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Trayvon Martin and implicit bias

August 3, 2013

by Eva Paterson

As we continue to struggle with the verdict in this murder case – as the only juror of color states that George Zimmerman “got away with murder” and as the nation lurches through yet another tragic episode that forces us to deal with our racial legacy – new ways of viewing race are surfacing.

Mt.+Zion+High+School+students+‘I+am+Trayvon’+mass+march+Atlanta+032612+by+Aspen+Evans,+web
Like Trayvon, these Atlanta teenagers know the pain and danger of being seen as threatening and suspicious – just because they’re Black. They were part of an “I am Trayvon” mass march on March 26, 2012. – Photo: Aspen Evans
Commentators suggest that the Department of Justice will have a difficult time prosecuting George Zimmerman because it will be nearly impossible to show that the shooting was motivated by racial animus in an intentional manner.

As I listen to these discouraging words, I think of psychological concepts articulated by Charles Lawrence, a legal scholar whom I greatly admire.

Several decades ago in his ground breaking article, “The Id, the Ego, and Equal Protection: Reckoning with Unconscious Racism,” Lawrence asserted that much of racial bias operates out of our conscious mind/brain. Mankind is hard wired to make split-second decisions based on limited information.

Early man and woman when seeing a form coming towards them from afar had to think: “Is that Uncle Leo or a saber toothed tiger?” Making the correct decision was a matter of life and death.

I have read that the brain processes 400 billion bits of information a second, but we are only aware of 2,000 of those. We do not have time to sort through and analyze all this information, so our brain and mind takes shortcuts.

Stereotypes

Stereotypes are a way for the brain to take shortcuts. If the object coming towards pre-historic man or woman was only a couple of feet high, it was more than likely a tiger and not Uncle Leo. The fact that the object coming might be a short person or a child gets factored out because of the pressure of having to make a quick decision.

In the Trayvon Martin murder trial, the defense consciously or unconsciously used stereotypes about young Black men to great advantage. The infamous Juror B-37 said that Zimmerman was not racially profiling young Trayvon but was merely profiling him based on the fact that Black men had been involved with burglaries in that neighborhood.

One way to activate stereotypes in the brain is through “priming.” I am an attorney and not a psychologist, but my understanding of priming is that you evoke certain images that trigger a cascade of associations.

By showing Trayvon bare chested, the defense primed the jurors to think of him as a dangerous Black man. Social science research indicates that many white Americans associate Black faces with criminality and aggression.

Many Black men, including the president of the United States and Questlove, have come forward with heartbreaking stories of how they are viewed as threatening by their mere presence. Talk with any Black man in this country and he will have a story that tracks this perspective.

Devastating social science research

Social scientists have been studying these issues for decades. Unconscious bias. Implicit bias. We are learning that we all have biases about many things.

These views are often outside of our conscious minds. There is an important study called “Are Jamal and Lakeisha as Employable as Brandon and Emily.” The authors of the study took identical resumes and put Black sounding names at the top of one set of resumes and white sounding names at the top of the second set.

The resumes with white sounding names got more call backs and offers of employment. When the qualifications of the applicants with Black sounding names were more stellar than the qualifications of the applicants with white sounding names, the whites still fared better.

Social scientists have been studying these issues for decades. Unconscious bias. Implicit bias. We are learning that we all have biases about many things.

Yet, if you asked the decision-makers if they harbored racial prejudice, they would assert – and believe in their hearts of hearts – that they were colorblind. They would tell you about their Black friends. They would accuse you of being overly sensitive. They would assert that we have a Black president and that we are in post-racial America. They would tell you that they are tired of talking about race and that if you pesky Black folks would just stop harping on perceived injustice, the problem would go away.

I heard that a poll taken this week indicates that white folks by 54 percent feel that race relations are just fine. Only 19 percent of Black folks agreed! This is more evidence that we live in at least two radically different realities.

George Zimmerman and implicit bias

There is an amazing video that my new friend, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Bennett (Northern District of Iowa), shared with a number of us who attended a mind science conference at Northwestern University’s Law School this past April.

The premise is as follows. There is a bicycle chained to a fence. Three different individuals openly and quite brazenly use bolt cutters to try to cut the chain and take the bike. These three individuals assert that the bike is not theirs, but they want it.

The first scenario involves a young white man. He is asked questions about what he is doing by passersby. He boldly states that the bike is not his but that he wants it. Many people stop by.

The second scenario involves a Black man. Within moments, passersby are calling the police, are taking his picture with their smart phones and are generally quite vocal in expressing their dismay at this criminal behavior.

The last bicycle thief is an attractive white woman. Not only are there no calls to the police, but some men actually stop to help her “liberate” the bike, much to the chagrin of their girlfriends. This experiment speaks to how our internalized views of Black folks as opposed to how we see white folks color our reactions.

This reality was at play that dreadful night when George Zimmerman murdered young Trayvon Benjamin Martin, as his dear mother calls him. “Those f—king punks get away with it all the time.” His stereotypes about young Black men were triggered.

The jurors were primed to agree with this. The fear that many white people have about Black men was triggered and given credence. The judge handcuffed the prosecution by not allowing obvious racial profiling to be part of the analysis of the case.

The prosecution was more accustomed to dealing with Black defendants and was not equipped to adequately prosecute the case. Their handling of the testimony of the teenager Rachel Jeantel evidenced unfamiliarity with Black folks and how we sometime communicate.

Can the Department of Justice make it right?

To come full circle, I wonder if the Department of Justice can introduce notions of implicit bias to explain why George Zimmerman’s actions were motivated by negative views of Black people.

This is obviously a new area of law, but it tracks how racism plays out in the 21st century. One commentator described the current state of affairs as “racism without racists.” No one thinks they have any racial animus anymore. This is a good thing. We are at the place in our development as people where most people think that racism is a bad thing. The sad reality is that structural racism and racial bias still exist.

I wonder if the Department of Justice can introduce notions of implicit bias to explain why George Zimmerman’s actions were motivated by negative views of Black people.

I do not have expertise in how to plead and prove a case against Mr. Zimmerman using implicit bias concepts, but I feel it would be helpful for the body politic to have to face how racism manifests itself today.

Tony West, our good Bay Area brother, was confirmed yesterday as associate attorney general. I will be in touch with him about this approach.

Debiasing: a ray of hope

My organization, the Equal Justice Society, has been fortunate enough to be part of two very important gatherings focusing on mind science – one at Harvard Law and the other at Northwestern Law.

Eva Jefferson Paterson, web
Eva Jefferson Paterson
We learned that social scientists, including Dr. Trish Devine at the University of Wisconsin and Dr. Nilanga Dasgupta at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, are working on ways for us to rewire our brains so that we do not make decisions based on stereotypes and implicit bias.

My friends, the therapist Mara Romanak and her husband Paul, gave me “The Brain That Changes Itself,” a book by Dr. Norman Doidge. The book talks of the neuroplasticity of the brain and gives examples of how people’s brains and minds have been rewired and have overcome physical problems. If the brain is this agile in the physical realm, I am confident that we can rewire our brains and minds to view all people in more objective ways that involve less unacknowledged bias.

Ever the optimist, I feel we can heal ourselves of this racial sickness.

Onward.

Eva Paterson is president and co-founder of the Equal Justice Society. Now in its 13th year, the Equal Justice Society is a national legal organization focused on restoring constitutional safeguards against discrimination. Our goal is to help achieve a society where race is no longer a barrier to opportunity. Specifically, EJS is working to fully restore the constitutional protections of the 14th Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause by replacing the Intent Doctrine with a Disparate Impact standard that addresses contemporary forms of racism. Learn more at equaljusticesociety.org.

 

44 thoughts on “Trayvon Martin and implicit bias

  1. NoColorAllHuman

    He wasn't calling them punks because he was black. He called them punks because they broke in and stole. Et he was calling all the criminals punks. I agree. All criminals are punks. Trayvon just happened to be black.The US isn't stuck in the past. All the paranoid people pulling the race card are the ones stuck in the past. Peace.

    Reply
    1. NoColorAllHuman

      Someone up to no good can be ANY color. A troublemaker can be any color. A guy ACTING suspicious can be any color. Someone who is getting high and getting supsende can be ANY color. All those categories can be a F$CKin Punk…… trayvon just happened to be black.
      Zimmerman NEVER used a racial slur.
      Peace everyone. Think like a human being, not as a color.

      Reply
      1. Kambon

        Your ability to read is faulty. Listen carefully to the police transcripts again. Some people are even foolish enough to say that it isn't against the law to follow someone…Hopefully you don't have any children. Because if something likes this ever happens to one of your kids, you will feel just like Trayvon Martin's family – regardless as to your silly assertions about color blindness. It always fascinates me how people can pretend to be so liberal and completely miss the elephant in the room…racism and its roots and origins.

        Reply
    2. Kambon

      Wrong. He was calling them punks because he stalks Blacks. Black males in particular. Now he's gotten away with murder. He will do this again. Watch.

      Reply
  2. P. Stephens-FL

    Eva…

    Have you ever had a rash of break-ins in your community? If you have, then the perps of the crimes (in your mind) are most likely "Those f—king punks [that] get away with it all the time…". I am so sick and tired of hearing Black people whine about how Zimmerman should have been hung out to dry when all he was doing was looking out for his fellow neighbors and things got out of control. Yes, he used poor judgement when he continued to follow Martin after being told to stop. But Martin's actions – Returning from the back-yard of his Father's home to find and confront Zimmerman and then escalate the situation to a point where there is a physical altercation between them is inexcusable. Why did this "child" (who by the way is old enough to serve in the Military and drive an automobile on public roadways) and had in his possession, two of the three ingredients to make "Purple Drank", leave the safety of his Father's property to return looking for a fight? Why was he out wandering around a neighborhood unfamiliar to him (during the time when homes were being burglarized by young Black males) without adult supervision? Why was he so "out of control" that his own Mother couldn't deal with his behavior any longer and sent him to live with his Father? Why, why, why? Too many unanswered questions… Zimmerman has been found innocent of the charges brought against him in a court of law… Stop trying to portray him as some racist trigger-happy lunatic and let him be. All of the articles and opinions like yours do is inflame the true racists… Person's of color looking (and spoiling) for a fight with any white person who might offend them in some form or fashion… You and the Popular Press have been on a crusade to turn this incident into a Race War… Stop it! Stop justifying Martin's bad decisions and behavior on ZImmerman… Martin was well underway to becoming one of the " f—king punks" that Zimmerman was referring to (anyone who is too lazy to go out and earn a living but steals instead, is generally disrespectful of lawful authority and adult figures, and/or feels some entitlement to another person's possessions because they are Great-Great-Great Grandchildren of a slave…) I am sick to death of hearing about "racial profiling"… Look at the statistics of who commits the vast majority of crimes in the US… Surprise… Black Males between the ages of 15-25… I got that from the DOJ Criminal Statistics for 2012 btw… Mindful of the fact that several armed BLACK men shot a baby in the face while robbing the mother at gun-point… That the New Black-Panthers (Now there is a racially unbiased group of folks if I ever heard of one…) offered money for the "capture" of George Zimmerman (dead or alive, might I add…) PUBLICLY without being subject to being arrested for making threats against this (then uncharged) individual… I could go on, but you see where this is going… I am just so tired of this " I am Black, therefore everyone is out to get me attitude… Get over it and move on with you lives!

    Reply
    1. Ann_Garrison

      Purple Drank? Are you outa your racist mind? He had a carbonated drink and some candy. The essential ingredient of Purple Drank is prescription strength cough medicine containing codeine and promethazine.

      Reply
  3. commen sense

    I wish people would get this upset over every death. Sad the only reason people care about this kid is because a black person didnt kill him.

    Reply
  4. Malaika H Kambon

    It’s fascinating that at this point – as of 3 August 2013 – every response to Eva Patterson’s article – except this one – is some tired rant or illogical version of whites telling AFRIKAN people to “just get over” some sick manifestation of white dysfunctional (i.e. racist) and/or other psychotic behavior and to “get on with our lives.”

    AFRIKANS globally, in the midst of increasing proof that whites not only believe and practice racial profiling and extrajudicial murder; but have written it into law.

    Proof of this resides in the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution among other places. Said amendment protects the U.S. governmental enslavement of AFRIKAN people in particular and everyone in general should they be convicted and sentenced to prison/jail for anything at all. This is done to protect and cover up the habitual thieving of and imperial expansion into the lands and lives of peoples of color.

    Whites have even proven willing to kill their own and cover up the execution, while in the midst of mindless criminal activity.

    Recall if you will, the story of Pat Tillman, the NFL football player turned soldier who was shot 3 times in the head from 10 yards away in Afghanistan in 2004 to prevent him from returning home an anti-war political icon.

    The execution was ordered by top Army brass, who then concocted a phony ‘friendly fire’ story, which his parents and friends thoroughly debunked and exposed to the world. There was no ‘friendly fire.’ There was only a murdering U.S. state department.

    Instances such as the Tillman murder by the U.S. government happen more often than people want to believe. Instances such as policemen who commit murder of family members and blame it on ‘gangs,’ corrupt police departments exposed; such as in Brooklyn by Frank Serpico and in Los Angeles by Christopher Dorner. Frank Serpico (who is white) is alive and continuing to expose police misconduct and raking in millions, while Christopher Dorner (who was Black) horribly executed on national television by his former ‘fellow officers.’

    I see no evidence that points to whites “getting over” their propensity for the extrajudicial killing of AFRIKANS.

    For evidence of this, view THE REAL NEWS Report on the Malcolm X Grassroots “Operation Ghetto Storm Report” that has documented the fact that every 28 hours an AFRIKAN person is killed by vigilantes, security guards, and/or wanna be cops http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=10065

    That is every 28 hours out of a 24 hours day.

    Lastly all of you racists responding to Eva Patterson’s article should read “Racism…the elephant in the room,” http://www.examiner.com/article/racism-the-elephant-the-room, by Phavia Kujichagulia – to get to know a bit more about your genetic sickness. OR – better yet – read the late Dr. Bobby E. Wright’s “The Psychopathic Racial Personality and other essays.”

    Trayvon Martin had a 3.7 GPA and wasn’t a thug. No surprise there, since AFRIKAN genius is the rule rather than the exception. This has been proven since the inception of hue-manity.

    In point of fact, AFRIKAN people were / are the original people on the planet. Specifically, if it wasn’t for us, there would be NO ONE else.

    So all of you racists, shut the **** up. Because even your racist thoughts – much like your actions – are representations of who you are, always have been, and always will be. You are the putrefaction and blight upon the world that is manifested by the many George Zimmermans of this world, and as such you are a planet wide dis-ease.

    You should be running. Run fast. Run right off of the edge of the planet Earth that your ignorant asses used to believe was flat; which is a mark of supreme ignorance that AFRIKAN people haven’t EVER suffered from.

    Run hard. Because karma is a b**ch and then you die.

    Reply
  5. serious2020

    It's fascinating that at this point – as of 3 August 2013 – every response to Eva Patterson's article – except this one – is some tired rant or illogical version of whites telling AFRIKAN people to "just get over" some sick manifestation of white dysfunctional (i.e. racist) and/or other psychotic behavior and to "get on with our lives."

    AFRIKANS globally know and can see that we are in the midst of increasing proof that whites not only believe and practice racial profiling and extrajudicial murder; but have written it into law.

    Proof of this resides in the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution among other places. Said amendment protects the U.S. governmental enslavement of AFRIKAN people in particular and everyone in general should they be convicted and sentenced to prison/jail for anything at all. This is done to protect and cover up the habitual thieving of and imperial expansion into the lands and lives of peoples of color.

    Whites have even proven willing to kill their own and cover up the execution, while in the midst of mindless criminal activity.

    Recall if you will, the story of Pat Tillman, the NFL football player turned soldier who was shot 3 times in the head from 10 yards away in Afghanistan in 2004 to prevent him from returning home an anti-war political icon.

    The execution was ordered by top Army brass, who then concocted a phony 'friendly fire' story, which his parents and friends thoroughly debunked and exposed to the world. There was no 'friendly fire.' There was only a murdering U.S. state department.

    Instances such as the Tillman murder by the U.S. government happen more often than people want to believe. Instances such as policemen who commit murder of family members and blame it on 'gangs,' corrupt police departments exposed; such as in Brooklyn by Frank Serpico and in Los Angeles by Christopher Dorner. Frank Serpico (who is white) is alive and continuing to expose police misconduct and raking in millions, while Christopher Dorner (who was Black) horribly executed on national television by his former 'fellow officers.'

    I see no evidence that points to whites "getting over" their propensity for the extrajudicial killing of AFRIKANS.

    For evidence of this fact review the history of the transcontinental enslavement of AFRIKAN people, and the subsequent Jim Crow laws.

    For more recent evidence of this fact, view THE REAL NEWS Report on the Malcolm X Grassroots "Operation Ghetto Storm Report" that has documented the fact that every 28 hours an AFRIKAN person is killed by vigilantes, security guards, and/or wanna be cops http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_co

    That is every 28 hours out of a 24 hours day.

    Lastly all of you racists responding to Eva Patterson's article should read "Racism…the elephant in the room," http://www.examiner.com/article/racism-the-elepha… by Phavia Kujichagulia – to get to know a bit more about your genetic sickness. OR – better yet – read the late Dr. Bobby E. Wright's "The Psychopathic Racial Personality and other essays."

    Trayvon Martin had a 3.7 GPA and wasn't a thug. No surprise there, since AFRIKAN genius is the rule rather than the exception. This has been proven since the inception of hue-manity.

    In point of fact, AFRIKAN people were / are the original people on the planet. Specifically, if it wasn't for us, there would be NO ONE else.

    So all of you racists, shut the **** up. Because even your racist thoughts – much like your actions – are representations of who you are, always have been, and always will be. You are the putrefaction and blight upon the world that is manifested by the many George Zimmermans that you spawn, and as such you are a planet wide dis-ease.

    You should be running. Run fast. Run right off of the edge of the planet Earth that your ignorant asses used to believe was flat; which is a mark of supreme ignorance that AFRIKAN people haven't EVER suffered from.

    Run hard. Because karma is a b**ch and then you die.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Thigpen

      Have all flights and ships to Africa been cancelled? If not, hop on board one and leave this "imperialist and racist" country that you despise. We won't stop you. Me? I'm glad my ancestors got on those ships. We're the richest, healthiest, best-fed Africans in the world.

      Reply
      1. Malaika H Kambon

        Neither myself, nor my Ancestors should have to leave what was built on our backs. I'm glad that you're happy and well fed. It is truly fascinating that you can be "happy and well fed" when 99% of us are not.

        Reply
        1. Tyrone Thigpen

          You're trying to claim that 99% of blacks in the USA aren't well-fed? Uncle Sam spends hundreds of billions a year just on Food Stamps, much less WIC, government cheese, food banks, supplemental foods, emergency foods and lots more. If you're not well-fed, that's on you, honey. Plus I've noticed that most people in this country (black, white, brown, purple polka-dot) are fatter than heck. How'd that happen? As to being happy, that's all about attitude, you're as happy as you want to be.

          Reply
    2. Selina

      "You should be running. Run fast. Run right off of the edge of the planet Earth that your ignorant asses used to believe was flat; which is a mark of supreme ignorance that AFRIKAN people haven't EVER suffered from.

      Run hard. Because karma is a b**ch and then you die. "—- LET TRUTH RING LOVE IT

      Reply
  6. Vet63

    Serious2020 You accuse others of illogical ranting and then proceed with a rant which takes illogical to new heights. You have chosen to ignore every know fact about the case and launch into a tirade of totally unrelated misstatements. There is no possible doubt that you are a devout racist and an ignorant bigot and liar.

    Reply
    1. Malaika H Kambon

      Is that the best that you can do, Vet63? I shouldn't even dignify your comment with a response, however, for the record, for shame. I'm not a racist. Don't even go there with me.

      Reply
    1. Malaika H Kambon

      A white guy named Zimmerman stalks Black guys on a daily basis, and has now run through Texas with a loaded gun and was stopped, given a slap on the wrist and allowed to continue. This happens daily.

      Reply
    2. Ann_Garrison

      John Mulligan, please read more carefully, instead of acting as judge and jury:

      "Police said one suspect was a black man wearing a green hooded sweatshirt and light-colored jeans."

      Reply
      1. John Mulligan

        More murder Ms. Garrison: http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Father-baby-s…. Black victims only. Most likely black shooters. No articles here expressing outrage. Why? The shooter wasn't a cop or a non-black person. It's hypocrisy, plain and simple. I think the comment about "judge and jury" is funny, considering you wouldn't accept the verdict even if there was one if the result didn't mesh with your political sensibilities. As you've expressed, Trayvon Martin was "executed," though there was no evidence of that whatsoever.

        Reply
      2. John Mulligan

        More murder Ms. Garrison: http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Father-baby-s…. Black victims only. Most likely black shooters. No articles here expressing outrage. Why? The shooter wasn't a cop or a non-black person. It's hypocrisy, plain and simple. I think the comment about "judge and jury" is funny, considering you wouldn't accept the verdict even if there was one if the result didn't mesh with your political sensibilities. As you've expressed, Trayvon Martin was "executed," though there was no evidence of that whatsoever.

        Reply
        1. Ann_Garrison

          Violence within the Black community is a terrible problem and I don't think anyone denies it. Donald Lacey wrote about it here in the Bay View, in another essay on Trayvon's murder:

          "And as much as I HATE to agree with the far right, one thing during this ordeal they got right is the fact Blacks kill Blacks, kill Blacks, all night and not one protestor in sight. But I digress about another mess while I’m getting things off my chest. I too have lost a child to guns and the experience blocked out the sun. As I looked at her lifeless form, as she perished in a bullet storm – seven to be exact. So I know how Trayvon’s parents feel; it’s the most excruciating ordeal. Words will never describe how I feel … after seeing my daughter’s lifeless form. But sadly in our community this has become the norm."

          Reply
          1. John Mulligan

            Ms. Garrison,

            Your response proves the point. The author of that poem, or song, whatever it is, wrote it because of the Zimmerman case. He hasn't written a thing on this website that I've seen discussing black crime. Nothing on this website deals with that issue. Never has. This website focuses on inmates in prison and any situation where a black person may have been killed by a cop or a non-black person. This website also opposes gang injunctions and any other kind of police response to black crime. Think on that.

    1. Kambon

      Even if this is true, he is still a murderer. And had he 'announced' his alleged Black ancestry prior to the trial he'd now be under the electric chair, instead of free as the breeze to do as he pleases.

      Reply
  7. concerned

    I'm white and I've had people locking their car doors as I walked past them, clutch their purses and move away from me. Far from being worth trying to guilt people about.

    Reply
  8. concerned

    I'd say 'serious2020's' post is about the most racist thing I"ve seen in my life and the kind of thinking that drives murder and genocide.

    Reply
  9. lois phillips

    How many hundred more blacks will kill blacks this year and not a word from Jackson or Sharpton? In Chicago alone the numbers are beyond belief and until the black communities start to mature and raise their own children in families with a mother and a father the cycle will repeat itself forever. It is time the black community accept this responsibility that it has caused it's own problems with their own lack of action when it comes to dealing with crime and fatherless families.

    Reply
    1. Kambon

      Another stupid same old same old type of argument whenever it is noted that every 28 hours a wanna be cop, vigilante, or so called security person murders a Black person. Mature? Accept murdering, racist cops? You should read a bit more before you speak.

      Reply
  10. Justa Human

    Dear Eva, if this theory is true, bias can not be overcome and transcending racism is impossible. Ultimately this would require us to discount the validity of any judgement or witness made across racial boundaries. No white person's statement about a black person could be free from taint, nor could any black person's observation on the motives of a white person be free of the black perspective. Furthermore if the true race of a person is not known, their veracity can not be determined.

    Certainly it also seems from the historic record this bias could be endlessly redefined based on any trivial distinction, gender, hair color, family origin, clothing…ultimately any form of "otherness". How could we accept the authority of anyone different from us as an objective authority?

    Therefore there would be no basis for any dialogue or rapprochement between races. Why bother? Everything is a lie. There will be no coming, ever, of a day when children "live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

    All of the good works of the past by people of good will would be rendered irrelevant and diminished because they could not have acted across those boundaries of racial bias in good will, it must have been something else…So no credible evidence can be offered in counterexample to refute this theory of yours.

    When a theory discounts any method of refutation, this does not make it true. This theory makes the truth irrelevant.

    Therefore it can not set you free.

    Reply
  11. Thomas Stratford

    Wow another ill read ignoramus, and black race pimp chimes in, about poor Saint Skittles the drug addled, thieving thug…how unique!

    Reply
    1. Ann_Garrison

      Saint Skittles? Trayvon Martin was a kid, coming home from the store. That's no crime, but he was executed for it.

      I haven't heard anyone say Trayvon was a saint. He was a kid. He didn't steal anything. He was coming home from the store.

      His mother said, "Trayvon may not have been perfect, but he was mine." A few suspensions from school do not justify the death penalty.

      Reply
  12. gah

    Black men between 17 and 30 represent about 3 or 4 percent of the population of the US, but commit half of all violent crime, murder, rape and armed robbery. That's why most people, including most blacks, are suspicious of all those who fit into that category. Surf the net sometime, and look at crime stories from around the country, and you'll find dozens of new stories every day about murders, rapes and robberies committed by this demographic.

    Reply
  13. Ed

    When initially spotted by George Zimmerman, Trayvon was looking into the windows of a recently burglarized condo at 111 Retreat view, belonging to Frank Taaffe. At night. In the rain.

    Trayvon Martin was six foot two inches tall, and lean. Before George Zimmerman ever got close enough to pick out Trayvon Martin's skin tone, he had already "profiled" Martin as not being Frank Taaffe. Who you really thinks George should have thought "Damn, Frank just grew a head taller than me, and look how fit he is now."

    You have to leave out a lot of the facts to try to shoehorn this case into something racial

    George Zimmerman's mom Gladys Zimmerman is a quarter black and three quarters Peruvian. She is much darker than Barack Obama. In addition to raising her two sons, she took two African American girls into her home and George Zimmerman was raised with these girls as defacto sisters. Zimmerman isn't white and he wasn't brought up to hate other people for also not being white.

    Reply
    1. kambon

      Odd. This wasn't mentioned at the trial.

      Arguments such as this sound like excuses for ignoring systemic racism.

      Quarter this, 3/4s that is the usual method of enslavers categorizing captured AFRIKANS.

      Next we'll hear that some of your best friends are Black, Ed.

      Shame, shame!

      Reply
  14. Oh really?

    Thirteen murders in this Parish this year so far. (Used to be 6 per year).

    "Brandon Braxton and Nathis Burl, both 18, were arrested Thursday and booked on charges of second-degree murder, conspiracy to second-degree murder and obstruction of justice, according to St. John the Baptist Sheriff Mike Tregre."
    http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2013/08/2_arr

    Reply
  15. Sheriff says

    Sheriff opines after the 10th murder…

    "Sheriff Michael Tregre said it's troubling to see the number of slayings in his parish reach a new level.

    "We're solving cases, but we're not solving the problem," said Tregre.

    The parish averages six murders a year, Tregre said. There were a total of 10 in 2012. By May 2013, the department is already working to solve a 10th murder.

    "I don't know exactly what the answer is to stop this type of violence. I mean, all these murders I've had this year are all young black males all shot to death," Tregre said.

    Tregre said deputies have seen distinctive patterns and trends with each murder.

    "I have physical evidence that's starting to show me that a certain group of individuals in St. John Parish are responsible for the majority of the violent crime in St. John Parish," said Tregre.

    Tregre said the majority of the slayings are not random and appear to be gang- or turf-related. He explained that young people from LaPlace don't like those from Reserve and vice versa.

    "A lot of the cases we're working, the victim and the suspect knew each other and may have been related to each other in some of the cases," Tregre said."
    http://m.wdsu.com/news/sheriffs-office-16yearold-

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