of ‘trying pot’ back then–were they ‘thugs’? Did they deserve to be executed for walking where someone decided they shouldn’t? Yet somehow, things that seem to be a rite of passage for most teenagers since the 1940’s is now laid at the feet of a murder VICTIM in an attempt to make him out to be deSERVING(?) of his own murder? The idea that anyone I know could think this way leaves me shaken and disgusted. This was a happy, smiling NORMAL 17yr old youth–cut down for absolutely NO reason whatsoever, except–his skin colour –and because a paranoid and delusional self-appointed ‘watchman’ decided ‘there’s something wrong with him’. Those are George Zimmerman’s words–caught on tape forever, along with his ‘these a##holes always get away’ and his ‘f***ing punks’ as he flung himself out of his vehicle to chase after Trayvon Martin. How could ANY JURY not find him guilty when his own words showed his state of mind? He wasn’t going to let THIS kid he’d already judged, ‘get away’. I’m so honestly disgusted with the women on that jury.

      • Frances Morey says:

        I could not understand why the prosecution didn’t drive home the point that Zimmerman judged, convicted and executed the young man for being the criminal he imagined him to be. That was the crime. Self defense, fists against a gun–nah, guilty next case. The women on the jury who owned guns, or lived with someone who had guns, who may have had memberships in the NRA were blind to the inequality in this situation. Whether or not the defense brought up the Stand Your Ground laws, adamantly denied by the defense lawyers as coming to bear of this case, they played into the jury’s decision. That was admitted by the vocal juror on CNN. That law was as taken for granted as much as the fact that someone with George Zimmerman’s lack of good judgement could go around armed.

        And I am a white longtime, anti-racist activist & feminist.
        Feel very very foolish for thinking that MOTHERS would feel protective of Trayvon Martin and NOT buy Zimmerman’s nonsense defense. I think white women have much of their (legitamate) FEARS OF VIOLENCE BY MEN channelled/misdirected into ONE “source”–men of color, ESPECIALLY Black men—even though the MAJORITY of men who would comit violence against white women are WHITE men, many of them WHITE men we know.

  10. It is my understanding that black males basically threw women under the bus in order to win their voting rights, but the victory was hollow. What had been solidarity between women and blacks now became a point of contention. It is unfortunate.

    It is my view that when women have equal rights and equal respect, most of the racial issues will disintegrate on their own. It is this white, male, profit-driven juggernaut that keeps us at each other, instead of standing with each other.

    I am surprised at the opinions of people in my community, very focused on Trayvon’s drug use, etc., as a justification. Personally, I think the prosecution blew it and allowed a travesty of justice.

  11. Robert Haile says:

    I am a white male, born in Australia and living in the USA since age 16. Yes, Australia does have an ugly history of white racist crimes against the Australian Black race, of which I only learned here in my 50’s. The people who committed those crimes were not me, most likely not even related to me. I am horrified by those Australian crimes and equally horrified that an American vigilante, Mr Zimmerman, could be acquitted for chasing a black teenager down , who was only carrying candy, and shoot him to death. of course Trayvon Martin fought him; he was fighting for his own life when a white stranger was chasing him down with a gun in Travon’s own neighborhood. It makes me sick to hear how Zimmerman’s lawyers played games with the jury and the law. We need properly trained police officers, not armed vigilantes.

    • Frances Morey says:

      I don’t think that Trayvon Martin was aware of the gun until it went off and the bullet entered his chest. He had that much street smarts, that you don’t take a knife to a gunfight, speaking in the vernacular. He would have acted quite differently if he had known about the gun. That bit about his “reaching” for it as alleged by Zimmerman was made up as an additional excuse for his self defense guise.

  12. Nora Edwards says:

    Had Trayvon been a pretty white girl who was skilled in fighting, and had she turned to face Zimmerman, he would have shot her and not been convicted.
    If we don’t broaden resistance to stereotypes we will never get past this point.

    • ElizabethGS says:

      @Nora Edwards: re your claim that if Trayvon had been a pretty white girl who had fought back and shot by Zimmerman he would not have been convicted….

      Sorry, but do you exist in some parallel universe to ours? Zimmerman would NEVER have a) followed and stalked a ‘pretty white girl’ (well, perhaps he would have but not because he thought of her as a criminal!)
      b) IF she’d ‘fought back’ once he’d accosted her and if he’d shot her through the heart the same way he did with Trayvon Martin, you can be DAMN SURE he’d have been face down in the dirt and handcuffed by the first officers on the scene!

      There would have been no question about ‘stand your ground’ laws, any REMOTE idea of him having ‘a right’ to shoot her with his tiny little cuts on his head because he (at the time) was a 204 lb male who was ARMED against an unarmed juvenile –male OR female!

      c) there would have been NO courtesies extended to him before or AT the police station–regardless of his Father’s friendship with the Police Lieutenant, and in no way would there have been the kind of casual conversation which took place (captured on video) occurring between the two officers and him –not remotely an interrogation if his victim was an underage white female.

      Surely you jest. Either you’re being sarcastic which is falling flat, or you’re so far into a dream world of obliviousness re the obvious racism directed at and profiling of Trayvon Martin you’ll simply never get it.

  13. Thanks for lumping all us white women together.

  14. I can’t get used to “hispanics” to designate all people from “latin america”since half of Latin America speaks Portuguese, one of the 5 Latin languages.
    Also, I believe that choosing wemin for the jury was a very strategic political ploy besides the points brought up in the article. As resulted, wemin are easier to manipulate in situations like that, assuming that they were chosen because they themselves fit a stereotype of clueless, uniformed, tending to see others that are “different” as “those people”. Going off on a limb, I wouldn’t be surprised if those wemin were somehow “produced” by the attorneys for the purpose of getting the wanted results. I can’t think of what would surprise me these days… Sadly…

    • ElizabethGS says:

      @MsR: George Zimmerman’s father specifically continued to refer to his own son as ‘hispanic’ from the very beginning. He has never once called him ‘German’ or ‘White’, yet I believe that is Robert Zimmerman’s genetic background. It’s extremely weird imho for a father to refer to his own son that way.

      • um, it’s “weird” for the father to say that? Techincally, GZ is Hispanic. So are you saying his mom can only refer to him as Hispanic and his dad must refer to his as white? Offensive indeed.

    • Frances Morey says:

      Yes the defense picked them with as much canny insight as OJ’s lawyers did. The way juror B37 spoke of George by his first name, as if they were old friends, was very telling of how the defense played their jurors into thinking of him as a harmless poobah.

  15. Mr Zimmerman is Hispanic and white just like Obama is white and black…when we reduce people to only one race _white male evil-we reduce ourselves….Many Hispanics have had to work hard for rights as well and in the GOP they are compared to donkeys…Thats pretty insulting I think. Hispanics fought and died along side whites at the Alamo but that is forgotton history. HIspanic men and women worked hard and still do to make the US a good place to live for all. Its not all black and white ,people!!!Men walk and women do prison for self defense. We should be outraged when 6 year old girls are killed but no one is talking about the 6 year old cute girl who was killed in NOLA and found in a trash can… why not? She is black and so is her killer. White on white crime makes the news,HIspanic on black crime makes the news,hispanic on hispanic crime does not,black on black does not,males raping women does not. we should be marching about the rape rate in the US,and the amount of young blacks being killed by blacks,or women being killed by men-and walking even after being caught!!!

  16. Amy Scanlon says:

    I think one big overlooked factor here is the Southern tolerance for vigilantism, or taking the law into one’s own hands. Neither gender nor “race” can tell the whole story.
    In many other parts of the country, people across the board would never accept such a loose definition of “self-defense” and the part about Zimmerman being told by a cop not to pursue the kid, would have been FATAL to any claims of self defense.

    One thing about not getting the vote after the 15th ammendment. There were “white” women who continued to lobby for the vote and those who supported the KKK-often without ever having supported it in the first place. This was NOT distributed equally across the US as a whole. Because regional division that have ALWAYS had a starring role in American politics. And these differences involve very deep attitudes towards gender, family, force, law and order, war, money, civil society, education, and so much more.
    SOUTHERN “white” women were likely to support the KKK, because they were part of that Southern culture. Their support for women’s vote tended to be low, and their priorities rather different from Northern feminists.
    And it wasn’t just “black” women who were more likely to work outside the home despite being less educated……it was also their Northern counterparts and the daughters of more recent immigrants.
    Also these regionalism tend to predict support and opposition to most of America’s wars (the big exceptions being the Revolution, WWII, and the Northern side of the Civil) among both women and men of all “races”.

    • I think the South does have far more tolerance for vigilantism.
      The more common “vigilante” is the cop on the street who has virtual IMPUNITY. (Shoot or beat someone up—even kill them–and your “punishment” tends to be “suspension”–DAYS OFF WITH PAY while an “investigation” is carried out. In all other jobs DAYS OFF WITH PAY are calleed a VACATION! Which is a REWARD NOT A PUNISHMENT)

      POLICE SHOORTINGS/TASERING/BEATING TO DEATH KILLINGS happen across the country. As a former Texan now in Minnesota, I ahve seen NO DIFFERENCE in police brutality in either state.
      However, fact is, Stand Your Ground laws are now in (at least) 26 states—-which is far more than the Southern states.
      Racism is a national problem that it seems the majority of my fellow white people refuse to face and address.

  17. It didn’t surprise me one bit that a jury of white females and a so-called Hispanic female found Zimmerman not guilty. The bottom line is that there is no such thing as ‘biological determinism’ and there never was, not when white skin privilege is on the line. Nor was there any empathy among them as mothers and as women, for Sybrina Fulton, Travon’s mother. Why not? Because it doesn’t exist. This is the main reason why white women, imo, are not dependable. The pull of white supremacy is simply too strong for them to resist.

    • White skin privilege? GZ isn’t white.

      • It doesn’t matter if GZ is not physically a ‘white’ person. He shares the stereotypical mindset of some whites regarding young black men. He profiled Travon because of what others had done and decided to take the law into his own hands, in spite of being told to stay in his vehicle. Even if what he thought about Travon was true, it was not up to him to be his judge, jury and executioner. That man deliberately murdered an unarmed teenager who was not bothering him or anyone else, and had the nerve to hide behind his religion and claim that what he chose to do was ‘God’s will’.

  18. I think this case (according to many who posted here) has given the new definition of jury of peers:

    If Defendant is african american, then the jury must be African American because only African Americans can relate/judge African Americans

    If the Defendant is white, Hispanic, Asian, etc, then the Jury composition doesn’t matter.

    Doesn’t anyone think this is racist to say???

  19. D Campbell says:

    I don’t understand the makeup of the jury. I thought a jury (especially in a capital crime) is to be composed of 12 people, and should be a reflection of the community. How does Florida get away with having a jury of only 6, all of them women, hardly of jury of the victim’s (or even the defendant’s) peers?
    It seems to me that the makeup of this jury should make any verdict suspect. Where is the justice in this?

    • Apparently in Florida only six members are required for a jury in certain cases. Furthermore, the victim was not supposed to be on trial, the defendant was. But since the entire case was corrupted by racism from the very beginning (in other words, it was a sham), it looked and sounded like Travon Martin was on trial. Finally, this jury was definitely suspect because of the fact that several of them were for a Murder two charge or manslaughter, but somehow, some way, they all came to a unanimous decision that Zimmerman was not guilty.

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