BY ADEYEMI OSHUNRINADE March 28, 2013
Robert Zimmerman Jr., brother of accused killer George Zimmerman, released statements on Twitter in which he likened Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old his brother shot and killed to De’Marquise Elkins, a 17-year-old, who along with another teen shot and killed a 13-month-old in Georgia. The tweets have created outrage and once again brought to debate the issue of race in America.
In one of the tweets, Zimmerman placed photos of Martin and Elkins, side by side in a comparison mode that if properly interpreted, would show Zimmerman tried to make the society believe that just like Elkins, Martin was a bad Teenager who got what he deserved when he got shot and killed by his brother. “A picture speaks a thousand words. Any questions?” the tweet reads.
It was a comment designed to steer outrage but makes one question his motive at a time when the only way to resolve the controversy over Martin’s death, is by not turning it into a racial issue. In another tweet Zimmerman said: “Lib media shld ask if what these2 black teens did 2 a woman&baby is the reason ppl think blacks mightB risky.”
The portrait of Martin and the tweets that followed can only be described as ludicrous. Perhaps, the tweets were a result of ignorance, but properly read, it is a summation of what being black means. Zimmerman’s belief is that every black person is the same and irrespective of whether a case is separate or not, blacks are the same, blacks are linked to evil and therefore, being black is risky.
No one in his or her right mind would applaud the killing of an innocent 13-month-old. It is unquestionable that Elkins and the other teen charged with the murder are bad eggs of the society. If there is any way they could be described other than being labeled criminals, they fit the profile of animals in the human skin. However, does the fact both chose the path of crime have anything to do with the color of their skin? Maybe Zimmerman can answer the question because no one familiar with America’s crime culture would think so.
During an interview with Piers Morgan on CNN, Zimmerman apologized for his tweets, saying they weren’t the “right thing to do.” “I realized those were controversial and offensive and I did publicly apologize for them,” he said. “I’m a human being. I’m been upfront about what I did. I made a mistake… Unfortunately it may not have helped George.”
It is not the first time we heard people make unreasonable comment they later withdraw and wish they could take back. Many believe Zimmerman’s statements are a PR move. It is a move to seize on his brother’s case for celebrity status and probably a book deal in the future, since we live in a nation that sometimes glorifies aberrant behavior.
His brother George Zimmerman got charged with racial profiling and Second-degree murder of Martin, which he, claimed was in self-defense. Rather than allow the case to play out in court, he chose the moment to launch racial rhetoric and associate evil with blackness.
Zimmerman has said he was trying to make a point in his tweets about the media and their honesty in portraying the person who attacked his brother February 26, 2012. Whether that was his intention is unknown but what remains unclear is how calling blacks risky or juxtaposing a photo of Martin with an accused murderer explains his presumed intention.
Zimmerman’s tweets have done nothing but opened up a discussion on why race remains a problem in America. It is irreconcilable that in 2013, there are still some in the nation who think it is right to judge people by the color of their skin. America is still battling Jim Crow, de Jure racial segregation and color intolerance, when the campaign could be about unity and end to racism. Yes, there are bad eggs among us, but does that make being black risky?
Dr. Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E. JD] is the author of ‘Wills Law and Contests,’ ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment’ and ‘SAVING LOVE’ available at http://www.amazon.com/author/adeyemioshunrinade. Follow on Twitter @san0670.
- George Zimmerman’s Brother: ‘Black Teens’ Are Killers (thinkprogress.org)
- George Zimmerman’s Brother Pimping Comparison Of Trayvon Martin And Alleged Georgia Baby-Killer (mediaite.com)
- George Zimmerman’s Stupid Brother Can’t Seem to Stop Tweeting About ‘Black Teens’ (gawker.com)
- Zimmerman apologizes for racially charged Twitter rant (nydailynews.com)
- George Zimmerman’s Brother: ‘Black Teens’ Are Killers (kstreet607.com)