Dear Commons Community,
Charles Blow has a fine column in today’s New York Times commenting on the Trayvon Martin case. He expresses concern that it may produce another O.J. Simpson moment in America. Blacks and whites will line up on one side or another. He references a recent Gallop poll detailing divergent racial views of the Martin case.
“The USA Today/Gallup poll found that most blacks believe that George Zimmerman, the Hispanic man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, a black teenager, in what he claims was an act of self-defense, is definitely guilty of a crime. It also found that nearly three-fourths of blacks believe that racial bias was a major factor in the shooting, and the events that led up to it, and that Zimmerman would have been arrested if he had shot a white person. On all these measures, nonblacks were more reticent. Only 11 percent believed that Zimmerman was definitely guilty, while most said that the case was unclear or they had no opinion. Only about a third believed that racial bias was a factor or that Zimmerman would have been arrested if the person he shot was white.”
Blow holds out hope that this case need not be racially divisive:
“The Martin case… holds the potential to be a high point [for America]. There is nobility in the advocacy for truth and justice for a dead child who would still be alive if Zimmerman had not pursued him. While opinions shouldn’t get ahead of the facts — and we must all remember that what is right and what is legal don’t always dovetail — public pressure for a thorough investigation and fair dealings in this case needn’t and mustn’t be defined as a black issue. It’s a universally human issue.”
On this holy and religious weekend for many of us, I say “Amen”.